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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of William and Mary: 1689 - 1694 Part 2

1689, Sep
Alexander Irvine of Drum, the representative of a distinguished historical family in Aberdeenshire, was unfortunately weak both in mind and body, although it is related that he could play well on the viol, and had picked up the then popular political tune of Lullibullero in the course of a few days. Under sanction of the Privy Council, Dr David Mitchell of Edinburgh undertook to keep him in his house in a style befitting his quality, and with the care required by his weakly condition, and for this purpose hired some additional rooms, and made other necessary furnishings and preparations. The laird came to him at the close of July, but before the end of August, Marjory Forbes had induced the laird to own her as his wife, and it became necessary that Drum should leave his medical protector. A petition being presented by Dr Mitchell for payment of board and recompense for charges thus needlessly incurred, he was allowed by the Lords £500 Scots, or £41 13s. 4d. sterling, over and above twenty pieces he had received for a professional visit paid to the laird’s Aberdeenshire castle, to arrange for his migration to Edinburgh.

James Broich, skipper of Dundee, was proceeding in his scout to Norway with a small parcel of goods, and a thousand pounds Scots wherewith to buy a larger vessel. In mid-sea he fell in with a French privateer, who, after seizing cargo and money, having no spare hands to leave on board, proceeded to cut holes in the vessel, in order to sink her, proposing to put the unfortunate crew to their boat, in which case they must have perished, 'there being then a great stress.’ By the prayers and tears of the skipper and his people, the privateer was at length induced to let them go in their vessel, but not without first obtaining a bond from Broich, undertaking to remit six hundred guelders to Dunkirk by a particular day. As a guarantee for this payment, the rover detained and carried off the skipper’s son, telling him he would hear no good of him if the money should fail to be forthcoming.

Poor Broich got safe home, where his case excited much commiseration, more particularly as he had suffered from shipwreck and capture four times before in the course of his professional life. He was penniless, and unable to support his family; his son, also—’ the stay and staff of his old age’—had a wife and small children of his own left desolate. Here was a little domestic tragedy very naturally arising out of the wars of the Grand Monarque! Beginning in the council - room of Versailles, such was the way they told upon humble industrial life in the port of Dundee in Scotland. It was considered, too, that the son was in ‘as bad circumstances, in being a prisoner to the French king, as if he were a slave to the Turks.’

Sep 2
On the petition of Broich, the Privy Council ordained a voluntary contribution to be made for his relief in Edinburgh, Leith, Borrowstounness, and Queensferry, and in the counties of Fife and Forfar.

In a contemporary case, that of a crew of Grangepans, carried by a privateer to Dunkirk, and confined in Rochefort, it is stated that they were each allowed half a sous per diem for subsistence, and were daily expecting to be sent to the galleys.’

Oct 19
It was now acknowledged of the glass-work at Leith, that it was carried on successfully in making green bottles and ‘chemistry and apothecary glasses.’ It produced its wares ‘in greater quantity in four months that was ever vended in the kingdom in a year, and at as low rates as any corresponding articles from London or Newcastle.’ The Privy Council therefore gave it the privileges of a manufactory, and forbade introduction of foreign bottles, only providing that the Leith work should not charge more than half-a-crown a dozen.

Dec 2
The magistrates of Edinburgh were ordered to put William Mitchell upon the Tron, ‘and cause the hangman nail his lug thereto,’ on Wednesday the 4th instant, between eleven and twelve in the forenoon, with a paper on his breast, bearing ‘that he stands there for the insolencies committed by him on the Guards, and for words of reflection uttered by him against the present government.'

1690, Feb 2
A large flock of mere-swine (porpoises?) having entered the Firth of Forth, as often happens, and a considerable number having come ashore, as seldom happens, at Cramond, the tenants of Sir John Inglis, proprietor of the lands there, fell upon them with all possible activity, and slew twenty-three, constituting a prize of no inconsiderable value. After fastening the animals with ropes, so as to prevent their being carried out to sea—for the scene of slaughter was half a mile in upon a flat sandy beach—the captors sold them for their own behoof to Robert Douglas, soap-boiler in Leith, fully concluding that they had a perfect right to do so, seeing that mere-swine are not royal fish, and neither had they been cast in dead, in which case, as wrack, I presume, they would have belonged to the landlord.

The greater part of the spoil had been barrelled and transported to Leith—part of the price paid, too, to the captors—when John Wilkie, surveyor there, applied to the Privy Council for a warrant to take the mere-swine into his possession and dispose of them for the benefit of such persons as they should be found to belong to. He accordingly seized upon the barrels, and disposed of several of them at eleven pounds four shillings per barrel, Douglas protesting loudly against his procedure. On a petition, representing how the animals had been killed and secured, Wilkie was ordained to pay over the money to Douglas, deducting only his reasonable charges.

Feb 28
A few hot-headed Perthshire Jacobites, including Graham of Inchbrakie, David Oliphant of Culteuchar, and George Graham of Pitcairns, with two others designed as ensigns, met to-day at the village of Dunning, with some other officers of the government troops, and, getting drink, began to utter various insolencies. They drank the health of King James, ‘without calling him the late king,’ and further proceeded to press the same toast upon the government officers. One of these, Ludovick Grant, quarter-master of Lord Rollo’s troop, was prudentially retiring from this dangerous society, when Ensign Mowat cocked a pistol at him, saying: ‘Do you not see that some of us are King William’s officers as well as you, and why will ye not drink the health as well as we?’ Grant having asked him what he meant by that, Inchbrakie took the pistol, and fired it up the chimney—which seems to have been the only prudential proceeding of the day. The party continued drinking and brawling at the place, till James Hamilton, cornet of Rollo’s troop, came with a party to seize them, when, drawing their swords, they beat back the king’s officer, and were not without great difficulty taken into custody. Even now, so far from being repentant, Inchbrakie ‘called for a dishfui of aqua vitae or brandy, and drank King James’s health,’ saying ‘they were all knaves and rascals that would refuse it.’ He said ‘he hoped the guise would turn,’ when Lord Rollo would not be able to keep Scotland, and he would get Duncrub [Lord Rollo’s house and estate] to himself. His fury against the soldiers extended so far, that he called for powder and ball to shoot the sentinels placed over him, and ‘broke Alexander Ross’s face with ane pint-stoup.’ Even when borne along as prisoners to Perth, and imprisoned there, these furious gentlemen continued railing at Lord Rollo and his troop, avowing and justifying all they had done at Dunning.

The offenders, being brought before the Privy Council, gave in defences, which their counsel, Sir David Thores, advocated with such rash insolency that he was sent away to prison. The culprits were punished by fines and imprisonment. We find them with great difficulty clearing themselves out of jail six months after.’

In religious contentions, there is a cowardice in the strongest ascendency parties which makes them restlessly cruel towards insignificant minorities. The Roman Catholics in Scotland had never since the Reformation been more than a handful of people; but they had constantly been treated with all the jealous severity due to a great and threatening sect. Even now, when they were cast lower than at any former time, through the dismal failure of King James to raise them, there was no abatement of their troubles.

It was at this time a great inconveniency to any one to be a Catholic. As a specimen—Alexander Fraser of Kinnaries, on the outbreak of the Revolution, to obviate any suspicion that might arise about his affection to the new government, came to Inverness, and put himself under the view of the garrison there. Fears being nevertheless entertained regarding him, he was sent to prison. Liberated by General Mackay upon bail, he remained peaceably in Inverness till December last, when he was sent to Edinburgh, and there placed under restraint, not to move above a mile from town. He now represented the hardship he thus suffered, ‘his fortune being very small, and the most of his living being only by his own labouring and industry.’ ‘His staying here,’ he added, ‘any space longer must of necessity tend to his own and his family’s utter ruin.’ With difficulty, the Lords were induced to liberate him under caution.

Mr David Fairfoul, a priest confined in prison at Inverness, only regained his liberty by an extraordinary accident. James Sinclair of Freswick, a Caithness gentleman, had chanced a twelvemonth before to be taken prisoner by a French privateer, as he was voyaging from his northern home to Edinburgh. Having made his case known to the Scottish Privy Council, he was relieved in exchange for Mr Fairfoul (June 5, 1690).

About the end of the year, we find a considerable number of Catholics under government handling. Steven Maxwell, who had been one of the two masters in the Catholic college at Holyroodhouse, lay in durance at Blackness. John Abercrombie, ‘a trafficker,’ and a number of other priests recently collected out of the Highlands, were immured in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. Another, named Mr Robert Davidson, of whom it was admitted that ‘his opinion and deportment always inclined to sobriety and moderation, shewing kindness and charity to all in distress, even of different persuasions, and that he made it no part of his business to meddle in any affairs, but to live peaceably in his native country for his health’s sake,’ had been put into Leith jail, with permission to go forth for two hours a day, under caution to the amount of fifty pounds, lest his health should suffer.

At this very time, a fast was under order of the General Assembly, with sanction of the government, with a reference to the consequences of the late oppressive government, citing, among other things, ‘the sad persecutions of many for their conscience towards God.’

Apr 25
It was declared in the legislature that there were ‘frequent murders of innocent infants, whose mothers do conceal their pregnancy, and do not call for necessary assistance in the birth.’ It was therefore statute, that women acting in this secretive manner, and whose babes were dead or missing, should be held as guilty of murder, and punished accordingly. That is to say, society, by treating indiscretions with a puritanic severity, tempted women into concealments of a dangerous kind, and then punished the crimes which itself had produced, and this upon merely negative evidence.

Terrible as this act was, it did not wholly avail to make women brave the severity of that social punishment which stood on the other side. It is understood to have had many victims. In January 1705, no fewer than four young women were in the Tolbooth of Aberdeen at once for concealing pregnancy and parturition, and all in a state of such poverty that the authorities had to maintain them. On the 23d July 1706, the Privy Council dealt with a petition from Bessie Muckieson, who had been two years ‘incarcerat’ in the Edinburgh Tolbooth on account of the death of a child born by her, of which Robert Bogie in Kennieston, in Fife, was the father. She had not concealed her pregnancy, but the infant being born in secret, and found dead, she was tried under the act.

At her trial she had made ingenuous confession of her offence, while affirming that the child had not been ‘wronged,’ and she protested that even the concealment of the birth was ‘through the Leacherous dealing and abominable counsel of the said Robert Bogie.’ ‘Seeing she was a poor miserable object, and ane ignorant wretch destitute of friends, throwing herself at their Lordships’ footstool for pity and accustomed clernency’—petitioning that her just sentence might be changed into banishment, ‘that she might be a living monument of a true penitent for her abominable guilt’—the Lords looked relentingly on the case, and adjudged Bessie to pass forth of the kingdom for the remainder of her life.

It was seldom that such leniency was shewn. In March 1709, a woman named Christian Adam was executed at Edinburgh for the imputed crime of child-murder, and on the ensuing 6th of April, two others suffered at the same place on the same account. In all these three cases, occurring within four weeks of each other, the women had allowed their pregnancy and labour to pass without letting their condition be known, or calling for the needful assistance, Adam acting thus at the entreaty of her Lover, ‘a gentleman,’ who said it would ruin him if she should declare her state. Another, named Bessie Turnbiill, had been entirely successful iii concealing all that happened; but the consciousness of having killed her infant haunted her, till she came voluntarily forward, and gave herself up. At the scaffold, Adam ‘gave the ministers much satisfaction;’ Margaret Inglis ‘did not give full satisfaction to the ministers;’ Turnbull ‘seemed more affected than her comrade, but not so much as could be wished.'

July 5
Our old acquajntance, Captain John Slezer, turns up at this time in an unexpected way. Three or four months before, he
had obtained a commission as captain of artillery from their majesties, and now he was about to leave Edinburgh on duty; but, lo, John Hamilton, wright, burgess of Edinburgh, ‘out of a disaffection to their majesties and the present government,’ gave orders to George Gilchrist, messenger, to put in execution letters of caption against the captain, for a debt due by him, ‘albeit he {Slezer] the night before offered him satisfaction of the first end of the money.’ The Council, ‘understanding that the same has been done out of a design to retard their majesties’ service, called for Hamilton, and, in terms of the late act of parliament, desired him to take the oath of allegiance and assurance, which he refused to do.’ They therefore ordained him to be committed prisoner to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and ‘declares Captain Slezer to be at liberty to prosecute his majesty’s service.’ The debtor and creditor might thus be said to have changed places: one can imagine what jests there would be about the case among the Cavalier wits in the Laigh Coffeehouse—how it would be adduced as an example of that vindication of the laws which the Revolution professed to have in view—how it would be thought in itself a very good little Revolution, and well worthy of a place in the child’s toy picture of The World Turned Upside Down.

After a six weeks’ imprisonment, Hamilton came before the Council with professions of peaceable inclination to the present government, and pleaded that he was valetudinary with gravel, much increased by reason of his confinement, ‘and, being a tradesman, his employment, which is the mean of his subsistence, is altogether neglected by his continuing a prisoner,’ and he might be utterly ruined in body, family, and estate, if not relieved. Therefore the Lords very kindly liberated this delinquent creditor, he giving caution to live inoffensively in future, and reappear if called upon.

We find a similar case a few years onward. Captain William Baillie of Colonel Buchan’s regiment was debtor to Walter Chiesley, merchant in Edinburgh, to the extent of three thousand merks, for satisfaction of which he had assigned his estate, with power to uplift the rents. He was engaged in Edinburgh on the recruiting service, when Chiesley, out of malice, as was insinuated, towards the government of which Baillie was the commissioned servant, had him apprehended on caption for the debt, and put into the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. Thus, as his petition to the Privy Council runs (February 7, 1693), ‘he is rendered incapable of executing that important duty he is upon, which will many ways prejudice their majesties’ service;’ for, ‘if such practices be allowed, and are unpunished, there should not ane officer in their majesties’ forces that owes a sixpence dare adventure to come to any mercat-town, either to make their recruits or perform other duty.’ For these good reasons, Bailie craved that not only he be immediately liberated, but Walter Chiesley be censured ‘for so unwarrantable ane act, to the terror of others to do the like.’

The Council recommended the Court of Session to expede a suspension, and put at liberty the debtor; but they seem to have felt that it would be too much to pass a censure on the merchant for trying to recover what was justly owing to him.

But for our seeing creditors treated in this manner for the conveniency of the government, it would be startling to find that the old plan of the supersedere, of which we have seen some examples in the time of James VI., was still thought not unfit to be resorted to by that régime which had lately redeemed the national liberties.

James Bayne, wright in Edinburgh._.the same rich citizen whose daughter’s clandestine nuptials with Andrew Devoe, the posture-master, made some noise a few years back—had executed the carpentrywork of Holyroodhouse; but, like Balunkin in the ballad, ‘payment gat he nane.’ To pay for timber and workmen’s wages, he incurred debts to the amount of thirty-five thousand merks (about £1944 sterling), which soon increased as arrears of interest went on, till now, after an interval of several years, he was in such a position, that, supposing he were paid his just dues, and discharged his debts, there would not remain to him ‘one sixpence’ of that good stock with which he commenced the undertaking.

At the recommendation of ‘his late majesty [Charles II?],' the Lords of the Treasury had considered the case, and found upwards of £2000 sterling to be due to James Bayne, ‘besides the two thousand pounds sterling for defalcations and losses, which they did not fully consider,’ and they consequently ‘recommended him to the Lords of Session for a suspension against his creditors, ay, and while the money due to him by the king were paid.’ This he obtained; ‘but at present no regard is had to it.’ Recently, to satisfy some of his most urgent creditors, the Lords of the Treasury gave him an order for £500 upon their receiver, Maxwell of Kirkconnel; but no funds were forthcoming. His creditors then fell upon him with great rigour, and Thomas Burnet, merchant in Edinburgh, from whom he had been a borrower for the works at the palace, had now put him in jail, where he lay without means to support himself and his family.

Bayne craved from the Privy Council that the two thousand pounds already admitted might as soon as possible be paid to him, and that, meanwhile, he should be liberated, and receive a protection from his creditors, ‘whereby authority will appear in its justice, the petitioner’s creditors be paid, and no tradesman discouraged to meddle in public works for the advancement of what is proper for the government to have done.’ The Privy Council considered the petition, and recommended the Lords of Session ‘to expede ane suspension and charge to put to liberty’ in favour of James Bayne, on his granting a disposition of his effects in favour of his creditors.

It was, after all, fitting that the government which interfered, for its own conveniency, to save its servants from the payment of their just debts, should stave off the payment of their own, by similar interpositions of arbitrary power.

The ‘happie revolution’ had not made any essential change in the habits of those Highlanders who lived on the border of the low countries. It was still customary for them to make periodical descents upon Morayland, Angus, the Stormont, Strathearn, and the Lennox, for ‘spreaths’ of cattle and other goods.

Sir Robert Murray of Abercairney, having lands in Glenalmond and thereabouts, employed six men, half of whom were Macgregors, as a watch or guard for the property of his tenants. These men, coming one day to the market of Monzie, were informed that a predatory party had gone down into the low country, and ‘fearing that they might, in their return, come through Sir Robert’s lands, and take away ane hership from his tenants,’ they lost no time in getting the land, over which they were likely to pass, cleared of bestial. They were refreshing themselves after their toil at the kirk-town of Monzie, when the caterans came past with their booty. Enraged at finding the ground cleared, the robbers seized the six men, and carried them away as prisoners.

A few days after, having regained their liberty, they were apprehended by Lord Rollo, on a suspicion of having been accomplices of the robbers, by whom it appeared his lordship’s tenants had suffered considerably; and they were immediately dragged off to Edinburgh, and put into the Canongate jail. There they lay for two months, ‘it’ a very starving condition, and to the ruin of their poor families at home;’ when at length, Lord Rollo having failed to make good anything against them, and Sir Robert Murray having undertaken for their appearance if called upon, they were allowed to go home, with an order to the governor of Drummond Castle for the restoration of their arms.

On the 22d January 1691, Lord Rllob represented to the Privy Council that ‘in the harvest last, the Highland robbers came down and plundered his ground, and because of his seeking redress according to law, they threaten his tenants with ane other depredation, and affrights them so as they are like to leave the petitioner’s lands, and cast them waste.’ The matter was remitted to the Commander of the Forces. [A picturesque glimpse of the Highland marauding of this period was obtained some years ago at secood-hand from the memory of William Bane Macpherson, who died in 1777 at the age of a hundred. ‘He was wont to relate that, when a boy of twelve years of age, being engaged as buochaille [herd-boy] at the summering [i.e. summer grazing] of Biallid, near Dalwhinnie, he had an opportunity of being an eye-witness to a creagh and pursuit on a very large scale, which passed through Badenoch. At noon on a fine autumnal day in 1689, his attention was drawn to a herd of black-cattle, amounting to about six score, driven along by a dozen of wild Lochaber men, by the banks of Loch Erroch, in the direction of Dalunchart in the forest of Alder, now Ardverikie. Upon inquiry, he ascertained that these had been "lifted’ in Aberdeenshire, distant more than a hundred miles, and that the reivers had proceeded thus far with their booty free from molestation and pursuit. Thus they held on their way among the wild hills of this mountainous districts far from the haunts of the semicivillsed inhabitants, and within a day’s journey of their home. Only a few hours had elapsed after the departure of theso marauders, when a body of nearly fifty horsemen appeared, toiling amidst the rocks and marshes of this barbarous region, where not even a footpath helped to mark the intercourse of society, and following on the trail of the men and cattle which had preceded them. The troop was well mounted and armed, and led by a person of gentleman-like appearance and courteous manners; while, attached to the party, was a number of horses carrying bags of meal and other provisions, intended not solely for their own support, but, as would seem from the sequel, as a ransom for the creagh. Signalling William Bane to approach, the leader minutely questioned him about the movements of the Lochaber men; their number, equipments, and the line of their route. Along the precipitons banks of Loch Erroch this large body of horsemen wended their way, accompanied by William Bane, who was anxious to see the result of the meeting. It bespoke spirit and resolution in those Strangers to seek an encounter with the robbers in their native wilds, and on the borders of that Country, where a signal of alarm would have raised a numerous body of hardy Lochaber men, ready to defend the creaghs, and punish the pursners. Towards nightfall, they drew near the encampment of the thieves at Dalunchart, and observed them busily engaged in roasting, before a large fire, one of the beeves, newly slaughtered. A council of war was immediately held, and, on the suggestion of the leader, a flag of truce was forwarded to the Lochaber men) with an offer to each of a bag of meal and a pair of shoes, in ransom for the herd of cattle. This offer, being viewed as a proof of cowardice and fear, was contemptuously rejected, and a reply sent, to the effect that the cattle, driven so far and with so much trouble, would not be surrendered. Having gathered in the herd, both parties prepared for action. The overwhelming number of the pursuers soon mastered their opponents. Successive discharges of firearms brought the greater number of the Lochaber men to the ground, and in a brief period only three remained unhurt, and escaped to tell the sad tale to their countrymen.’—Inverness Courier, August 17, 1847.]

1690, Aug 16
Andrew Cockhurn, the post-boy who carried the packet or letter-bag on that part of the great line of communication which lies between Cockburnspath and Haddington, had this day reached a point in his journey between the Alms-house and Hedderwick Muir, when he was assailed by two gentlemen in masks; one of them mounted on a blue-gray horse, wearing a stone-gray coat with brown silk buttons;’ the other ‘riding on a white horse, having a white English gray cloak coat with wrought silver thread buttons.’ Holding pistols to his breast, they threatened to kill him if he did not instantly deliver up ‘the packet, black box, and by-bag’ which he carried; and he had no choice but to yield. They then bound him, and, leaving him tied by the foot to his horse, rode off with their spoil to Gariton House near Haddington.

As the packet contained government communications besides the correspondence of private individuals, this was a crime of a very high nature, albeit we may well believe it was committed on political impulse only. Suspicion seems immediately to have alighted on James Seton, youngest son of the Viscount Kingston, and John Seton, brother of Sir George Seton of Gariton; and Sir Robert Sinclair, the sheriff of the county, immediately sought for these young gentlemen at their father’s and brother’s houses, but found them not. With great hardihood, they came to Sir Robert’s house next morning, to inquire as innocent men why they were searched for; when Sir Robert, after a short examination in presence of the post-boy, saw fit to have them disarmed and sent off to Haddington. It was Sunday, and Bailie Lauder, to whose house they came with their escort, was about to go to church. If the worthy bailie is to be believed, he thought their going to the sheriff’s a great presumption of their innocence. He admitted, too, that Lord Kingston had come and spoken to him that morning. Anyhow, he concluded that it might be enough in the meantime if he afforded them a room in his house, secured their horses in his stable, and left them under charge of two of the town-officers. Unluckily, however, he required the town-officers, as usual, to walk before him and his brother-magistrates to church; which, it is obvious, interfered very considerably with their efficiency as a guard over the two gentlemen. While things were in this posture, Messrs Seton took the prudent course of making their escape. As soon as the bailie heard of it, he left church, and took horse after them with some neighbours, but he did not succeed in overtaking them.

The Privy Council had an extraordinary meeting, to take measures regarding this affair, and their first step was to order Bailie Lauder and the two town-officers into the Tolbooth of EdInburgh as close prisoners. A few days afterwards, the magistrate was condemned by the Council as guilty of plain fraud and connivance, and declared incapable of any public employment. William Kaim, the smith at Lord Kingston’s house of Whittingham, was also in custody on some suspicion of a concern in this business; but he and the town-officers were quickly liberated.’

John Seton was soon after seized by Captain James Denhoim on board a merchant-vessel bound for Holland, and imprisoned in the Castle of Edinburgh. He underwent trial in July 1691, and by some means escaped condemnation. A favourable verdict did not procure his immediate liberation; but, after three days, he was dismissed on caution to return into custody if called upon. This final result was the more remarkable, as his father was by that time under charge of having aided in the betrayal of the Bass.

Aug 16
William Bridge, an Englishman, had come to Scotland about ten years ago, at the invitation of a coppersmith and a founder in Edinburgh, to ‘give them his insight in the airt of casting in brass;’ and now they had imparted their knowledge to James Miller, brasier in the Canongate. Bridge petitioned the Privy Council for some charity, ‘seeing he left his own kingdom for doing good to this kingdom and the good town of Edinburgh’ The Council took that way of proving their benevolence on which Mr Sidney Smith once laid so much stress—’ they recommend to the magistrates of Edinburgh to give the petitioner such charity as he deserves.’’

Aug 26
The monopoly of the manufacture and sale of playing-cards, which was conferred some years back on Peter Bruce, engineer, had been transferred by him to James Hamilton of Little Earnock, together with a paper-mill which be had built at Restairig, and two machines for friezing cloth. Hamilton now petitioned for, and obtained the Privy Council’s confirmation of this exclusive right, in consideration of his great expenses in bringing home foreign workmen, and putting his little manufactory in order.

Many gentlemen and others, who for several months had been prisoners in the Edinburgh Tolbooth, were transported to Blackness, Leith, and Bass, leaving George Drummond, the ‘Goodman’ of the prison, unpaid for their aliment and house-dues. The Council ordained the keepers of the prisons of Blackness and Bass to detain these gentlemen till they had satisfied Drummond, whatever orders might come for their enlargement.

In another case, which came before them in the ensuing January, the Council acted much in the spirit of their late ordinance in favour of William Bridge the brass-founder. Gavin Littlejohn, a prisoner in the Edinburgh Tolbooth, had been ordered by them to be set at liberty, but he was detained by his jailer for fourscore pounds Scots of house-dues. Being poor, ‘he was no ways able to make payment, albeit he should die in prison,’ and he therefore craved the Lords that they would, as usual in such cases, recommend the discharge of his debt by the treasury. The Lords, having considered this petition, ‘recommend to George Drummond, master of the Tolbooth, to settle with the petitioner, that he may be set at liberty.’

Law had not yet so well asserted her supremacy in Scotland as to entirely banish the old inclination to enforce an assumed right by the strong hand. Of the occasional violences still used in debatable matters of property, a fair specimen is presented by a case which occurred at this time between Andrew Johnstone of Lockerby and Mrs Margaret Jolinstone, the widow of his eldest son. For a year or two past, Mrs Margaret, supported by her father, Sir James Johnstone of Westerhall, and with the aid of sundry servants of her own and her father, had been accustomed to molest Andrew Johnstone, his friends and tenants, in the possession of their lands, and to threaten them with acts of violence. They had been obliged to take out a writ of lawborrows against the wrathful lady and her ‘accomplices;’ but it had proved of no avail in inducing peaceful measures.

One day in the last spring, as Johnstone’s tenants were labouring their lands at Turrie-muir, his furious daughter-in-law and her ‘accomplices’ came upon them, loosed the horses from their ploughs and harrows, cut the harness, and beat the workmen. James Johnstone, a younger son of Lockerby, was present, and on his trying to prevent these outrages, they fell upon him violently, and wounded him under the eye with a penknife, ‘to the great hazard of the loss of his eye.’

In June, a set of Mrs Margaret’s friends, headed by David Carlyle, and his sons William and Robert, took an opportunity of making a deadly personal assault upon Mrs Mary Johnstone, wife of the Laird of Lockerby. The poor lady was cut down, and left as dead, while her friend, Mrs Barbara Hill, was run through the thigh with a sword. These ladies had since lain under the care of surgeons, and it was uncertain whether they would live or die. Janet Geddes, servant of Mungo Johnstone of Netherplace, a friend of Lockerbv, had also been assailed by the Carlyles, pulled to the ground by the hair of her head, cruelly beaten and wounded, and nearly choked with a horn snuff-box which they endeavoured to force down her throat.

In May, a group of Mrs Margaret’s friends came armed to the lands of Hass and Whitwyndhill, with ‘horrid and execrable oaths,’ and ‘masterfully drove away the sheep and bestial. The poor tenants and their wives came to rescue their property, when the assailing party rode them down, and beat them so sore, that several had to be taken home in blankets. Not long after, Westerhail’s servants came to the same lands, and took by violence from Robert Johnstone of Roberthill fourteen kine and oxen, ‘which were reset by Sir James, being carried home to his house and put in his byres, and set his mark upon them, and thereafter sold ten of the said beasts, ilk ane being worth forty pounds.’

Last, and worst of all, Walter Johnstone, brother of Mrs Margaret, had come with attendants to the house of Netherplace by night, broke in, and beat the owner, Mungo Jolinstone, in a most outrageous manner, besides squeezing the hands of his son, a boy, that the blood sprung below his nails.

The matter was brought before the Privy Council by complaints from both parties, and as the awards went rather against Lockerby and his son for keeping his daughter-in-law out of her rights, than against her and her friends for their violent procedure on the other side, we may reasonably infer that the James VI. style of justice was far from extinct in the land.

A case of violent procedure on the part of a landlord towards a tenant occurred about the same time. Catherine Herries possessed the lands of Mabie, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, in liferent. In the early part; of 1689, she entered into a communing with one Robert Sturgeon, to set to him the small farm of Crooks, promising him a nine years’ lease; and he was admitted to possession, though upon a verbal agreement only. He immediately addressed himself to the improvement of the ground by ditching and draining, and in a year laid out upon it two hundred merks, or something more than eleven pounds sterling. Meanwhile, the lady united herself to John Maxwell of Carse, ‘a notorious papist,’ who had not long before been searched for as a person dangerous to the new government. When the lady learned that Sturgeon had been active among the searchers, she seems to have resolved to discontinue his connection with her estate. At Lamrnas 1690, alleging that he had been warned away at the preceding Pasch, she caused him to be summoned before the steward-depute of Kirkcudbright, who decreed him to remove within an irregularly brief period. He had no resource but to go to Edinburgh, and sue for a suspension of the decree; but when he returned with this document, he found that the lady, the day before, had violently ejected his wife, bairns, and bestial, ‘whereof many were lost.’ He intimated the suspension; but Lady Mabie, disregarding it, obtained a precept from the steward-depute, ordering him to answer for a thousand merks on account of his unlawful intrusion upon her estate, and authorising his imprisonment till this was paid. Without any other warrant, as Sturgeon complains to the Council, the lady, under cloud of night, sends fifteen or sixteen persons, whereof John Larierick, writer in Dumfries, was ringleader, with swords and staves, and takes the complainer out of his bed, as if he had been.a notorious malefactor, and carries him bound prisoner to the Tolbooth of Kirkcudbright, where he lay six weeks, his wife, bairns, and goods being again ejected, and his house shut up.

In such a relation of parties, even had the proceedings of Lady Mabie and her husband been more regular, the Lords of the Privy Council could have no difficulty in deciding. They fined the lady and her husband in two hundred merks, one half to go as compensation to the ejected tenant.’

If the author could be allowed to indulge in a little personality, he would recall a walk through the streets of Edinburgh with Sir Walter Scott in the year 1824—one of many which he was privileged to enjoy, and during which many old Scottish matters, such as fill this work, were discussed. Sir Walter, having stopped for a moment in the crowd to exchange greetings with a portly middle-aged man, said, on coming up to continue his walk ‘That was Campbell of Blythswood—we always shake hands when we meet, for there is some old cousinred between us.’ Let this occurrence, only redeemed from triviality by its bringing up a peculiar Scotch phrase unknown to Jamieson, be introduction to a characteristic letter of the year 1690, which seems worthy of a place here. First be it noted, the ‘cousinred’ between the illustrious fictlonist of our century and the great laird of the west, took its origin two centuries earlier, thus forming a curious example of the tenacity of the Scottish people regarding relationships. The paternal great~grandfather of Sir Walter Scott was a person of his own name, the younger of the two Sons of that Scott of Raeburn whom we have seen in 1665 set aside from the use of his property, the education of his family, and the enjoyment of his liberty, in consequence of his becoming a Quaker. The young Walter Scott spent his mature life in Kelso; we find him spoken of in a case under the attention of the Privy Council as a ‘merchant’ there: from devotion to the House of Stuart, he never shaved after the Revolution, and consequently acquired the nickname of Beardie. It was his fortune in the month of September 1690, to ride to Glasgow, and there wed a lady of a noted mercantile family, being daughter to Campbell of Silvercraigs, whose uncle was the first Campbell of Blythswood provost of Glasgow in 1660. The house of the Campbells of Silvercraigs in the Saltmarket was a handsome and spacious one, which Cromwell had selected for his residence when he visited Glasgow.’ Here, of course, took place the wedding of this young offshoot of Roxburghshire gentility with Mary Campbell, the niece of Blythswood, the result, most probably, of a line of circumstances originating in that tyrannical decreet of the Privy Council which ordained the Quaker Raeburn’s bairns to be taken from him, and educated in a sound faith at  the schools of Glasgow (see under July 5, 1666).

The letter in question is one which Walter Scott wrote to his mother immediately after his marriage, stating the fact, and giving her directions about horses and certain articles to be sent to liira against his intended return home with his bride. It is merely curious as illustrating the personal furnishings of a gentleman in that age, and the manner in which he travelled.

‘DEAR MOTHER—The long designed marriadge betwixt Mary Campbell and mee was accomplished upon the 18th of this instant, and I having stayed here longer than I thought to doe, thought fitt to lett you know soe much by this. I have sent home Mr Robert Ellott his mare with many thanks, and tell him she has 1 been fed since I came from home with good hay and come, and been more idle as rideing. I have sent you the key of the studdy, that you may send mee with Robt Paterson and my horses my two cravatts that are within, and one pare I suppose within my desk the key and keep till I come home. As also send mee ane clene shirt, my hatt that is within my trunk send hither, and give to Robert Paterson, to putt one, another hat that is in itt—the trunk is open already. Send me out of ane bagge of rix dollars that you shall find in my desk, 30 rix dollars, and my little purse with the few pieces of gold. You will find there also two pairs of sleives and a plain cravatt: give with my hatts to Rot. my coat and old , to putt one, if they bee meet for him. Let Rot. come in by Edr and call at Dykes the shoe maker for my boots and one of the pairs of the shoes lie has making for me, if they be ready, and bring them with him hither. Let him bring my own sadie and pistolls upon the one horse, and borrow my good sisters syde sadle and bring upon the other. Lett him be sure to bee here upon Tuesday the thirteenth instant and desire him to be carefull of all thir things. William Anderson says he will come home with us. We are all in good health here. My wife with all the rest of us gives our service to you. Wee hope to see you upon the Saturday night after Rot. Paterson comes hither. We pray for God’s blessing and yours. I have writt to desire my brother to come again thatt time hither and come home with us. God be with you, dear mother. I am your loving sonne,


‘GLASGOW, Sept- 22, 1690.

‘1ff my brother could bee here sooner, I wish he would come, and Robt. also, for I mean to stay from home, and our time will much depend on their coming.’

For a notice of a visit paid by Beardie to Glasgow in February 1714, on the occasion of the death of his father-in-law, see under that date.

Nov 11
The Bible, New Testament, and a catechism, having recently been prepared in the Irish laiiguage, mainly for the use of the Irish population, it was thought by some religiously disposed persons
in England, including some of Scottish extraction, that the same might serve for the people of the Highlands of Scotland, whose language was very nearly identical. It was accordingly part of the duty of the General Assembly to-day to make arrangements for receiving and distributing throughout the Highlands a gift of three thousand Bibles, one thousand New Testaments, and three thousand catechisms, which was announced to be at their disposal in London. A thousand pounds Scots was petitioned for from the Privy Council, to pay the expense df transporting the books from London and sending them to the various northern parishes.’ It is to be regretted that so important an event as the first introduction of an intelligible version of the Scriptures to a large section of our population should be so meagrely chronicled. We shall hereafter have much to tell regarding further operations of the same kind in the northern portion of Scotland.

The domestic condition of the people is so much affected by certain sacred principles of law, that the history and progress of these becomes a matter of the first consequence. We have seen how the new rulers acted in regard to the sacredness of the subject from imprisonment not meant to issue in trial; we shall now see how they comported themselves respecting the unlawfulness of torture, which they had proclaimed, as loudly in their Declaration or Claim of Rights. We find the Duke of Hamilton, within three months of his presiding at the passing of this ‘Declaration,’ writing to Lord Melville about a little Jacobite conspiracy— ‘Wilson can discover all: if he does not confess freely, it‘s like he may get either the boots or the thumbikens.’
When, at the crisis of the battle of the Boyne, the plot of Sir James Montgomery of Skelmorley, the Earl of Annandale, Lord Ross, and Robert Fergusson, for the restoration of King James, broke upon the notice of the new government, a Catholic English gentleman named Henry Neville Payne, who had been sent down to Scotland on a mission in connection with it, was seized by the common people in Dumfriesshire, and brought to Edinburgh. Sir William Lockhart, the solicitor-general for Scotland, residing in London, then coolly wrote to the Earl of Melville, secretary of state at Edinburgh, regarding Payne, that there was no doubt he knew as much as would hang a thousand; ‘but,’ says he, ‘except you put him to the torture, he will shame you all. Pray you put him in such hands as will have no pity on him; for, in the opinion of all, lie is a desperate cowardly fellow.’

The Privy Council had in reality by this time put Payne to the torture; but the ‘cowardly fellow’ proved able to bear it without confession. On the 10th of December, under instructions signed by the king, and countersigned by the Earl of Melville, the process was repeated ‘gently,’ and again next day after the manner thus described by the Earl of Crawford, who presided on the occasion: ‘About six this evening, we inflicted [the torture] on both thumbs and one of his legs, with all the severity that was consistent with humanity, even unto that pitch that we could. not preserve life and have gone further, but without the least success. He was so manly and resolute under his suffering, that such of the Council as were not acquainted with all the evidences, were brangled and began to give him charity, that he might be innocent. It was surprising to me and others, that flesh and blood could, without fainting, and in contradiction to the grounds we had insinuat of our knowledge of his accession in matters, endure the heavy penance he was in for two hours My stomach is truly so far out of tune, by being a witness to an act so far cross to my natural temper, that I am fitter for rest than anything else.’

The earl states, that he regarded Payne’s constancy under the torture as solely owing to his being assured by his religion that it would save his soul and place him among the saints. His Lordship would never have imagined such self-consideration as i ;upporting a westland Whig on the ladder in the Grassmarket.[Mr Burton, in his History of &ottand from 1689 to 1748, gives the following account )f this nobleman: ‘The Earl of Crawford, made chairman of the Estates and a privy councillor, was the only statesman of the day who adopted the peculiar demeanour and scriptural language of the Covenanters. It is to him that Burnet and others attribute the severities against the Episcopal clergymen, and the guidance of the force brought to bear in the parliament and Privy Council in favour of a Presbyterian establishment.’]

The conviction doubtless made him the more resolute in acting as the prompter of the executioner to increase the torture to so high pitch ‘—his own expression regarding his official connection with the affair. It is curious that none ever justly apprehend, or will sdmit, the martyrdoms of an opposite religious party. Always it Ls obstinacy, vanity, selfishness, or because they have no choice. Sufferings for conscience’ sake are only acknowledged where one’s own views are concerned. It must be admitted as something of a deduction from the value of martyrdom in general.

We after this hear of Payne being in a pitiable frame of body under close confinement in Edinburgh Castle, no one being allowed to have access to him but his medical attendants. For a little time there was a disposition to give him the benefit of the rule of the Claim of Rights regarding imprisonment, and on the 6th January 1691, it was represented to King William that to keep Payne in prison without trial was ‘contrare to law.’ Nevertheless, and notwithstanding repeated demands for trial and petitions for mercy on his part, Neville Payne was kept in durance more or less severe for year after year, until ten had elapsed! During this time, he became acquainted with the principal state-prisons if Scotland, including the Edinburgh Tolbooth.

At length, on the 4th of February 1701, the wretched man sent a petition to the Privy Council, shewing ‘that more than ten years’ miserable imprisonment had brought to old age and ~xtreme poverty, accompanied with frequent sickness and many )ther afflictions that are the constant attendants of both.’ He protested his being all along wholly unconscious of any guilt. He was then ordered to be liberated, without the security for reappearance which was customary in such cases.

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