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as a legislator and author, and representative of one of the oldest and most distinguished families in Renfrewshire;" but during its passage through the press Sir William died at Venice. In accepting the dedication the accomplished Baronet wrote that he had read the “records with great pleasure, and tendered his thanks to Mr. Hector for the instruction and amusement they had afforded him.” The volume is to be had in two sizes—a handy octavo for use, and large paper for book-fanciers inclining to luxury or display.
Curious rather than important, the gleanings of the late Mr. Hector from the record room of his county have been strung together in a narrative of such historic interest as entitles him to the thanks of readers far removed from the circle of mere local antiquaries, and fully justifies the desire expressed that he would gather into a neat, convenient book-form what was at first intended to serve a more ephemeral purpose in the columns of a local newspaper. From the SheriffClerk's familiarity with Renfrewshire and his local knowledge of most record repositories in the county, it is to be wished he could have seen his way to have enlarged his scheme so far as to include not only records of older date than he has referred to, but documents other than those which naturally fell under his own official custody. It would have been well, for instance, to have had set forth with some local colouring that remarkable dispute described in the Abbey Cartulary as occurring between the abbot and convent on the one hand and a contumacious layınan, known as Gilbert the son of Samuel of Renfrew, on the other, concerning certain church lands on the north side of the Clyde, one property being minutely described as the great house made of wattles—“domus magna fabricata de virgis” -intended for the entertainment of pilgrims journeying to the Shrine of St. Patrick. It presents what is probably the earliest specimen furnished by ecclesiastical law of trial by jury, and is, besides, interesting as settled by evidence taken on oath of witnesses familiar with the localities and persons described in the process. The abbot and convent of Paisley appealed to Pope Gregory the Ninth to vindicate the rights of their house, and His Holiness so far espoused their cause as to issue at Spoletum, 8th June, 1232, a commission to the Deans of Carrick
and Cunningham and the master of the schools of Ayr within the diocese of Glasgow, to redress, without appeal, the grievances complained of. The commission is afterwards described as sitting at Ayr on the Sabbath immediately following the Lord's-Day on which is sung “Quasi modi genite,” 30th April, 1234. Then a search, say in the town-clerk's office under a trained eye like Mr. Hector's, might be made to reveal something concerning that preposterous riot on the part of Renfrew, referred to in a letter addressed by James IV., 23rd December, 1490, to John, Earl of Lennox, and Matthew Stewart, his son, commanding them, at the instance of the abbot, to make inquisition for the discovery and punishment of divers persons of the burgh of Renfrew, who, animated apparently by ill-will and jealousy against the town of Paisley, shortly before erected by the Sovereign into a free burgh of barony, had during the night-time riotously destroyed the stones and hewn-work of the market cross of that town. Some more reference also to the old families of Renfrewshire and their residences would have been a pleasant feature in a collection of records relating to a county so famous for its antiquarian interests in these respects. Documents, judicial or municipal, public or private, are always welcome when they can be connected with the traditions of such houses as the Montgomeries and Cunninghams, Maxwells and Stewarts, or even with those of lesser estate, though equally distinguished, like the Dennistouns, Napiers, and Mures. Crawford, too, of Jordanhill, a daring soldier of the reign of James VI., connects himself intimately with Paisley, by appearing early in 1570 before the Abbey to take over the fabric on behalf of the King, along with the body of Robert, Lord Sempill, under an assurance that all persons in the Abbey and Place would be set at liberty, excepting only those under suspicion of being concerned in the murder of Henry, Lord Darnley, his Majesty's father. An unlucky ordination dinner at Inchinnan, where “the meat was not nyce," and the ale only “twopenny,” as set forth with graphic vigour by Mr. Hector, hardly requires the pleasant fancy of the author of “The Pen Folk,” or even the antiquarian enthusiasm of the historian of “Saint Mirin,” to connect itself with a record known as “The Inventure of the graithe in Inchinane, with the auld rotten
Papistrie thairin.” “Item (says this record of about 1570) in chapell, 2 mess buiks. Item, ane ymage of the babe Jesus. Item, kaist ymage of our Lady, and ane grit ymage witht ane ymage of Sanct Ann. Item, ane little ymage of ewir bane that stud upone ane chandlar," &c.
Thankful, however, for even the comparatively recent records of his office, and glad to know that under his care they were lately arranged with a view to reference as well as preservation, it is a more pleasant part of our task to indicate Mr. Hector's own plan of arranging his materials, and to describe how successfully he touched upon the various topics embraced in the volume issued in such excellent taste from the Paisley press. Section first is taken up with documents illustrating that period generally described in Scotland as “The Persecution;" sections two and three relate to the manners and customs of the people from about the time of the Revolution to the end of last century; section four recalls to readers the administration of law during the same years, and shows by many well-selected cases how severely it bore upon all charged with crime-young and old, woman or child—and what gross irregularity then characterised the administration of justice in provincial courts. The closing portion of Mr. Hector's very interesting volume is made partly up of a few miscellaneous papers relating to some Renfrewshire families of note, and a valuable, though rather dry series concerning rents and prices prevailing over the county during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Each legal document produced from the archives of the Sheriff-Clerk is accompanied by a page or two of explanatory matter, setting forth its main features and obviating any necessity for non-professional readers losing time or patience over the somewhat crabbed originals. In order, however, that these may be consulted by the careful scholar with as much exactness as possible, a few excellent drawings in facsimile have been introduced into the work. As was befitting the official chief in an office where Motherwell wrote, Mr. Hector has been fortunate enough to disinter a new Jacobite song out of a very unpromising bundle of law papers ; but whatever zeal the author may have intended to show on behalf of the exiled house, the merits of the piece are so very ordinary that James M'Alpie, Sheriff-Clerk, and for some time Substitute, can hardly be said to add to the interest of that department of literature which includes such lyrics as “Will ye no come back again ?” and “Waes me for Prince Charlie.” The inconvenience and loss occasioned by “Black” or counterfeit Irish coins is touched upon in the form of a complaint at the instance of the ProcuratorFiscal, of date 1727. The grievance unfortunately was too common in those days, and neither swift nor severe punishment could prevent fraud in the currency. In June of the following year (1728), Patrick, second Viscount Garnock (of whom something may be learned in Dobie's “Examination of the Claims of John Lindsay Craufurd”) writes to Hunter of Hunterston from Kilbirnie:“ Please lett me know, in answer to yrs. what i ou you o borrowed money, which I think is a shilling sterline, and two or thereby halfpence." While the general ignorance of the people and the uniform severity of those who sat in high places are brought fully enough out in Mr. Hector's book, there is a deficiency we did not expect in documents illustrating the darker superstitions of the district-a matter to be wondered at all the more from the somewhat evil eminence enjoyed by Renfrewshire in the annals of witches and warlocks. Recent, historically speaking, though most of the documents are, some of them almost touch the time when clergy and judges sent poor creatures to the gallows or the stake for imputed crimes not possible to be committed. Some of the victims, indeed, got a taste of the bitterness of death in both forms, being first partly “wirrit to death” at a stake and then burnt. This sad chapter in the history of ignorance and superstition is just touched upon in the case of Perhie and others libelled in 1692 for the “ unnatural, barbarous, and unchristian" crime of drinking the health of the devil, and scandalising in connection therewith certain good citizens of Paisley. The punishment in this case was simply exposure at the Cross.
There is nothing about Mary Lamond and the other Innerkip witches of 1662, who had been taught by Katherine Scott in Murdistane to get milk from her neighbour's cow, “bidding hir goe out in mistie mornings, and tak with her a hairie tedder, and draw it over the mouth of a mug, saying, in God's name send us milk and meikle of it. Be these wayes she and the said Kathrine got muckle of thair neibours milk, and made butter and cheise thairof.”
Her experience, first at Ardgowan and then at Kempock, was that “The Deil, for ordinar in the shape of a black man with cloven feet, sang to them, gave them wyne to drink, and wheat bread to eat. When thay dancit they war all verie merrie, and he kist them, ane and all, when thay skaillit," except once when his sooty highness nipt her on the right side, “but thairafter straikit it with his hand and healed it.” There is nothing even about “Auld Dunrod,” another graceless son of Innerkip, who
-muntit his stick,
Syne o'er the Firth did flee.
At the Rest-and-be-Thanfu' stane,
And he daudit his head thereon.
It is possible that any official documents ever called into existence by such cases may still exist in the record room of the Lower Ward, or, what is more to be dreaded, they may have been withdrawn from the custody of officials not so careful as Sheriff-Clerks nowadays to permit private friends to illustrate narratives like the famous Bargarran imposture.
What mercy might be expected in those dark days by the victims of a wicked superstition may be illustrated from what happened so late as 1770 to Jean Montgomery, a married woman, who, on a charge by no means established in evidence, of stealing a cut of a piece of lawn of less value than ten shillings, suffered four months' imprisonment before trial, one month after trial, and, in addition to being banished from the country, was sentenced, under form of law and justice, to be stripped naked to the middle, marched