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History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Chapter XXXIV


BEFORE the monarchy had been many months restored, both England and Scotland began to see that the event which they had hailed with enthusiasm ought rather to have been mourned over and deplored. Charles had learned no wisdom from adversity: he returned from exile hardened in his selfishness, debauched in his morals-resolved, in the teeth of his promises, to set up an absolute political sovereignty, and to claim unqualified supremacy in spiritual affairs. The Scottish Presbyterians had done him good service, for which he owed them gratitude and support: but he hated the views they held in regard to the royal power and the rights of the Church : and he could not brook their doctrines so sternly exactive, and which were a standing remonstrance against the immoralities which his personal example and encouragement had brought in like a flood.

His agents for enforcing passive obedience and overturning Presbyterianism were the Earl of Middleton, whom he appointed King's Commissioner, and James Sharpe, who was made Archbishop of St. Andrews-the chief dignitary of the Episcopate which was introduced as soon as the old system was subverted. A packed Parliament, opened at Edinburgh in January, 1661, accomplished what Charles I. had for years attempted without success. In a series of sweeping decrees they annulled and overthrew those venerable institutions and wholesome enactments which their royal master and most of themselves had sworn to maintain inviolate. They conferred on the King the right of nominating to all civil offices; of summoning conventions, parliaments, and public assemblies; and of putting a veto on the renewal of the National Covenants. They passed an Act which, in its preamble, states that "the ordering and disposal of the external government and policy of the Church loth properly belong unto his Majesty as an inherent right of the Crown, in virtue of his royal prerogative and supremacy in causes ecclesiastical;" and the measure itself restored the "state of bishops" to "their ancient places and undoubted privileges in Parliament, and to all their other accustomed dignities, privileges, and jurisdictions." They next condemned and rescinded "all Acts of Parliament or Council which might be interpreted to have given any church power, jurisdiction, or government, to the office-bearers of the Church, other than that which acknowledgeth a dependence upon, and subordination to, the sovereign power of the King as supreme;" and, by way of corollary to these tyrannical decrees, the Covenanted Reformation, and all that was done for its accomplishment from 1638 to 1650, were declared to be treasonable and rebellious, the Covenants were cancelled "as in themselves unlawful oaths," and all such leagues or bonds were denounced as illegal.

This Convention of the Estates has come to be known as the Drunken Parliament: a fitting name for it, whether we look to the personal conduct of its members-not a few of whom, Middleton included, caroused and legislated at the same time or to their measures, which were wild with the frenzy of intemperance. And these bacchanalian senators - sad to say! - shed blood as well as wine. Lest the murmurs that arose against their iniquitous proceedings should find vent in open mutiny, the supporters of the Covenant were fined, imprisoned, and some of its chiefs put to death-the great Argyle being the principal victim.

Dumfries rejoiced, with all Scotland, "when the King came back to his own again." The Town Council voted congratulatory addresses ; and the Kirk Session set apart a day of thanksgiving, in that "the Lord hath restored the King to his throne," and "taken power out of the hand of the sectary," and that the Word of God "is yet standing, in defiance of all the opposition it hath met with." On the 31st of October, 1660, the Presbytery of Dumfries took into consideration a letter sent by Charles to the metropolitan Presbytery, professing the most devoted affection for the Scottish Church, and his resolution to maintain and defend it. Regarding this royal epistle the Presbytery sent a communication as follows:-"We cannot but count our selves obleged to glorify the Lord our God, who hath put such pious resolutions in the heart of our King, as to discountenance and suppress profanity, and maintain Presbyterial government in this kingdom, as it is established by law, without violation, and to protect and encourage the ministers of the gospel in the due and faithful exercise of their ministry. As for our pairts, we resolve, by the grace of God, to watch in our stations, with Christian sobriety and faithfulness, and to promote his Majestie's just authority and greatness within our bounds, being strictly bound thereto by our constant engagement, and shall make conscience, privately and publicly, to pray for the preservation of his Majestie's person; and, as his Majestie's letter bears, we do also resolve to protect and preserve the govt of this Church of Scotland, as it is settled by law, without violation, and government of his kingdom, that his heart may be enlarged as the sand of the sea shore, and filled with all royal endowments and graces for the advancement of religion and righteousness, that we may live a peaceable and quiet life, in all godliness and honesty. - Wm. HAY, Moderator." [Presbytery Records]

So wrote the reverend fathers, in the simplicity of their hearts. Soon afterwards the ukase of the sovereign, in whose good faith they had placed firm reliance, destroyed their legal status as a spiritual court, and made them personally liable to persecution unless they abjured the principles which he, in common with themselves, had sworn to uphold.

The Town Council records bear ample evidence at this time of the terrible reaction brought about by a bad king and his ready satellites. What a change' Dumfries was emphatically an independent and covenanted Burgh; but now we begin to find in the minutes uncouth signatures endorsing a slavish oath of allegiance, and an entire repudiation of the National Covenant, the Solemn League, and all treaties or bonds of a similar import.

On the 2nd of October, 1660, according to annual custom, four merchants were elected councillors, in room of the same number who retired ; and seven tradesmen, deacons of their respective corporations, were also added to the Council, in place of the deacons who had gone out of office. Thus partially made up anew, the Council elected magistrates for the ensuing year; and, significant of the revolution at headquarters, Provost Robert Graham, who had acted as such during nearly the whole of the Protectorate, was passed over, though anxious for a new lease of power, and John Irving, [The Irvings of Bonshaw and Drum took the Royalist and anti- Presbyterian side in the reigns of Charles I. and II.; and their relatives in Dumfries did the same.] treasurer, who was considered to be more acceptable to Middleton, was placed in the civic chair. But not only was it necessary that the chief magistrate should be of the Government pattern-the members of Council must also be made conformable to it. Accordingly, on the 16th of April, the Council took into consideration a letter they had received from the subservient Convention of Burghs, intended to instruct them in the mode of purging the corporation, so as that it should come to be made up exclusively of ultra-Royalists. It is gratifying to find that the people of the town had some true and stanch representatives in the local parliament, who refused to take the oath and to subscribe the declaration. Out, however, they had to go; and no very great difficulty seems to have been experienced in supplying the place of these doughty Whigs by pliant burgesses, who, like the Vicar of Bray, were ready to make any concessions for the sake of office.

On the following day (17th April) the clerk was instructed to answer the letter. from the Convention ; and in so doing he set forth the steps that had been taken to obey the requirements of that body. We thus learn that, at the first meeting of the Council on the subject, "the said oath and acknowledgement being read, was by some few accepted, and by the most part refused;" that at a second meeting, held next day, "some of. the refusers did then, upon better consideration, give obedience;" that at a third meeting, on the third day, "some few more did take the oath and sign the acknowledgement foresaid," but that two bailies and divers councillors continued contumacious, the former of whom had since been superseded, and the vacancies filled up; and that eventually the Council had been completed in a satisfactory way, all the members "having asserted his Majestie's prerogative under their hand," and complied with the other conditions of office. [Town Council Minutes] The men of the Trades, too, who loved the Covenant, and detested the new order of things, murmured loudly, and threatened to be troublesome. Foremost among the malcontents were certain smiths or hammermen, and glovers, [It will be seen that a member of this corporation - James Callum - took a leading part in the armed outbreak which soon afterwards occurred against the Government.] who, when others of their number chose Conformist deacons, held meetings, and elected chiefs of their own stamp; and it seemed as if the latter would at one time have taken their places in the Town Council by force. Forthwith, Stephen Irving, one of the new bailies, and another magistrate, were despatched to Edinburgh to apprise the Privy Council of this audacious procedure. Armed with instructions, the nature of which may be guessed at, the bailies returned; and in the course of a few weeks afterwards three of the clamorous hammermen publicly confessed they had sinned in ignorance, that they were sorry for their fault, prayed for forgiveness, and engaged to be more circumspect in future. [Town council minute] We hear no more of the smiths' opposition; and we suppose both they and their fellow-craftsmen, the glovers, were subdued, if not converted.

At a Privy Council meeting held in Glasgow on the 1st of October, 1662, a blow was struck which destroyed all the few faint remaining vestiges of religious liberty in Scotland. That body, by way of supplementing the deeds of the Drunken Parliament, passed a resolution requiring all the ministers who had been ordained from the year 1649, to take out a presentation from the patrons, and receive collation from the bishops; in other words, to renounce Presbyterianism and accept Episcopacy-extrusion from their parishes to be the penalty of non-compliance. Four hundred - fully one-third of the entire clergy of the Church of Scotland - gave up their churches, manses, and stipends, rather than submit to this outrageous mandate: braved the winter's blast, the prospects of want, of persecution-which many of them, alas: had to endure to the death-rather than purchase immunity and ease by sacrificing their Christian rights. The lapse of less than twenty years had brought with it a state of affairs that contrasted sadly with the time when the Covenant had its potent war committees and its triumphant armies: after the defeat at Dunbar, the latter never recovered their prestige; and Presbytery, long robustly militant, now appears as a hunted wanderer, weak and weaponless, sorrowful and forlorn. "By the 1st of November, 1662, in the five western counties, through Mid-Lothian and Fife, in the dales of' the Nith and Annan, and Esk; in the uplands of the Tweed and the Teviot; in short, through all the Lowlands, wherever there was religious feeling, the darkness of night and the silence of death fell upon the churches." [Dodds's Fifty Years' Struggle. p. 125.]

At this time, Mr. Hugh Henderson, formerly of Dalry, was still the parish minister of Dumfries. He had laboured faithfully in the town and district fourteen years, and was deservedly beloved by the people of his charge. What of that? He was a devoted, uncompromising Presbyterian; it was morally impossible for him to renounce his convictions and accept a system which he loathed : no alternative remained to him, therefore, but to bid a tearful farewell to his flock. There is a trace of rough pathos in the reference made to this subject in the Town Council books. That body, though submissive to the Government, were

attached to the minister, who had, in happier times, been the people's devoted spiritual guide; and the affection they bore to him is breathed in the record-the usual dry conventional style of the minutes being in this instance departed from. We subjoin the entry very slightly modernized:- "11th October, 1662.-The Council considdering that the Erll of Middletoun, his Matie's [Majesty's] Commissioner for the part of this kingdome, hath dischargit Mr. Hugh Henderson from preaching within this brugh, thairfoir they have enacted that thai presentlie at their removing from the tolbooth, all in one body, and with one hart and desyre, to goe deall with and earnestlie to beseatch the said Mr. Hugh Henderson, that he would give satisfactioune unto the said Lord Commissioner in his grace's desyres, that they be not frustrat of his ministrie; and to declair their grief and sorrow for the loss of a minister to quhom they are so affectionatt, in cais of his refuisall." The entreaties of the Council were of no avail: Mr. Henderson left Dumfries, [At this time there was no manse for the parish minister; but a house was rented by the Burgh for his use, as shown by the following document:-"Acompt with Mr. Hew Henderson for the yeirly rent of his house from the tearme of Martinmas, 1648, which was his entrie to Dumfrise untill this ensewing tearme of Whitsunday, 1658, being in all the space of nine yeirs and ane half, in which yeirs he possessed ane house belonging to Mr. John Corsan, for the space of foure yeirs and an half, 100 marks yeirly, the rent will be for that space 450 marks. Also, he possessed an house belonginge to John Newall for fyve yearis come Whitsunday of the said space, at 80 marks yeirly400 marks. Suma for the said space of 9 yearis 850 marks. Paid him as follows:-Be William Walls, treasurer, for ane year, 100 marks; out of the tythe (1648), 100 marks; Be Patrick Younge, be order of the Counsel, 100 marks ; Be Baillie Cunninghame, be John Newall, be order of the Counsel, 100 marks; Bond granted to Mr. Hew, 276 marks:" in all 676 merks, leaving a balance of 171 merks, which was paid to the minister, he signing the discharge. - Burgh Records.] and was succeeded in his ministerial office by Mr. George Chalmers, who proved anything but acceptable to the inhabitants.

Mr. Henderson had made himself so obnoxious to the Privy Council that they levelled a special Act against him, which would have taken effect even if he had not been included within the sweep of the more general measure. According to Wodrow, the ministers of the Dumfries Presbyteries extruded alongst with him, or soon afterwards, for non-compliance with the Glasgow Act, were George Campbell of Dumfries (who was married to a daughter of Mr. Henderson's, and was ordained as his colleague in 1658), [Among the Burgh records there is the following letter from Mr. Campbellabout the last receipt he wrote for his stipends in Dumfries:-" I, Mr. George Campbell, minister of Drumfrise, grants me to have received fra James Kennan, merchant burgess of the said Burgh, in name of the magistrats, Toune Counsell and communitie, the sum of five hundredth and fourtie merks Scots money for my proportion of stipend and manse money, for the terme of Martinmas fiftienine ; and I doe by these presents discharge the saide magistrats, Toune Counsell, and Communitie of the said sum, &o. In witness quhereof I have subscribed these presents with my hand at Drumfrise, the 20 of April, 1660 years.-GEO: CAMPBELL."] John Campbell of Torthorwald, William Shaw of Garran, William Hay of Holywood, Robert Archibald of Dunscore, John Welsh of Irongray, Robert Paton of Terregles, John Blackadder of Troqueer, Anthony Murray of Kirkbean, William Mein of Lochrutton, Alexander Smith of Colvend, and Gabriel Semple of Kirkpatrick-Durham. A few ministers-William Macgeorge of Carlaverock, Francis Irving of Kirkmahoe, George Gladstones of Urr, and James Maxwell of Kirkunzeon-received the modified punishment of being restricted to their respective parishes; and we only read of two belonging to the Presbytery who absolutely conformed, namely, Ninian Paterson, whose charge is not given, and John Brown of Tinwald. [Wodrow, vol. i., p. 326.]

In due course, Mr. George Chalmers commenced his ministry in St. Michael's : though, when he introduced the Service-book, no wrathful Jenny Geddes started up to oppose the innovation, the pews-chairs, rather, there being nothing but movable seats in the church at that time-were half deserted ; and one Bessie Harper expressed a pretty general feeling when she reproached two individuals whom she saw going to the preaching, by saying, "It seems the word of God which they have heard formerlie had taken little ruit in their hearts, seeing they were going to heir one that preaches against the trew word of God." Rash words these, though possibly very truthful; and the same outspoken dame was heard to declare defiantly, "that though the magistrats of Drumfreis would hurle her upon a cairt, she should nevir heir one sermone of this present minister." For these treasonable statements the poor woman was tried by the Town Council, on the 10th of November, and, on conviction, fined in twenty pounds Scots, with the alternative of lying in prison till the money was paid, or of banishing herself perpetually from the Burgh. [Town Council Minutes]

Next day the town drummer startled the lieges by announcing in the streets, that inasmuch as divers persons continued to despise the order of the Council to attend service on the Lord's day, " to the great skandell of the gospell and breache of the Sabbath," it is now enacted that every master and mistress of a family within the Burgh, being in health, who shall wilfully absent themselves from the kirk on Sabbath shall be fined for each day's absence in forty shillings Scots, and each servant who shall go out of the town on that day shall be fined in six shillings Scots. [Ibid] There is a good deal of the Pharisee, as well as of the persecutor, in this intimation: the Burgh authorities, at the bidding of Middleton, supersede the popular Presbyterian preacher by a time-serving Prelatist, and yet hypocritically profess to be actuated by a holy zeal for Sabbath observance, and a jealous regard for the honour of the Gospel, when they threaten those with vengeance who refrain from hearing a minister who is repugnant to them, and from taking part in a service which they utterly, and from conscientious motives, detest.

In another more telling way still, some of the good Covenanters of the Burgh testified against the tyranny of the times. Parents who had children to be baptized carried them to "the secret places of the hills," or the solitary glens, where the outed ministers were hiding, that the sacred ceremony might be performed in Nature's own temple, and according to the simple ritual of the Presbyterian Church. Such conduct being deemed intolerable by Provost Irving and his colleagues, they resolved, if possible, to put it down. Again the town-crier lifted up his voice to announce in the market-place that the inhabitants must not only attend the curate's ministry, but that lie, and he alone, was the recognized administrator of the sacraments, and that those who poured contempt upon him by getting their infants baptized in the country, would be subject to a heavy penalty, varying from ten pounds Scots, on such as were worth less than five hundred merks yearly, to one hundred merks payable by rich offenders. [Town Council Minutes]

In the year 1662, the fines levied for nonconformity in the County amounted to 164,200 Scots, [Wodrow, vol. i., p. 273.] John Laurie of Maxwel-ton suffering to the extent of 3,600; from James Muirhead, merchant, Dumfries, was exacted no less a sum than 1,000; Robert Wallace, merchant there, had to pay 600; James Moffat, merchant there, 300; John Ewart, John Gilchrist, and John Copland, all burgesses, 360 each; James Callum, glover, 300; and John Short and John Maitland, also members of this uncompromising craft, were mulcted in 240 each for (figuratively) throwing down the -love to Middleton, the dictator.

The Imposition of Prelacy in this high-handed fashion, as a result of King Charles's recall, was a bitter draught to the Dumfriesians; and, to give it a greater infusion of gall, they were forced to go through the farce of rendering public thanks for the altered state of affairs. On the 25th of May, 1663, the Council met brimming with loyalty, and on sanctimonious deeds intent. The minute informs us that they called to mind that the twenty-ninth of May was approaching, the eventful day which Parliament had ordered to be set apart for thanks and praise, "in commemoratioune of his Majestie's wonderfull restoratione, by God's blyssing', to his crown and kingdomes;" and that, therefore, not simply in obedience to the Act, " but from ther awin trew sense of God's mercie therein, they do ordain and command all the inhabitants of this Burgh" to attend the magistrates, at eight o'clock on the morning of the 29th, on the Upper Sandbed, " and thereafter accompany the said magistrats unto the kirk of this burgh, and ther to heir sermone ; with certificatioune to all such as sall not give punctuall obedience to this Act, they sall pay ten merkes of fyne unforgevin.'' [Town Council Minutes.]

About this period it would seem as if the authorities, afraid of disturbances, had taken special means to have such burgesses as they could fairly trust, better armed than usual. A partial list has been preserved of "the guns and partizans belonging to the town," on the 22nd of September, 1662, which contains the names of seventy-three persons, with the figure 1 attached to each, the document closing thus:- "'The Counsell ordaines Thomas Irving, bailie, to goe along with Jon Mertine, treasurer, to the houses of all the persons of the list above written, who dwell betwixt the Kirkgate port and Castlegaitt, on the west syde of the towne, and to delyver to each person, or leave at their houses, ane firelock-gun; and appoynt Stephan Irving, bailie [the indefatigable Stephen], to goe throw with the said treasurer the rest of the town, and to leave one of the said pieces at everie one of the houses according to the said list, and to intimate unto them they are to pay 8 lib. 10 sh. to the treasurer for ilk piece of them, to be payit within fyftein days under the pein of imprisonment." [Burgh Records.]

It may be inferred, from subsequent events, that, in spite of the edicts against nonconformity, not a few influential burgesses of the town, and farmers in the landward part of the Parish, systematically absented themselves from St. Michael's Church, and were subjected to fines and imprisonment on that account. Passive resistance of a similar kind was extensively practised throughout the south and west of Scotland; and the stringent measures taken by the Government to overcome it, increased the disaffection, till the country seemed to be on the brink of insurrection. Armed conventicles now began to spring up; and, for the purpose of crushing them and enforcing implicit submission on the people, the standing army-raised to 3,000 infantry, and eight troops of cavalry-was sent into the insubordinate districts, with orders to maintain itself by fines, and free quarters exacted from Nonconformists. To Sir Thomas Dalziel of Binns - a fierce, unscrupulous savage-was assigned the chief command of this coercive host; and he found a congenial subordinate in Sir James Turner, an unprincipled soldier of fortune who had once professed zeal for the Covenant, and now readily placed his sword at the disposal of the Government. [His approaching visit to Dumfries was intimated to the Town Council on the 6th of June, 1666, on which day the Provost produced a letter "fra Sir James Turnor for provyding quarter for himself and his officers and souldiers, quho are to be heir about the first of July nixt:" upon which the Council appointed a committee " to draw and lift of the brewars and others fitting for ther quarters."] As time rolled on it brought new rigours; and by 1666 the reign of terror instituted by the Privy Council had reached a stage of refinement and perfection not previously attained.

The Earl of Lauderdale had succeeded Middleton as King', Commissioner. His chief colleague in the administration was Archbishop Sharpe: the one was the complement of the other: and between both, a despotism in all civil and religious matters was set up such as Scotland had never suffered from before. A secret, irresponsible tribunal, called the Court of High Commission, was formed by them and their minions, on the model of the Spanish Inquisition, which set aside all forms of justice; acted independently of accusers, witnesses, and defenders ; impoverished rich offenders by merciless exactions; filled the prisons with poorer recusants, whilst its armed emissaries scoured the country for the double purpose of keeping the Court in work, and of foreclosing, if possible, the threatened outbreak of popular vengeance.

Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire, and Galloway formed the district assigned to Sir James Turner, in which to carry out the measures of the Court. No arbitrary junto could have had a fitter or more faithful servant. To do him justice, he does not seem to have been gratuitously cruel. If suspected persons quietly conformed, he did not punish them to excess; but woe to the wilful, obstinate deserters from the parish churches, and frequenters of conventicles! In such cases he was utterly ruthless - his plea being, that as a soldier he was bound in duty to obey orders. He found the intruded curates useful assistants. Mr. Chalmers, of Dumfries, and others similarly situated, supplied to Sir James the names of non-attenders on their ministry, who, when found, were fined forthwith; and if they could not pay the money, they were sent to jail, or if' they would not, some of his soldiers were quartered upon them till their contumacy was overcome. The following minute, dated 5th September, 1670, shows the part taken by the town authorities in this coercive work:- "The Counsall being informed that there is a company of foot and a partie of hors appoynted to quarter in this burgh, which is occasioned by several inhabitants who doe not frequent the ordinances, it is therefoir enacted that such as are able and have never as yitt come to the churche of this burgh to hear the service of the minister, shall have sex foot soldiers quartered upon them, or two hors."

The case of Mr. John Blackadder, minister of Troqueer - a parish that is separated from Dumfries by the river Nith - may be noticed as an example of the way in which the Glasgow Act was enforced by Turner and his men. They were not satisfied with ejecting him from his parish, but wished to subject him to fine or imprisonment; and he, aware of their designs, rode to Caitloch in Glencairn, for the purpose of securing a safe residence for himself and family beyond the bounds of the Presbytery. Next day (Sabbath), a party of soldiers crossed the bridge, and, proceeding to Troqueer manse, behaved with characteristic insolence to Mrs. Blackadder and her children. One of them, a boy, [Afterwards Dr. Blackadder, a distinguished physician.] told the story of the troopers' unwelcome visit in the following simple words:- "A party of the King's life-guard of horse, called Blew-benders, came from Dumfries to Troqueer to search for and apprehend my father, but found him not; for what occasion I know not-whether he stayed beyond the set day for transporting himself and numerous family of small 'children ten miles from his parish church, or because he was of the number of those who refused to observe the 29th of May. So soon as the above party entered the close, and came into the house, with cursing, swearing, and damning, we that were the children were frightened out of our little wits, and ran up stairs, and I among them; who, when I heard them all roaring in the room below, like so many breathing devils, I had the childish curiosity to get down upon my belly and peep through a hole in the floor above them, to see what monsters of creatures they were; and it seems they were monsters indeed for cruelty, for one of them perceiving what I was doing, immediately drew his sword, and forced it up with all his force where I was peeping, so that the mark of the point was scarce an inch from the hole, though no thanks to the murdering ruffian who designed to run it through my eye. Immediately after, we were forced to pack up bag and baggatch, and to remove to Glencairn, ten miles from Troqueer. We who were the children were put into cadgers' creels, where one of us cried out, coming throw the Bridgend of Dumfries, `I m banisht? I'm banisht!" One happened to ask, `Who has banisht ye, my bairn?' He answered, `Byte-the-sheep has banisht me."' Even when removed from his parish, the outed clergyman got no rest for the sole of his foot. Byte-the-sheep Turner tracked Blackadder with the stealthiness of a ravening wolf; but, on entering the family fold in Glencairn, he again missed the object of his search, the minister having gone that very day to seek a place of securer refuge elsewhere. [Crichton's Life of Blackadder, pp. 130-2.] He was eventually captured, however, and died on the Bass, after five years' imprisonment, in December, 1685.

In the same year as the soldiers' raid upon Troqueer manse (1663), the settlement of Mr. Bernard Sanderson as curate of Irongray caused a great deal of commotion in the latter parish. The people could not bear the idea of seeing their devoted pastor, Mr. Welsh, superseded by one of whom they knew nothing, except that he was the nominee of the arbitrary Privy Council, and a Prelatist. To Mr. John Wishart was assigned the duty of introducing the new minister, but the parishioners refused to receive either of them, and on, Sanderson again applying for admission, he brought with him a retinue of soldiers, thinking thereby to overawe any opposition that might be offered. When the party drew near the church, they received a rough greeting from a shower of stones thrown over the churchyard wall by a crowd of women, led on to the crusade by a humble heroine, named Margaret Smith. They had laid in beforehand a large store of missiles, and used them with such effect that the minister and his men, armed though the latter were, faltered in their resolution to force an entrance; and fairly gave up the attempt when they saw other irate parishioners of the rougher sex flourishing swords, and heard one of them, as lie set his back to the door of the sacred edifice, daring them for their lives to settle a curate in Irongray that day.

The occurrence of this popular tumult, and of a similar one at Kirkcudbright about the same time, so enraged the Privy Council, that they appointed a commission, consisting of the Earls of Linlithgow, Galloway, and Annandale, Lord Drumlanrig, and Sir John Wauchope of Niddry, to proceed to the south, and take the requisite steps for bringing the offenders to justice. The commissioners sat at Dumfries when inquiring into the Irongray case, and on the 30th of May, 1663, reported upon it in these terms:-" In pursuance of the commission as to the trial of the abuse lately at Irongray, we caused cite before us William Arnot of Littlepark, George Rome of Beoch, and several other persons said to be concerned therein; and after we had examined witnesses, we found that there had been several unlawful convocations of the people of that place, for the opposing of the admission of Mr. Bernard Sanderson to be preacher at the said parish, especially against the serving of his edict, and thereby hindering Mr. John Wisheart to preach, who was to have admitted the said Mr. Bernard. By the said depositions, we find that the said William Arnot did keep several meetings before the tumult; and that when he was desired and required by the messengers who went to serve the edict, to assist to hold the women of them, he declared he neither could nor would do it, that he drew his sword, and set his back to the kirk door, and said, 'Let me see who will place a minister here this day!' Therefore we find him guilty of the said tumult, and ordain him to be sent into Edinburgh under a guard. We find George Rome of Beoch accessory, as being present upon the place, and not concurring for compescing of the tumult, and ordain him to go to prison until he find caution, under five thousand merks, to appear before the Council when called. And as to the rest of the persons, we find there hath been a great convocation and tumult of women; but by reason there is no special probation of any persons particularly miscarrying, more than these being there present at the tumult, we thought fit to ordain the whole party of horse and foot to be quartered upon the said parish of Irongray, upon free quarters, until Monday next ; and that the whole heritors of the said parish give bond, upon the penalty of one hundred pounds sterling, for their future loyal good behaviour: And recommended to the Sheriff of Nidsdale to apprehend and try some who had not compeared, and report to the Parliament or Council, betwixt and the 28th of June."

The Council found no difficulty in convicting Arnot: he was fined in the sum of five thousand merks, and commanded, "betwixt and the 25th of October next to come, to make public acknowledgement of his offences two several Sabbaths, at the Kirk of Irongray, before that congregation." Arnot, it appears, was but a small farmer of limited means, who would have been ruined by the exaction of such a sum; and on his making a representation to that effect to the Lords, and declaring that he was a loyal subject, and had previously suffered loss under the usurpation, they mitigated the fine one thousand merks. There is no reference in the above report to the Irongray heroine. Blackadder tells us, however, that "the said Margaret was brought prisoner to Edinburgh, and banished to Barbadoes. But when before the managers, she told her tale so innocently, that they saw not fit to execute the sentence."

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