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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of William III: 1695 - 1702 Part 1

During this period, the affairs of Scotland were in a marked degree subordinate to those of England. The king, absorbed in continental wars and continental politics, paid little attention to his northern kingdom; he left it chiefly to the care of its state-officers, using as a medium of his own influence, William Carstares, a Presbyterian minister of extraordinary worth, sincerity, and prudence, who had gained his entire esteem and confidence, and who usually attended him wherever he was. A parliament which sat in May 1695, was chiefly occupied with the investigation of the Glencoe massacre, and with measures connected with the rising commercial enterprise of the country, including the formation of a native bank, and that of a company for trading with Africa and the Indies. The latter of these speculations was worked out in an expedition to Darien, and an attempted settlement there, which, through English mercantile jealousy, and the king’s indifference to Scottish interests, ended so unfortunately as greatly to incense the Scottish nation, and increase the party disaffected to the Revolution government. The misery hence arising was increased by a dearth from a succession of bad seasons. Nevertheless, this period will be found in our chronicle to have been remarkable for the establishment of manufactories of various kinds, and for various other industrial enterprises, shewing that the national energies were beginning to take a decidedly new direction. At the same time, instances of deplorable superstition, cruelty, and intolerance were sufficiently numerous to attest that the days of barbarism were not past.

Incessant efforts were made by the Jacobite party to procure the restoration of King James, and the discontents excited by Darien were greatly favourable to their views. Yet the heart of the middle class throughout the more important provinces remained firm in Presbyterianism, for which the Revolution government was the sole guarantee; and. in this lay an insuperable bar to all reactionary projects. A war against France, which had begun immediately after the Revolution (May 1689), was brought to a conclusion in September 1697, by the treaty of Ryswick, which included an acknowledgment by Louis XIV. of the title of King William to the English throne. The exiled king, old and abandoned to ascetic devotion, indulged a hope that he would outlive William, and, be then quietly recalled. He died, however, in September 1701, with only the assurance of the French king in favour of the restoration of his son. William survived him but a few months, dying of a fever and agne on the 8th March 1702. His vigorous talents, his courage, his essential mildness and tolerance, abated as they were by an unpopular coldness of manners, are amply recognised in English history; among the Scots, while Presbyterians thank him for the establishment of their church, there is little feeling regarding the Dutch king, besides a strong resentment of his concern in the affairs of Glencoe and Darien.

1695, Feb 17
This day, being Sunday, the Catholics of Edinburgh were so bold as to hold a meeting for worship in the Canongate. It was fallen upon and ‘dissipat’ by the authorities, and the priest, Mr David Fairfoul, with James De Canton and James Morris, fencing-masters, and John Wilson of Spango, were committed to prison, while the Lord Advocate obtained a list of other persons present. The Privy Council ordered the four prisoners to be carried from the Canongate to the Edinburgh Tolbooth, and appointed a committee to take what steps
it might think meet regarding the list of worshippers.

On the 28th February, the Council permitted the liberation of the two fencing-masters, on assurance of their doing nothing offensive to the government in future, under a penalty of five hundred merks. At the same time, they ordained ‘Harry Graham, and his landlord, James Blair, periwig-maker in Niddry’s Wynd; James Brown, son to Hugh Brown, chirurgeon, and the said Hugh his father; John Abererombie, merchant in Edinburgh, and John Lamb in the Water of Leith, to give bond in the same terms and under the same penalty;’ else to be kept in prison. Orders were given to search for John Laing, writer, John Gordon, writer, and James Scott in the Canongate, ‘who, being also at the said meeting, have absconded.’ The priest Fairibul was treated with unexpected mercy, being liberated on condition of banishment, not to return under a penalty of three hundred ponnds sterling.’

Feb 19
Robert Davidson, merchant in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, represented to the Privy Council that he had been in a good way of merchandise, and proprietor of a two-story house, when in the beginning of December last some of Lord Carmichael’s dragoons were quartered upon him, and deposited their powder in one of his low rooms. As they were one morning dividing the powder, it caught fire, and demolished the house, together with his whole merchandise and household plenishing, carrying the bed whereon he and his family lay to the top of the house, and seriously injuring a relative who was living with him at the time, and for the cost of whose cure he was answerable, Robert petitioned for some compensation, and the Council—following its rule of a vicarious beneficence - allowed him to raise a voluntary collection at the church doors of Aberdeenshire and the two adjacent counties,’

There never, perhaps, was any mystic history better attested than that of ‘the Rerrick Spirit.’ The tenant of the house, many of his neighbours, the minister of the parish, several other clergymen, the proprietor of the ground living half a mile of all give their testimonies to the various things which they ‘saw, heard, and felt.’ The air of actuality is helped even by the local situation and its associations. It is in the same parish with Dundrennan Abbey, where Queen Mary spent her last night in Scotland. It is upon the same rock-bound coast which Scott has described so graphically
in his tale of Guy Mannering, which was indeed founded on facts that occurred in this very parish. Collin, the house of the laird, still exists, though passed into another family. Very probably, the house of Andrew Mackie himself would also be found by any one who had the curiosity to inquire for it; nor would he fail, at the same time, to learn that the whole particulars of this narration continue to be fresh in popular recollection, though four generations have passed away since the event. Few narrations of the kind have included occurrences and appearances which it was more difficult to reconcile with the theory of trick or imposture.

Andrew Mackie, a mason, occupied a small farm, called Ring-croft, on the estate of Collin, in the parish of Rerrick, and stewartry of Kirkcudbright. He is spoken of as a man ‘honest, civil, and harmless beyond many of his neighbours,’ and we learn incidentally that he had a wife and some children. In the course of the month of February 1695, Andrew was surprised to find his young cattle frequently loose in the byre, and their bindings broken. Attributing it to their unruliness, he got stronger bindings; but still they were found loose in the morning. Then he removed the beasts to another place; and when he went to see them next morning, he found one bound up with a hair tether to the roof-beam, so strait, that its feet were lifted off the ground. Just about this time, too, the family were awakened one night with a smell of smoke; and when they got up, they found a quantity of peats lying on the floor, and partially kindled. It seemed evident that some mischievous agent was at work in Ring-croft; but as yet nothing superhuman was in the surmises of the family.

On Wednesday, the 7th of March, a number of stones were thrown in the house—’ in all places of it’—and no one could tell whence they came, or who threw them. This continued during day and night, but mostly during the night, for several days, the stones often hitting the members of the family, but always softly, as if they had. less than half their natural weight. A kind of fear began to take possession of the little household, and the father’s fireside devotions waxed in earnestness. Here, however, a new fact was developed: the stone-throwing was worst when the family was at prayers. On the Saturday evening, the family being for some time without, one or two of the children, on entering, were startled to observe what appeared a stranger sitting at the fireside, with a blanket about him. They were afraid, and hesitated; but the youngest, who was only nine or ten years of age, chid the rest for their timidity, saying: ‘Let us sain [bless] ourselves, and then there is no ground to fear it!' He perceived that the blanket around the figure was his. Having blessed himself; he ran forward, and pulled away the blanket, saying: ‘Be what it will, it hath nothing to do with my blanket.’ It was found to be a four-footed stool set on end, and the blanket cast over it.

Attending church on Sunday, Andrew Mackie took an opportunity, after service, of informing the minister, Mr Telfair, how his house had been disturbed for the last four days. The reverend gentleman consequently visited Ring-croft on Tuesday. He prayed twice, without experiencing any trouble; but soon after, as he stood conversing with some people at the end of the banrn, he saw two stones fall on the croft near by, and presently one came from the house to tell that the pelting within doors had become worse thau ever. He went in, prayed again, and was hit several times by the stones, but without being hurt. After this there was quiet for several days. On Sunday it began again, and worse than before, for now the stones were larger and where they hit, they gave pain. On the ensuing Wednesday, the minister revisited the house, and stayed a great part of the night, during which he was ‘greatly troubled.’ ‘Stones and several other things,’ says he, ‘were thrown at me; I was struck several times on the sides and shoulders very sharply with a great staff, so that those who were present heard the noise of the strokes. That night it threw off the bed-side, and rapped upon the chests and boards as one calling for access. As I was at prayer, leaning on a bed-side, I felt something pressing up my arm. I, casting my eyes thither, perceived a little white hand and arm, from the elbow down, but presently it vanished.’

The neighbours now began to come about the house, to gratify their curiosity or express sympathy; and both when they were within doors, and when they were approaching or departing, they were severely pelted. Mackie himself got a blow from a stone, which wounded his forehead. After several apparent efforts of a visionary being to seize him by the shoulder, he was griped fast by the hair of the head, and ‘he thought something like nails scratched his skin.’ This, however, was little in comparison to what happened with some of the neighbours, for, as attested by ‘Andrew Tait in Torr,’ they were seized and dragged up and down the house by the clothes. ‘It griped one John Keig, miller in Anchencairn, so by the side, that he entreated his neighbours to help: it cried it would rive [tear] the side from him. That night it lifted the clothes off the children, as they were sleeping in bed, and beat them on the hips as if it had been with one’s hand, so that all who were in the house heard it. The door-bar and other things would go thorough the house, as if a person had been carrying them in his hand; yet nothing seen doing it. It also rattled on chests and bed-sides with a staff, and made a great noise.’ ‘At night it cried, "Whisht! whisht!" at every sentence in the close of prayer; and it whistled so distinctly, that the dog barked and ran to the door, as if one bad been calling to hound him.’

At the request of the laird, Charles M’Lellan of Collin, a number of ministers put up public prayers on account of these strange occurrences, and on the 4th of April two came to the house to see what they could do in behalf of the family. They spent the night in fasting and prayer, bnt with no other apparent effect than that of rendering the supposed spirit more ‘cruel.’ One of the reverend gentlemen got a wound in the head from a stone, and the other had his wig pulled off, and received several sore blows, which, however, were healed quickly. A fiery peat was thrown amongst the people, and in the morning when they arose from prayer, ‘the stones poured down on all who were in the house to their hurt.’

Two days after, the affair took a new turn, when Mackie’s wife was induced to lift a stone which she found loose at the threshold of the house, and perceived underneath ‘seven small bones, with blood, and some flesh, all closed in a piece of old soiled paper;’ the blood being fresh and bright. She presently ran to the laird’s house, about a quarter of a mile distant, to fetch him; and while she was gone, the spirit became worse than ever, ‘throwing stones and fire-balls in and about the house; but the fire, as it lighted, did vanish. It thrust a staff through the wall above the children in bed, shook it over them, and groaned.’ The laird came and lifted the bones and flesh, after which the trouble ceased for a little time. Next day, however, being Sunday, it recommenced with throwing of stones and other heavy articles, and set the house twice on fire. In the evening, when the eldest boy was coming home, ‘an extraordinary light fell about him, and went before him to the house, with a swift motion.’

On the ensuing morning, the 8th April, Mackie found in his close a letter written and sealed with blood, superscribed thus: ‘3 years tho shall have to repent a net it well.’ Within he read: ‘Wo be to the Cotlland Repent and tak warning for the door of haven ar all Redy bart against the I am sent for a warning to the to flee to god yet troubit shallt this man be for twenty days a 3 rpent rpent Scotland or els tow shall." [These legends appear to have been intended to read as follows: ‘Three years thou shalt have to repent, and note it well. We be to thee, Scotland! Repent and take warning, for the doors of heaven are already barred against thee. I am sent for a warning to thee, to flee to God. Yet troubled shalt this man be for twenty days and three. Repent, repent, Scotland, or else thou shalt'-]

Following up the old notion regarding the touching of a murdered person in order to discover the murderer, all the surviving persons who had lived in the house during the twenty-eight years of its existence, were convened by appointment of the civil magistrate before Charles M'Lellan of Collin, ‘and did all touch the bones,’ but without any result.

On a committee of five ministers coming two days after to the house, the disturbing agency increased much in violence. According to the parish minister, Telfair, who was present on this occasion, ‘It came often with such force, that it made all the house shake; it brake a hole through the timber and thatch of the roof, and poured in great stones, one whereof, more than a quarter weight, fell upon Mr James Monteath his back, yet he was not hurt.’ When a guard was set upon the hole in the roof, outside, it broke another hole through the gable from the barn, and threw stones in through that channel, ‘It griped and handled the legs of some, as with a man’s hand; it hoised up the feet of others, while standing on the ground; thus it did to William Lennox of Mill-house, myself, and others.’

After this, the disturbances went on with little variation of effect for a week or more. A pedler felt a hand thrust into his pocket. Furniture was dragged about. Seeing a meal-sieve flying about the house, Mackie took hold of it, when the skin was immediately torn out. Several people were wonnded with the stones. Groaning, whistling, and cries of Whisht—Bo, bo and Kuck, kucl! were frequently heard. Men, while praying, were over and over again lifted up from the ground. While Mackie was thrashing in the barn, some straw was set fire to, and staves were thrust at him through the wall. When any person was hit by a stone, a voice was heard saying: ‘Take that till you get more;’ and another was sure to come immediately.

On the 24th of April, there was a fast and humiliation in the parish on account of the demonstrations at Ring-croft; and on that day the violences were more than ever extreme, insomuch that the family feared they should be killed by the stones. ‘On the 26th, it threw stones in the evening, and knocked on a chest several times, as one to have access, and began to speak, and call those who were sitting in the house witches and rooks, and said it would take them to hell. The people then in the house said among themselves: "If it had any to speak to it, now it would speak." In the meantime, Andrew Mackie was sleeping. They wakened him, and then he, hearing it say: "Thou shalt be troubled till Tuesday," asked, "Who gave thee a commission?" It answered: "God gave me a commission, and I am sent to warn the land to repent, for a judgment is to come, if the land do not quickly repent;" and commanded him to reveal it upon his peril. And if the land did not repent, it said it would go to its father, and get a commission to return with a hundred worse than itself, and it would trouble every particular family in the land. Andres, Maekie said: "If I should tell this, I would not be believed" Then it said: "Fetch [your] betters; fetch the minister of the parish, and two honest men on Tuesday’s night, and I shall declare before them what I have to say." Then it said: "Praise me, and I will whistle to you; worship me, and I will trouble you no more." Then Andrew Mackie said; "The Lord, who delivered the three children out of the fiery furnace, deliver me and mine this night from the temptations of Satan’ It replied: "You might as well have said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego." On a humble person present here putting in a word, the voice told him he was ill-bred to interfere in other people’s discouyse. ‘It likewise said: "Remove your goods, for I will burn the house."

The house was actually set on fire seven times next day, and the care of the inmates preventing damage of this kind from extending, the end of the house was pulled down in the evening, so that the family was forced to spend the night in the barn. On the second next day, the house being again set fire to several times, Mackie carefully extinguished all fires about the place, and poured water upon his hearth; yet after this, when there was no fire within a quarter of a mile, the conflagrations, as was alleged, were renewed several times.

The period announced in the bloody letter of the 8th instant was now approaching, and in a conversation with Mackie, the supposed spirit good-naturedly informed him that, except some casting of stones on Tuesday to fulfil the promise,’ he should have no more trouble. Tuesday, being the 30th of April, was the twentythird day from the finding of the letter. That night, Charles M’Lellan of Collin and several neighbours were in the barn. As he was at prayer, he ‘observed a black thing in the corner of the barn, and it did increase, as if it would fill the whole house. He could not discern it to have any form, but as if it had been a black cloud; it was aft’righting to them all. Then it threw bear-chaff and mud in their faces, and afterwards did grip severals who were in the house by the middle of the body, by the arms, and other parts of their bodies, so strait, that some said for five days thereafter they thought they felt those grips.’ Such, excepting the firing of a sheep-cot next day, was the last that was seen, heard, or felt of the Rerrick Spirit.

So great was the impression made by these incidents, that early in the ensuing year Mr Telfair published an account of them in a small pamphlet, which went through a second edition in Scotland, and was reprinted, with alterations of language, in London. [‘On the 7th of January 1696, the Privy Council gave licence to George Mossman, Stationer in Edinburgh, to ‘print and sell a book entitled A True Relation of an Apparition, Expressions, and Acatings of a Spirit which infested the House of Andrew Mackie, in Ring-croft of Stocking, in the Parish of Rerrick, &c,' with exclusive right of doing so for a year. ] At the end appeared the attestations of those who ‘saw, heard, and felt’ the various things stated—namely, ‘Mr Andrew Ewart, minister at Kells; Mr James Montcath, minister at Borgue; Mr John Murdo, minister at Crossmichael; Mr Samuel Stirling, minister at Parton; Mr William Falconer, minister at Kelton; Charles M’Lellan of Collin, William Lennox of Millhouse, Andrew and John Tait in Torr, John Cairns in Hardhills, William Macminn, John Corsby, Thomas Macminn, Andrew Paline, &c.’ It may be remarked, that for each particular statement in the Relation, the names of the special witnesses are given; and their collected names are appended, as to a solemn document in which soul and conscience were concerned.

Mar 19
The degree of respect felt by the authorities of this age for the rights of the individual, is shewn very strikingly in a custom which was now and for a considerable time after largely practised, of compromising with degraded and imputedly criminal persons for banishment to the American plantations. For example, at this date, thirty-two women of evil fame, residing in Edinburgh, were brought before the magistrates as a moral nuisance. We do not know what could have been done to them beyond whipping and hard labour; yet they were fain to agree that, instead of any other punishment, they should be banished to America, and arrangements for that purpose were immediately made.

In the ensuing June, a poor woman of the same sort, named Janet Cook, residing in Leith, was denounced for offences in which a father and son were associated—a turpitude which excited a religious horror, and caused her to be regarded as a criminal of the highest class. The Lord Advocate reported of Janet to the Privy Council, that she had been put under the consideration of the Lords of Justiciary, as a person against whom 'probation could not be found,’ but that the Lords were nevertheless ‘of opinion she might be banished the kingdom,’ and she herself had consented to her banishment.’ The Lords of the Privy Council seem to have had no more difficulty about the case than those of the Court of Justiciary had had; they ordered that Janet should depart furth of the kingdom and not return, ‘under the highest pains and penalties.’

In January 1696, a woman named Elizabeth Waterstone, imprisoned on a charge identical in all respects with the above, was, in like manner, without trial, banished, with her own consent, to the plantations.

On the 7th of February 1697, four boys who were notorious thieves, and eight women who were that and worse, were called before the magistrates of Edinburgh, and ‘interrogat whether or not they would consent freely to their own banishment furth of this kingdom, and go to his majesty’s plantations in America.’ ‘They one and all freely and unanimously consented so to do,’ and arrangements were made by the Privy Council for their deportation accordingly. It was only ordained regarding the boys that Lord Teviot might engage them as recruits for Flanders, in which case he was immediately to commence maintaining them.

On the 15th February 1698, Robert Alexander, ‘a notorious horse-stealer,’ now in prison, was willing to appease justice by consenting to banishment without trial. He likewise made discoveries enabling several countrymen to recover their horses. The Privy Council therefore ordained him to be transported by the first ship to the plantations of America, not to return thence under pain of death.

William Baillie, ‘ane Egyptian,’ prisoner in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, but regarding whom we hear of no specific offence and no trial, was summarily ordered (Sep. 12, 1699) to be transported in the first ship going to the plantations, the skipper to be allowed a proper gratuity from the treasury, and at the same time to give caution for five hundred merks that he would produce a certificate of the man being landed in America.

It was long before justice in Scotland took any qualm about this free-and-easy way of dealing with accused persons. So late as 1732, two men of humble rank—Henderson, a sedan-carrier, and Hamilton, a street-cadie—suspected of being accessory to the murder of an exciseman, having petitioned for banishment before trial, were sent from the jail in Edinburgh to Glasgow, there to wait a vessel for the plantations.

The Earl of Home, as a dangerous person, had for some time been confined to his house of the Hirsel, near Coldstream; but now he was required to enter himself prisoner in Edinburgh Castle. He represented himself as under such indisposition of body as to make this unendurable, and the Council therefore ordered Dr Sir Thomas Burnet, the king’s physician, to take a chirurgeon with him to the Hirsel, and inquire into the state of his lordship’s health. The doctor and surgeon reported in such terms that the earl was allowed to remain at the Hirsel, but not without caution to the extent of two thousand pounds sterling. For their pains in travelling fifty miles and back, and giving this report., the Council allowed Dr Burnet two hundred merks (£11, 2s. 2d.), and Gideon Elliot, chirurgeon, one hundred merks.’

May 20
A hership of cattle having taken place on the lands of Lord Rollo, in Perthshirc, the Master of Rollo was pleased to prosecute the matter a little more energetically than was convenient to some of his neighbours. He seems to have particularly excited the resentment of James Edmonstonn of Newton, one of whose tenants was found in possession of a cow reclaimed as part of the hership. Newton, being soon after at the house of Clavidge, spoke some despiteful words regarding the Master, which were afterwards taken notice of. At the same house, about the sanie time, Patrick Graham, younger of Inchbrakie, spoke in the like angry terms of the Master. ‘It has been noised in the country,’ said he, ‘that I have courted the Master of Rollo, and fawned upon him; but when occasion serves, something different will be seen.’

These two hot-headed men spent a couple of days together at Ryecroft, a house of young Inchbrakie, and probably there inflamed their common resentment by talking over their grievances. On the day noted in the margin, hearing that the Master of Rollo was to go in the afternoon to Invermay House, they rode to his house of Duncrub, and from that place accompanied him to Invermay, together with the Laird of Clavidge and a gentleman named M’Naughton. Inchbrakie was remarked to have no sword, while his companion Newton was provided with one. Supping at the hospitable board of Invermay, these two conducted themselves much in the manner of men seeking a quarrel. Inchbrakie said to the Master: ‘Master, although John Stewart killed and salted two of your kine, you surely will not pursue him, since your father and his Miss ate them!’ Hereupon Clavidge remarked that this was not table-talk; to which Newton made answer: ‘I think you are owning that.’ Then lnchbrakie and Newton were observed to whisper together, and the latter was heard saying: 'will not baulk you, Inchie,’ Afterwards, they went out together, and by and by returned to table. What was the subject of their conversation during absence, might only too easily be inferred from what followed.

At ten o’clock the party broke up, and the strangers mounted their horses, to ride to their respective homes. The Laird of Invermay, having observed some mischief brewing in the mind of Newton, endeavonred to make him stay for the night, but without success. The Master, Clavidge, and M’Nanghton rode on, with lnchbrakie a little in front of them. When Newton came up, Inchbrakie and he turned a little aside, and Newton was then observed to loose his belt and give his sword to lnchbrakie. Then riding on to the rest of the party, he contrived to lead Clavidge and M’Naughton a little ahead, and commenced speaking noisily about some trivial matter. Hearing, however, the clashing of two swords behind them, Clavidge aud M’Naughton turned back, along with Newton, and there saw the Master of Rollo fallen on his knees, while Inchbrakie stood over him. The latter called out to Newton, ‘He has got it.’ Clavidge rushed to sustain the sinking man, while Incbbrakie and Newton went apart and interchanged a few hurried sentences. Presently Newton came up again, when Clavidge, perceiving that the Master was wounded to the death, cried out: ‘O God, such a horrid murder was never seen ' To this Newton, standing coolly by, said: ‘I think not so —I think it has been fair.’ The poor Master seems to have died immediately, and then Newton went again aside with Inchbrakie, gave him his own hat, and assisted him to escape. In the morning, when the two swords were found upon the ground, the bloody one proved to be Newton’s.

Inchbrakie fled that night to the house of one John Buchanan, whom he told that he had killed the Master of Rollo, adding; with tokens of remorse: ‘Wo worth Newton—Wo worth the company!’ and stating farther that Newton had egged him on, and given him a weapon, when he would rather have declined fighting.

lnchbrakie escaped abroad, and was outlawed, but, procuring a remission, returned to his country in 1720. James Edmonstoun of Newton was tried (Aug. 5, 1695) for accession to the murder of John Master of Rollo, and condemned to banishment for life. It is stated that, nevertheless, he carried the royal standard of James VIII. at the battle of Sheriffmuir, and even after that event, lived many years on his own estatc in Strathearn.’

The Estates at this date advert to the fact that sundry lands lying along the sea-coast had been ruined, in consequence of their being overwhelmed with sand driven from adjacent sand-hills, ‘the which has been mainly occasioned by the pulling up by the roots of bent, juniper, and broom bushes, which did loose and break the surface and scroof of the sand-hills.’ In particular, ‘the barony of Cowbin and house and yards thereof, lying in the sheriffdom of Elgin, is quite ruined and overspread with sand,’ brought upon it by the aforesaid cause. Penalties were accordingly decreed for such as should hereafter pull up bent or juniper bushes on the coast sand-hills.

A remarkable geological phenomenon, resulting in the ruin of a family of Morayland gentry, is here in question. We learn from an act of parliament, passed two months later, that, within the preceding twenty years, two-thirds of the estate of Culbin had been overwhelmed with blown sand, so that no trace of the manor-house, yards, orchards, or mains thereof, was now to be seen, though formerly ‘as considerable as many in the country of Moray.’ Alexander Kinnaird of Culbin now represented to the parliament, that full cess was still charged for his lands, being nearly as much as the remainder of them produced to him in rent; and he petitioned that his unfortunate estate might, in consideration of his extraordinary misfortune, be altogether exempted from cess. Three years after this date, we hear of the remaining fourth part of Culbin as sold for the benefit of the creditors of the proprietor, and himself suing to parliament for a personal protection. In time, the entire ruin of the good old barony was completed. Hugh Miller says: ‘I have wandered for hours amid the sand-wastes of this ruined barony, and seen only a few stunted bushes of broom, and a few scattered tufts of withered bent, occupying, amid utter barrenness, the place of what, in the middle of the seventeenth century, had been the richest fields of the rich province of Moray; and, where the winds had hollowed out the sand, I have detected, uncovered for a few yards-breadth, portions of the buried furrows, sorely dried into the consistence of sun-burned brick, but largely charged with the seeds of the common cornfield weeds of the country, that, as ascertained by experiment by the late Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, still retain their vitality. It is said that an antique dove-cot, in front of the huge sand-wreath which enveloped the manor-house, continued to present the top of its peaked roof over the sand, as a foundered vessel sometimes exhibits its vane over the waves, until the year 1760. The traditions of the district testify that, for many years after the orchard had been enveloped, the topmost branches of the fruittrees,barely seen over the surface, continued each spring languidly to throw out bud and blossom; and it is a curious circumstance, that in the neighbouring churchyard of Dike there is a sepulchral monument of the Culbin family, which, though it does not date beyond the reign of James VI, was erected by a lord and lady of the lost barony, at a time when they seem to have had no suspicion of the utter ruin which was coming on their house. The quaint inscription runs as follows:






I refer to these facts, though they belong certainly to no very remote age in the past history of our country, chiefly to shew that in what may be termed the geological formations of the human period, very curious fossils may be already deposited, awaiting the researches of the future. As we now find, in raising blocks of stone from the quarry, water-rippled surfaces lying beneath, fretted by the tracks of ancient birds nnd reptiles, there is a time coming when, under thick beds of stone, there may be detected fields and orchards, cottages, manor-houses, and churches—the memorials of nations that have perished, and of a condition of things and a stage of society that have for ever passed away.’

June 4
The same advantages of situation which are now thought to adapt Peterhead for a harbour of refuge for storm-beset vessels—placed centrally and prominently on the east coast of Scotland— rendered it very serviceable in affording shelter to vessels pursued by those French privateers which, during the present war, were continually scouring the German Ocean. Very lately, four English vessels returning from Virginia and other foreign plantations with rich commodities, would have inevitably been taken if they had not got into Peterhead harbour, and been protected there by the fortifications and the ‘resoluteness’ of the inhabitants. The spirit manifested in keeping up the defences, and maintaining a constant guard and watch at tire harbour, had incensed the privateers not a little; and one Dunkirker of thirty- four guns took occasion last summer to fire twenty-two great balls at the town, nor did he depart without vowing (as afterwards reported by a Scottish prisoner on board) to return and do his endeavour to set it in a flame. The people, feeling their danger, and exhausted with expensive furnishings and watchings, now petitioned the Privy Council for a little military protection—which was readily granted.’

As political troubles subsided in Scotland, the spirit of mercantile enterprise rose and gained strength. The native feelings of this kind were of course stimulated by the spectacle of success presented in England by the East India Company, and the active trade carried on with the colonies. These sources of profit were monopolies; but Scotland inquired, since she was an independent state, what was to hinder her to have similar sources of profit established by her own legislature. Tire dawnings of this spirit are seen in an act passed in the Scottish parliament in 1693, wherein it is declared, ‘That merchants may enter into societies and companies for carrying on trade as to any sort of goods to whatsoever countries not being at war with their majesties, where trade is in use to be, and particularly, besides the kingdoms of Europe, to the East and West Indies, to the Straits and Mediterranean, or upon the coast of Africa, or elsewhere,’ and promising to such companies letters-patent for privileges and other encouragements, as well as protection in case of their being attacked or injured. Amongst a few persons favouring this spirit, was one of notable character and history—WILLIAM PATERSON-a native of Scotland, but now practising merchandise in London—a most active genius, well acquainted with distant countries, not visionary, animated, on the contrary, by sound commercial principles, yet living, unfortunately for himself, before the time when there was either intelligence or means for the successful carrying out of great mercautile adventures. Paterson, in the early part of this year, had gained for himself a historical fame by projecting and helping to establish the Bank of England. For his native country he at the same time projected what he hoped would prove a second East India Company.

At the date noted, an act passed the Scottish parliament, forming certain persons named into an incorporation, under the name of The company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, who should be enabled to ‘plant colonies, and build cities and forts, in any countries in Asia, Africa, or America, not possest by any European sovereign,’ ‘by consent of the natives and inhabitants thereof;’ and to take all proper measures for their own protection and the advancement of their special objects, only acknowledging the supremacy of the king by the annual payment of a hogshead of tobacco. It was scrupulously arranged, however, that at least one half of the stock of this Company should be subscribed for by Scotsmen residing either at home or abroad.

Although the war pressed sorely on the resources of England, Paterson calculated securely that there was enough of spare capital and enterprise in London to cause the new Scottish trading scheme to be taken up readily there. When the books for subscription were opened in October, thc whole £300,000 offered to the English merchants was at once appropriated. By this time, the fears of the East India Company and of the English mercantile class generally had been roused; it was believed that the Scottish adventurers would compete with them destructively in every place where they now enjoyed a lucrative trade. The parliament took up the cry, and voted that the noblemen and gentlemen named in the Scottish act were guilty of a high crime and misdemeanour. Irritated rather than terrified by this denunciation, these gentlemen calmly proceeded with their business in Scotland. The subscription books being opened on the 26th of February 1696, the taking up of the stock became something like a national movement. It scarcely appeared that the country was a poor one. Noblemen, country gentlemen, merchants, professional men, corporations of every kind, flocked to put down their names for various sums according to their ability, till not merely the £300,000 devoted to Scotsmen was engaged for, but some additional capital besides. In a list before me, with the sums added up, I find the total is £336,390 sterling; but, of course, the advance of this large sum was contemplated as to be spread over a considerable space of time, the first instalment of 25 per cent. being alone payable within 1696.

Meanwhile the furious denunciations of the English parliament proved a thorough discouragement to the project in London, and nearly the whole of the stockholders there silently withdrew from it; under the same influence, the merchants of Hamburg were induced to withdraw their support and co-operation, leaving Scotland to work out her own plans by herself.

She proceeded to do so with a courage much to be admired. A handsome house for the conducting of the Company’s business was erected; schemes for trade with Greenland, with Archangel, with the Gold Coast, were cousidered; the qualities of goods, possible improvements of machinery, the extent of the production of foreign wares, were all the subject of careful inquiry. Under the glow of a new national object, old grudges and antipathies were forgotten. William Paterson, indeed, had set the pattern of a non-sectarian feeling from the beginning, for, writing from London to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh in July 1695, we find him using this strain of language, hitherto unwonted in Scotland: ‘Above all, it is needful for us to make no distinction of parties in this great undertaking; but of whatever nation or religion a man be, he ought to be looked upon, if one of us, to be of the same interest and inclination. We must not act apart in anything, but in a firm and united body, and distiuct from all other interests whatsoever.’

The design of Paterson presents such indications of a great, an original, and a liberal mind, as to make the obscurity which rests on his history much to be regretted. The narrow, grasping, and monopolising spirit which had hitherto marked the commerce of most nations, and particularly the English and Spanish, was repudiated by this remarkable Scotsman; he proposed, on some suitable situation in Central America, to open a trade to all the world; he called on his countrymen not to try to enrich themselves by making or keeping other nations poor, but by taking the lead in a more generous system which should contemplate the good of all. He himself embarked the few thousand pounds which he possessed in the undertaking, and his whole conduct throughout its history exhibits him not merely as a man of sound judgment and reflection, but one superior to all sordid considerations.

For the further progress of the Company, the reader must be referred onward to July 1698, when the first expedition sailed from Leith.

Further to improve the system of correspondence throughout the kingdom, the parliament passed an act for establishing a General Post-office in Edinburgh, muler a postmaster-general, who was to have the exclusive privilege of receiving and despatching letters, it being only allowed that carriers should undertake that business on lines where there was no regular post, and until such should be established. The rates were fixed at 2s. Scots for a single letter within fifty Scottish miles, and for greater distances in proportion. It was also ordained that there should be a weekly post to Ireland, by means of a packet at Portpatrick, the expense of which was to be charged on the Scottish office. By the same law, the postmaster-general and his deputies were to have posts, and furnish post-horses along all the chief roads ‘to all persons,’ ‘at 3s. Scots for ilk horse-hire for postage for every Scots mile,’ including the use of furniture and a guide. It would appear that, on this footing, the Post-office in Scotland was not a gainful concern, for in 1698 Sir Robert Sinclair of Stevenston had a grant of the entire revenue, with a pension of £800 sterling per annum, under the obligation to keep up the posts, and after a little while gave up the charge, as finding it disadvantageous.

It is to be observed that this post-system for Scotland was provided with but one centre—namely, the capital. Letters coming from London for Glasgow arrived in Edinburgh in the first place, and were thence despatched westwards at such times as might be convenient. At one time, the letters were detained twelve hours in Edinburgh before being despatched to Glasgow! It seems at present scarcely credible that, until the establishment of Palmers mail-coaches in 1788, the letters from London to Glasgow passed by this circuitous route, and not by a direct one, although the western city had by that time a population of fifty thousand, and was the seat of great commercial and manufacturing industry.

Glasgow—which in 1556 stood eleventh in the roll of the Scottish burghs, contributing but £202, while Edinburgh afforded £2650—appears, in the list now made up for a monthly cess to defray the expenses of the war, as second, Edinburgh giving £3880; Glasgow, £1800; Aberdeen, £726; Dundee, £560; Perth, £360; Kirkcaldy, £288, &c. ‘To account for this comparative superiority of the wealth of Glasgow at this time, I must take notice that since before the Restoration the inhabitants had been in possession of the sale of both refined and. raw sugars for the greater part of Scotland; they had a privilege of distilling spirits from their molasses, free from all duty and excise; the herring-fishery was also carried on to what was, at that time, thought a considerable extent; they were the only people in Scotland who made soap; and they sent annually some hides, linen, &c., to Bristol, from whence they brought back, in return, a little tobacco—which they manufactured into snuff and otherwise—sugars, and goods of the manufacture of England, with which they supplied a considerable part of the whole kingdom.’—Gibson’s History of Glasgow, 1777.

It is probable that the population did not then exceed twelve thousand; yet the seeds of that wonderful system of industry, which now makes Glasgow so interesting a study to every liberal onlooker, were already sown, and, even before the extension of English mercantile privileges to Scotland at the Union, there was a face of business about the place—a preparation of power and aptitude for what was in time to come. This cannot be better illustrated than by a few entries in the Privy Council Record regarding the fresh industrial enterprises which were from time to time arising in the west.

December 21, 1699.—A copartnery, consisting of William Cochran of Ochiltree, John Alexander of Blackhouse, and Mr William Dunlop, Principal of the University of Glasgow, with Andrew Cathcart, James Colquhoun, Matthew Aitchison, Lawrence Dunwoodies, William Baxter, Robert Alexander, and Mungo Cochran, merchants of Glasgow, was prepared to set up a woollen manufactory there, designing to make ‘woollen stuffs of all sorts, such as damasks, half-silks, draughts, friezes, drogats, tartains, craips, capitations, russets, and all other stuffs for men and women’s apparel, either for summer or winter' Using the native wool, they expected to furnish goods equal to any imported, and ‘at as easie a rate;’ for which end they are ‘providing the ablest workmen, airtiests, from our neighbouring nations.’ They anticipated that by such means ‘a vast soum of ready money will be kept within the kingdom, which these years past has been exported, it being weel known that above ten thousand pound sterling in specie hath been exported from the southern and western parts of this kingdom to Ireland yearly for such stuffs, and yearly entered in the custom-house books, besides what has been stolen iu without entering.’

In the same year, John Adam, John Bryson, John Alexander, and Harry Smith, English traders, had brought home to Glasgow ‘English workmen skilled to work all hardware, such as pins, needles, scissors, scythes, tobacco-boxes, and English knives, for which a great quantity of money was yearly exported out of the kingdom.’ They designed so far to save this sending out of money by setting up a hardware-mannfactory iu Glasgow. On their petition, the Privy Council extended to their designed work the privileges and immunities provided by statute for manufactories set up in Scotland.

In the ensuing year, William Marshall, William Gray, John Kirkmyre, and William Donaldson, merchants in Glasgow, projected the setting up of a work there for making of ‘pins and needles,’ boxes, shears, syshes, knives, and other hardware,’ whereby they expected to keep much money within the country, and give employment to ‘many poor and young boys, who are and have been in these hard and dear times a burden to the kingdom.’ To them likewise, on petition, were extended the privileges of a manufactory.

February, 1701.—Matthew and Daniel Campbell, merchants in Glasgow, designed to set up an additional sugar-work, and, in connection with it, a work ‘for distilling brandy and other spirits from all manner of grain of the growth of this kingdom.’ With this view, they had ‘conduced and engaged several foreigners and other persons eminently skilled in making of sugar and distilling of brandy, &c., whom, with great travel, charges, and expense, they had prevailed with to come to Glasgow.’ All this was in order that ‘the nation may be the more plentifully and easily provided with the said commodities, as good as any that have been in use to be imported from abroad,’ and because ‘the distillery will both be profitable for consumption of the product of the kingdom, and for trade for the coast of Guinea and America, seeing that no trade can be managed to the places foresaid, or the East Indies, without great quantities of the foresaid liquors.’

On their petition, the privileges of a manufactory were granted to them.

In the progress of manufacturing enterprise in the west, an additional soap-work connected with a glass-work came to be thought of (February 1701). James Montgomery, younger, merchant in Glasgow, took into consideration ‘how that city and all the country in its neighbourhood, and further west, is furnished with glass bottles.’ The products of the works at Leith and Munson’s Haven ‘cannot be transported but with a vast charge and great hazard.’ He found, moreover, ‘ferns, a most useful material for that work, to be very plenty in that country.’ There was also, in the West Highlands, great abundance of wood-ashes, ‘which serve for little or no other use, and may be manufactured first into good white soap, which is nowhere made in the kingdom to perfection; and the remains of these wood-ashes, after the soap is made, is a most excellent material for making glass.’ He had, therefore, ‘since March last, been with great application and vast charge seeking out the best workmen in England,’ and making all other needful preparations for setting up such a work.

On his petition, the Council endowed his work with the privileges of a manufactory, ‘so as the petitioner and his partners may make soap and glass of all kinds not secluded by the Laird of Prestongrange and his act of parliament.

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