Captain Paton, pp.110-111.

[Scottish National Memorials Contents]

   CAPTAIN PATON’S BIBLE. This small duodecimo- ‘London: Printed for the Companie of Stationers 1653’ – has contained both the Old and New Testaments, but many of the leaves have been abstracted by admirers more covetous than honest. The last words left are the appropriate ones:- ‘And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.’ Both the title-pages have fortunately been spared; that of the Old Testament is now mounted – the volume having been rebound in 1873 – but on the back of that of the New Testament the autograph of ‘John Paton’ may still be seen. A red leather label inside the cover is thus inscribed in gilt letters:- ‘Captn John Paton’s Bible which he gave to his wife from off the scaffold, when he was executed for the cause of Jesus Christ, at Edinburgh, on the 8th of May 1684. James Howie received it from the Captain’s son’s daughter’s husband, and gave it to John Howie, his nephew.’ This, it seems, had been previously written in strong round characters, somewhat resembling print, on a blank leaf at the beginning; and on the back were the initials ‘Ct. J. P.’ See an interesting paper, ‘Lochgoin, and Relics of the Covenanters,’ by the late Mr. John Kerr, writer, Glasgow, originally published in The Scots Times, and afterwards in Robert Malcolm’s Literary Gleanings (Glasgow, 1850). The Bible is now preserved under lock and key in a small case with a glass top. 

(416) Lent by JOHN HOWIE. 

   LIGHT SINGLE-EDGED SWORD, which belonged to Captain Paton. The blade, which is curved backwards, and has a broad, deep, long groove on each side, is 22 ¾ inches in length, and 1 ⅛ broad at the junction. The light basket-hilt is partly gone. The grip, which is mounted and has a spiral indentation, is 4 ¼ inches long. The semi-globular pommel is surmounted by a knob. 

(417) Lent by JOHN HOWIE. 

   BROAD-SWORD, which belonged to Captain Paton. This is a much more formidable weapon than the preceding, and one much more likely to have been used in the wonderful feats with which its owner has been credited. The double-edged blade is 35 ½ inches in length, and 1 ⅞ inches broad at the junction; and bears on each side a globe and double cross. On one side there are two joined letters, probably , but perhaps . The basket-hilt is of open ironwork, roughly pierced, and ornamented with indented lines. The grip has been 3 ⅝ inches long, but the mounting is gone. (See Fig. 82.) 

(397) Lent by MRS. ROWAT. 

   ‘AN EXPOSITION with Practicall Observations continued upon the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh chapters of the Booke of Job… by Joseph Caryl… London, Printed by G. Miller for H. Overton, L. Fawne, I. Rothwell, and G. Calvert, M.DC.XLV.’ This is the second volume of Caryl’s voluminous Exposition of Job. The title-page is gone. A note in a modern hand bears that – ‘Gavin Rowat, wood-merchant, Hamilton, married Annabella Paton, descendant of Capt Paton, who was executed in 1684, & to whom this book belonged.’ 

(398) Lent by MRS. ROWAT. 

   CHAIR, on which Captain Paton is said to have been sitting when captured in the house of Robert Howie in Floack, in the parish of Mearns. It is made of hardwood, the back is carved, and the legs are very short. The late Robert Barr, Hurlford, bought it at the displenishing sale at Floack, in April 1857. 

(399) Lent by ARCHIBALD BARR. 

   The leading events of Captain John Paton’s life, his prowess, hair-breadth escapes, capture, and death, are well known by John Howie’s graphic account of him, wound up with the brief but pithy expression:- ‘He lived a hero, and died a martyr.’ He was hanged in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh, not on the 8th of May 1684, as the inscription on his Bible bears, but on the 9th of that month. On this point Wodrow, Fountainhall, Howie, and the compilers of the Cloud of Witnesses, are unanimous. Howie relates that on his being brought into Edinburgh as a captive, Dalyell took him in his arms, exclaiming: ‘John, I am both glad and sorry to see you. If I had met you on the way, before you came hither, I should have set you at liberty, but now it is too late. But be not afraid, I will write to His Majesty for your life.’ Giving him full credit for sincerity, Howie adds: ‘No doubt Dalziel was as good as his word, for it is said that he obtained a reprieve for him from the King, but that, coming to the hands of Bishop Paterson, it was kept up by him till he was executed, which enraged the General not a little.’ Paton’s Last Testimony is in the Cloud of Witnesses; his mortal remains sleep amid the kindred dust of fellow-martyrs in the Greyfriars’ Churchyard; and two monuments have been successively raised to his memory in the burying-ground of Fenwick. 

John Brown of Priesthill’s SWORD. The light, tapering, double-edged blade is 19 ¼ inches long. One of the lobes of the finger-guard retains an ornamental plate pierced with small holes. The wooden-grip, swelling in the middle, is 3 ⅝ inches in length. Perhaps none of the dark deeds of Claverhouse has so stained his reputation as the heartless murder of John Brown, the Christian Carrier, at his lonely cottage door, in presence of his wife and children, on the first morning of May 1685. There are some variations in the tragic tale as told by Wodrow and Patrick Walker; but whether he was actually shot by Claverhouse himself, as Wodrow alleges, or by the dragoons at his command, as Walker’s narrative implies, the deed was most atrocious. Neither its committal, nor its cold, cruel character, can now be denied, as Napier has furnished proof of both in Claverhouse’s own report of the affair. After quoting its most important sentences, Hill Burton has well said:- ‘There is surely both candour to the world, and faith in the cause of his adoption, when the champion of Claverhouse’s reputation gives prominence to this admission.’1 (See Fig. 83.) 

(423) Lent by J. B. DALZELL. 

   CASE, containing hair and part of mitten or pawkie of the Crossgellioch martyrs. Wodrow gives a very brief account of the four Covenanters who in returning from a conventicle were overtaken by the dragoons. Joseph Wilson, John Jamieson, and John Humphrey, were shot, he says, on confessing that they had been hearing a sermon. Why the fourth, Alexander Jamieson, was spared he could not tell.2 Tradition, however, asserts that he was light of foot and fled, and Mr. A. B. Todd have filled in details with which Wodrow was unacquainted.3 When their second monument was erected in 1827 the three bodies were discovered, ‘lying side by side, only a little way beneath the surface, in their hosen and their plaids, fresh and undecayed, and looking as if they had only been buried yesterday.’ It was then that these relics were obtained. 

(445) Lent by IVY CAMPBELL. 

1  History of Scotland, revised ed. vii. 251, II. 

2  Wodrow’s History, iv. 252. 

3  Traditions of the Covenanters, chap. xii.; Homes, Haunts, and Battlefields of the Covenanters, first series, chap. ii.

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