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A History of the County of Renfrew from the Earliest Times
Chapter XIX.—The Restoration

The accession of Charles II. was the occasion of many rejoicings ; but the fears which were expressed by the less sanguine were not long in being verified. While retaining a lively recollection of some things that happened in Scotland after his landing at Speymouth, there were others which, after his accession, Charles conveniently forgot. Among them were things he had said and promised in connection with religion during his stay among the Covenanters. These were not an altogether lovable people, but they had excellent memories.

The Remonstrants continued irreconcilable, and had in the meantime been joined by Argyll and his party. On May 27, 16G0, he and Gillespie were “ at the Communion in Paisley with a world at their back.” “ Neither fair nor other means,” writes Baillie, “are like to do with them, if God Himself put not the evil spirit of causeless division from among us, both in Kirk and State, which now again is burning.”

When it was known that Charles was returning, the lords and lairds hurried up to London to meet him, and the offices of State were soon filled up. The Earl of Glencairn was made Chancellor; the Earl of Middleton, His Majesty’s Commissioner ; the Earl of Crawford, Lord Treasurer; and the Earl of Lauderdale, Secretary of State. Sir Thomas Nicolson2 was dead, and his office of Lord Advocate was given to Sir John Fletcher. The Committee of Estates, which had been surprised and dispersed at Alyth in 1651, was re-assembled and entrusted with the government of the country.

In August, 1660, James Sharp, the minister of Crail, who had been sent up to London to look after the interests of moderate Presbyterianism, returned, bearing a letter to Mr. Robert Douglas, minister at Edinburgh, in which the King promised “to protect and preserve the government of the Church of Scotland as it is settled by law without variation.” The ministers of Edinburgh were delighted, and in the greatness of their joy purchased a silver box in which to preserve the precious letter. On December 31, Middleton, the Royal Commissioner, arrived in Edinburgh, and on January 1, 1661, the Estates met.

The country was now to learn how the royal promise contained in the letter, for which the ministers at Edinburgh had bought their silver box, was to be kept. The famous Act Rescissory was passed, by which the Parliamentary legislation of the last twenty years was repealed with a stroke of the pen. Contrary to the advice of Lauderdale, steps were at once taken to restore Episcopacy. Of the old bishops, only one, Sydserf of Galloway, was alive. He had gone up to London expecting to be made Primate, but was translated to the see of Orkney, one of the richest in the kingdom. Fairfoul, Hamilton, Sharp, and Leighton were pitched upon for the first appointments to bishoprics, and, going up to London, they were consecrated in Westminster Abbey, December 15,1661. Three days before this the Privy Council in Scotland had forbidden presentations to benefices to be addressed to Presbyteries. On January 2, 1662, the King commanded that the jurisdiction in Synods, Presbyteries, and Sessions should be by appointment and authority of the archbishops and bishops. In March, the newly-consecrated bishops returned, and on May 7, consecrated, in the church of Holyrood Abbey, six ministers to the sees of Moray, Dunkeld, Ross, Caithness, Brechin, and the Isles. The Estates met on the following day, and on May 27 passed an Act “ for the restitution and re-establishment of the ancient government of the Church by archbishops and bishops.” The bishops took their places in Parliament, and were admitted to all the privileges they had enjoyed previous to the year 1638.

So far all might have been well. The country was spent and the people were desirous of peace.3 But, on June 12, an Act was passed which made peace almost impossible. In 1649 Parliament had abolished patronage, and from 1649 to 1660 ministers had been appointed by Kirk Sessions. By the Act referred to, ministers who had been appointed in this way were declared incapable of holding their livings unless they obtained presentations from the old patrons, who were obliged to give them, and got themselves instituted by their several bishops. They were given until Michaelmas following, when the parishes of those who failed to comply with the Act were to be declared vacant. The majority of them resolved not to obey the Act, and to look on and see what the State would do.

In consequence of a complaint made to him by the Archbishop of Glasgow, respecting the fewness of those who were seeking institution, Middleton, who was then on a progress through the Western counties, summoned a meeting of the Privy Council at Glasgow, on October 1, when a proclamation was drawn up and issued, requiring all who had not obeyed the Act to cease from preaching and to remove from their parishes by the first day of November following, and authorising the military, who lay about the country, in the event of the ministers attempting to preach, to pull them out of their pulpits.

From Glasgow, Middleton passed through Renfrewshire to Cunningham, Kyle, and Carrick. He spent some days at Ayr, where he and his companions are said to have drunk the devil’s health at the Market Cross one midnight. From Ayr, he went to Dumfries and Wigton, and, on the last day of October, arrived at Holyrood House, expecting, on the assurance of Fairfoul, Archbishop of Glasgow, to find that the proclamation of October 1 had accomplished its purpose. To his surprise, he found that it had not, and that, rather than obey the Act, about 300 ministers had voluntarily left their manses, and that a great part of the benefices in the country were vacant. The bishops also were surprised; their plan had turned out otherwise than they expected, and an emergency had arisen which they were utterly unprepared to meet.

By the unwise proclamation of October 1, Middleton had set the clergy and a large body of the people against the Government. Before his fall, he was destined to perpetrate a blunder which estranged many of the nobility and gentry. Towards the end of the session of 1662 he got an Act passed through Parliament, which, though it professed to be an Act of Indemnity, excepted some seven or eight hundred noblemen, gentlemen, and burgesses from the King’s pardon and fined them in various sums to the amount of upwards of 1,000,000 Scots. It was hoped that the passing of the Act would be kept secret, but it became known, and, though never formally acted upon, the mischief was done.

By this Act, Middleton proposed to exempt in the shire of Renfrew no fewer than forty individuals, and to fine them in sums varying from 200 to 4,000 Scots, to the amount of about 21,000. Among those marked down were Sir George Maxwell of Nether Pollok ; Hugh Forbes, sheriff-clerk of Renfrew ; Montgomery of Weitlands, the younger Walkin-shaw, three of the bailies of Paisley, Semple of Balgreen, Barber of Rushiefield, Harrison in Titwood, John Spreul in Renfrew, Rankin of Newton, Pollok of Millburn, John Orr of Jeffraystack, Thomson of Corsehill, and Mr. Laurence Scott of Paisley. Fortunately the Act, as already remarked, was not put into operation.

One of the first in the shire to feel the power of the Privy Council was Mr. Dunlop, now minister of the first charge in Paisley. In his preaching he made use of a peculiar sound called a “holy groan,” in which many of his admirers found great spiritual comfort. As we have seen, he was despatched by his Presbytery to Kilmarnock to attend the meeting of the Association of the Western Shires, and probably had a hand with Gillespie in drawing up the famous Remonstrance. On January 6, 1662, he appeared, in obedience to a summons, before the Privy Council, and was asked to take the oath of allegiance. On refusing, he was ordained to be banished the King’s dominions. Their lordships took time to fix upon the place. Meanwhile, he was ordered to confine himself within the bounds of the dioceses of Aberdeen, Brechin, Caithness, or Dunkeld.

About the end of the year 1661, the Earl of Queensberry complained that his lands had suffered seriously at the hands of the forces under Colonels Ker and Strahan in 1650. A committee, of which the Earl of Eglinton and Lord Cochrane were members, was appointed to meet at Cumnock and there to inquire as to who were with the colonels and to allocate the damages. The committee reported that forty-eight individuals had taken part with the Remonstrants, and fixed their fines at upwards of 23,896 Scots. Among those fined were the following from Renfrewshire Sir George Maxwell of Nether Pollok, James Hamilton of Aikenhead, Gavin Walkinshaw of that ilk, John Gordon of Boghall, Hugh Wallace of Underwood, Alexander Cunningham of Craigends, and Ralston of that ilk. Their fines ranged from 41 16s. to 1,044 9s. Scots.

When the roll of the ministers within the shire who were outed or had refused to conform to Episcopacy was made up in 1663, it was found that the list contained the names of the whole of the ministers6 of the Presbytery, with the single exception of Mr. James Taylor, minister of Greenock. Hamilton of Inverkip afterwards conformed. It was the beginning of winter when the ministers were forced to leave their manses, and many of them knew not where to find shelter for themselves and their families. The privations and hardships which many of them suffered were great.

The inconveniences to which the people were put were sufficient to exasperate them. In most parts of the country the ordinances of public worship were suddenly stopped. “ Parish churches, generally speaking, through the western and southern shires,” says Wodrow, “ were now waste and without services, which had not happened in Scotland since the reformation of popery.” In the shire of Renfrew there was but one parish in which the ordinary services were continued, and that was the parish of Greenock, the minister of which had conformed. The consequence was that the people were obliged to go to other places of worship. “In many places,” Wodrow says, “they had twenty miles to run before they heard a sermon or got the spiritual manna, which of late fell so thick about their tents. Some went to the elder ministers, not directly touched by the Act of Glasgow. Such who could not reach them, frequented the family worship and exercises of the younger ministers, now outed of their churches. And so great were the number who came to their houses, that some were constrained to preach without doors, and at length to go to the open fields. This,” he adds, “ was the original of field meetings in Scotland, which afterwards made so much noise, and in some few years was made death by law, first to the ministers, and then to the hearers.”

On July 10, 1663, an Act was passed for the impracticable purpose of compelling people to attend their own parish churches. Many of the churches were vacant, but the Act denounced “ all and every such persons as shall hereafter ordinarily and wilfully withdraw and absent themselves from the ordinary meetings for divine worship in their own parish churches on the Lord’s Day.” This Act, known as the “ Bishop’s Drag-net,” was soon followed by “ The Mile Act,” which required that no recusant minister should reside within twenty miles of his old parish, six miles of Edinburgh or any cathedral town, or three miles of any royal burgh. The punishment for violating the Act was, in general terms, the same as for sedition. On October 7, still another Act was passed. Its object was to prevent Presbyterian ministers coming over from Ireland and finding shelter and employment among the Presbyterians in Scotland. Among others, the Earls of Glencairn and Eglinton and Lord Cochrane, afterwards Earl of Dundonald, were appointed to enforce it, and all noblemen, sheriffs, magistrates of burghs, justices of the peace, and officers of the standing forces were required to give their assistance to put it into effective operation.

With the outing of the ministers at the end of 1661, the Presbytery of Paisley ceased to exist. In the meantime efforts had been made to supply the vacant parishes, and the following appointments were made : Mr. John Hay to Renfrew, Mr. William Pierson to Paisley, Mr. Alexander Abercrombie to Lochwinnoch, and Mr. Alex. Kinneir to Neilston. These, with the exception of Mr. Abercrombie, met in Paisley on October 27, 1663, together with Mr. James Taylor, the conforming minister of Greenock, and several correspondents from the neighbouring Presbyteries, when, by virtue of an act of the Archbishop and Synod, the Presbytery of Paisley was formally constituted afresh. Mr. John Hay was appointed moderator, and Mr. Alex. Kinneir clerk. Mr. Hew Peebles, minister of Lochwinnoch, Mr. James Wallace of Inchinnan, and Mr. Hamilton of Inverkip had also been summoned to the meeting, but failed to attend, and were directed to be summoned to the next meeting for the second time. Shortly after, Mr. Robert Young was appointed to the parish of Erskine. The ministers of Inchinnan and Lochwinnoch continued refusing to attend, and were first suspended and then deposed. Hamilton of Inverkip was also deposed, but for other reasons. A libel was lodged against him, and, being found guilty on most of the charges, he was set aside as unworthy. On June 22, 1665, Mr. Alex. Leslie laid before the Presbytery a presentation to the parish from the Laird of Blackhall, which, being sustained by the Presbytery and approved by the Archbishop, he was inducted to the charge. The other vacancies were gradually filled, but slowly, owing to the paucity of men.

It has been the fashion, and still is, to condemn the curates as wanting in scholarship, manners, and morality, and to contrast them unfavourably with the men they succeeded. The older men were doubtless excellent in their way, and according to their light did excellent service, and a number of the curates were doubtless defective in education, breeding, and morals. But to condemn the whole class, because of the failings and sins of a number of them, is as unfair as it would be to condemn the older men because one of them, Hamilton of Inverkip, was found guilty of a number of offences, one of which was that of scandalous living.

The curates who from time to time composed the Presbytery of Paisley appear as a rule to have been at least respectable and diligent, and were probably as a rule unwilling to see their parishioners harshly treated. No one was admitted to a charge or to a seat among them until he had obtained a presentation from a patron, passed his “ trials ” or examinations before the Presbytery, and received the approval of the Archbishop. A number of them appear to have been graduates of a university. They were kept well in hand by the Archbishop, dealt strictly with each other, and had frequently to give an account to the presbytery of their work and of the condition of their parishes for the information of their ordinary. Presbyterial visitations of parishes were at least as frequent among them as among the Presbyterians. They were as zealous against Roman Catholics, as forward to punish offenders against the moral law, and as opposed to dancing greens and penny weddings as their predecessors were. If they were hated—and they certainly were—the fault was not theirs, but that of the system which forced them upon the people. The difficulties they had to contend with were enormous ; perhaps they were insurmountable. Episcopacy may be as divine in its origin as Presby-terianism, but when a number of people have made up their minds that the origin of the one is not divine and that the origin of the other is, no amount of argument will alter their opinion and no amount of patience or kindness will induce them to look favourably upon those who are identified with the polity they reject.

The task of reducing the West and South of the country to submission was given to Sir James Turner, naturally a not unkindly man, but when drunk, as he frequently was, capable of great cruelty. His chief business was to compel the people to attend their own parochial churches and to levy'fines upon absentees. “ In order to facilitate the soldiers’ work,” it is said, “ the curates formed in most parishes a roll of their congregations, not for any ministerial work they gave themselves the trouble of, but to instruct their parishioners with briers and thorns by their army ; and in order to the soldiers visiting their families, and examining their people’s loyalty. Sermons were all the curates’ work, and these short and dry enough. And after sermon the roll of the parish was called from the pulpit, and all who were absent, except some favourites, were given up to the soldiers; and when once delated, no defences could be heard, their fine behoved either presently to be paid or the houses quartered upon ; and some who kept the church were some time quartered upon, because the persons who last term lived there, were in the curates’ lists as deserters of the church.” How much of this went on in Renfrewshire, it seems impossible now to tell. In 1663, a Committee of the Privy Council, of which the Earls of Glencairn and Eglinton and Lord Cochrane were members, was acting in the shire, and on October 13 in the same year the Privy Council ordered Sir Robert Fleming to march with all convenient speed to the West two squadrons of His Majesty’s Life Guards, and to quarter one of them in Kilmarnock and the other in Paisley. Wodrow believes that these squadrons were “ abundantly active ” in exacting fines from those who were absent from their parish churches, but adduces no evidence that they were.

Of the use of another of Turner’s methods in the shire there appears to be abundant evidence. While divine service was being conducted by one of the Presbyterian ministers, the church was suddenly surrounded by soldiers ; the doors were secured, and guards placed over them; a party of soldiers then entered the church, interrupted the service, and compelled the worshippers to pass out one by one by the same door. There they were interrogated, and those who could not swear that they belonged to the parish in which the church was situated, were rifled of all they had and frequently imprisoned. According to Wodrow, many instances of this procedure occurred during the years 1663-64, particularly at the churches of Eaglesham, Stewarton, Ochiltree, Irvine, and Kilwinning. Turner and his troopers were evidently adepts in the art of levying fines, and, as most of the fines they levied found their way into their own pockets, they were probably not over scrupulous in their exaction.

In the year 1663, two of the ministers of the shire were summoned before the Privy Council, namely, Mr. Hugh Smith of Eastwood and Mr. James Blair of Cathcart. Blair acknowledged that he had been admitted since 1649, and that, contrary to the law, he had exercised the functions of the ministry by preaching, baptizing, and marrying. The Lords prohibited him from exercising any part of the ministry without warrant from his ordinary, and warned him to remove from Mauchline, where he last preached, to beyond the river Ness, and forbade him to transgress the bounds of his confinement under the highest peril. Smith’s offence was the same. For some reason, he and Matthew Ramsay, late minister at Old Kilpatrick, and Walkinshaw, late minister at Baldernoch, were treated somewhat more leniently. Ramsay was remitted to the Archbishop of Glasgow, and Smith and Walkinshaw were dismissed with an injunction to obey the law.

In the following year, the Court of High Commission was set up. Glencairn and Lauderdale were against its restoration ; the bishops were for it. A more tyrannical court never existed. It was described as a Comfnission for executing the laws of the Church, and the Commissioners were authorized to summon and call before them, besides Catholics and “ Popish traffickers,” all obstinate contemners of the discipline of the Church, or for that cause suspended, deprived, or excommunicated ; all keepers of conventicles; all ministers who, contrary to the laws and Acts of Parliament or Council, remain or intrude themselves in the function of the ministry in their parishes or bounds inhibited by these Acts ; all such as preach in private houses or elsewhere without licence from the bishop of the diocese ; all such persons as keep meetings at fasts, and the administration of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, which are not approven by authority; all who speak, preach, write, or print to the scandal, reproach, or detriment of the estate or government of the Church or Kingdom now established ; all who contemn, molest, or injure the ministers who are obedient to the laws; all who do not orderly attend divine worship, administration of the Word and sacraments performed in their respective parish churches by ministers legally settled for taking care of these parishes in which these persons are inhabitants; all who, without any lawful calling, or as busy-bodies, go about houses and places corrupting and disaffecting people from their allegiance, respect, and obedience to the laws ; and in general, without prejudice to the particulars above mentioned, all who express their disaffection to His Majesty’s authority, by contravening Acts of Parliament or Council in relation to Church affairs.1 Among those named in the Commission were the Earls of Glencairn, Argyll, and Eglinton, the Bishops and Archbishops, and Lord Cochrane. Any five of them, one being a bishop, formed a quorum.

One of the first victims of this Court, which was also known as “ The Crail Court,” from Crail, in Fife, the scene of Archbishop Sharp’s first ministry, was James Hamilton of Aikenhead, in the parish of Cathcart. While Hamilton was from home, Mr. Hay, the curate of the parish, had quarrelled with some of his tenants. In the course of the squabble, Hay used threats and ill names, and, but for the presence of Mr. Blair, the deposed minister of the parish, things would have gone very badly with him. In return for his good offices, Hay promised Blair that he would let the matter drop and that nothing more should be heard of it. But shortly after, notwithstanding his assurances to Blair, Hay denounced the tenants to the Archbishop, who at once sent Sir James Turner, with his soldiers, into the parish and had the tenants arrested. On his return home, Hamilton was informed of what had happened, and resolved to disown Hay as minister of the parish and never to attend worship in the parish church while he was there. When summoned before the High Commission, he was fined a fourth of his yearly rents; and when called upon to make payment of the fine, he gave such an account of Hay’s doings in the parish, that the Archbishop promised to remove him. But, before leaving the Court, he was pressed to engage judicially to hear and be subject to the minister whom the Archbishop should place in the parish in Hay’s stead. This he peremptorily refused to do. Whereupon, he was fined another fourth of his rents and remitted to the Archbishop. Burnet, who was then Archbishop of Glasgow, not being satisfied, summoned him again before the High Commission upon a charge of keeping up the session books of Cathcart and the utensils of the church ; and further, with refusing to assist the minister in the session and suffering some of his family to be absentees. Asked to take the oath of supremacy, he refused. He refused also to enter himself surety in the books of the Court for his tenantry. In the end, the Court fined him in the sum of 300 stg., and ordered him to be imprisoned till he paid it, and then to proceed to Inverness and to remain there under confinement during pleasure. He paid one half the fine, and his estate was sequestrated for the other. Three weeks later he presented himself before the magistrates of Inverness, and remained there till he was set free from restraint at the end of about eighteen months. On his return home, he was not allowed to go further than a mile from his own house for six months; but before the six months were ended he was suddenly, without warning or reason given, carried off to Edinburgh, and there imprisoned in the old Tolbooth. After being there for some time, he learned that he was charged with harbouring some soldiers who, about fourteen years before, had refused to march with Ker to Hamilton until satisfaction was given them as to what the Remonstrance really meant. His answer to the charge was that he could not depone that none of them had lodged in his house. The charge was foolish, and if true, Hamilton deserved to be rewarded. He was kept in the Tolbooth nineteen weeks, and obtained his release on payment of eighty guineas.

Others from the shire who were summoned before the Court of High Commission were John Porterfield, laird of Duchal, in the parish of Kilmacolm, and Mr. Hugh Peebles, the deposed minister of Lochwinnoch. Porterfield was summoned for not “ hearing ” or attending the ministry of the curate of the parish in the parish church of Kilmacolm. His defence was that it was impossible to attend the church, because the curate took every opportunity possible of accusing him publicly of the most heinous offences, of which he was entirely innocent. His statements were corroborated by witnesses. Whereupon, he was called upon to take the oath of supremacy, and refusing, was ordered to confine himself within the parish of Kilmacolm, till the Court had made up its mind what to do with him. Shortly after, he was fined 500 stg., and ordered to confine himself to the burgh of Elgin. It was four years before he was allowed to return to Duchal.

Mr. Hugh Peebles was summoned for preaching one Sunday evening in his own house. He frankly admitted the charge, and argued that he had done no wrong, since his preaching alienated no one from the parish church and prevented no one from attending the service there. He was ordered to leave the West and to confine himself to the town of Forfar, about a hundred miles from the place where he lived and had an estate.

But in spite of its extensive powers, the bishops soon discovered that the Court of High Commission was not fulfilling their purpose. They therefore fell upon the plan of ordering those whom they most suspected to be arrested. No warrant was issued, no reasons were alleged, no charge was made; simply on the strength of a letter signed by one or more of the Commission, a large number of the gentry in the West and South were arrested and imprisoned in the castles of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Dumbarton. Among those who were treated in that way from Renfrewshire were Major-General Montgomery, brother of the Earl of Eglinton, Sir George Maxwell of Nether-Pollok, and Ralston of that ilk. Montgomery was liberated after being detained in Stirling Castle two years and four months. The others were confined much longer.2

In November, 1665, Lord Rothes, who in the meantime had succeeded Middleton as the King’s Commissioner in Scotland, made a progress through the West. On his way he called at Paisley, where he and his numerous following were honourably entertained in the Place of Paisley by Lord Cochrane. The Town Council treated Rothes to the “ courtesy of the town,” and made him and his company burgesses. The following month a number of soldiers were stationed in Paisley and its neighbourhood for the purpose of preventing conventicles being held and for overawing the Covenanters.

The holding of conventicles in the shire appears to have caused the Presbytery considerable trouble. There was a suspicion that they were being frequently held, and the curates were enjoined by the Presbytery and Archbishop to make strict enquiries after them, but none appears to have been discovered. All that the curates could report was that one was suspected to have been held, but usually some weeks ago. The reason was that, though conventicles were frequently held, the people, as might be expected, refused to report them. When possible, indeed, they refused to give the curates any information, even on matters with which they must have been thoroughly acquainted, and when the communication of information could involve no one. For instance, when asked by the Presbytery to give information as to the boundaries or position of a glebe, the only answer they gave was a stolid stare or a profession of absolute ignorance.

On December 6, 1666, eight days after the defeat of the Covenanters at Rullion Green, a letter was read in the Presbytery of Paisley from the Archbishop of Glasgow, requiring the brethren to use their diligence in their several parishes for the discovery of those who had taken part in the rebellion. Fourteen days later, the result of their diligence was given in, and the following is the formal report in the Presbytery books :—“ Anent those within the Presbytery who were in arms in the late rebellious insurrection, the brethren report that none to their knowledge within the Presbyterie were actually joyned with their body who were in arms, only the young goodman of Caldwell in the parish of Neilston was with the Laird of Caldwell in arms going to these rebells, as also William Porterfield of Quarreltoun in the parish of Pasley now vacant; also George Porterfield with William his brother in the parish of Kilphyllan  now vacant also, and their names were already known and published in the printed papers. Two also were given up as suspected persons who had fled their houses when searched by the soldiers in the parish of Eastwod, viz., Gavin Philsell in Polloktoune and Archibald Chisine. who are already made known to His Majestie’s forces who are endeavouring to apprehend them.”

Thus, after searching for a fortnight, the brethren had discovered nothing. Their minute, or report, was made up from “ the printed papers ” and from what was publicly known. The Archbishop and his informants knew more about those in the shire who had taken part with the Covenanters in the Pentland rising, or who had sided with them without actually joining them, than the Curates did.

On November 28, a number of West-country gentlemen who sympathized with the Covenanters and were themselves irritated by the treatment they had received at the hands of the Government and its agents, met at Chitter-fleet, or Shutterflat, in the parish of Beith, within the shire of Renfrew, to which most of them belonged. Among them were Ker of Kersland, the laird of Caldwell, Ralston of that ilk, Porterfield of Quarrelton and his brother, Alexander Porterfield. Their leader was William Mure of Caldwell. They were accompanied by Mr. Gabriel Maxwell, minister at Dundonald, Mr. George Ramsay, minister at Kilmaurs, and Mr. John Carstairs, minister at Glasgow, and were joined by Maxwell, the laird of Blackstone. Their intention was to assist the Covenanters, but. soon after setting out, they were informed that Dalziel, with the royal forces, was between them and their friends; whereupon they resolved to retire and dismiss.

' None of them had actually joined the Covenanters, but they had intended to do so ; and Blackstone, it is said, as soon as he heard of the fight at Bullion Green, went to the Archbishop, and, upon a promise of pardon, informed against his companions, of whom there were about seventy. They were all summoned to appear before the Court of Justiciary, and were condemned in absence and their estates forfeited.

Mure of Caldwell fled first to Ireland and thence to Holland, where he died. His estates were given to General Thomas Dalziel of Binns, the commander of the royal forces at Bullion Green, in whose family they remained till 1690, when, by a special Act of Parliament, they were restored to the Mures.

Ker’s estate went to Drummond, Dalziel’s lieutenant; Major Lermont’s estate was given to Hamilton of Wishaw ; and Quarrelton’s and his brother’s to Hamilton of Hallcraig, but in order that they might be subsequently restored to their owners. Wallace of Auchanes was also of the number, and was forfeited.

Lady Caldwell, after the death of her husband in Holland, received harsh treatment at the hands of the Government. With her daughters, she was imprisoned for three years in the castle of Blackness. On the forfeiture of the estate, she was plundered of the remains of her personal property, as well as deprived of the jointure provided for her out of the rents. Her younger daughter, Anne, died in the house of her relative, Sandilands of Hilderstone, near Linlithgow, not far from Blackness. “ The Council was petitioned,” says Wodrow, “for liberty for the lady to come out of Blackness to see her daughter, who was dying. She offered to take a guard with her—yea, to maintain the whole garrison as a guard, if they pleased, while she was doing her last duty to her child. Yet, such was the unnatural cruelty of the times, that so reasonable a request could not be granted.”

Troops still continued to be quartered in Paisley and its neighbourhood. In May, 1667, twenty-four of Lord Carnegie’s troopers were billeted on the inhabitants. The town, as well as the county, had to provide corn and straw for the Life Guards, with coal and candle, to equip a trooper, and to pay its share of the expense requisite for the maintenance of the militia. The headquarters for the county were fixed at the time in the city of Glasgow, and on November 16, 1667, the following, among other orders and regulations, were issued to the army: “ If it shall fall out that any desperate people rise in arms in the lower wards of Clydesdale and sheriffdoms of Ayr and Renfrew, ordain that he that commands the horse in Glasgow, immediately on notice thereof, send a party of horse, or march himself with the whole horse lying in his own garrison, according as he shall see cause, to suppress them, by taking or killing such as he or they shall find in arms, without or against His Majesty’s authority. And in that case grants him power to command as many of the foot as he pleases, with competent forces to march with him ; and if he judge it necessary, with power to him, to mount some or all of the musketeers on horseback, or dragoons to do all military actions as he shall command ; and so by one or more parties, the haill horse and foot in his garrison, he is ordered to seek out those risen in arms, and attempt to defeat and destroy the same, without staying for any further force.” Evidently the Government believed that the county might rise at any moment, and was prepared to take summary vengeance upon all who opposed it.

At the same time, the Government was not without suspicion that some of its agents were both needlessly severe and dishonest. In 1667, complaints reached the King respecting the conduct of Sir James Turner, who, as we saw, was one of its principal agents in the West. He was called upon to give an account of his doings; and on February 20, 1668, the Committee of Privy Council, which had been appointed to make the enquiry, gave in their report.

When the report containing the charges, which, though set out at length, were said to be “ not legally proved,” was sent up to the King, His Majesty ordered Turner to send in his commission and to account for the monies he had intromitted with. Sir William Bellenden and others were dealt with in a similar way at the same time.

In June, 1669, came the First Indulgence, by which, on conditions, certain of the outed ministers were allowed to be appointed to vacant charges. Three of these indulged ministers were appointed to charges in the shire of Renfrew : James Hamilton to Eaglesham, where he had formerly been minister, and Mr. John Baird and Mathew Ramsay to Paisley. Baird, who had previously been minister at Innerwick, was officially appointed to assist Mr. Ramsay, who, on account of his infirmity of body, was unable to discharge all the duties of the cure. Ramsay had been minister of Kilpatrick. By thus reponing a number of the outed ministers, it was hoped to put an end to the conventicles, which the military, so far, had been unable to suppress, and to induce the people to look upon Episcopacy with favour. By many of the outed ministers the act was regarded as “ very satisfying.” Throughout Scotland, indeed, it was generally approved, until letteTs were received from some of the banished ministers in Holland, who sent reasons against joining with the indulged. “This,” according to Wodrow, “began a flame which, by degrees, rose to a very great height.”

However successful the Indulgence may have been in restoring quiet and in suppressing conventicles in some parishes where the outed ministers were appointed, in others it failed of its end. There the people still resorted to their old ministers or to such as had come to take their place, and conventicles continued to be held. The order and regulations which were issued to the military forces in November, 1667, were re-issued, and a stricter search was set on foot.

In Renfrewshire the troops were commanded by the Laird of Meldrum, by whom a number of people were arrested in the parishes of Lochwinnoch, Kilbarchan, and Kilmacolm, and put to great trouble for hearing the outed ministers preach. For entertaining his old minister, Mr. John Stirling, formerly of Kilbarchan, and hearing him preach once to his family, George Houstoun, laird of Johnstone, was arrested and carried before the Chancellor, and was with difficulty got off by his friends on giving a bond of 5000 merks to appear again when summoned. Mr. Stirling narrowly escaped capture.

An incident occurred in the parish of Kilmacolm which, though a very trifling affair in itself, caused much noise, and for some had serious results. While the curate there was preaching, some boys threw a piece of rotten stick at the pulpit. The noise it made so terrified Mr. Irvine, the curate, that he immediately left the pulpit and ran to his manse. As he went he was followed by a number of lads, who shouted after him in derision. By his friends, and, perhaps, by his enemies, the affair was greatly exaggerated, and it was given out that he had been stoned out of his pulpit and forced to flee for his life. Four boys were also charged with setting dogs upon him. The Council ordered the lads to be transported to the plantations. Two of them, however, were, on account of their age, set free on condition that they appeared before the congregation in Kilmacolm and expressed regret for their conduct. What happened to the others is unknown. For the freak of these lads, the heritors and parishioners of Kilmacolm were first fined in fifty pounds sterling and then in fifty more, to be paid to the curate, and the Lairds of Duchal and Carncurran, who chanced to be in Edinburgh, were forbidden to leave the city until the money was paid.

In the month of May, 1670, some nine or ten men surrounded the manse at Neilston on a Saturday night about twelve o’clock, seized Mr. Kinneir, the clerk of the Presbytery, beat him and his wife, and then plundered the house. The heritors of the parish were fined a thousand pounds Scots, and Allan Stewart of Kirktoun was forbidden to remove from Edinburgh till he paid it.

Alexander Burnet, the Archbishop of Glasgow, was succeeded by Leighton, Bishop of Dunblane. A man of great saintliness of life and well-known for his moderation, the new Archbishop set himself to purge his diocese of scandals and to reconcile the non-conforming ministers to the order established. In his diocese he appears to have acted with vigour, controlling the Presbyteries and removing curates whose work and character were under suspicion. In the Presbytery of Paisley, Mr. Birnie, minister at Killallan, was deposed ; Mr. Houston, at Houston, was reprimanded for his absence; Mr. Young of Erskine was, for the same cause, fined; Mr. Irvine of Kilmacolm, Mr. Kinneir of Neil-ston, the Presbytery clerk, and Mr. David Piersoun, minister at Paisley, were removed. According to Wodrow, the Archbishop appointed a committee of the Synod “ to receive complaints, to regulate the affairs of ministers, to convene before them the scandalous and unworthy, to make trial of what was laid to their charge, and to determine according as they found cause.” On August 25, 1670, the Privy Council appointed a committee to co-operate with the Synod’s committee.

At Leighton’s suggestion, Lauderdale invited six of the most eminent among the indulged ministers to a conference in Edinburgh, in order, if possible, to arrange some scheme of accommodation by which all parties might agree to work together. Leighton laid his proposals before them, and spoke with “ a gravity and force that made a very great impression ” upon those who heard him. A second conference was held, but the result was unsatisfactory. Leighton was opposed not only by Sharp and the Episcopalians, but also by the indulged ministers. Still hoping to succeed with the latter, he desired another meeting with them in Paisley. About thirty met him there. The Archbishop was accompanied by Gilbert Burnet, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury. The story of the conference is best told in Burnet’s words.

“We had two long conferences with them,” he says. “ Leighton laid out before them the obligations that lay on them to seek for peace at all times, but more especially when we already saw the dismal effects of our contentions. There could be no agreement unless on both sides there was a disposition to make some abatements, and some steps towards one another. It appeared that we were willing to make even unreasonable ones on our side; and would they abate nothing on theirs? Was their opinion so mathematically certain, that they could not dispense with any of it for the peace of the Church, and for the saving of souls ? Many poor things were said on their side, which would have made a less mild man than he was, lose patience. But he bore with all their trifling impertinences, and urged this question on them, Would they have held communion with the Church of God at the time of the Council of Nice, or not? If they should say, not, he would be less desirous of entering into communion with them; since he must say of the Church at that time, Let my soul be with theirs: if they said, they would ; then he was sure they could not reject the offers now made them, which brought episcopacy much lower than it was at that time. One of the most learned among them had prepared a speech full of quotations, to prove the difference between the primitive episcopacy and ours at present. I was then full of those matters; so I answered all his speech, and every one of his quotations, and turned the whole upon him with advantages that were too evident to be so much as denied by their own party : and it seemed the person himself thought so, for he did not offer a word of a reply. In conclusion, the presbyterians desired that the propositions might be given them in writing, for hitherto all had passed only verbally ; and words, they said, might be misunderstood, misrepeated, and denied. Leighton had no mind to do it; yet, since it was plausible to say they had nothing but words to shew to their brethren, he writ them down, and gave me the original, that I still have in my hands ; but suffered them to take as many copies of it as they pleased. At parting he desired that they would come to a final resolution, as soon as they could ; for he believed they would be called for by the next January to give their answer. And by the end of that month they were ordered to come to Edinburgh. I went thither at the same time upon Leighton’s desire.”

At the meeting in Edinburgh the Presbyterians declined to accept Leighton’s proposals, and refused to discuss the matter further. Soon after. Leighton resigned his see and retired into private life, hopeless of effecting any good among the conflicting parties. To some extent, however, his counsels of moderation appear to have weighed with the Government.

On September 3, 1672, came the second Indulgence. Like the first, it was strenuously opposed by the bishops. Practically, its aim was to increase the number of indulged ministers. In the shire of Renfrew there were to be as follows :—In Eaglesham, Messrs. James Hamilton and Donald Cargill ; in Paisley, Messrs. John Baird, William Eccles, and Anthony Shaw ; in Neilston, Messrs. Andrew Millar and James Wallace; in Kilmacolm, Messrs. Patrick Simpson and William Thomson; in Kilbarchan, Messrs. John Stirling and James Walkinshaw; and in Killallan, Messrs. James Hutchison and Alexander Jamieson. A Commission, of which Lord Cochrane, now Earl of Dundonald, was a member, was also empowered to allow outed ministers in the parishes of Lochwinnoch, Inchinnan, and Mearns, as soon as the incumbents of these could be provided for or translated to other livings. The outed ministers were divided among themselves as to whether the indulgence should be accepted or rejected. Finally, many of them fell in with it and returned to their old parishes or accepted appointments to others4 on consent of the rest of the ministers in the presbyteries in which the appointments chanced to lie.

Conventicles, however, were not suppressed ; nor were the Presbyterian ministers or the people induced to regard the curates or episcopacy with favour. The second Indulgence made matters worse than they were. The indulged ministers who had no fixed charges, unable to live in the places to which they were ordered to confine themselves, wandered up and down the country holding conventicles and preaching in vacant charges. Those of them who had fixed charges paid no attention to the conditions on which they were indulged, and were performing marriages and administering the sacraments of baptism and of the Lord’s Supper to persons who were not their parishioners. At the same time, numbers of them were refusing to give the ordinances of religion to any of their parishioners whom they suspected of not being of their own way of thinking, or of having had dealings with the curates. These things are abundantly shown by a statement of grievances given in by the Presbyteries of the diocese of Glasgow to the Synod on October 22, 1674, and by the Records of the Paisley Presbytery.

According to the statement of grievances, conventicles were held more publicly and avowedly than ever before. Those who kept them were indulged ministers, others who were not indulged, and men who had never been licensed by the established Presbyteries. Alexander Jamieson, late minister at Govan, held conventicles at Haggs every Sunday. In Paisley Presbytery, “ conventicles,” it is said, are “ kept in Eastwood by Mr. Hugh Smith, formerly minister there, who hath settled himself beside the church of Eastwood and constituted elders, administrates sacraments, and performs all the ministerial offices; also in the parish of Killallan Mr. James Wallace, who kept still conventicles there, till the indulged minister came in, and has now laid in his provision at Inchinnan, where he was some time minister, notwithstanding that he was confined to Neilston, and labours by all means, to break the ministry of the present incumbent there.” Mr. Anthony Shaw, as we have seen, was confined to Paisley, but he had preached at Knockdallen’s house in Calmonel and in the church at Ballantrae. “ Indulged ministers,” the curates alleged, “ keep not the rules given by the Council, but travel through the country, baptize, catechize, marry, administer the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to the people of our charge without testimonials from us, and some of them baptize all the children of neighbouring congregations.” Among those who are instanced as doing these things are the ministers of Eaglesham and Paisley, Mr. James Hutchison of Killallan, Mr. Simpson of Kilmacolm, and Mr. Stirling of Kilbarchan. Mr. John Baird and Mr. William Eccles, ministers of Paisley, are said to baptize children and marry persons from the Presbytery of Dumbarton. The indulged ministers are said “ to preach sedition ” and to pray to the same purpose. Among the three mentioned in this connection is Mr. Stirling of Kilbarchan. “ Heritors and elders generally refuse to join with conform minister,” it is said, “ in administrating discipline and collecting for the poor.” Other “ grievances ” were that diets of catechizing were not kept, but generally slighted; ministers in their visits to the sick were not admitted, and offering to examine, were denied, and that, even by some who, out of example of the recusancy of others, “ were atheistical,” and disowned ordinances altogether ; also, “ that sheriffs, bailies, magistrates of burghs when desired, did not concur to cause scandalous delinquents to give obedience to Church discipline.”

To turn to the Records of the Presbytery about this time. On November 3, 1669, the brethren were exhorted to diligent attendance in their respective charges, “ notwithstanding their great discouragement through the paucity of hearers.” Mr. George Birnie, the minister of Killallan, who was subsequently deposed, complained, on May 13, 1670, that “the ordinances were generally dishaunted [neglected] by his people since September last, that none had brought children to be baptized by him since then, that the people did not attend diets of examination, and that his session had deserted him, refusing to assist him in the exercise of discipline.” The reason why the ordinances were neglected he declared to be that “Mr. Fleming1 did entertain Mr. James Wallace, who had constantly preached in Barrochan.” Before his coming, the people, he declared, had been “ orderly.” On September 22, 1670, Mr. Fleming, the minister at Mearns, “ declared that the people did much withdraw from hearing and baptizing, and that he had no session. The fabric of the kirk was found to be in a ruinous condition.” When the Presbytery visited the parish of Houston, on April 22, 1671, the curate thereof declared “the kirk to be very ill kept [attended] and baptism to be withdrawn, and that he cannot well visit families in regard they do absent themselves.” Under date August 8, 1672, occurs the following: “ James Orr being summoned, called, and compearing not, the brethren considering the great hurt their discipline sustains by the non-concurrence of the indulged ministers in punishing of scandals, which, according to the custom and discipline of the Church, belongs to the cognizance of Presbyteries, therefore they refer this to the Archbishop and Synod for advice and orders.” Notwithstanding that several individuals had been referred to the sheriff, and that the sheriff had been written to and interviewed, and that he had promised to use his authority with the delinquents referred to him. it was reported to the Presbytery, on December 2, 1674, that he had done nothing. The following is the Presbytery’s minute : “ The brethren who were appointed to speak with the sheriff, report that he has done nothing yet in what was recommended to him by the Presbytery, and therefore the Moderator and Mr. Douglas were appointed to speak to the Archbishop thereanent, as also anent Mr. Cunningham’s conventicling in Greenock and Inverkip, and to report their diligence at the next diet. Likewise, the said brethren are appointed to acquaint the Archbishop with Mr. Wallace, his assistant, conventicling in the house of Barrochan.” A letter was obtained from the Archbishop to the sheriff, but as late as May 19, 1675, nothing had been done by the sheriff, and the Moderator was instructed to write to him for an answer to the Archbishop’s letter.

On July 14, 1675, “ John Maxwell petitioned the Presbytery to baptize his child, because the indulged minister of Paisley refused him the benefit.” “ The brethren considering this petition and an Act of Council ordaining the indulged ministers of Paisley not to proceed further against him, requested the ministers of Paisley to produce an extract of their process against him as it was inserted in their Session Book, and that against the next meeting of the Presbytery to the end that the brethren might have full information for their proceeding in that particular.” The indulged ministers of Paisley declined to acknowledge the authority of the Presbytery, and refused to give the extract required. A similar case is reported on the same day in respect to a marriage. The indulged minister of Neilston, Mr. Andrew Miller, refused to proclaim John Davidson in order to marriage with Jean Lochhead. Mr. Miller seems to have paid as little attention to the Presbytery as the indulged ministers of Paisley did.

The indulged ministers, indeed, appear to have been emboldened by the steps taken by the Government to meet them, and were in no mood to co-operate with the curates or to live on terms of amity with them. They were zealous, but not always wise, and, though excusable, cannot be held altogether blameless for what followed. The best excuse that can be made for them is that they had to do with a Government which was unable to discern the signs of the times.

By the year 1677, conventicles had become so numerous in all parts of the country that, on August 7, Commissioners were appointed in almost every shire and charged with the task of suppressing them. The Commissioner for the shire of Renfrew was Lord Ross, who was Commissioner also for the nether ward of Clydesdale. The amplest powers were given to these Commissioners. They were authorised to search for all persons within their respective districts who withdrew from the public ordinances in their parish churches, who kept conventicles in houses or in fields, or disorderly baptisms and marriages. They were allowed to delegate their powers to as many as they were sure would zealously carry out their instructions, and wei’e encouraged by the promise of one-half of the fines they levied. Every person was to be compelled to give a bond and to produce surety that not only he himself, but also his dependents, would frequent the parish church, not go to conventicles, and not aid or abet in any way intercommuned persons, under a penalty to be fixed by the Commissioner or his delegate. The Commissioners were entitled to call to their assistance the military and legal authorities, who were obliged to help them to the uttermost of their power.

When the Proclamation and the Bond were circulated in the West, they caused a universal feeling of alarm. The noblemen, gentlemen, and heritors “ reckoned it,” to use the words of Wodrow, “ the hardest thing that could be, that they should bind and oblige themselves for those who were not in their power, and be required to do impossibilities : they alleged that many of the Privy Councillors themselves could not safely bind themselves for their own families, and how could country gentlemen be bound for such multitudes under such heavy penalties.” Meetings of the noblemen and heritors were held in Ayrshire and in Lanarkshire, at which the Bond was unanimously refused. The Earl of Loudon, who presided over the Ayrshire meeting, suggested as an alternative that greater liberties should be allowed the Presbyterians.

The Commission was dated August 7. On October 17, a letter, in which the counties of Ayr and Renfrew are said to have been “ frequently represented to be the most considerable seminaries of rebellion in this kingdom,” was addressed by the Council to the Earls of Glencairn and Dundonald and Lord Ross, directing them to assemble the heritors of the two shires of Ayr and Renfrew at Irvine, on November 2, there “ to deliberate upon and take such effectual course in the said shires, and for quieting the same in obedience to His Majesty’s laws as may prevent the necessary and severe courses that must be taken for securing the peace in those parts.” The meeting of the heritors, a list of those who were to be summoned to it having been sent by the Council, met and deliberated. The conclusions they arrived at were, that it was not within the compass of their power to suppress conventicles, that in their opinion toleration of Presbyterians was the only proper expedient to settle and preserve the peace and to cause conventicling to cease, and lastly, that it was their humble motion that the extent of toleration should be no less than that which had been vouchsafed to the kingdoms of England and Ireland. When these findings were given in to the three noblemen who had summoned the meeting, they declined to receive them, and reported to the Council that, after consideration of the whole affair, the meeting had reported that it was not in their power to quiet the disorders.

Towards the end of October a report was spread in Edinburgh, chiefly by the Earl of Nithsdale, that the west was about to rise in arms. To his certain knowledge, he is alleged to have said, about three thousand men were in the habit of attending conventicles, of whom a thousand were as well mounted and armed as any in the country. It was also reported that seven thousand horses had been procured from Ireland and distributed among the disaffected, and that supplies of arms and ammunition were concealed in many private houses. The reports were false, but the Government at once took the alarm.1 Orders were issued to put the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling in a state of defence. The Guards, both horse and foot, were ordered to assemble at Stirling, and the Highland chieftains were requested to keep their men in readiness to march to Stirling, where they would be supplied with arms and ammunition. On November 19 the Commissioners of the Militia met at Edinburgh, where, on the 26th, some four companies of soldiers were ordered to be quartered. The Highlanders assembled at Stirling on January 24,

1678, and two days later the whole army, accompanied by a vast body of stragglers, was at Glasgow. There were about 10,000 men, horse and foot, with four pieces of artillery, an ample supply of amunition, and vast numbers of spades, shovels, and mattocks. They had also “ good store of iron shackles, as if they were to bring back vast numbers of slaves; and thumb-locks, as they call them, to make their examinations and trials.”

On January 28, the Committee of Council who were to accompany the army to give, as Burnet says, the necessary orders, had before them the sheriffs or their deputes of the shires of Roxburgh, Stirling, Lanark, Renfrew, Wigton, Dumfries, and Kirkcudbright, whom they instructed to assemble the whole heritors of their counties for the subscribing of the Bond and then to proceed to disarm the whole of their districts, including the militia troops. The arms taken in the county of Renfrew were to be sent to the Castle of Dumbarton.

The host began its march westward on February 2. By the seventh of the month they were scattered all over Renfrew, Cunningham, and Kyle, seizing and plundering wherever they could. The Master of Ross and the Lieutenant-Colonel of Atholl’s regiment are mentioned as being in Paisley on the twenty-fifth of the month, when they were entertained, along with other officers, at the expense of the town, by Bailie Greenlees, who also gave “ diverse barrells of ale ” to the soldiers, and 85 5s. Id. to the quartermaster and officers “ to put the regiment by from quartering thirtie days.” The following day, the same bailie entertained the Marquess of Atholl, the Earl of Perth, Lord Charles Murray, and other gentlemen and their followers. The cost to the town for the entertainments for the two days was 158 3s. Od. Scots. Probably the money was well spent. Both burghs and county had to raise money for the troops quartered upon them, and to support the militia. They had also to put up with the insolence of the Highlanders and standing forces, and to submit to be oppressed and plundered by them.

A company of troops appears to have been stationed at Renfrew, under the command of Captain Windram. Sir George Nicolson, who commanded a party of Highlanders in the shire, so terrified Lady Houstoun that she fell ill of a fever, of which, in a few days, she died. In January, February, and March, 1678, the house of Maxwell of Williamwood, in the parish of Cathcart, was plundered by the Highland host. In the month of June, or July, it was visited by a party of soldiers under the command of one Scot of Bonniton, and what the Highlanders had left, Scot and his men carried off—the remainder of the household furniture, chimneys, pots, pans, crooks, tongs, beds, bedclothes, and everything else that was portable. “ So mad and violent were they,” says Wodrow, who knew Williamwood, “in their spite and rage, that they cut and mangled, with their swords and other instruments, the beds and other things they could not carry off, and cut down and spoiled much of the young timber about the house ; so insolent were they that finding a stack of bear, reckoned to contain about twenty bolls, which they could not get transported, they set fire to it once and again, but being wet it did not kindle. They carried their spoil to Rutherglen and there sold it.”1 But, in spite of this usage, which there are, unfortunately, too many reasons for believing was repeated in other parts, it would appear that in Renfrewshire, as in Lanarkshire and elsewhere, the troops met with little, if any, resistance, the people quietly submitting and agreeing to take the oath of allegiance and to make the declaration.

Towards the end of May, 1683, the Magistrates and Town Council of Paisley were summoned to appear before the Lords of Justiciary in Glasgow on the twelfth and thirteenth days of the following month, to answer the serious charge of resetting Hugh Fulton, James Sprewl, and Christopher Strang. Sprewl belonged to Uplaw, in the parish of Neilston. Christopher Strang was an apothecary, carrying on business in Paisley. Fulton does not appear to be elsewhere mentioned than in the summons. The Town Council resolved to make the matter a town’s business, and to throw the expense of the defence upon the town’s funds. They resolved, also, to send William Fyfe and the Town Clerk, before the day fixed for the trial, to Glasgow to “ make moyan ” with the bishop to be the town’s friend, and to pay their expenses and any disbursements they might have to make. They were furnished in all with 200 Scots and “ four guineas of gold,” part of which they spent in making “ moyan,” in other words, in bribing the Archbishop and the Clerk of the Circuit Court. No more is heard of the matter in the Records of the Town Council. Apparently the Archbishop and the Clerk of the Circuit Court had contrived to get the charge passed over.

During the month following, many other residents in the county were summoned before the Court. Most of them were imprisoned for rebellion, reset of rebels, and other treasonable practices. Their imprisonment is not always a proof of their guilt. In many cases it is simply a proof that they were suspected by the Government or were in some way objectionable to it. Among them were John Porterfield of Duchal, James Hamilton of Aikenhead, James Dunlop of Househill, George Houstoun of Johnstone, Alexander Cunningham of Craigends, Sir John Shaw of Greenock, Sir John Maxwell of Nether Pollok, Sir John Alexander of Haggs, and about a hundred^ others in the parishes of Cathcart, Eaglesham, Mearns, Neilston, and Lochwinnoch. Maxwell of Williamwood and John Maxwell, younger, of Bogton, in the parish of Cathcart, were tried and condemned for being at Bothwell Bridge, though the former was not there, as was afterwards admitted.

On January 30, 1684, Mr. William Eccles, one of the indulged ministers of Paisley, had his licence revoked for breach of confinement and for not observing the day of the King’s Restoration on May 29, 1683. He was ordered either to find caution that he would not preach again or to leave the country.

In the meantime, the suspicions of the Government had fallen upon one of the most conspicuous of its own agents, Mr. Ezekiel Montgomery, the Sheriff Depute of Renfrewshire. Bold, impudent, and cruel, he had borne himself in the shire like a swashbuckler, and had imprisoned and threatened any from whom he thought there was a chance of obtaining money. According to Wodrow, he was particularly anxious to obtain possession of the estate of Williamwood, and had done what he could to provoke Maxwell, its owner, to a breach of the law. In 1683, afraid that Maxwell might slip out of his hands, he went to Williamwood and demanded from him the loan of two thousand two hundred merks—a sum, he alleged, which the Government was owing him, and of which he was then in great need, in order to meet his engagements. Maxwell refused to lend the money, knowing that, if lent, it would never be repaid. Whereupon, the sheriff plainly told him that, if he persisted in his refusal, he would inform against him, and prove that which would cost him double the money he was now asking. Maxwell knew the man he had to deal with, and sought refuge in Ireland. The year before this happened, the bailies and Town Council of Paisley issued a warrant for Montgomery’s apprehension. They had asked for the production of the letters of horning and poinding under which he had “ poinded Baillie Maxwell,” and in reply he had insolently called them “ ane pack of beasts and simples.” These, or other of his misdeeds, appear to have been reported to the Government. Investigations were made, and on February 11, 1684, he was suddenly arrested and imprisoned. The Privy Council resolved to proceed against him on twenty-four charges of malversation, oppression, and extortion at the Circuit Court, and ordered him to find caution for his appearance under a penalty of 1000 sterling. Unable to obtain sureties, he was sent to prison. Two years afterwards, he was set free on condition of informing against heritors who had been engaged in the recent rebellions ; but, instead of fulfilling the condition, he fled to Ireland, where he became a preacher, and did not venture to return to Scotland till after the Revolution.

On May 5, 1684, the list of fugitives, the publication of which had from time to time been postponed, was issued. It contained the names of several hundred individuals, over fifty of whom belonged to the shire of Renfrew. Two were from the burgh of Renfrew, three were from Greenock, and three were from Paisley ; but the majority belonged to the parishes of Eastwood, Cathcart, Eaglesham, and Mearns. The prisons were at this time crowded, and, in order to relieve them, many of those who were incarcerated were as “ an act of clemency,” sent to the plantations in America.

On the morning of Tuesday, June 10, in this year, a distinguished wedding party appeared in the Abbey Church at Paisley. The bride was Lady Jane Cochrane, and the bridegroom Colonel John Graham of Claver-house. The grandson of an Earl, he was about to marry the daughter of an Earl. He had ridden down from Edinburgh to Paisley on the previous Saturday, through a perfectly tranquil country. At Glasgow he had left word where he might be found. On Monday the marriage contract was signed, and now the party were met to assist at the wedding. Among those present, besides the old Earl of Dundonald, the bride’s father, were Lord Montgomery, Lord Ross, John and William Cochrane of Ochiltree, sons of the fugitive Sir John. The bride’s mother, whose sympathies were strongly in favour of the Covenanters, was not present. The officiating minister was one of the conforming ministers of Paisley. But that same morning, either before or after the marriage—some say just before the benediction was pronounced— a summons came to Lord Ross—some say to Claverhouse himself—ordering him to take his troopers and proceed at once in pursuit of a conventicle which had been discovered on Sunday the 8th at Black Loch, near Slamannan. Ross rode off. But three weeks before Claverhouse had written that it was “not in the power of love nor any other folly to alter my loyalty,”1 and scarcely taking time to bid farewell to his bride, he called out his Life Guards, that were quartered near, and all that night and next day he rode over muirs and morasses in search of an enemy he never saw. On Thursday he returned to his bride at Paisley.

On November 24, 1683, a new Committee, to be called the Secret Committee, was instituted, to coerce more rigorously the people of the Western shires, or to accomplish among them what the Court of High Commission, the Privy Council, and the Court of Justiciary had hitherto failed to do. The members, who were all nominated by the Duke of York, were the Chancellor (Aberdeen), the Lord Treasurer (Queensberry), the Lord Privy Seal (Atholl), the Earl of Perth, the Lord Clerk Register (Sir Thomas Craigie), the Lord Advocate, and Drummond of Lundin, afterwards Earl of Melfort, who was sent down to act as one of the judges, and whose zeal and baseness are attested by the letters he wrote to the Duke of Queensberry from Glasgow.

Drummond, or to call him by his later title, Melfort, did not reach Glasgow until October 2, 1684, when he wrote to Queensberry his impressions of the people in the West, and the resolution of “ our Juncto.” “There are many women here,” he wrote, “ resets and absentees from the church : them we are resolved to fall upon, and to take them wherever we can find them, to send them away to the plantations. The instructions are ill worded, I know not how it came, for they say, send to the plantations not exceeding 300 men, and say nothing of women in that instruction ; but I interpret it that we might send as many women as we pleased, for women, by another article, were to be used as men [were] when in the same fault. The ministers being at a Synod, we have kept them till to-morrow, that we can get an account of the knowledge from them upon oath ; and if they be not prepared, they shall have a day longer. An account of the probations in the Porteous and Commissioners’ rolls is to be given, and the offenders classed by Sir William Paterson, the Advocate Depute, and Thomas Gordon.”

Melfort had no intention of seeing justice done. His whole aim was to exact from the shires and from those who were brought before the court as much money as he could, in order that he might increase his favour with the King. The Duke of Hamilton objected to the plan of compelling the shires to make offers of cess, “ Because,” he said, “ it was hard to expect that the innocent should pay for other people’s guilt, and that it was hard to make distinctions of shires why they should be distinguished from the northern shires; ” and refused to attend the court on the first day of Melfort’s appearance at it.

Before coming down to Scotland Melfort had marked out three men whom he intended to deprive of either their estates or their lives. These were Stewart of Blackhall, Alexander Porterfield, and Maxwell of Nether Pollok. Blackhall, who had friends in high quarters, somehow heard of his intentions, and got his friends to intercede with the King both for himself and for Duchal and Pollok, his relatives; and a month before Melfort arrived in Glasgow the Earl of Moray, Secretary for Scotland, wrote to Queensberry that he had received instructions from the King to write to his Lordship and to “my Lord Chancellor, to let you know that he [Blackhall] is a gentleman of whose loyalty and fidelity to His Majesty’s service he is ‘ verry mutch assured,5 and that your Lordship will please to take notice of him as such in any of his just concerns.” As to Pollok and Duchal, Moray requested that he might be furnished with a true state of their case. Blackhall he describes on his own part as “ a gentilman of ane anjent and loyall faemely, of good and loyale principles,” and as “ my relatione, whos persone and faemely I uishe ueall.” On October 4, Melfort wrote to Queensberry that he was informed that Blackhall, among others, notwithstanding all his promises, had refused to take the Test, and Queensberry appears to have complained to Moray, who replied, October 23, 1684, that he was confident that the information about Blackballs refusing to take the Test must be a mistake : “ For I am sure,” he wrote, “ he towk it before he came hear at the last circuitts.”1 The Secretary appears to have been mistaken. Melfort writes on October 7, “ Blackhall . . . I called for, and both to his friends and to himself told my mind. He excuses himself, and protests to do anything that may recover that step.” If he had already taken the oath, he would surely have said so. Melfort goes on to add: “ But I am afraid of these indifferent men, that they would fain hold meat in their mouths and blow, for his chaplain was a fanatic, as I am informed. Since he put him away, he hath none other, and his sons are boarded at a fanatic’s house in town. Of this I shall make most particular inquiry, that I may inform your Lordship.”

Melfort and his agents pushed on their work with all speed, gathering information, arresting whom they thought fit, classifying the accused, and bringing in witnesses. It was resolved to insist not only upon the Test, but also upon the signing of the Bond, by which heritors made themselves responsible for the conduct, not merely of their families, but of all their dependents as well. On October 10, Melfort wrote : “ Now my tribulation is begun, for this day I have been fighting from the beginning to the end ; but at last our matters are as well as could be expected, for if we get no obedience, we show our authority, aud that the King is not afraid of them; for all who have refused the Bond we have in prison to teach them better manners. The most of them are indicted for reset and converse, and them we are resolved to send to Edinburgh to be tried ; the others, if there be no probation, and if they acquit themselves on oath, we shall dishorse, disarm, and put under caution to compeir when called. However, having other shires to come in to us, it was certainly fit to be peremptory with the first who were disobedient, amongst which number, now in prison, are Porterfield of Duchal and Maxwell of Pollok ; so at least the King will be paid for his fines. I am sure all of them, of whom Greenock is one, ought not to go lightly out of the Government’s hand. This night all the witnesses against Duchal, for whom we sent out a party, are come in ; and I hope by the next to give your Lordship a full account what is in that matter ; for the fugitive himself is taken whom he harboured . . . There is another laird, on whose land he was taken, who, I hear, will not take the Test; he will be in a ‘ fyne takeing.’”

Of the efficacy of his methods Melfort had no doubt, and urged strongly that they should be followed. “I am sure,” he wrote, October 13, “if our example be followed by those who stay as magistrates in this country after us, we shall see fanaticism as great a monster as the Rhinoceros ; but if any methods contrary or more indulgent follow, all will be irreparably lost.” He hoped, however, that too much would not be expected of him ; for “ if we were to enquire into all the informations,” he writes, “ that come to our hands, there would be work for a diligent judge for twelve months, so guilty all this country is ; therefore I am hopeful impossibilities will not be expected. The gross of commons we shall judge by ourselves, or by the ordinary judges, to whom for security we will give assessors. This day we have shown them some example of judging the faulty of this place.”

He was still hopeful of getting Stewart of Blackhall into his net. The following show's the terrorism he was exercising. “ There are come to me two commissions from two of our prisoners—the first is from the Laird of Duchal, who, I find, upon the receiving of his indictment, is extremely alarmed, and would gladly throw himself upon the King’s mercy, if he could have any assurance that something could be preserved to his family, and his life saved. Blackhall’s nephew is his grandchild, and to succeed him, so Blackhall is now extremely concerned for him. I would give no answer nor condescend to a delay of his trial, lest that might have made others believe it was not in earnest; but I beg your Lordship to know if it may not be better to take a confession from him, and give him some assurance, for he is content to be confined during life to any place, parish or country. This in my opinion, considering the depositions, and the fickleness of this country witnesses, might not be the worst; and the method I would have it in would be, upon the day of trial, a judicial confession at the bar, and coming in the King’s mercy. This, with the other affair I am to mention, will require the speediest answer that can be. The other commission was from Maxwell of Pollok, who is guilty of reset and converse, as all in this country are. He is content to bind himself to leave the King’s dominions, and not to return without leave ; to put his estate in men’s hands of unquestioned loyalty, and, in time of his being abroad, to find caution not to do anything prejudicial to the King or his Government; over and above all which he is content to pay a fine, and for that offers 10,000, but I think would be glad to come off for 20,000. If your Lordship be for this, it can be done here ; if not, it can be remitted to Edinburgh, as ye please. I must again beg for a speedy answer, for such examples may be of great consequence : and if the King fine all in their circumstance proportionately, he may have 20,000 sterling from this country.”

In a letter written on the night of October 15, Melfort returns to his method of procedure, and illustrates its effectiveness for his purpose by an instance drawn from the county of Renfrew. “ The good effect of that kind of procedure,” he writes, “ is evident from what passed this day with the smaller heritors of Renfrew, who being more than 300, as I could guess, the rolls not being yet called, we, after having spoken to them, ordered the Sheriff Depute and Clerk of that shire to convene them and bring them back to us. When they came, it was thought fit to thank all who had taken the Bond and Test, to assure them of the continuance and protection of the Government, and to give them leave to go home. But of such as had refused, six of the most obstinate had summonses delivered in their hands at the bar, and the oath of allegiance offered to them, and they by good luck refused it. So the guard was called to carry them away, when there rose a murmur amongst the rest cto see if they could be allowed to take the Bond and Test to-morrow, which was granted, and they appointed to meet as they did that day ; and in the meantime that none of them should depart the town upon their highest peril, and our six blades sent to limbo before them.”

“I have this day,” he writes on October 18, “given orders to begin, by which I shall show the state of these counties, so as I dare say it will have something of labour in it. . . . Duchal appeared at the bar, and the diet was continued till Wednesday, at which time I shall manage it so as his estate shall be the King’s, or it shall be remitted to Edinburgh. This night Poog [Pollok] Maxwell’s estate is at the King’s disposal, for I managed the matter so with Blackhall, that I made him believe that Poog would be hanged. The man was terribly amazed and frighted. The story would be too long, but the short of it is, I caused call him this night, Duke Hamilton being gone to Hamilton, and then gave him assurance of life, and questioned him upon his reset; and he confessed it with that joy that I never saw mortal in greater, and was so fond of the King’s letter allowing our procedure that he read it most attentively to himself, and fell on rallieing (rallying) and laughing. A man to have got an estate might have been merry, but to lose so good an estate was no cause of much joy. The confession is full and we resolve to proceed to sentence and then to delay pronouncing (after we find the thing proven) till we come to Edinburgh, that the Council mention the quota, for that’s according to our instructions, and it’s good to make things sure, and not to lose time needlessly.”

On October 20, Melfort’s stay in Glasgow was nearly at an end, and he wrote to Queensberry, saying, “To judge every greater heritor is not fit for us, and the absents, who were only cited for withdrawing, are not worth our stay ; and I hope all things else shall be done, and the King something the richer if he please to take what we shall put in his power, or bring to the Council, that they may do it: for Pollok Maxwell, Craigens, younger and older, Houstoun of Johnstone, Greenock, and one other whose name I remember not, are already at the King’s mercy as to their fortunes, and Duchal’s estate, I am hopeful, is in no better condition. Blackhall has been here just now commending Poog’s [Pollok’s] (I know not how to spell his name, and so do it in several ways by mistake) ingenuity, and I told him I looked on him, as on most west country men of his opinions, to be most disingenuous ; he should otherwise have been a material witness against Duchal. But the thing I am resolved on is a knack I thought on this morning. If Duchal, after reading his indictment, confess, well; if he stand his trial, as I told your Lordship, we will not insist, though it’s what no soul knows ; but we will desert that diet, and in the room give him a new indictment by a herald and trumpet, to show the people that we are not to leave him ; as other ways they might judge, and so think all had been brag, and no more ; and this my Lord Justice Clerk likes very well, and he being one of the Court, the indictment can have all the formality, for it’s too good a fortune to hazard upon a rash trial.”

In his letter to Queensberry, dated October 22, Melfort gives an account of what had been done with the men from Renfrewshire and how his trick had succeeded with Duchal.

“We are now,” he writes, “ upon processes, that being our last work, save leaving the absents by Commission to be pursued, and their fines levied. In our processes we have good luck, for this day has secured the King Maxwell of Pollok’s estate by sentence, at least what the King pleases of it.

: . .We had more difficulty how to manage Duchal’s process, it being criminal ; but we got it well by keeping our intention most secret, for I never told any but my Lord Justice Clerk; so they, not knowing that we were immediately to proceed, were contented to do anything. So he has confessed all judicially, and we have continued the diet to the third Monday of November at Edinburgh. This had many difficulties in it by reason of our instructions, but all’s as it ought to be, secure to a tittle. This afternoon Craigens, old and young, and thirteen heritors, small and great, more are brought into the King’s mercy as to their fortunes, or have refused the oath of allegiance and are to be banished. None of all who have refused both Bond and Test are like to escape our libels and the interrogations we put; but interrogating is a particular art, not to be learned anywhere else.”

That is the last we hear of Melfort, and his work in Glasgow, in October, 1684. He went to Edinburgh and afterwards to London. Duchal, Pollok and the two Craigens were summoned to Edinburgh, when Duchal was forfeited and imprisoned. His estates went to Melfort, and he himself came to be known as “ Melfort’s martyr.” Pollok and the Craigens, with many others from the shire, were heavily fined.

But, though he had left the country, Melfort was still on the Secret Committee, and had sufficient influence to get the methods he had adopted in dealing with the non-conforming, and of which he was so proud, continued.

More troops were drafted into the West, and the measures adopted became, under his baleful influence, if anything more severe than before. On December 8, a commission was issued to William Hamilton, laird of Orbiston, one of the most zealous of Melfort’s agents, to raise two hundred Highlanders in the shire of Dumbarton, and to use them in any part of that shire and of the shire of Renfrew for the apprehension of rebels, fugitives, skulking persons and their resetters. Those whom they apprehended were to be delivered to the nearest commissioned officer, to be sent on by him to the tolbooth of Edinburgh. Those who resisted capture they might wound or kill at their discretion.

Charles II. died February 6, 1685. Three days before he died, two men, John Park and James Algie, were executed at the Cross of Paisley by sentence of the Commissioner of the shire. The two men lived at Kennishead in the parish of Eastwood, where they were joint tenants of a piece of land. Algie was a conformist and heard the episcopal minister till a few weeks before his death, when owing to the persuasion of Park he ceased to attend the parish church. For some reason they gave up the land they held. A letter was then sent to Cochrane of Ferguslie, bailie of the regality of Darnley, in which they were living, informing him that they held rebellious principles and disowned the King’s authority. This was on a Sunday, and on his arrival the bearer of the letter was placed in close custody until the forenoon service was over, when a party of soldiers were ordered out, who went to Kennishead and seized Park and Algie as they were about to begin family worship, and carried them down to Paisley. The Court met on Tuesday, when they were tried and condemned in the forenoon and executed about two in the afternoon. Both of them refused to take the Test Oath. “ If to save our lives,” they said, “ we must take the Test, and the abjuration will not save us, we will take no oaths at all.”

Orbiston was present at their trial, and was responsible both- for their execution and its unseemly haste.

Soon after the accession of James II., a new commission was issued for the western and southern shires. It was addressed to Colonel Douglas of the Life Guards, and upon it were named, for the shire of Renfrew, in addition to Douglas, the Earl of Glencairn, Lords Cochrane and Ross, Hamilton of Orbiston, Houstoun, younger of that ilk, John Shaw, younger of Greenock, and Sir Archibald Stewart of Blackhall. They were authorised to seek out, apprehend and punish all rebels and fugitives in the county, and their aiders and abettors. General Drummond was sent west to harass the county, and to assist them.

The commission is dated March 27, 1685. On the tenth of the month, Hamilton of Aikenhead had been liberated on a bond of 2,000 sterling, to appear when called. Sir John Maxwell of Nether Pollok had been liberated on a bond of 10,000, and again in September on another of 8,000. On March 22, John Porterfield of Duchal and his son, Alexander, had petitioned the Council for liberty. The first was refused. The son was let out. But on July 23, Duchal was allowed the liberty of the town of Edinburgh. On September 11, and again in November, to re-enter on January 1, the laird of Craigens was allowed out on a bond of 12,000 merks. On the other hand, David Paterson of Eaglesham was, on November 26, banished. Thomas Jackson, in the parish of Eastwood, who had been banished to West Flanders, where he was sold as a slave and engaged in the wars against the Spaniards, having escaped and returned to Glasgow, was there identified and treated with great cruelty.

Upon May 1, the Earl of Argyll left Holland on his ill-fated expedition, to make a diversion in favour of the Duke of Monmouth in Scotland, and to deliver the country from its oppressors. The Government appears to have been fully informed of his intention and movements, and preparations were made to meet him. In Renfrewshire, the militia were called out in the middle of the month, and placed under the command of Lord Cochrane, the “ captain to the Sheriffdom of Renfrew troop.” On the twenty-seventh of the month, the Earl published his declaration at Tarbet, where he was joined by Sir Duncan Campbell and others, with about a thousand men. Sir John Cochrane, the fugitive rebel, was already with him. The Isle of Bute was seized, and a landing was effected near the kirk of Greenock. The landing was opposed by Lord Cochrane, who, on the thirtieth, had been ordered by the Earl of Dumbarton, to march with the gentry of the shire and a party of dragoons, under Cornet Innes, to Ardgowan, but his men were driven back. Some of them, it is said, did not draw rein till they reached Paisley. An attempt to persuade the people of Greenock to join in defence of religion and liberty failed. Some forty bolls of meal were seized, and then upon a false alarm, the Earl’s troops, which were under the command of Sir John Cochrane, fled to their ships, and sailed over to Cowal, where Sir John declared it was folly to attempt the lowlands as yet.

The Earl continued to hover for some time, with his forces, between Inveraray and Dumbarton, fearing, on the one hand, the King’s frigates, and, on the other, the King’s troops, who were now marching to attack him. At last, after many misfortunes, he reached Kilpatrick, where about 500 of his men, under the command of Sir John Cochrane, crossed the Clyde into Renfrewshire. Here they- were met by a troop of militia, which Sir John Cochrane, and Sir Patrick Hume of Polwart, who was with him, had no difficulty in driving off. Other troops, to the number of about 150, were brought across the Clyde, but the Earl and the rest refused to cross.

After refreshing his men with provisions intended for the King’s troops, Sir John Cochrane and those with him resolved to march south into England. Meantime, the militia had been strongly reinforced and were preparing to attack him. Dividing his little force into three troops, one of which he gave to Polwart and another to Major Henderson, Sir John Cochrane led the third against the militia, who immediately fled and were seen no more till the afternoon. A body of troops and militia, under the command of Lord Ross and Captain Clelland, was not so easily disposed of. Terms of surrender were offered, but Sir John Cochrane refused to accept them, and moved his men into a “ little fold-dyke.” The royalist troops then made a furious attack, in which Captain Clelland was slain. Lord Ross renewed the attack and then drew off After nightfall, when Sir John Cochrane’s men marched out of their “ fold-dyke,” with the intention of escaping, they found that Lord Ross had retired over the hills to Kilmarnock. The affair was fought at Muirdykes in the parish of Lochwinnoch.

Meantime the Earl, after seeing Sir John Cochrane cross the Clyde, rode about a mile to the east, towards Glasgow, accompanied by Sir Duncan Campbell, Major Fullarton, Captain Duncanson and his son John, and then, having dismissed Sir Duncan and the Captain to raise a new levy if possible, went to the house of one who had formerly been his servant, expecting to be sheltered, but, on the door being opened, he was peremptorily denied admission. This forced him to make for the Clyde. He and Major Fullarton then crossed over by the ford to Inchinnan. On arriving there, they were stopped by a number of soldiers. Fullarton tried to entertain them until the Earl, who had turned his horse up the water, could get away; but a countryman coming up, told the commander of the soldiers that the other did not belong to that part of the country, and had parted with his horse and taken to the water. Upon this, the soldiers were ordered to go after him. Fullarton then offered to yield himself rather than that the countryman, his guide, as he called the Earl, should come to harm. The commander agreed, but no sooner had the Major given himself up than the soldiers were sent in pursuit of the Earl, who was habited in mean attire. He was overtaken and overpowered, and carried to Renfrew, and thence to Glasgow and Edinburgh, where he was beheaded at the Market Cross, on June 30, 1685.

The King’s intention to obtain the repeal of all penal laws against the Catholics was well known. But when Parliament met, April 29, 1686, it was found to be in no mood to grant the slightest concession to them, and the draft of an Act by which they were to be allowed the exercise of their religion in private, was withdrawn by the Government, lest it should fail to carry.

Foiled in this way, the King resolved to give effect to his intention by what he regarded as his royal prerogative, and in a letter, dated August 21, he announced to the Council his pleasure that his Roman Catholic subjects should be allowed the free private exercise of their religion, and that he had ordered a chapel to be fitted up in the Palace of Holy rood for the celebration of worship according to the Roman rite.

In February, 1687, he caused a fresh proclamation to be made. In this it was set forth that His Majesty, in virtue of his sovereign authority and absolute power, which all his subjects were bound to obey without reserve, gave permission to the Presbyterians to meet in their private houses and hear all such ministers as were willing to accept the indulgence thus offered, to Quakers to meet in their appointed places of worship, and to Catholics to celebrate their religious services in houses or chapels. But field conventicles were forbidden. Roman Catholics were not to preach in the fields, nor to seize Protestant churches, nor to make processions through the streets of royal burghs. Liberty was granted to them to have chapels ; all penal laws against them, and all civil and political disabilities on account of their religion, were suspended and dispensed with. The only oath to be required of all was one in which they were to swear that His Majesty was the rightful and supreme power in the kingdom, and that it was not lawful to rise in arms against him.

The Presbyterian ministers declined to take the benefit of this indulgence. The King, therefore, in conformity with the policy he was pursuing in England, issued a proclamation, in the month of July, by which all the laws against non-conformity were rescinded. Conventicles, however, were still prohibited. The Presbyterians, though somewhat suspicious of the King’s intentions, accepted the “liberty.” Many ministers who had been living abroad, returned and resumed their functions. None stood out except Renwick and his Cameronian followers.

In August, the Presbyterian ministers met in Edinburgh, and held a “ General Meeting,” in which, besides laying down a number of rules for the guidance of themselves and their congregations in the favourable circumstances in which they were now placed, they drew up an address to the King, in which they thanked him for his clemency and promised to maintain entire loyalty, both in doctrine and practice, according to the known principles of true religion as contained in the Confession of Faith.

On August 3, perhaps the very day on which the “ General Meeting ” was being held in Edinburgh, the conforming Presbytery of the county met in Paisley and conducted their business as usual. They met again on Wednesday, September 7, 1687. This is the last of their meetings of which there is any record. There were present:—John Fullarton, Paisley ; Francis Ross, Renfrew; William Stewart, Inchinnan ; William Fisher, Eastwood ; David Rob, Erskine; John Taylor, Paisley ; Archibald Wilson, Kilbarchan ; David Mitchell, Greenock ; James Gadderer, Kilmacolm ; John Nisbet, Houston; William Cunningham, Lochwinnoch; Thomas Rutherford, Killallan ; John Keneir, Neilston ; and Hendrie Henderson, Inverkip. Mr. James Inglis, of Mearns, was absent. Some of the members had recently come to the Presbytery. Mr. Keneir was instituted on May 13, 1687 ; Mr. Nisbet on September 1, 1686 ; Mr. Inglis on May 22,1686 ; and Mr. Thomas Rutherford on May 18,1686, in succession to Mr. Taylor, who had been translated to the second charge at Paisley, November 10, 1686. The business was transacted as usual. There is no note of change in the Record. On October 5, the Minute Book was submitted to the Synod of Glasgow, and attested.

The next minute in the Record carries us back to the month of July, though it was probably not inserted till the month of December, and relates, not to the curates, but to the old Presbyterian ministers. Its significance is apparent. “After the libertie in July, 1687,” so it runs, “by the appointment of the Generali meeting at Edinburgh in August in the year foresaid, the Presbitries of Glasgow, Paisley and Dumbrittone did joyne together and made up one Presbitrie by reason of the paucitie of ministers which continued untill December of the said year. The actings of which are to be found in the Presbitrie Book of Glasgow.”

During the interval mentioned, the three united Presbyteries appear to have been chiefly occupied with the business of obtaining ministers for the various Presbyterian congregations in Glasgow and in settling them. On October 11, they invited Mr. James Wodrow, father of the historian, to come to Glasgow, to assist the ministers there by preaching, but more especially to take charge of the young men who were preparing for the ministry. He accepted the invitation, and was ordained, August 21, 1688, by Mr. R. Rodger

in the South Meeting House “ as minister of Glasgow, but only for such time as he should not have an open door for access to be Professor of Theology in the University.”

Meantime, the Presbytery of Paisley had separated from those of Glasgow and Dumbarton, and had met in Paisley on December 27, 1687. Its numbers were sadly attenuated. Only four of the old Presbyterian ministers were now alive, and it was they who met and constituted the Presbytery. They were: Hugh Peebles, at Lochwinnoch ; James Hutcheson, at Killallan; Patrick Symson, at Renfrew ; and Matthew Crawford, at Eastwood. Mr. Peebles was appointed moderator. The chief piece of business was the call of Mr. John Glen, probationer, to Mearns. The curates had only recently appointed Mr. Inglis to be minister there. There can be little doubt, therefore, that in Mearns there was a congregation meeting elsewhere than in the Parish Church, and that it was from this body that Mr. Glen received his call. Though Mr. Hugh Peebles and his companions called themselves “ the Presbytery of Paisley,” they had as yet no legal standing as a Presbytery of the Church of Scotland. The curates of the parishes within the bounds of the Presbytery still formed the Presbytery of Paisley in the Church of Scotland as by law established, and were still in possession of its benefices.

On November 5, 1688, William Prince of Orange anchored his fleet in Torbay, and was soon on his way to London. His arrival was everywhere hailed in Scotland as the arrival of a deliverer. Forty days later, on Christmas Day, 1688, the rabbling of the curates began. In Renfrewshire, a clean sweep was made of them. Not a single curate was spared. They were all turned out of their livings and left to fend for themselves and their families as best they could. Many of them suffered great hardships. If the ministers who, on account of the Glasgow proclamation of October 1, 1662, voluntarily left their livings, deserve sympathy, so do the curates who were “ rabbled.” Their case was, if anything, harder. N umbers of them were reduced to poverty and had to throw themselves on the charity of their friends and of those even by whom they had been supplanted.

In one parish in the shire the general “ rabbling,” it is said, had been anticipated. Mr. Gadderer, the minister of Kilmacolm, had made himself so intolerable to his parishioners, that towards the end of 1687 a crowd, consisting for the most part of women and children, surrounded his manse, forced their way into it, and then turned him and his family out and locked the doors against them. Amid shouts of derision, the curate was conducted to the boundary of the parish, and bidden depart. After a wandering career, he settled down at Aberdeen as a bishop. He caused trouble among his coreligionists by introducing English usages and ceremonies, and was expostulated with by Bishop Fullarton, formerly his co-presbyter in Paisley. According to Wodrow, he declared that the Church of England was schismatic, and that all who “ did not support their suffering Prince were in a state of damnation.” Mr. Wilson, the minister of Kilbarchan, is said to have anticipated the storm by abandoning the parish before the rabbling came on. Mr. Fullarton, the minister of the first charge in Paisley, and probably the officiating minister at Claverhouse’s wedding, found refuge in the house of Lord Dundonald, where for some time he acted as domestic chaplain. He was afterwards made a bishop among the Non-Jurors.

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