« PreviousContinue »
that every faithful believer was a priest ; that the Pope was not the successor of St. Peter, and deceived the people by bulls and indulgences ; that the blessing of a Bishop was of no value ; that excommunication was not to be feared ; that priests might marry; that prayer ought not to be offered up to the Virgin ; and, worse still, for it lay at the core of all heretical teaching, that the pretended sacrifice of the mass was idolatry. “Adam Reid (said the Bishop) believe ye that God is in heaven ?” Reid answered—“Not as I do the Sacraments seven ;” “whairat the Bischop (we now follow Knox), thinking to have triumphed, said — Sir, so he denys that God is in heaven ;' whairat the King, wondering, said, Adam Reid, what say ye?' The other answered— Please your Grace to heir the end betwixt the churle and me. And thairwith he turned to the Bishope and said, 'I nether think nor beleve, as thou thinkis, that God is in heavin ; but I am most assured that he is not only in heavin, bot also in the earth. Bott thou and thy factioun declayre by your workis, that eyther ye think thair is no God at all, or ellis that he is so shut up in the heavin, that he regardis not what is done into the earth ; for yf thou formerlie believed that God war in the heavin, thou should not mack thy self check-mate to the King, and altogether forgett the charge that Jesus Christ the Sone of God gave to his Apostles, which was to preach his Evangell, and not to play the proud prelatts, as all the rabill of yow do this day. And now, sir (said he to the King), judge ye whither the Bischop or I believe best that God is in heavin.' Whill the Bischope and his band could not weill revenge thame selfis, and whill many tantis war gevin thame in thair teith, the King, willing to puttane end to farther reasonying, spoke to the said Adam Reid, “Will thou burne thy bill ?' (a sign of recantation). He answered— Sir, the Bischope and ye will.' With these and the lyik scoffis the Bischop and his band war so dashed out of countenance that the greatest part of the accusatioun was turned to lawchter." · Bishop Blackadder, it may be mentioned, who is described by Lesly as “ane noble, wyse, and godlie man,” died in the summer of 1508, soon after he had set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
No more prosecutions for belief are heard of till the youthful Patrick Hamilton acquired the undying distinction of being the first Scottish martyr for Reformation principles by suffering at the stake in front of the College of St. Salvador, St. Andrews. Ayr, however, was not much later in furnishing a confessor “faithful unto the death” in the person of young Kennedy—he was only eighteenwho in 1539 was burnt in Glasgow at the instance of Bishop Gavin Dunbar, and certain assistants, whom Knox described as “beasties,” sent west by Cardinal Beaton. Young Kennedy, whose Christian name is conjectured to have been Thomas, suffered along with Jerome Russell, a learned and pious Cordelliere Friar. They both met death with great heroism, each inciting the other to endurance at the stake here for the life of blessedness to come—“ Playing the man,” as honest Hugh Latimer expressed it to his fellow-sufferer, “Master” Ridley, and, too, like these later martyrs for the same principles, “lighting a candle in Scotland which should never be put out.” “I am ready to die (said Kennedy), and free from the fear wherewith I was once oppressed."
THE EARL OF EGLINTON SHOT BY A POACHER.
In the prime of life, high in official station, popular wherever he was known, and esteemed by his tenantry, as most of the house of Montgomery have ever been, few deaths could have been more unlooked for, and none less likely to be the result of violence, than Alexander, tenth Earl of Eglinton. In the fatal altercation with his assassin on the shore at Ardrossan, it almost seemed as if humane confidence led him for a moment to forget the cautious motto of his house—“Gardez Bien”“ Take good care." His father was that Alexander, ninth Earl, less known probably for his exertions in favour of the Hanoverian succession during Mar's Rebellion in 1715, or even for having cleared the estate of encumbrances and added to its extent, than for having as third Countess the amiable Susannah Kennedy of Culzean, whose perfect beauty and charming manner may still be recalled in a distant way through the pages of Allan Ramsay and Hamilton of Bangour. Her family became distinguished for what was known as "the Eglinton air;" nor was her eldest son, the tenth Earl, less distinguished than the others for manly grace and a frank, accessible manner. These, however, could not be discerned when he succeeded to the wide inheritance of the family in 1729. The new Earl was only three years old. Minorities are usually favourable for “nursing” an estate when in the hands of judicious guardians, nor is there any reason for thinking that his youthful Lordship was in any other hands than the most competent. But, as the unexpected always happens, so does the unforeseen sometimes occur. In the summer of 1730, the year after his succession, a desolating storm of hail spread over three baronies of the earldom to the almost utter destruction of the crop. The calamity gave rise to a litigation extending over several years, but at its weary close the Court of Session decided that the tenants were not entitled to pay rent for that year. Even the miller obtained compensation for deficiency in multures.
Being only sixteen years of age at the Jacobite “rising" in the perilous '45, the Earl was able to avoid personal involvement on either side ; but, as his father's son, he must often have heard of the narrow escape made by his Wintoun relative after Mar's attempt in 1715. Following the troubles of '45 came the Act for abolishing heritable jurisdictions, under which the Farl got £7,800 in full payment of a larger claim made for the redeemable Sheriffship of Renfrew, the bailairy of the regality of Kilwinning and the regality of Cunningham. Governor of Dumbarton Castle, a Lord of the Bed-Chamber at the Court of George III., he was also a Scottish representative Peer, and took an active part in passing through Parliament a useful measure abolishing the optional clause permitting the Scotch banks to refuse payment of their notes in cash for six months. But it was as an improving agriculturist that he made his most memorable mark, inasmuch as he thereby not only benefited his own estate but set an example which was soon copied all round. Regarding the preservation of his game, he was neither more strict nor less considerate than his neighbours. That he intended having a shot on his
own grounds the day he met with his death is evident enough from a gun being placed in his carriage on setting out in the forenoon. He not only planned but personally superintended much work in the way of planting, reclaiming, enclosing, and building. Earl Alexander, indeed, was seldom off the estate, and it was in the course of inspecting such operations that he came to his untimely end. The murderer and his victim had encountered each other at least once before.
Mungo Campbell, described as an excise officer at Ardrossan, was born at Ayr in 1712, and reputed to be one of twenty-four children. His father was at one time Provost of that burgh, but meeting with heavy losses in business, the family were left only indifferently provided for at his death. Mungo was taken charge of in infancy by his godfather, Cornet Campbell, and on growing up enlisted into the Scots Greys, went with them to Dettingen, was discharged in 1744, and on returning to Scotland received a commission in the excise through the patronage of the Earl of Loudoun, whom he had accompanied in a humble capacity to the Highlands. Esteemed on the whole for his military experiences as well as his gentle descent, and fond of the gun, he had a loose kind of permission to ramble over various properties in that portion of Ayrshire where he lived. On Eglinton's ground Campbell was not permitted to encroach. The Earl had come across him on one occasion at Parkhead after shooting, and only let him off with a stern warning, incited thereto, it was said, by one of the Castle servants named Bartlemore, who had been detected by Campbell in assisting to smuggle inland a quantity of rum. On the 24th October, about ten o'clock forenoon, Campbell, carrying a gun, and accompanied by a tide-waiter named Brown, set out from Saltcoats to walk to Montfode Bank by a common road leading through the Eglinton grounds, the primary object of the journey, it was alleged for Campbell, being the detection of smugglers either at Montfode or Castlecraigs.
They were returning by the sands, and within flood mark, when Earl Alexander passed them in his carriage on the Largs and Saltcoats road. Informed, or knowing otherwise, that they had been poaching over his grounds
his Lordship left the carriage, mounted a horse, and accompanied by some of his servants, rode up to Campbell, charging him with faithlessness after the promise he had made to abstain, and demanding at the same time possession of the gun. Campbell refused, declaring, with an oath, that he would rather part with his life than his gun. The Earl now dismounted, and although unarmed sought to circle round and gradually close in on Campbell. Campbell, on his part, followed every movement of his Lordship, and slightly stooping kept the gun closely and firmly by his thigh, always pointing full in the direction of the Earl. Exasperated and like to be beaten, for one of the servants had hurried to the carriage for the gun, Campbell shouted, “Keep off, my lord, or (with another oath) I will shoot you!” Nothing daunted, his Lordship replied, “I, too, can use a gun” (although the servant had not yet brought up the weapon), and kept pressing in on Campbell. The latter, retreating a few steps, yet still looking full at Eglinton, stumbled and fell. Gathering himself together, in a moment he aimed direct at his Lordship, pulled the trigger, and lodged the charge in his left side. Campbell then rushed on the servant, who had reached the ground with his Lordship's gun unloaded, seized it from him, and took aim in a general way, but as if intent on more mischief. After some little rough usage, which the wounded nobleman sought to moderate, Campbell was secured and conveyed to Irvine prison, then to Ayr, and finally, under a strong guard, to Edinburgh, to be tried before the High Court of Justiciary. Finding himself mortally wounded, Lord Eglinton rested for a few minutes on a stone by the shore, and then desired to be conveyed to his carriage, that the Castle might be reached as soon as possible. The party arrived there a little after two o'clock, but, although skilful physicians were there before him, it was found that any effort to save his Lordship must be fruitless. He employed the few remaining hours of his life in giving orders and written directions about his affairs, in making provision for his servants, and comforting with much self-possession the mourning friends around his bed. He died about ten o'clock next morning, or as near as possible twelve hours after the encounter.