Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

1667.—Troops sent into the disaffected districts.-King's letter to the primate.

Convention of estates.-Covenanters disarmed. — A proclamation. — Quiet sufferings of the clergy-king's letter-attacks on the clergy.-Some executions. -Disposal of the Rullion-green prisoners.--Bond of peace.-Observations.Hind let loose.--A proclamation.-Naphtali burnt by the hangman.-Coun. cil's letter to the archbishops.-Primate's letter to lord Rothes. 1668. -Dalzell.—Trial of sir James Turner-his defence and condemnation.Bishop Hamilton.-Synodical act against quakers.---Field-meetings.- Burnet's character of the clergy_their sufferings. - Court of ecclesiastical inquiry proposed. — Alarm of the clergy-many resign their livings. — Leighton's advice-a comprehension.-Leighton's proposition-opposed in council.- An attempt to murder the primate.—Mitchell.—The bishop of Orkney wounded. -Mitchell's character.-Council's letter to the king.

1667. — AFTER THE AFFAIR of Rullion-green, general Dalzell and his few troops were sent into Ayrshire, where there were the greatest number of presbyterians; and he established his head quarters at Kilmarnock. If we are to credit Wodrow, he appears to have acted in the capacity of a justice of the peace as well as of a military officer. He was of a stern disposition, and which had been increased by his employment for some years in the service of the Czar of Russia; and Kirkton considers Turner and Bannatyne as “ saints, compared with Tom Dalzell and his soldiers.” But Wodrow having stated, in the commencement of his history, that its fundamental principle was “to aggravate the crimes of their [the presbyterians'] enemies," there can be no reliance placed on any assertion which he or his followers make. Of course the whole reproach of Dalzell’s proceedings is laid on the church and the clergy or curates, as the presbyterians called them. Burnet, who had all his information, and the chief materials of the History of his Own Times, from Mess John Welsh, whom he frequently met, after the battle of Bothwell Bridge, at the earl of Arlington's house', after detailing all

| The Rev. Robert Elliott's Specimen of the Bishop of Sarum's Posthumous History, 1698; dedicated to the Rey. Charles Leslie, p. 3.

the grievances and complaints of that military saint against Dalzell, and all the blackest calumnies against the clergy in Ayrshire, is obliged at last to admit that they were much wronged by those who had crammed him with false information-“ if they were not much wronged.And “ It was after all HARD TO BELIEVE all that was set about against them?." Yet he has set down, at the insiigation of Mess John Welshi, the blackest character which it is possible to conceive, of men who did their duty conscientiously.

SO WELL had the primate conducted the public affairs for the few days that Rothes was absent, and so sensible was the king of his public service, that he wrote the following letter with his own hand :

“ Whitehall, 20 January, 1667. 66 MY LORD ST. ANDREWS, I have received so great testimonies of your prudent carriage in the late transactions for settling my affairs, and how far you have been from foolish jealousies, that I have thought it fit to thank you for it. I am confident you will so continue, and I assure you I shall be your affectionate friend,


THERE was a convention of the estates held on the 17th of January, in which the duke of Hamilton presided. Conventions were different from parliaments; they met upon a summons of twenty days, but could not make new laws; they could only consider the particular subject on account of which they were summoned, grant subsidies or supplies of money, and petition the crown for the redress of grievances. Archbishop Burnet, in a letter to archbishop Sheldon, speaks highly of the general conduct of the duke, who, living in the centre of a disaffected country, yet appeared active in opposing and repressing the late rebellion. The convention continued the former assessment of six thousand pounds Scots per month

1 Own Times, i. 435, 436, 437.

? THE ORIGINAL LETTER is in the possession of lieutenant-general Bethune, of Blebo, in the county of Fife; who is the lineal representative of cardinal Beaton and archbishop Sharp, and who kindly permitted me to take a copy of it. On comparing the hand-writing with documents in the possession of the late primate, the right reverend Dr. Walker, bishop of Edinburgh, which were known to be in the hand-writing of the “merry monarch," and also of the seal attached, there can be no doubt that the letter is in Charles's genuine hand-writing, which is good and legible, and the paper is about the size of half a sheet of foolscap folded quarto. The seal is of a lozenge shape; on the upper point of which is the crown, at the left corner his cypher C, and at the opposite angle the letter R. VOL. II.

4 E

for another year. Although the Dutch war was drawing to a conclusion, yet the turbulence of the western presbyterians and the “vagrant” presbyterian ministers, required the full complement of troops to be kept up, and which were entirely quartered in the two dioceses of Glasgow and Galloway. The other parts of the kingdom complained much that they were burthened with an assessment for the maintenance of troops to be employed in the presbyterian districts, when it was notorious that there was not one soldier quartered north of the Tay, where the people were affectionately attached to the episcopal church, and consequently the country enjoyed profound tranquillity. The Scots privateers had captured a number of the Dutch vessels, which proved valuable prizes, and in consequence they sent a squadron up the Forth under the command of Van Ghendt, to burn the towns on the coast; but he contented himself with firing some shot at the town of Burntisland, on the opposite coast to Leith, and then sailed away, joined Van Tromp, and attacked Chatham. The support of a foreign enemy encouraged the disaffected in the west, and their agitation obliged the privy council to meet often, in order “ to restrain some wicked persons that would not be restrained, and all by reason of a foreign enemy?.” It became therefore necessary to proceed with the disarming of the covenanters in the west, to prevent their “ drawing to a head.”

ABOUT this time the king made some changes in his ministry, and in the general policy of his administration. Rothes was stripped of all his employments, except the office of chancellor. The privy council received a letter from the king, countersigned by Lauderdale, and dated the 12th of March, in which they were commanded-1. To tender the oath of allegiance and the declaration unto such active and leading persons of the disaffected party as they should suspect, and to secure the recusants. 2. To emit a proclamation, requiring all, within the most disaffected shires, to bring in, by a limited day, all arms and powder, under what penalties the council should see proper, always allowing gentlemen to wear their swords. 3. To seize all serviceable horses belonging to disaffected or suspected persons, after being appraised by honest and indifferent persons. 4. To model a militia of horse and foot to join the regular forces, that they might speedily proceed to put the kingdom in a posture of defence. 5. To provide arms and ammunition for the defence of the kingdom. 6. To take effectual course, that every parish secure the persons of their

Nicol's Diary, p. 454.

ministers from violence and affronts. And, 7. To give present orders for the criminal pursuit of all heritors or men of estate, all preachers or military officers, who were in the late rebellion, before the justice-general, that they may be tried according to law, and, on being found guilty, be forfeited without delay

THE SIXTH ARTICLE of this letter shews the violence and injustice which the clergy in the disaffected counties suffered from the fierce exterminating hatred with which the covenanters persecuted them; but their complaints have never been heard, amidst the noisy din of presbyterian clamour; and we are assured by Kirkton, that he had “ known some profane people, if they had committed an error at night, thought affronting a curate to-morrow a testimony of their repentance 2.” In the proclamation it was declared,“ that if any injury or affront be done to their ministers, the parishioners who shall suffer the same to be done, and not oppose the same, shall be reputed as art and part of the same crime and violence.” It would appear that the proclamation issued at the time had not had the desired effect in preventing assaults and injuries to the clergy, for the council received another royal letter, of the 4th of May, enjoining proper respect to be shewn to the established clergy.

“WHEREAS, nothing can be more useful for our service or more conducible for reclaiming the people from these treasonable and fanatic principles wherewith they have been poisoned by factious preachers, than the encouraging the sober and orthodox clergy, against whom the greatest rage appeared in the late rebellion. And whereas, we are resolved not only to encourage and protect the bishops in the exercise of their callings, and all the orthodox clergy under them, but also to discountenance all, of what quality soever, who shall show any disrespect or disaffection to that order and government: therefore we do more especially and earnestly recommend it to you, who are trusted under us with the government of that our ancient kingdom, to give all manner of countenance and encouragement to the orthodox clergy, and to punish severely any affronts or disrespects put upon them, to the end that they may be the more endeared to their people, when they see how careful we, and all in authority under us, are of their protection in the due exercise of their calling."

THE IMMEDIATE cause of this letter was an assault upon Mr. Patrick Swinton, the parish priest of Borgue, in Galloway, and which was so atrocious that even Wodrow confesses that

i Cited in Wodrow's History, ii. 82-83.

? Kirkton's History, p. 161.

he cannot justify it; and he farther admits that attacks on the houses and persons of the clergy were of nightly occurrencel. The writer of the epistle to the reader, prefixed to Burnet's Vindication, says—" After a new robbery had been committed on another conformable minister, whose actors no search could discover, some few days had not passed over, when, by a strange providence, one of them was caught on another account by a brave soldier, and being seized, such indications of his accession to the robbery were found about him, that he, to prevent torture, confessed not only his own guilt, but discovered a great many more: most of them escaped, yet three were taken, and had justice done on them, with him who had been their chief leader: and who continued to cant it out highly after he got sentence, talking of his biood as innocently shed, and railing agaiust the prelates and curates; though before sentence he was basely sordid as any could be. One of his accomplices, who died with more sense, acknowledged, when he spake his last words, that bitter zeal had prompted him to that villainy, and not covetousness, or a design of robbing their goods. Yet I shall not conceal what I was a witness to, when a minister of the presbyterian persuasion being with them (for two of them would willingly admit of none that were episcopal), after he had taken pains to convince the chief robber of the atrociousness of his crimes, which was no easy task, he charged him to discover if either gentlemen or ministers had prompted or cherished him in it, or been conscious to his committing these robberies, he cleared all except a few particular and mean persons, who went shares with himn 2.”

ON THE CONCLUSION of the peace at Breda, Charles ordered his small army in Scotland to be disbanded, and a militia to be raised. The council appointed a committee to inquire into the state of the prisoners taken in the late rebellion ; and on the 11th of July they presented their report to the priry council. The committee divided the prisoners into four classes-1, those who were engaged in the rebellion, but refuse to take the oath of allegiance and the declaration ; 2, those so guilty, but who were willing to take the oath; 3, those who had been arrested on suspicion, who denied having taken any active part in the late rebellion; but who had relieved, assisted, and concealed the rebels afterwards, and who refuse to take the oath and declaration; and, 4, those in a similar condition, but who are willing to take the oath. And the council having

1 Wodrow's History, ii. 87-88. : Epistle to the Reader of Burnet's Vindication.

« PreviousContinue »