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ved they were Restalrig's writing. They speak of some dark design which was to be executed at the danger of life and fortune ; but it does not appear from the letters, to whom they were sent, or that they were ever sent to any person. ' Here, then, is a gap in the evidence. To fill this, Sprott, after second thought, declares, that he had conversed on the subject with Laird Bower and Restalrig himself, and that, to his knowledge, these letters had been sent to Lord Gowrie, and returned by him, with other letters wrote by the Earl in answer thereto. This confidence in one who has not said that he was to be employed to act any part in the matter, appears both unnecessary and unreasonable. It is as extraordinary that, though he was admitted into the secret, he has not told what their design was ; and after the great anxiety mentioned in the letters about burning or returning them to Restalrig, it is surprising that they should have been carelessly left in the keeping of a servant, and as carelessly allowed by the servant to remain among his ordinary papers. Another thing is equally surprising, that though, according to Sprott's account, there were answers by Earl Gowrie to these letters, and Earl Gowrie was cut off prematurely in the midst of this correspondence, we must suppose,
yet no letters about it, or traces of it found among Earl
nor indeed of any conspiracy, though all his letters and papers must have come, without disguise, into the hands of his prosecutors. Neither does this history correspond with Mr Coupar's narrative, and the first hypothesis about Gowrie's conspiracy, which was, that he had taken no person into his secret. It as little accords with the alledged conspi.
racy at Perth. The King's declaration bears, that Mr Alexander Ruthven told his Majesty there was no help for him, he must die ; whereas, by Mr Sprott's story, Earl Gowrie and Logan of Restalrig were corresponding in the month of July. On the 29th, and even on the 31st days of that month, were letters wrote by Restalrig sent to the other, and answers received from him, of some scheme which was to be executed against the King, at Restalrig's house of Fascastle; if, then, the Earl and his brother were employed in settling this plot at Fascastle till the first of August, which was to have been transacted there in a remote and cautious manner, how came they so soon as the fifth of said month to attempt assassinating the King almost publicly, and most imprudently, in the town of Perth? But if this story of Sprott’s was as firm as a mountain in other respects, the concluding circumstance would make it vanish into smoke. He is tried, condemned, and brought to the gallows. He there acknowledges that he well deserved to be put to death ; confesses that he had told many lies about the matter; affirms that all he had said since a certain date was true; and then promises that before he expired he would make some remarkable sign that what he now said was true. Accordingly his hands are left loose for the purpose, " and what was marvellous,” says Lord Cromarty,
“after he had hung some time, he lifted up his hands, and clapped them three times.” People are not now so credulous about miracles; nor was Sprott, who; according to his own account was a liar and a conspirator, the person by whom, or for whom, such works were to be done. If God had been to work a miracle, he could have loosed his hands, or in some other way
accomplished it all himself. The having his hands loose manifestly indicates that there was some plan concerted among them, for which this clapping of the hands was to be the signal ; and it is impossible to figure that it could be any thing else than encouraging a worthless man to proceed with a wicked story, by a promise, that, after hanging some time, on his making this sign, which they would call a miracle, the rope should be cut, and his life spared. But dead people tell no tales; and it was safest that he should not sur. vive this transaction, to give an explanation of it. Lord Cromarty informs us, that Dr Abbot, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, happening to be in $cotland when Sprott was tried and executed, was convinced, by his behaviour, of the truth of Gowrie's conspiracy. But, in opposition to this, Dr Spottiswood, who was afterwards an Archbishop also, and who knew every thing about Sprott's trial, and was on the scaffold at his execution, did not belieye him, and speaks of his story with contempt.
Upon the whole of this affair, I consider myself as well founded in saying, that Earl Gowrie, and his brother Mr Alexander Ruthven, did not conspire against King James the Sixth, as was affirmed by him, but that his Majesty did conspire against them, and caused their lives to be taken from them.
Unfortunate Earl Gowrie! thou hast been cruelly slaughtered! Horrible assassination did, on that fifth of August which proved so fatal to thy family, de. prive thy country of as promising, as valuable a nobleman, as it has at any time produced. In foreign nations thou wast revered ; in thine own nation thou wast basely murdered! Among strangers who knew R
thy virtue, honour and esteem were accumulated upon thee; because thy virtue was great, when thou didst return to thine own, thy Sovereign degraded himself to become thine assassin, because he dreaded that
very virtue which others admired! He robbed thee of thy life ; and even that was not sufficient to satisfy his spite; courtesy and riot, donations and festivity, exhausted all their force to rob thee also of thine ho. nourable fame, and to consign thy name to future ages in the abominable list of dark and detestable conspirators; this was worse than tenfold murder. How insatiable is savage cruelty! But, though justice may be perverted, it cannot easily be extirpated altogether; the sentiments of humanity may, for a time, be diverted by bribes, or drowned in uproar, but they will recur in this matter. Justice and humanity are recollecting themselves; and I doubt not but future ages will consider this article of history, which supreme power and cunning have studied to clothe with obscurity, as abundantly clear, and wonder that this ancient and honourable family, when extirpated by the cruelty of their King, should not have excited the strongest and most generous sympathy which their country could bestow.
MEMORABILIA OF PERTH.
CHARTERS RELATING TO THE PRIVILEGES
The CHARTER OF CONFIRMATION of the whole Rights and
Privileges of the Burgh of Perth, confirmed by King James
A. D. 1653
James, by the grace of God, King of Scots, to all honest men, both clerks and laiks of our realm, we wish you health. Be it known, because we now, long after our lawful and perfect age of twenty-five years, having first made all and sundry our revocations, as well special as general, and after the making of all and sundry our acts of dissolution of our property, made in our Parliament and public Convention of the Estates of our kingdom, holden at EdinR 2