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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of Queen Anne: 1702 - 1714 Part 1

THE death of King William without children (March 8, 1702), opened the succession to the Princess Anne, second daughter of the late King James. Following up the policy of her predecessor, she had not been more than two months upon the throne, when, in conjunction with Germany and Holland, she proclaimed war against the king of France, whose usurpation of the succession to Spain for a member of his family, had renewed a general feeling of hostility against him. This war, distinguished by the victories of the Duke of Marlborough, lasted till the peace of Utrecht in 1713. The queen had been many years married to Prince George of Denmark, and had had several children; but all were now dead.

King William left the people of Scotland in a state of violent discontent, on account chiefly of. the usage they had received in the affair of Darien. Ever since the Revolution, there had been a large party, mainly composed of the upper classes, in favour of the exiled dynasty. It was largely reinforced, and its views were generally much promoted, by the odium into which the government of William III. had fallen, and by the feelings of jealousy and wrath which had been kindled, against the whole English nation. This was not a natural state of things for Scotland, for the bulk of the people, Presbyterian at heart, could have no confidence in a restored sovereign of the House of Stuart; but anger had temporarily overcome many of the more permanent feelings of the people, and it was hard to say what course they might take in the dynastic difficulties which were impending.

In 1700, the English parliament, viewing the want of children to both William and the Princess Anne, had settled the crown of England upon the Electress Sophia of Hanover, daughter of the Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King James I, she being the nearest Protestant heir; thus excluding not only the progeny of James II., but that of several elder children of the Princess Elizabeth, all of whom were of the Roman Catholic religion. It was highly desirable that the Scottish Estates should be induced to settle the crown of Scotland on the same person, in order. that peace might be preserved between the two kingdoms; but the discontents of the Scotch stood in the way. Not that there existed in Scotland any insuperable desire for another person, or any special objection to Sophia; the great majority would probably have voted, in ordinary circumstances, for this very course. But Scotland had been wronged and insulted ; it was necessary to show the English that this could not be done with safety to themselves. She had a claim to equality of trading privileges: it was right that she should use all fair means to get this established. Accordingly, in 1703, the Scottish parliament passed two acts calculated to excite no small alarm in the south: one of them, styled the Act of Security, ordaining that the successor of Queen Anne should not be the same person with the individual adopted by the English parliament, unless there should be a free communication of trade between the two countries, and the affairs of Scotland thoroughly secured from English influence; the other, providing that, as a means of enforcing the first, the nation should be put under arms. The queen, after some hesitation, was obliged to ratify the Act of Security. In the debates on these measures, the Scottish parliament exhibited a degree of eloquence which was wholly a novelty, and the memory of which long survived. It was a remarkable crisis, in which a little nation, merely by the moral power which animated it, contrived to inspire fear and respect in one much its superior in numbers and every other material element of strength.

The general sense of danger thus created in England proved sufficient to overcome that mercantile selfishness which had inflicted so much injustice upon Scotland. It came to be seen, that the only way to secure a harmony with the northen kingdom in some matters essential to peace, was to admit it to an incorporating union, in which there should be a provision: for an equality of mercantile privileges. To effect this arrangement, accordingly, became the policy of the English Whig ministry of Queen Anne. On the other hand, the proposition did not meet a favourable reception in Scotland, where the ancient national independence was a matter of national pride; nevertheless, there also a parliamentary sanction was obtained for the preliminary steps.

In May 1706, the Commissioners, thirty from each nation, met at Westminster, to deliberate on the terms of the proposed treaty. It was soon agreed upon that the leading features of the act should be—a union of the two countries under one sovereign, who, failing heirs of the queen, should be the Electress of Hanover or her heir; but each country to retain her own church establishment and her own laws—Scotland to send sixteen representative peers and forty-five commoners to the British parliament—Scottish merchants to trade freely with England and her colonies—the taxes to be equalised, except that from land, which was to be arranged in such a way that when England contributed two millions, Scotland should give only a fortieth part of the sum, or forty-eight thousand pounds; and as the English taxes were rendered burdensome by a debt of sixteen millions, Scotland was to be compensated for its share of that burden by receiving, as an Equivalent,’ about four hundred thousand pounds of ready money from England, which was to be applied to the renovation of the coin, the discharge of the public debts, and a restitution of the money lost by the African Company.

When these articles were laid before the Scottish Estates in October, they produced a burst of indignant feeling that seemed to overspread the whole country. The Jacobite party, who saw in the union only the establishment of an alien dynasty, were furious. The clergy felt some alarm at the prelatic clement in the British parliament. The mass of the people grieved over the prospect of a termination to the native parliament, and other tokens of an ancient independence. Nevertheless, partly that there were many men in the Estates who had juster views of the the interests of their country, and partly that others were open to various influences brought to bear upon their votes, the act of union was passed in February 1707, as to take effect from the ensuing 1st of May. The opposition was conducted principally by the Duke of Hamilton, a Jacobite, and, but for his infirmity of purpose, it might have been more formidable. The Duke of Queensberry, who acted on this occasion as the queen’s commissioner to parliament, was rewarded for his services with an English dukedom. The Privy Council, the record of whose proceedings has been of so much importance to this work, now came to an end; but a Secretary of State for Scotland continued for the next two reigns to be part of the apparatus of the central government in the English metropolis.

Of the discontent engendered on this occasion, the friends of the exiled Stuarts endeavoured to take advantage in the spring of 1708, by bringing a French expedition to the Scottish coasts, having on board five thousand men, and the son of James II., now a youth of twenty years of age. It reached the mouth of the Firth of Forth, and many of the Jacobite gentry were prepared to join the young prince on landing. But the Chevalier de St George, as he was called, took ill of small-pox; the British fleet under Admiral Byng came in sight; and it was deemed best to return to France, and wait for another opportunity.

The Tory ministry of the last four years of Queen Anne affected Scotland by the passing of an act of Toleration for the relief of the persecuted remnant of Episcopalians, and another act by which the rights of patrons in the nomination of clergy to charges in the Established Church were revived. The Whigs of the Revolution felt both of these nieasures to be discouraging. During this period, in Scotland, as in England, the Cavalier spirit was in the ascendency, and the earnest Whigs trembled lest, by complicity of the queen or her ministers, the Pretender should be introduced, to the exclusion of the Protestant heir. But the sudden death of Anne on the 1st of August 1714, neutralised all such schemes, and the son of the then deceased Electress Sophia succeeded to the British throne, under the name of George I., with as much apparent quietness as if he had been a resident Prince of Wales.

1702, July
On the principle that minute matters, which denote a progress in improvement, or even a tendency to it, are worthy of notice, it may be allowable to remark at this time an advertisement of Mr George Robertson, apothecary at Perth, that he had lately set up there ‘a double Hummum, or Bath Stove, the one for men, and the other for women, approven of by physicians to be of great use for the cure of several diseases' A hummum is in reality a Turkish or hot-air bath. We find that, within twenty years after this time, the chirurgeons in Edinburgh bad a bagnio, or hot bath, and the physicians a cold bath, for medical purposes.

The Edinburgh Gazette which advertises the Perth hummum, also announces the presence, in a lodging at the foot of the West Bow of Edinburgh, of Duncan Campbell of Ashfield, chirurgeon to the city of Glasgow, who had ‘cutted nine score persons [for stone] witbout the death of any except five.' [Mr Campbell had, in 1709, an action at law against Mungo Campbell of Netherplace, for recovery of fIfty pounds which he charged for attendance upon him, and performance of the operation of lithotomy. It was represented on the other side that he had done his work with an unskilfulness which resulted in some most distressiag injuries to his patient, and the Lords held that the seventeen guineas already paid was guerdon sufficient. - Fountainhall’s Decisions, ii. 510.] There was also a mysterious person, styled ‘a gentleman in town,’ and ‘to be got notice of at the Caledonian Coffee-house,’ who had ‘had a secret imparted to him by his father, an eminent physician in this kingdom, which, by the blessing of God, certainly and safely cures the phrenzie’—also ‘convulsion-fits, vapours, and megrims—in a few weeks, at reasonable rates, and takes no reward till the cure is perfected.’

In the same sheet, ‘G. Young, against the Court of Guard, Edinburgh,’ bespoke favour for ‘a most precious eye-water, which infallibly cures all distempers in the eyes, whether pearl, web, catracht, blood-shot dimness, &c., and in less than six times dressing has cured some who have been blind seven years.’

The custom of vending quack medicines from a public stage on the street—of which we have seen several notable examples in the course of the seventeenth century—continued at this time, and for many years after, to be kept up. Edinburgh was occasionally favoured with a visit from a famous practitioner of this kind, named Anthony Parsons, who, in announcing his arrival in 1710, stated the quality of his medicines, and that he had been in the habit of vending them on stages for thirty years. In October 1711, he advertised in the Scots Postman—’ It being reported that Anthony Parsons is gone from Edinburgh to mount public stages in the country, this is to give notice that he hath left off keeping stages, and still lives in the Hammermen’s Land, at the Magdalen Chapel, near the head of the Cowgate, where may be had the ORVIETAN, a famous antidote against infections distempers, and helps barrenness, &c.’ Four years later, Parsons announced his design of bidding adieu to Edinburgh, and, in that prospect, offered his medicines at reduced rates; likewise, by auction, ‘a fine cabinet organ.

In April 1724, one Campbell, commonly called (probably from his ragged appearance) Doctor Duds, was in great notoriety in Edinburgh as a quack mediciner. He does not seem to have been in great favour with the populace, for, being seen by them on the street, he was so vexatiously assaulted, as to be obliged to make his escape in a coach. At this time, a mountebank doctor erected a stage at the foot of the Canongate, in order to compete with Doctor Duds for a share of business; but a boy being killed by a fall from the fabric the day of its erection, threw a damp on his efforts at wit, and the affair appears to have proved a failure.

The author just quoted had a recollection of one of the last of this fraternity—an Englishman, named Green—who boasted he was the third generation of a family which had been devoted to the profession. ‘A stage was erected in the most public part of a town, and occupied by the master, with one or two tumblers or rope-dancers, who attracted the multitude. Valuable medicines were promised and distributed by a kind of lottery. Each spectator, willing to obtain a prize, threw a handkerchief, enclosing one or two shillings, on the stage. The handkerchief was returned with a certain quantity of medicines. But along with them, a silver cup was put into one to gratify some successful adventurer.’

‘Doctor Green, younger of Doncaster ‘—probably the second of the three generations—had occasion, in December 1725, to advertise the Scottish community regarding his ‘menial servant and tumbler,’ Henry Lewis, who, he said, had deserted his service with a week’s prepaid wages in his pocket, and, as the doctor understood, ‘has resorted to Fife, or some of the north-country burghs, with design to get himself furnished with a play-fool, and to set himself up for a doctor experienced in the practice of physic and chirurgery.’ Doctor Green deemed himself obliged to warn Fife and the said burghs, whither he himself designed to resort in spring, against ‘the said impostor, and to dismiss him as such.’

We have this personage brought before us in an amusing light, in May 1731, in connection with the King’s College, Aberdeen. He had applied to this learned sodality for a diploma as doctor of medicine, ‘upon assurances given under his hand, that he would practise medicine in a regular way, and give over his stage.' They had granted him the diploma accordingly. Finding, afterwards, that he still continued to use his stage, ‘the college, to vindicate their conduct in the affair, and at the same time, in justice to the public, to expose Mr Green his disthgenuity, recorded in the Register of Probative Writs his letter containing these assurances.’ They also certified ‘that, if Mr Green give not over his stage, they will proceed to further resentment against him.’

Down to this time there was still an entire faith among the common sort of people in the medical properties of natural crystals, perforated stones, ancient jet ornaments, flint arrow-heads, glass beads, and other articles. The custom was to dip the article into water, and administer the water to the patient. The Stewarts of Ardvorlich still possess a crystal which was once in great esteem throughout Lower Perthshire for the virtues which it could impart to simple water. A flat piece of ivory in the possession of Campbell of Barbreck—commonly called Barbreck’s Bone—was sovereign for the cure of madness. This article is now deposited in the Museum of the Scottish Antiquaries in Edinburgh. The Lee Penny—a small precious stone, set in an old English coin, still possessed by the Lockharts of Lee—is another and highly noted example of such charms for healing.

It was also still customary to resort to certain wells and other waters, on account of their supposed healing virtues, as we have seen to be the case a century earlier. Either the patient was brought to the water, and dipped into it, or a fragment of his clothing was brought and cast into, or left on the side of it, a shackle or tether of a cow serving equally when such an animal was concerned. If such virtues had continued to be attributed only to wells formerly dedicated to saints, it would not have been surprising; but the idea of medicinal virtue was sometimes connected with a lake or other piece of water, which had no such history. There was, for example, on the high ground to the west of Drumlanrig Castle, in Nithsdale, a small tarn called the Dow [i.e. black] Loch, which enjoyed the highest medical repute all over the south of Scotland. People came from immense distances to throw a rag from a sick friend, or a tether from an afflicted cow, into the Dow Loch, when, ‘these being cast in, if they did float, it was taken for a good omen of recovery, and a part of the water carried to the patient, though to remote places, without saluting or speaking to any one they met by the way; but, if they did sink, the recovery of the party was hopeless.’ The clergy exerted themselves strenuously to put down the superstition. The trouble which the presbytery of Penpont had, first and last, with this same Dow Loch, was past expression. But their efforts were wholly in vain.

[A fairy legend connected with the Dow Loch, and illustrating the superstitious feeling with which it was regarded, has been communicated by a friend:

'The farmer of Auchen Naight, near the Dow Loch, was not in opulent circumstances. One day, during the pressure of some unusual calamity, he noticed, to his surprise, a cow browsing tranquilly by the side of the lake, and, on nearer inspection, found it to be a beautiful animal of large size, and perfectly white. She allowed herself to be driven home by him without resistance, and soon commended herself greatly to his wife by her tameness and exceeding opulence in milk. The result of her good qualities, and also her fruitfulness, was that a blessing seemed to have come with her to his house. He became rich in the possession of a herd of twenty fine cattle, all descended from the original White Cow.

'After some years had elapsed, and all his other cattle had been used up, the goodman had to consider how he was to provide a winter’s "mart" for his family—that is, a bullock to be killed and salted according to the then universal practice of the country. Should it be the mother or one of her comely daughters? The former was still in fine condition, highly suitable for the purpose; but then the feeling connected with her—should they sacrifice in this manner the source of all their good-fortune? A consideration that shemight fail in health, and be lost to them, determined them to make her the mart of the year. It said that, on the morning which was to be her last, she shewed the usual affection to her mistress, who came to bid her a mournful farewell; but when the butcher approached with hIs rope and axe, she suddenly tore up the stake, and broke away from the byre, followed by the whole of her progeny. The astonished goodman and his wife were only in time to see the herd, in which their wealth consisted, plunge into the waters of the Dow Loch, from which they never re-emerged.']

1702, July 3
‘It pleased the great and holy God to visit this town [Leith], for their heinous sins against him, with a very terrible and sudden stroke, which was occasioned by the firing of thirty-three barrels of powder; which dreadful blast, as it was heard even at many miles distance with great tenor and amazement, so it hath caused great ruin and desolation in this place. It smote seven or eight persons at least with sudden death, and turned the houses next adjacent to ruinous heaps, tirred off the roof, beat out the windows, and broke out the timber partitions of a great many houses and biggings even to a great distance. Few houses in the town did escape some damage, and all this in a moment of time; so that the merciful conduct of Divine Providence hath been very admirable in the preservation of hundreds of people, whose lives were exposed to manifold sudden dangers, seeing they had not so much previous warning as to shift a foot for their own preservation, much less to remove their plenishing.’ So proceeded a petition from ‘the distressed inhabitants of Leith’ to the Privy Council, on the occasion of this sore calamity. ‘Seeing,’ they went on to say, ‘that part of the town is destroyed and damnified to the value of thirty-six thousand nine hundred and thirty-six pounds, Scots money, by and attour several other damages done in several back-closes, and by and attour the household plenishing and merchant goods destroyed in the said houses, and victual destroyed and damnified in lofts, and the losses occasioned by the houses lying waste; and seeing the owners of the said houses are for the most part unable to repair them, so that a great part of the principal seaport of the nation will be desolate and ruinous, if considerable relief be not provided,’ they implored permission to make a charitable collection throughout the kingdom at kirk-doors, and by going from house to house; which prayer was readily granted.

July 8
The Earl of Kintore, who had been made Knight Marischal of Scotland at the Restoration, and afterwards raised to the peerage for his service in saving the regalia from the English in 1651, was still living. He petitioned the Privy Council at this date on account of a pamphlet published by Sir William Ogilvie of Barras, in which his concern in the preservation of the regalia was unduly depreciated. His lordship gives a long recital on the subject, from which it after all appears that his share of the business was confined to his discommending obedience to be paid to a state order for sending out the regalia from Dunnottar Castle—in which case it was likely they might have been taken— and afterwards doing what he could to put the English on a false scent, by representing the regalia as carried to the king at Paris. He denounces the pamphlet as an endeavour ‘to rob him of his just merit and honour, and likewise to belie his majesty’s patents in his favour,’ and he craved due punishment. Sir William, being laid up with sickness at Montrose, was unable to appear in his own defence, and the Council, accordingly, without hesitation, ordered the offensive brochure to be publicly burnt at the Cross of Edinburgh by the common hangman.

David Ogilvie, younger of Barras, was soon after fined in a hundred pounds for his concern in this so-called libel.’

There is something unaccountable in the determination evinced at various periods to assign the glory of the preservation of the regalia to the Earl of Kintore, the grand fact of the case being that these sacred relics were saved by the dexterity aud courage of the unpretending woman—Mrs Grainger—the minister’s wife of Kineff, who, by means of her servant, got them carried out of Dunnottar Castle through the beleaguering lines of the English, and kept them in secrecy under ground for eight years. See under March 1652.

The arrangements of the Post-office, as established by the act of 1695, were found to be not duly observed, in as far as common carriers presumed to carry letters in tracts where post-offices were erected, ‘besides such as relate to goods sent or to be returned to them.’ A very strict proclamation was now issued against this practice, and forbidding all who were not noblemen or gentlemen’s servants to ‘carry, receive, or deliver any letters where post-offices are erected.’

Inviolability of letters at the Post-office was not yet held in respect as a principle. In July 1701, two letters from Brussels, ‘having the cross upon the back of them,’ had come with proper addresses under cover to the Edinburgh postmaster. He ‘was surprised with them,’ and brought them to the Lord Advocate, who, however, on opening them, found they were ‘of no value, being only on private business;’ wherefore he ordered them to be delivered by the postmaster to the persons to whom they were directed.

Long after this period—in 1738—the Earl of Ilay, writing to Sir Robert Walpole from Edinburgh, said: ‘I am forced to send this letter by a servant twenty miles out of town, where the Duke of Argyle’s attorney cannot handle it’ It sounds strangely that Lord Ilay should thus have had to complain of his own brother; that one who was supreme in Scotland, should have been under such a difficulty from an opposition noble; and that there should have been, at so recent a period, a disregard to so needful a principle. But this is not all. Lord Ilay, in time succeeding his brother as Duke of Argyle, appears to have also taken up his part at the Edinburgh Post-office. In March 1748, General Bland, commander of the forces in Scotland, wrote to the Secretary of State, ‘that his letters were opened at the Edinburgh Post-office; and I think this is done by order of a noble duke, in order to know my secret seatiments of the people and of his Grace. If this practice is not stopped, the ministers cannot hope for any real information.’ Considering the present sound administration of the entire national institution by the now living inheritor of that peerage, one cannot without a smile hear George Chalmers telling ’how the Edinburgh Post-office, in the reign of the second George, was ‘infested by two Dukes of Argyle!’

It will be heard, however, with some surprise, that the Lord Advocate may still be considered as having the power, in cases where the public interests are concerned, to order the examination of letters in the Post-office. So lately as 1789, when the unhappy duellist, Captain Macrae, fled from justice, his letters were seized at the Post-office by order of the Justice-clerk Braxfield.

The sport of cock-fighting had lately been introduced into Scotland, and a cock-pit was now in operation in Leith Links, where the charges for admission were 10d. for the front row, 7d. for the second, and 4d, for the third. Soon after, ‘the passion for cock-fighting was so general among all ranks of the people, that the magistrates [of Edinburgh] discharged its being practised on th streets, on account of the disturbances it occasioned.'

William Machrie, who taught in Edinburgh what he called ‘the severe and serious, but necessary exercise of the sword,’ had also given a share of his attention to cock-fighting—a sport which he deemed ‘as much an art, as the managing of horses for races or lbr the field of battle.' It was an art in vogue over all Europe— though ‘kept up only by people of rank, and never sunk down to the hands of the commonalty ‘—and he, for his part, had studied it carefully: he had read everything on the subject, conversed and corresponded on it with ‘the best cockers in Britain,’ carefully observing their practice, and passing through a long experience of his own.

Thus prepared, Mr Machrie published in Edinburgh, in 1705, a brochure, styled An Essay on the Innocent and Royal Recreation and Art of cocking, consisting of sixty-three small pages; from which we learn that he had been the means of introducing the sport into Edinburgh. The writer of a prefixed set of verses evidently considered him as one of the great reformers of the age:

‘Long have you taught the art of self-defence,
Improved our safety then, but now our sons;
Teaching us pleasure with a small expense.’

For his own part, considering the hazard and expense which attended horse-racing and hawking, he was eager to proclaim the superior attractions of cocking, as being a sport from which no such inconveniences arose. The very qualities of the bird recommended it—namely, ‘his Spanish gait, his Florentine policy, and his Scottish valour in overcoming and generosity in using his vanquished adversary.’ The ancients called him an astronomer, and he had been ‘an early preacher of repentance, even convincing Peter, the first pope, of his holiness’s fallibility.’ ‘Further,’ says he, ‘if variety and change of fortune be any way prevalent to engage the minds of men, as commonly it is, to prefer one recreation to another, it will beyond all controversy be found in cocking more than any other. Nay, the eloquence of Tully or art of Apelles could never with that life and exactness represent fortune metamorphosed in a battle, as doth cocking; for here you’ll see brave attacks and as brave defiances, bloody struggling; and cunning and handsome retreats; here you’ll see generous fortitude ignorant of interest,' &c.

Mr Machrie, therefore, goes con amore into his subject, fully trusting that his treatise on ‘this little but bold animal could not be unacceptable to a nation whose martial temper and glorious actions in the field have rendered them famed beyond the limits of the Christian world;’ a sentence from which we should have argued that our author was a native of a sister-island, even if the fact had not been indicated by his name.

Mr Machrie gives many important remarks on the natural history of the animal—tells us many secrets about its breeding; instructs us in the points which imply strength and valour; gives advices about feeding and training; and exhibits the whole policy of the pit. Finaily, he says, ‘I am not ashamed to declare to the world that I have a special veneration and esteem for those gentlemen, within and about this city, who have entered in society for propagating and establishing the royal recreation of cocking (in order to which they have already erected a cock-pit in the Links of Leith) ; and I earnestly wish that their generous and laudable example may be imitated in that degree that, in cock-war, village may be engaged against village, city against city, kingdom against kingdom, nay, the father against the son, until all the wars in Europe, wherein so much Christian blood is spilt, be turned into the innocent pastime of cocking.'

Machrie advertised, in July 1711, that he was not the author of a little pamphlet on Duelling, which had been lately published with his name and style on the title-page—’ William Machrie, Professor of both Swords.’ He denouuced this publication as containing ridiculous impossibilities in his art, such as ‘pretending to parry a pistol-ball with his sword.’ Moreover, it contained 'indiscreet reflections on the learned Mr Bickerstaff [of the Tatler],' 'contrary to his [Machrie's] natural temper and inclination, as well as that civility and good manners which his years, experience, and conversation in the world have taught him.'

The amusement of cock-fighting long kept a hold of the Scottish people. It will now be scarcely believed that, through the greater part of the eighteenth century, and till within the recollection of persons still living, the boys attending the parish and burghal schools were encouraged to bring cocks to school at Fasten’s E’en (Shrove-tide), and devote an entire day to this barbarising sport. The slain birds and fugies (so the craven birds were called) became the property of the schoolmaster. The minister of Applceross, in Ross-shire, in his account of the parish, written about 1790, coolly tells us that the schoolmaster’s income is composed of two hundred merks, with payments from the scholars of 1s. 6d for English, and 2s. 6d. for Latin, and ‘the cock-fight dues, which are equal to one quarter’s payment for each scholar.’

A Short Account of Scotland, written, it is understood, by an English gentleman named Morer, and published this year, presents a picture of our country as it appeared to an educated stranger before the union. The surface was generally unenclosed; oats and barley the chief grain products; wheat little cultivated; little hay made for winter, the horses then feeding chiefly on straw and oats. The houses of the gentry, heretofore built for strength, were now beginning to be ‘modish, both in fabric and furniture.’ But ‘still their avenues are very indifferent, and they want their gardens, which are the beauty and pride of our English seats.’ Orchards were rare, and ‘their apples, pears, and plums not of the best kind;’ their cherries tolerably good; ‘for gooseberries, currants, strawberries, and the like, they have of each, but growing in gentlemen’s gardens; and yet from thence we sometimes meet them in the markets of their boroughs.’ The people of the Lowlands partly depended on the Highlands for cattle to eat; and the Highlanders, in turn, carried back corn, of which their own country did not grow a sufficiency.

Mr Morer found that the Lowlanders were dressed much like his own countrymen, excepting that the men generally wore bonnets instead of hats, and plaids instead of cloaks; the women, too, wearing plaids when abroad or at church. Women of the humbler class generally went barefoot, ‘especially in summer.’ the children of people of the better sort, ‘lay and clergy,’ were likewise generally without shoes and stockings. Oaten-cakes, baked on a plate of iron over the fire, were the principal bread used. Their flesh he admits to have been ‘good enough,’ but he could not say the same for their cheese or butter. They are 'fond of tobacco, but more from the snish-box than the pipe.’ Snuff indeed, had become so necessary to them, that ‘I have heard some of them say, should their bread come in competition with it, they would rather fast than their snish should be taken away. Yet mostly it consists of the coarsest tobacco, dried by the fire and powdered in a little engine after the form of a tap, which they carry in their pockets, and is both a mill to grind and a box to keep it in.’

Stage-coaches did not as yet exist, but there were a few hackneys at Edinburgh, which might be hired into the country upon urgent occasions. ‘The truth is, the roads will hardly allow them those conveniences, which is the reason that the gentry, men and women, choose rather to use their horses. However, their great men often travel with coach-and-six, but with so little caution, that, besides their other attendance, they have a lusty running-footman on each side of the coach, to manage and keep it up in rough places.’

Another Englishman, who made an excursion into Scotland in 1704, gives additional particulars, but to the same general purport. At Edinburgh, he got good French wine at 20d,. and Bnrgundy at 10d. a quart. The town appeared to him scarcely so large as York or Newcastle, but extremely populous, and containing abundance of beggars. ‘The people here,’ he says, ‘are very proud, and call the ordinary tradesmen merchants,’ ‘At the best houses they dress their victuals after the French method, though perhaps not so cleanly, and a soup is commonly the first dish; and their reckonings are dear enough. The servant-maids attended without shoes or stockings.’

At Lesmabago, a village in Lanarkshire, he found the people living on cakes made of pease and barley mixed. ‘They ate no meat, nor drank anything but water, all the year round; and the common people go without shoes or stockings all the year round. I pitied their poverty, but observed the people ‘were fresh and lusty, and did not seem to be under any uneasiness with their way of living.’

In the village inn, I had,’ says he, 'an enclosed room to myself, with a chimney in it, and dined on a leg of veal, which is not to be had at every place in this country.’ At another village—Crawford-John-’ the houses are either of earth or loose stones, or are raddled, and the roofs are of turf, and the floors the bare ground. They are but one story high, and the chimney is a hole in the roof, and the fireplace is in the middle of the floor. Their seats and beds are of turf earthed over, and raddled up near the fireplace, and serve for both uses. Their ale is pale, small, and thick, but at the most common minsh-houses [taverns], they commonly have good French brandy, and often French wine, so common are these French liquors in this country.’

Our traveller, being at Crawford-John on a Sunday, went to the parish church, which he likens to a barn. He found it ‘mightily crowded, and two gentlemen’s seats in it with deal-tops over them. They begin service here about nine in the morning, and continue it till about noon, and then rise, and the minister goes to the minsh-house, and so many of them as think fit, and refresh themselves. The rest stay in the churchyard for about half an hour, and then service begins again, and continues till about four or five. I suppose the reason of this is, that most of the congregations live too far from the church to go home and return to church in time.’

The general conditions described by both of these travellers exhibit little, if any advance upon those presented in the journey of the Yorkshire squire in 1688, or even that of Ray the naturalist in 1661.

1703, Jan 24
George Young, a shopkeeper in the High Street of Edinburgh, was appointed by the magistrates as a constable, along with several other citizens in the like capacity, ‘to oversee the manners and order of the burgh and inhabitants thereof.’ On the evening of the day noted, being Sunday, he went ‘through some parts of the town, to see that the Lord’s Day and laws made for the observance thereof were not violat.’ ‘Coming to the house of Marjory Thom, relict of James Allan, vintner, a little before ten o’clock, and finding in the house several companies in different rooms, did soberly and Christianly expostulate with the mistress of the house for keeping persons in her house at such unseasonable hours, and did very justly threaten to delate her to the magistrates, to be rebuked for the same. [He] did not in the least offer to disturb any of her guests, but went away, and as [he was] going up the close to the streets, he and the rest was followed by Mr Archibald Campbell, eldest son to Lord Niel Campbell, who quarrelled him for offering to delate the house to the magistrates, [telling him] he would make him repent it.' So runs George Young’s own account of the matter. It was ratner unlucky for him, in his turn at this duty, to have come into collision with Mr Campbell, for the latter was first-cousin to the Duke of Argyle, and a person of too much consequence to be involved in a law which only works sweetly against the humbler classes, being, indeed, mainly designed for their benefit.

To pursue Young’s narrative. ‘Mr Archibald came next day with some others towards the said George his shop, opposite to the Guard [house], and called at his shop, which was shut by the hatch or half-door: "Sirrah, sirrah !’ which George not observing, nor apprehending his discourse was directed to him, Mr Archibald called again to this purpose: "I spoke to you, Young the constable." Whereupon, George civilly desiring to know his pleasure, he expressed himself thus: "Spark, are you in any better humour to-day than you was last night?" George answered, he was the same to-day he was last night. "I was about my duty last night, and am so to-day. I hope I have not offended you; and pray, sir, do not disturb me." Mr Archibald, appealing angry, and challenging George for his taking notice of Mrs Allan’s house, again asked him if he was in any better temper, or words to that purpose; [to which] George again replied, He was the same he was, and prayed him to be gone, because he seemed displeased. Whereupon Mr Archibald taking hold of his sword, as [if] he would have drawn it, George, being within the half-door, fearing hart, threw open the door, and came out to Mr Archibald, and endeavoured to catch hold of his sword. Mr Archibald did beat him upon the eye twice or thrice, and again took hold of his sword to draw and run at him; which he certainly had done, if not interrupted by the bystanders, who took hold of his sword and held him, till that the Town-guard seized Mr Archibald, and made him prisoner.’

Mr Campbell, being speedily released upon bail, did not wait to be brought before the magistrates, but raised a process against Young before the Privy Council, ‘intending thereby to discourage all laudable endeavours to get extravagancy and disorder .’ In the charge which he brought forward, Mr Campbell depicts himself as walking peaceably on the High Street, when Young attacked him, seized his sword, and declared him prisoner, without any previous offence on his part. The Guard thereafter dragged him to their house, maltreating him by the way, and kept him a prisoner till his friends assembled and obtained his liberation. The process went through various stages during the next few weeks, and at length, on the 9th of March, the Council found Young guilty of a riot, and fined him in four hundred merks (upwards of £22 sterling), to be paid to Mr Campbell for his expenses; further ordaining the offender to be imprisoned till the money was forthcoming.

To do the Duke of Argyle justice, his name does not appear in the list of the councillors who sat that day.

Mar 6
Sir John Bell, a former magistrate of Glasgow, kept up a modest frame of Episcopal worship in that Presbyterian city, having occasionally preachers, who were not always qualified by law, to officiate in his house. On the 30th of January, a boy-mob assailed the house while worship was going on, and some windows were broken. However, the magistrates were quickly on the spot, and the tumult was suppressed.

A letter from the queen to the Privy Council, dated the 4th February, glanced favourably at the Episcopalian dissenters of Scotland, enjoining that the clergy of that persuasion should live peaceably in relation to the Established Church, and that they should, while doing so, be protected in the exercise of their religion. It was a sour morsel to the more zealous Presbyterians, clergy and laity, who, not from any spirit of revenge, but merely from bigoted religious feelings, would willingly have seen all Episcopalians banished at the least. At Glasgow, where a rumour got up that some Episcopalian places of worship would he immediately opened under sanction of her majesty’s letter, much excitement prevailed. Warned by a letter from the Lord Chancellor, the magistrates of the city took measures for preserving the peace, and they went to church on the 7th of March, under a full belief that there was no immediate likelihood of its being broken. The Episcopalians, however, were in some alarm about the symptoms of popular feeling, and it. was deemed necessary to plant a guard of gentlemen, armed with swords, in front of the door of Sir John Bell’s house, where they were to enjoy the ministrations of a clergyman named Burgess. Some rude boys gathered about, and soon came to rough words with this volunteer guard, who, chasing them with their swords, and, it is said, violent oaths, along the Saltmarket, roused a general tumult amongst all who were not at church. The alarm soon passed into the churches. The people poured out, and flocked to the house where they knew that the Episcopalians were gathered. The windows were quickly smashed. The worshippers barricaded and defended themselves; but the crowd broke in with fore-hammers, though apparently hardly knowing for what purpose. The magistrates came with some soldiers; reasoned, entreated, threatened; apprehended a few rioters, who were quickly rescued; and finally thought it best to limit themselves to conducting the scared congregation to their respective homes—a task they successfully accomplished. ‘Afterwards,’ say the magistrates, ‘we went and did see Sir John Bell in his house, where Mr Burgess, the minister, was; and, in the meantime, when we were regretting the misfortune that had happened to Sir John and his family, who had merited much from his civil carriage when a magistrate in this place, it was answered to us by one of his sons present, that they had got what they were seeking, and would rather that that had fallen out than if it had been otherways.’

The Privy Council, well aware how distasteful any outrages against the Episcopalians would be at court, took pains to represent this affair in duly severe terms in their letters to the secretaries of state in London. They also took strong measures to prevent any similar tumult in future, and to obtain reparation of damages for Sir John Bell.

Generally, the condition of Episcopal ministers continued to be uncomfortable. In February 1705, Dr Richard Waddell, who had been Archdean of St Andrews before the Revolution, and was banished from that place in 1691, but had lately returned under protection of her majesty’s general indemnity, became the subject of repressive measures on the part of the Established Church. Letters of horning were raised against him by ‘John Blair, agent for the kirk,’ and, notwithstanding strong protestations of loyalty to the queen, he was ordained by the Privy Council once more ‘to remove furth of the town and parochine of St Andrews, and not return thereto.’

1703, Apr
An elderly woman named Marion Lillie, residing at Spott, in East Lothian, was in the hands of the kirk-session, on account of the general repute she lay under as a witch. Amidst the tedious investigations of her case in the parish register, it is impossible to see more than that she occasionally spoke ungently to and of her neighbours, and had frightened a pregnant woman to a rather unpleasant extremity by handling her rudely. The Rigwoodie Witch, as a neighbour called her, was now turned over to a magistrate, to be dealt with according to law; but of her final fate we have no account.

Spott is a place of sad fame, its minister having basely murdered his wife in 1570, and the estate having belonged to a gentleman named Douglas, whom we have seen concerned in the slaughter of Sir James Home of Eceles, and who on that account became a forfeited outlaw. The wife of a subsequent proprietor, a gambler named Murray, was daughter to the Lord Forrester, who was stabbed with his own sword by his mistress at Corstorphine in 1679. There is extant a characteristic letter of this lady to Lord Alexander Hay, son of the Earl of Tweeddale, on his bargaining, soon after this time, for the estate, with her husband, without her consent—in which she makes allusion to the witches of Spott:


‘Spott, 19 May.

‘This way of proceeding, my lord, will seem verey abrupte and inconsiderat to you; but I laye my count with the severest censer you or may malicious enemies can or will saye of me. So, not to be tedious, all I have to speak is this: I think you most absurd to bought the lands of Spott from Mr Murray without my consent, which you shall never have now; and I hope to be poseser of Spott hous when you are att the divel; and believe me, my childrin’s curse and mine will be a greater moth in your estate than all your ladey and your misirable wretchedness can make up and pray [pay].

‘This is no letter of my lord Bell Heavins, and tho you saye, in spite of the divell, you ‘le buy it befor this time twell month, you may come to repent it; but thats non of my bisnes. I shall only saye this, you are basely impertinent to thrust me away in a hurrey from my houss at Whitsunday, when I designed not to go till Martinmis: and I wish the ghosts of all the witches that ever was about Spott may haunt you, and make you the unfortountest man that ever lived, that you may see you was in the wrong in makeing aney such bargain without the consent of your mortal enemy, CLARA MURRAY."

July 1
The country was at this time in a state of incandescent madness regarding its nationality, and the public feeling found expression through the medium of parliament. By its order, there was this day burned at the Cross of Edinburgh, by the hangman, a book entitled Historia Anglo-Scotica, by James Drake, ‘containing many false and injurious reflections upon the sovereignty and independency of this nation.’ In August 1705, when the passion was even at a greater height, the same fate was awarded by the legislatnre to a book, entitled The Superiority and Direct Dominion of the Imperial Crown of England over the Crown and Kingdom of Scotland; also to a pamphlet, called The Scots Patriot Unmasked, both being the production of William Atwood. On the same day that the latter order was given, the parliament decreed the extraordinary sum of £4800 (Scots?) to Mr James Anderson, for a book he had published, A Historical Essay shewing that the Crown and Kingdom of Scotland is imperial and independent. Nor was this all, for at the same time it was ordered that ‘Mr James Hodges, who hath in his writings served this nation,’ should have a similar reward.

Sep 3
The Scottish parliament at this time patronised literature to a considerable extent, though a good deal after the manner of the poor gentleman who bequeathed large ideal sums to his friends, and comforted himself with the reflection, that it at least sheived good-will. Alexander Nisbet had prepared a laborious work on heraldry, tracing its rise, and describing all its various figures, besides ‘shewing by whom they are carried amongst us, and for what reasons,’ thus instructing the gentlefolk of this country of their ‘genealogical pennons,’ and affording assistance to ‘envious antiquaries’ in understanding ‘seals, medals, historic, and ancient records.’ But Alexander was unable of his own means to publish so large a work, for which it would be necessary to get italic types, ‘whereof there are very few in this kingdom; and which also required a multitude of copper engravings to display ‘the armorial ensigns of this ancient kingdom.’ Accordingly, on his petition, the parliament (September 3, 1703), recommended the Treasury to grant him £248, 6s. 8d. sterling ‘out of what fund, they shall think fit.'

Aug 9
In 1695, the Scottish parliament forbade the sale of rum, as interfering with the consumpt of ‘strong waters made of malt,’ and because the article itself was ‘rather a drug thau a liquor, and highly prejudicial to the health of all who drink it.’ Now, however, Mr William Cochrane of Kilmaronock, John Walkenshaw of Barrowfleld, John Forbes of Knaperna, and Robert Douglas, merchant in Leith, designed to set up a sugar-work and ‘stillarie for distilling of rum’ in Leith, believing that such could never be ‘more necessary and beneficial to the country, and for the general use and advantage of the lieges, than in this time of war, when commodities of that nature, how necessary soever, can hardly be got from abroad.’ On their petition, the designed work was endowed by the Privy Council with the privileges of a manufactory.

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