Reign of Charles the Second, 1673-1685, pp.322-337.

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FOR several years, there was little to be observed regarding Scotland but that the nonconformity of its people in several of the more populous provinces provoked an incessant show of severities on the part of the government. During this time, literature and science remained wholly uncultivated; no department of industry showed any decided tendency to advance.

The persecution for field-meetings became more than ever severe. A calculation has been made that, previously to 1678, seventeen thousand persons had suffered fining and imprisonment on this account. A deep spirit of resentment against the Council, and especially the prelatic part of it, was the natural result of all these occurrences. The wisest and best natures were perverted by feelings which had become morbid by extreme excitement. On the 3d of May 1679, while the public mind was in this condition, a small party of Fife gentlemen went out with the deliberate intention of assassinating the sheriff at a chase. Disappointed in that object, they had not dispersed when a greater victim fell in their way. As they were riding over Magus Moor, near St Andrews, Archbishop Sharpe happened to pass. The opportunity appeared to their minds as a dispensation of Providence. They commanded him to come out of the coach, apparently that his daughter, who was with him, might not suffer from their shot. The archbishop tremblingly obeyed; he flung himself upon his knees, offered them mercy, forgiveness, everything, so that they would spare his life. The leader sternly reminded him of the deadly injuries he had inflicted upon the church and its martyrs. A volley of shot was poured upon his suppliant figure, and finally the unhappy prelate was hewed down with their swords, crying for mercy with his latest breath. They left his daughter lamenting over his body, which was afterwards found to bear such marks of their barbarity as could scarcely be credited.

This was immediately followed by an insurrection. On the 29th of May, which was the king’s birthday, a party of about eighty deliberately marched into the town of Rutherglen, three miles from Glasgow, where they publicly burnt all the acts of parliament against Presbytery. They afterwards extinguished the bonfires, in order to mark their disapprobation of all holidays of human institution, and concluded by fixing upon the cross a declaration of their sentiments respecting the late proceedings of the government. Having done this, they retired to a mountainous part of the country between Lanarkshire and Ayrshire, where there was to be a grand conventicle on the ensuing Sunday. The government looked upon this proceeding as an act of rebellion, and despatched a military party after the offenders, consisting of three troops of newly levied dragoons, under the command of Captain Graham of Claverhouse, a man of remarkable energy of character, who had recently entered the king’s service in Scotland. On Sunday, Graham came up with the insurgents at a place near Loudoun Hill, where they were assembled at devotion. They were about forty horse and two hundred foot, under the command of a gentleman named Hamilton, but without the least discipline or acquaintance with military affairs. Graham fired a volley, which they eluded in a great measure by falling upon their faces. He then tried to charge them through a morass, behind which they were placed, but in doing so threw his men into confusion, and exposed himself to the assault of the enemy. They took instant advantage of his distress, attacked the dragoons sword in hand, and soon compelled then to retire. Graham had his horse shot under him, and about twenty of his men were slain, while only one of the insurgents had fallen. A minister and some country-people whom he had brought along with him as prisoners were rescued by the victors.

The broken dragoons retreated to Glasgow, which was then garrisoned by about eight hundred troops. The Privy Council collected all its disposable forces at Edinburgh, and requested instructions from the court. It was speedily determined that the Duke of Monmouth should be sent down to take command of the army. On Sunday, the 22d of June, he had advanced to Bothwell, a village about a mile distant from the insurgent camp. The river Clyde ran between the two armies, and was only to be crossed by Bothwell Bridge, a long narrow pass, highly capable of defence. That point was stoutly defended, for nearly an hour, by some men from Galloway and Stirlingshire, under Hackstoun of Rathillet. At length, when their ammunition ran short, they sent back to the main body for a supply, which was denied. They were of course obliged to retire, and leave a free passage to the royal troops. When the horse soon after rode off from the field, the foot, left defenceless, could not stand an instant against the charge of the enemy. Excepting twelve hundred, who laid down their arms, the whole body took to flight, without having made the least effort at resistance. About three hundred were cut down in the pursuit.

The prisoners were brought in a body to Edinburgh, and confined, like sheep in a fold, within the gloomy precincts of the Greyfriars’ Churchyard, where, for four months, they had no seat or couch but the bare ground, and no covering but the sky. Two clergymen, Kid and King, were executed. Of the rest, all were set at liberty who would own the insurrection to have been rebellion, and the slaughter of the archbishop murder, and promise never more to take up arms against the government. Those who refused were sent to the Plantations; a mode of disposing of prisoners which had been introduced by Cromwell.

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1673.

The summer of this year was exceedingly wet, and the harvest thereby much endangered. – Law.

Most probably, the carriages proposed to be set up in 1610 and 1660 (see pp. 191 and 305), to run between Edinburgh and Leith with a charge of two shillings Scots for each person, were either not realised or quickly withdrawn, for nothing more is heard of them, and we find in 1702 one Robert Miller getting an exclusive privilege of putting coaches on that brief but important route, implying of course that no other such conveyances then existed. Street-carriages, which had been set up in London in the reign of Charles I., did not come into use in Scotland till after the Restoration. On the occasion of the unfortunate duel in 1667 between William Douglas of Whittinghame and Sir J. Home of Eccles, we hear of the parties going to the ground in a hackney-coach. Six years later, regular arrangements were made by the Edinburgh magistrates for a system of street-carriages, and the number then in service appears to have been twenty. It was ordered that they should be numbered 1, 2, 3, &c., with a view to ready reference in case of any complaint from a passenger, and that they should have a fixed place on the High Street between the heads of Niddry’s and Blackfriars’ Wynds. The fare to Leith for two or three persons in summer was to be 1s. sterling, or for four persons, 1s. 4d.; the fare to the Abbey, 9d., and as much back again.

1674.

Jan. – At this time commenced a stormy period, which was long memorable in Scotland. It opened with a tempest of east wind, which strewed the coasts of Northumberland and Berwickshire with wrecks. During February, the rough weather continued; and at length, on the 20th of the month, a heavy fall of snow, accompanied by vehement frost, set in, which lasted for thirteen days. This was afterwards remembered by the name of the Thirteen Drifty Days. There was no decided improvement of the weather till the 29th of March. ‘All fresh waters was frozen as if in the midst of winter; all ploughing and delving of the ground was marred till the aforesaid day; much loss of sheep by the snow, and of whole families in the moor country and highlands; much loss of cows everywhere, also of wild beasts, as doe and roe.’ – Law. This storm seems to have fallen with greatest severity upon the Southern Highlands. It is stated in the council books of Peebles that ‘the most part of the country lost the most part of their sheep and many of their nolt, and many all their sheep. It was universal, and many people were almost starved for want of fuel for fire.’

Oct. – There was no shearing this year till October, and much of the corn green when cut even then. Consequently, meal, though of bad quality, went to a pound sterling the boll. ‘Yet there was not any time cows found fatter than in this harvest, and no scarcity either of cows or sheep for slaughter. Thus the Lord, who casts down with one hand, lifts up with the other.’ – Law.

1676.

The winter of 1675-6 being singularly mild, was followed by a favourable spring, and there consequently was an abundant harvest. The characteristic mutability of our climate was, however, shown immediately after. There was a drought in later autumn, and about the 18th of December the temperature fell to an extraordinary degree, ‘the most aged never remembered the like. The birds fell down frae the air dead; the rats in numbers found dead; all liquors froze, even the strongest ale; and the distilled waters of apothecaries in warm rooms froze in whole, and the glasses broke.’ – Law.

July 9. – ‘A star was seen at twelve hours of the day by a great company of people met for sermon on Gargunnock Hills, and that when the sun was shining.’ – Law.

1676-7.

Lord Fountainhall notes a remarkable homicide as taking place this winter at the village of Abernethy in Perthshire. A butcher and another man, sitting in an ale-house together, quarrelled, ad in a sudden fit of passion, the butcher inflicted a mortal stab upon his companion. Some gentlemen sitting in a neighbouring room heard the fray, and, rushing in, found the butcher with the bloody knife in his hand. Excited by the atrocity of the deed, they hurried off the murderer to the regality gallows, and instantly hanged him, though they had no sort of authority to act in that manner. They probably acted upon a popular notion, that a murderer taken red-hand, or fresh from the act, may be instantly done to death by the bystanders; which appears, however, to be a mistake.

1677.

Oct. 1. – The Egyptians or gipsies still roamed in a lawless manner over the country, without attracting much notice from the authorities, their conduct being now probably less troublesome than it had been in the reign of King James. Two bands of these people, the Faws and the Shaws, on their way from Haddington fair to Harestanes, in Peeblesshire, where they expected to meet and fight two other tribes, the Baillies and Browns, fell out among themselves at Romanno about the spoil they had lately acquired, and immediately engaged in battle. ‘Old Sandie Faw, a bold and proper fellow,’ and his wife, then pregnant, were killed on the spot, while his brother George was very dangerously wounded. The Laird of Romanno apprehended ‘Robert Shaw; Margaret Faw, his spouse; James, Patrick, Alexander, and Thomas Shaws, their sons; and Helen Shaw, their daughter; Robert and John Faws; John Faw, younger; Agnes and Isobel Shaws; Isobel Shaw, younger; and George Faw, and did commit them prisoners within the Tolbooth of Peebles;’ whence they were speedily removed to Edinburgh to be tried. We soon after find the Council despatching a warrant to the Laird of Romanno and Mr Patrick Purdie to send to Edinburgh ‘the money, gold, gold rings, and other things which they had fought. An account of expenses sent by the magistrates of Peebles was disallowed, excepting only £15 Scots (£1, 6s. 8d. sterling) for the sustenance of the company while in jail. – P. C. R.

In February next year, ‘Old Robin Shaw’ and his three sons were hanged in the Grassmarket for this murder, and John Faw was executed in the following week for another murder. Two or three years after, the Laird of Romanno – a quaint physician named Pennecuik, who wrote verses – erected a pigeon-house on the scene of the conflict, with this inscription over the door:

‘The field of gipsy blood which here you see,
A shelter for the harmless dove shall be.’

Nov. 3. – A great fire took place in Glasgow, by which a large part of the Saltmarket on both sides was burnt. It commenced near the Cross, through the instrumentality of a smith’s apprentice, who, being beaten by his master, set the workshop on fire at night, and fled. This conflagration was considered an equal calamity to that of 1652. It threw between six and seven hundred families out of their homes, in a ruined and starving condition. – P. C. R.

1678.

Mar. 7. – Three enterprising persons at Haddington, including William Lamb, one of the bailies, and Mr James Lauder, sheriff-clerk, formed a project for a twice-a-week stage-coach ‘to pass through the whole year betwixt Edinburgh and Haddington, which will be of great conveniency for travellers of all sorts who may have occasion to repair to Edinburgh from the eastward.’ It was their resolution ‘to employ a considerable stock of money for erecting the said stage-coaches, buying of horses, and all other furniture requisite, in expectation of some small profit by progress of time.’ Wherefore they petitioned for the exclusive right to have stage-coaches upon that road. The right was granted for seven years. – P. C. R.

In the history of the introduction of the more refined arts into Scotland, there is no reason why one so ingenious as cabinet-making should not be included. We now first hear of it on the occasion of a petition from one James Turner, styling himself ‘cabinet-maker and mirror-glass maker.’ He having, as he says, ‘with much labour, pains, and expenses, attained to the art of making cabinets, mirror-glasses, dressing-boxes, chests of drawers, comb-boxes, and the like curious work, of the finest olive and princes’ wood, not formerly practised by any native of this country,’ had been peaceably exercising his craft, when he was assailed by the deacon of the corporation of wrights as an unfreeman. He had first been forbidden to work, and then they took away his tools and materials. On his petition, however, he received the protection of the Council. – P. C. R.

Oct. – At this time, eighty persons were detained in prison in Edinburgh on account of matters of religion, waiting till they should be transported as slaves to Barbadoes. – Foun. Dec.

June 15. – Great efforts were made during this reign for the building of bridges and repairing of roads, but generally with little good effect. As an example of the actual condition of a road near the capital of the country at this time, we find the first four miles of that from Edinburgh to London – namely, from the Clockmill Bridge to Magdalen Bridge – are described as being in so ruinous a state, that passengers were in danger of their lives, ‘either by their coaches overturning, their horse falling, their carts breaking, their loads casting, and horse stumbling, the poor people with the burdens on their backs sorely grieved and discouraged;’ moreover, ‘strangers do often exclaim thereat.’ A toll of a halfpenny for a laden cart, and a sixth of a penny for a laden horse, was authorised in order to get this piece of road kept in repair. – P. C. R.

[Nov. ?] – The Duke of York paying a visit to the castle of Edinburgh, the huge cannon called MONS MEG* was fired in his honour. The charge, which was done by an English cannoneer, had probably been too large, for it caused the piece to burst. This, ‘some foolishly called a bad omen. The Scots resented it extremely, thinking the Englishman _20180925_011531.JPGmight of malice have done it purposely, they having no cannon in all England so big as she.’ – Foun.

Mons Meg, with a breach in her side, still adorns the ancient battlements of Edinburgh Castle, ‘to the great admiration of people,’ being upwards of thirteen feet long, and of twenty inches bore; formed of longitudinal bars of iron, hooped with rings fused into one mass. It is an example of a colossal kind of artillery which the sovereigns of Europe had a craze for making in the middle and latter half of the fifteenth century.

Dec. 10. – A great comet, which had been observed in Germany a month earlier, was first seen in Scotland this evening, ‘the night being clear and frosty; between five and seven at night, it set in the west, and was seen in the south-east in the morning of the following days. [It] had a great [tail] blazing frae the root of it, was pointed as it came from the star, and then spread itself; was of a broad and large ascent up to the heavens… the stream of it all the night over is seen.’

1681.

Jan. – 11. – The house of Priestfield (now Prestonfield), near Edinburgh, was burnt this evening between seven and eight o’clock. Political circumstances gave importance to what would otherwise have been a trivial occurrence. Sir James Dick, the owner, was provost of Edinburgh, and a friend of the Duke of York. His having adopted energetic measures with some college youths concerned in a Christmas anti-papal demonstration, was supposed to have excited a spirit of retaliation in their companions; and hence a suspicion arose that the fire was designed and executed by them. The Privy Council were so far convinced of this being the case, that they shut up the College and banished the pupils fifteen miles from the city, unless they could give caution for their good behaviour. Sir James’s house was rebuilt at the public expense.

Feb. 21. – A company of distracted people was this day brought into Edinburgh, under the guardianship of a troop of dragoons. They were commonly known as the Sweet Singers of Borrowstounness, from their noted habit of frequent chanting of psalms. The religious exasperations of the times, the execution of two Bo’ness persons, named Stewart and Potter, on the preceding 1st of December, and perhaps in addition to these causes, the terrors diffused by the comet, had now produced in that little town an epidemic mania of a type only too well known. These people felt as if all was wrong in church and state, and professed to deny all kinds of institutions, even the names of the days of the week; nay, the commonest social obligations, as that of working for one’s own bread. They protested against taxes, confessions, and covenants; disowned the king and his government; and called for vengeance on the murderers of the two late martyrs, Stewart and Potter, whose blood they carried on a handkerchief. They ran up and down the town in a furious manner, sometimes uttering prayers which consisted chiefly of curses invoked against individuals, more frequently singing psalms of lamentation (74th, 79th, 80th, 83d, and 137th) for the sins of the land. Such of the females as were married deserted their homes and husbands, and if the husband, in his endeavours to win his wife back to rationality, took hold of any part of her dress, she indignantly washed the place, as to remove an impurity. They followed a gigantic fellow, commonly called Muckle John Gibb, but who passed among them under the name of King Solomon, and at length, ‘leaving their homes and soft warm beds and covered tables,’ six-and-twenty of them went forth from their native town, notwithstanding the entreaties of weeping husbands, fathers, and children, calling on them to stay; ‘some women taking the sucking children in their arms to desert places, to be free of all snares and sins, and communion with all others, and mourn for their own sins, the land’s tyranny and defecations, and there to be safe from the land’s utter ruin and desolation by judgments; some of them going to the Pentland Hills, with a resolution to sit there to see the smoke and utter ruin of the sinful, bloody city of Edinburgh… Immediately after they came to these desert places, they kept a day of fasting and confessing of their sins to one another; yea, some of them confessed sins which the world had not heard of, and so not called to confess them to men.’ – Pat. Walker.

Even the Whig clergymen who had gone to the wilderness rather than own an uncovenanted king, were surprised at the more extreme feelings of the Sweet Singers. Walker tells how he was with the Rev. Mr Cargill at Darmead Muirs, when the Gibbites were ‘lying in the Deer Slunk, in the midst of a great flow moss betwixt Clydesdale and Lothian, about a mile distant.’ Gibb and another man came armed, and held a conference with Mr Cargill in a barn, but it led to no good. After resting a while, the chief of the Sweet Singers rose in haste and went to the muir all night. ‘I well remember,’ says Walker, ‘it was a cold easterly wet fog.’ Cargill was shocked by the state of mind he had found them in. They were afterwards all taken by a troop of dragoons at the Woolhill Craigs, betwixt Lothian and Tweeddale, a very desert place, and carried to Edinburgh, where the men were put into the Canongate Tolbooth, and the women into the Correction-house, where they were soundly scourged. After a little time, these poor people cooled down somewhat, and were one by one set at liberty. Walker says the most of them ultimately returned to their right mind, and that he had some edifying conversations with them.

June 2. – On a complaint from the master of the High School of Edinburgh to the Privy Council, two or three private teachers were imprisoned till they should give caution not to teach Latin without a license from the bishop, and even then to carry the boys no farther than ‘the rudiments and vocables;’ after which it was thought they might be of sufficient strength to go to the High School. What disposed the Council to support the complaint was that there were several private teachers now in Edinburgh who were ‘outed ministers,’ and accordingly were suspected of poisoning their pupils with disloyal principles. P. C. R.

Sep. 1. – Leather stamped and gilded – believed to be originally a Spanish fashion – was a favourite cover for the walls of rooms in the better class of houses in Scotland as well as in England. Some examples of the style still survive, and speak so strongly in its favour, that we might justly wonder at its going out of fashion. Hitherto such ornamental leather was introduced from abroad; but now Alexander Brand, merchant in Edinburgh, by a considerable outlay, had brought workmen and materials into the kingdom, and for the first time was about to set up a work, in which he expected to produce the article ‘at as easy rates as it could be imported.’ On a favourable report from ‘the Committee of Trade,’ the Privy Council gave Brand a privilege of exclusive manufacture for nineteen years. – P. C. R.

1682.

Feb. 11. – Three men were drowned this day by falling through the ice on the North Loch (which then occupied the place of what is now the Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh). ‘We have a proverb that the fox will not set his foot on the ice after Candlemas, especially in the heat of the sun, as this was at two o’clock; and at any time the fox is so sagacious as to lay his ear to the ice, to see if it be frozen to the bottom, or if he hear the murmuring and current of the water.’ – Foun.

Apr. – A severe murrain commenced amongst the cattle, thought to be owing to the deficient herbage of the preceding year and the heavy rains of the intermediate season. The support of cattle during winter was at all times a trying difficulty in those days of no turnip-husbandry; but on an occasion like this it was scarcely possible. It was remarked that the farmers had to cut heather for their beasts to lie upon, and pull the old straw out of the coverings of their houses to feed them with. The murrain lasted till May, when some tenants in the Highlands lost as many as forty cows by it.

May 3. – A riot took place in the streets of Edinburgh, in consequence of an attempt to carry away, as soldiers to serve the Prince of Orange, some young men who had been imprisoned for a trivial offence. As the lads were marched down the street under a guard, to be put on board a ship in Leith Roads, some women called out to them: ‘Pressed or not pressed?’ They answered: ‘Pressed,’ and so caused an excitement in the multitude. A woman who sat on the street selling pottery threw a few sherds at the guard; and some other people, finding a supply of missiles at a house which was building, followed her example. ‘The King’s forces,’ says Fountainhall, ‘were exceedingly assaulted and abused.’ Under the order of their commander, Major Keith, they turned and fired upon the crowd, when, as usual, only innocent bystanders were injured. Seven men and two women were killed, and twenty-five wounded – a greater bloodshed than ‘has been at once these sixty years done in the streets of Edinburgh.’ Three of the most active individuals in this mob were seized and tried, but the assize would not find them guilty. The magistrates were severely blamed for their negligence and cowardice in this affair.

Aug. 17. – A comet began to appear in the north-west. ‘The star was big, and the tail broad and long, at the appearance of four yards.’ It continued visible for twenty days. – Law.

This was the celebrated Halley’s Comet, so called in honour of the illustrious astronomer who first ascertained, by his calculations regarding it, the periodicity of comets. The same object had been observed by Kepler in 1607, and by Apian in 1531.

1683.

Apr. 5. – At the funeral of the Duke of Lauderdale at Haddington, while the usual dole of money was being distributed among the beggars, one, named Bell, stabbed another. ‘He was apprehended, and several stolen things found on him; and he being made to touch the corpse, the wound bled afresh. The town of Haddington, who it seems have a sheriff’s power, judged him presently, and hanged him over the bridge next day.’ – Foun.

June 5. – At the circuit court at Stirling, a man was tried for reviling a parson ‘in causing the piper play The Deil stick the Minister. Sundry pipers were there present as witnesses to declare it was the name of ane spring.’ – Foun.

Nov. – At this time began a frost which lasted with great severity till March, ‘with some storms and snow now and then.’ ‘The rivers at Dundee, Borrowstounness, and other places where the sea ebbs and flows, did freeze, which hath not been observed in the memory of man before; and thereby the cattle, especially the sheep, were reduced to great want… the like not seen since the winter 1674.’ – Foun.

This frost prevailed equally in England and Ireland, producing ice on the Thames below Gravesend. One remarkable circumstance arising from it is noted by a gentleman residing in London, that printing was hindered for a quarter of a year (by the hardening of the ink).

Dec. 26. –  A dismally tragical incident occurred at the Hirsel, the seat of the Earl of Home, near Coldstream. The earl having been long detained in London, the countess, to beguile the time during the Christmas holidays, had a party of the neighbouring gentleman invited to the house. Amongst these were Johnston of Hilton, Home of Ninewells, and the Hon. William Home, brother of the earl, and the sheriff of Berwickshire. Cards and dice being resorted to, and William having lost a considerable sum, a quarrel took place among the gentlemen, and Johnston, who was of a haughty and hot temper, gave William a slap in the face. The affair seemed to have been amicably composed, and all had gone to bed, when William Home rose and went to Johnston’s chamber, to call him to account for the affront he conceived himself to have suffered. What passed in the way of conversation between the two is not known; but certain it is that Home stabbed Johnston in his bed, giving him nine severe wounds. Home of Ninewells, who slept near by, came to see what cause the disturbance, and, as he entered the room, received a sword-thrust from the sheriff, who was now retiring, and who immediately fled into England upon Johnston’s horse.

The unfortunate Hilton died in a few days. Ninewells recovered. The sheriff – of whom it was shudderingly remarked that this bloody fact happened exactly a twelvemonth after the execution of a Presbyterian rebel whom he had apprehended – was never caught. He was supposed to have entered some foreign service and died in battle. In advanced life, he is said to have made an experiment to ascertain if he could be allowed to spend the remainder of his days in his native country. A son of the slaughtered Johnston, while at a public assembly, ‘was called out to speak with a person, who, it was said, brought him some particular news from abroad. The stranger met him at the head of the staircase, in a sort of lobby which led into the apartment where the company were dancing. He3 told young Johnston of Hilton that the man who had slain his father was on his death-bed, and had sent him to request his forgiveness before he died. Before granting his request, Johnston asked the stranger one or two questions; and observing that he faltered in his answers, he suddenly exclaimed: “You yourself are my father’s murderer,” and drew his sword to stab him. Home – for it was the homicide himself – threw himself over the balustrade of the staircase, and made his escape.’

1684.

Aug. 15. – Monro, the Edinburgh executioner, having beaten a beggar with undue severity, was deprived of his post, and moreover punished by being thrown into the Thieves’ Hole. One hears with surprise of such an interference for humanity, amidst the atrocious cruelties to which political and religious exasperations were provoking the government. The vacant post was conferred on one George Ormiston, whom Fountainhall describes as ‘a well-favoured discreet fellow.’ If we are to believe Milne’s Account of the Parish of Melrose, 1743, this man was a member, if not the representative, of the Ormistons of Westhouse, a family once of some account, possessing a tower on the Tweed, near Melrose, and having the custom of a bridge across the river of that place; ‘a memorandum to old families not to be puffed up with pride on account of their antiquity, for they know not what mean offices they or theirs may be obliged to stoop to.’

Dec. – Amongst those now suffering under the severities of government, there was no one more remarkable than Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth, a Berwickshire gentleman of large fortune, of vigorous character, and great zeal as a Presbyterian and Whig. Polwarth, who was a man of forty-three years of age, had a wife and ten children, all young, residing at his house of Redbraes in the Merse. The first concealment of Sir Patrick was the family burial vault, under the east end of the parish church of Polwarth, a place where he had no fire, and only during the day light from an open slit in the wall. With the comfort of a bed and bed-clothes, he endured life in this singular Patmos for a whole winter month, supplied nightly with food by his daughter Grizzel, and having no sort of entertainment to beguile the tedium of the day but his own reflections, and the repetition of Buchanan’s Psalms, which had long been charged on his memory. Each night, the young Grizzel came with a packet of provisions, and stayed with him as long as she could, so as to get home before day. Sir Patrick ultimately escaped to Holland, whence he returned with the Prince of Orange to take a high place in the councils of his country under a happier régime.

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Mons Meg makes an appearance in Grant’s ‘Old and New Edinburgh’, its illustration in Chapter 6 & description in Chapter 7.

3 thoughts on “Reign of Charles the Second, 1673-1685, pp.322-337.

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