Covenanters Against the Union: Act against all Musters and Rendezvouses of 1706 #History #Scotland

•May 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Scottish Parliament

On 30 November, 1706, most of the members of the Scottish Parliament voted to strike down a law under which armed, Protestant Scots could legally muster for the defence of their Kingdom. The new act was squarely aimed at the Society people and their allies who had conducted armed protests against the Treaty of Union with England, which was then being voted on in Parliament, and that Scotland’s elite, with good reason based on intelligence, feared were about to mount a rising to raise Parliament and prevent Union.

This act cut the legal basis for popular resistance to the Union and declared those who took up arms in defence of Scottish sovereignty as “traitors”.

Act against all Musters and Rendezvouses during the present Session of Parliament [without her Majesty’s special command]

OUR Sovereign Lady, considering, that by the 3d act of the 2d session of this Parliament intituled, “Act for Security of the Kingdom,” it is statute and enacted, that the whole Protestant Heretors, and all the Burghs within the same, shall forthwith provide themselves with Fire-arms for all the Fencible-men, who are Protestants, within their respective Bounds; and the said Heretors and Burghs are thereby empowered and ordained, to discipline and exercise their Fencible-men once in the month at least; and also considering that the disorderly and seditious meetings and tumults, in some places in the country [i.e., in Dumfries, Glasgow etc.], do[es] make it necessary at this occasion to suspend the effect of the foresaid clause, during this Session of Parliament allennarly [i.e., only]:

Therefore, Her Majesty, with advice and consent of the Estates of Parliament, doth hereby suspend the effect of the foresaid clause, and that during this Session of Parliament allennarly [i.e., only].

And further her Majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, discharges and strictly prohibits the subjects of this Kingdom to meet and assemble together in arms after the publication hereof, upon any pretence whatsoever, during the space foresaid, without her Majesty’s special command, or express licence had or obtained thereto:

And requires and commands all the subjects of this Kingdom to retire to their own habitations and lawful employments; certifying such as shall do in the contrary that they shall be liable to the pains of High Treason, conform[ing] to the Laws and Acts of Parliament made against unlawful convocations risings in arms.’ (Printed in Defoe, History of the Union, 661; RPS, 1706/10/112.)

The act was followed by a proclamation at the mercat crosses of Dumfries, Lanark and Glasgow that was designed to make the point.

In the last session of the Scottish Parliament in early 1707, the period for the enforcement of this act was was extended on 21 February until 1 January 1708. (RPS, 1706/10/316.)

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Who was the Spy Daniel Defoe’s Agent called Pierce in 1706? #History #Scotland

•May 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Defoe Edinburgh

In a letter at the height of the Union Crisis on 30 November, 1706, the English author and spy, Daniel Defoe, reports that he had sent an agent from Edinburgh to the West to dissuade Presbyterians from rising against the Treaty of Union. On the same day, the Scottish Parliament ordered a proclamation against those planning a rising.

On 30 November, 1706, Defoe wrote that

‘I had heard of the West countrymen’s resolutions [of Presbyterians potentially rising against Parliament to thereby end the Union negotiations] and purposed to have gone among them myself, but the Committee calling every day for me, I thought myself able to do more service here, and Mr. Pierce whom you know of offering himself, I sent him with my servant and horses, with some heads, of reasons if possible to open their eyes. He is very well known among them and very acceptable to their ministers who are the firebrands, and I hope may be serviceable to cool the people, if he escapes the first fury, but I confess myself in pain for him. He is sincerely zealous for the public, and will merit a pardon for what has passed, if he performs this service, whether he has success or no.’

Due to his mission, Pierce was probably in some danger from the anti-Union western Presbyterians. Who was the mysterious spy called Pierce?

According to Furbank, Owens, etc., in Defoe De-Attributions: Critique of J. R. Moore’s Checklist (1994), he was the English dissenter and broker, John Pierce. In May, 1704, Queen Anne offered a reward for the discovery of the author and printer of a subversive pamphlet called Legion’s Humble Address aka. ‘the Million Letter’, in which Pierce played a role:

‘On 8 June [1704, the diarist], Narcissus Lutterell reported that “Mr. Peirce, an exchange broker, abscond[s]; [… for ] handing it [Legion’s Address] to the presse”.

[… on 19 June [1704], the alleged printer of Legion’s Humble Address confirmed that] “one Pierce a Broker, formerly a Silkman” paid him about forty shillings, and going to Newcastle in the company of Pierce. […]

On 5 July [1704] an informer told [Robert Harley that] ‘John Pierce, “reputed author of the Million Letter”, was also in England, though the informer did not know where.

On 27 September [1704] Nathaniel Sammom, “ a tool of [Daniel] De Foe’s”, […] admitted receiving a bundle of papers from “one John Pearce”. […]

A newsletter dated London, 10 February 1705 […] reported that: “a person who is fled thither [i.e., to Edinburgh] from England for being author of Legion’s Address and goes by the borrowed name of Allen (though his true name is Pierce) with some others of his kidney kept the [anti-Royalist and pro-Republican] calves head feast [on the anniversary of the execution of Charles I on 30 January] at the house of one Fowler in the Cowgate [of Edinburgh]”. […]

A copy now in the National Library of Scotland, of A Dialogue between a Country-Man, and a Landwart School Master, concerning the Proceedings of the Parliament of England (Edinburgh, 1705) has a manuscript inscription in an old hand on its title-page: “By Peirce Alias Legion Alias Allen Alias etc.”

One of the copies of Legion’s Humble Address in the National Library of Scotland has the contemporary inscription: “This is the address for q[ui]ch Allan brock newgate prison and ffled to Scotland”.

In the Memorial of the Presbyterians (1706) reference is made to “one P—e, a Broker, (that was kept out of the Way for publishing and dispersing a half Sheet, which was wrote by D. D[e].F[[oe].)”.

[After Defoe’s letter of 30 November,] in The Review Review’d: In a Letter to the Prophet Daniel in Scotland, published probably in April 1707, Defoe was urged to “be civil to poor Jack Pearse, who you know was forc’d to travel Northward upon your Account”.

A letter from Robert Watts to A. Charlett of February 1708, quoted in Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne […] says: “The Author of … The Observator reviv’d was one Pearce an Exchange Broker some time concern’s in ye Paper call’d Legions Address & forc’d to fly on that Acc[oun]t into Holland.” (Furbank, Owens, etc., Defoe De-Attributions: Critique of J.R.Moore’s Checklist, 17-18.)

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Daniel Defoe: An Intelligencer in Edinburgh #History #Scotland

•May 1, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Daniel Defoe

After he arrived as an English spy in Scotland in October, 1706, Daniel Defoe lodged at the house of Mr. John Monro, her Majesty’s armourer, at the sign of the Half Moon by the Netherbow gate of Edinburgh.

His correspondence from that period with Robert Harley, England’s Northern Secretary, has been widely used by historians of the Union, as it mainly deals with the negotiations in the Scottish Parliament, the views the presbyterian ministers, his attempts to influence both people and the debates, and the actions of various mobs. However, it also makes reference to the Cameronian Society people and helps to put some of their actions into context.

On 5 November, 1706, he noted that ‘addresses are delivered in from several places and more preparing’ and that ‘are found in the cant of the old times, deploring the misery of Scotland for want of a further reformation and the security of the church and the Lord’s covenanted people, but when the names come to be examined they are all signed by known Jacobites and Episcopal men.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Portland, IV, 345.)

Hebronites Humble Address 1706

On 12 November, the Hebronites delivered a similar ‘humble address’ to Parliament that was subscribed by delegates from Society people.

The Societies’ delegation, including John Hepburn, was part of a wider gathering of people from across Scotland in Edinburgh. On 7 November, the Earl of Leven noted that ‘all is quiet here, although I cannot say it would be had we not guards within this city, for there is a very great confluence of people here in town, and the ferment is great amongst the mob.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Portland, IV, 346.)


In Defoe’s letter of 5 November he recorded disquiet among the rank and file of the Scottish Army over the impact of Union on them:

‘There has been a further expectation of a mob and some practices have been used to infect the soldiers, but [David Melville] the Earl of Leven[, the commander-in-chief of all Scottish forces and son of George, Lord Melville,]  called the [Foot] guards together today and made a speech to them. They had been possessed with a notion that they should be sent to the West Indies as soon as the Union was over. My Lord Leven, I hope, has re-established them and the proceeding since is more favourable.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Portland, IV, 345-6.)

On 13 November, Defoe considered the possibility of an insurrection and how loyal the army would be in the event of one:

‘if any insurrection happen, which I must acknowledge is not unlikely, I crave leave to say the few troops they have here are not to be depended upon; I have this confessed by men of the best judgment. The officers are good, but even the officers own they dare not answer for their men, and some of the wisest and most discerning men here wish two or three regiments of horse or dragoons were sent but near the borders, as silently as might be. All the forces this Government has to make a stand are not 2000 effective men, and of them I question whether 1500 could be drawn together.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Portland, IV, 350.)

The Master of Stair

John Dalrymple, Earl of Stair, also wrote to Harley on 26 November:

‘I acknowledge there’s great ground to believe the opposers are so bold and resolute that they will spare no means to obstruct the ratification of the treaty, and will take off foully some persons that may be most forward, or else raise the country in arms, towards which there are too many open steps made already.

We have all the encouragement we can wish from Her Majesty and her ministers there by their firmness to the measure, but I could wish to hear of your troops in the north of England and Ireland, for it encourages our enemies to think you have none near. And though the officers of our few forces are gentlemen of honour, yet the coutinets (sic) may be tainted with popular apprehensions, and the belief that after the Union they shall either be disbanded or sent to the plantations; and if the country should rise, they are few, exposed without help or hopes of relief. It is easier to stifle ill inclinations than to reduce open rebellion upon popular sentiments, therefore I long to hear of the [English] troops [on the Border];’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Portland, IV, 359.)

Covenanters Union Scotland 1707

The Hebronites’ printed declaration at Dumfries of 20 November questioned whether the rank and file soldiery were committed to the defence of Parliament.

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Parliament Responds to the Covenanters Against the Union in 1706 #History #Scotland

•April 26, 2016 • 3 Comments

Proclamation Union 1707

On Saturday 30 November, 1706, Parliament responded to the tumults in Glasgow, the Society people’s declaration at Dumfries and letters organising an anti-Union rebellion in Lanarkshire, by ordering a proclamation that was probably proclaimed in Glasgow, Dumfries and Lanark on Monday 2 December:

A Proclamation
Against all Tumultuary and Irregular Meetings and Convocations of the Liedges.

ANNE, by the grace of God, Queen of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith: To Our Lyon King at Arms, and his Brethren, Heraulds, Pursevants. Macers, and Messengers at Arms, Our Sheriffs in that part, conjunctly and severally, specially constitute, greeting:

Forasmuch as, albeit the raising of Tumults, and making Convocations within Burgh, and the Riotous and Disorderly Assembling and continuing in Arms, thereby insulting the Magistrates, and hindering them in the Execution of their Office, and hindering of the Common Law, be contrary to sundry Laws and Acts of Parliament, as well as destructive of the ends of Government, and particularly to Parl. 14. cap. 77. Ja. 2. Ja. 4. Parl. 3. chap. 34. Ja. 6. Parl. 18. chap. 17. As also the rising in arm, convocating our Liedges in the open fields, and marching in formed bodies armed through the country, and entering into our Royal Burghs, boden in Fier of Weir, and entering into bonds, leagues, and associations, for prosecuting illegal and unwarrantable ends, be, by several Laws and Acts of Parliament, declared to be open and manifest Treason, and the Committers, Abettors, and Assistants in such Crimes and Practices, ought to be prosecuted, and may be punished as Traitors to her Majesty and her Government; and particularly by Parl. 2. Ja. 1st. chap. 37. Ja. 2. Parl. 6. chap. 14. Ja. 6. Parl. 12. chap. 144. Cha. 2. Parl. 1st. Session 1st. chap. 3.

Yet, nevertheless, We, and our Estates of Parliament, are certainly informed, that in several corners of the Realm, and particularly in our Burgh of Glasgow, and other places within the Sheriffdom of Lanerk, and in our Burgh of Dumfries, and other places adjacent, people have presumed, in manifest contempt of the foresaid Laws, to assemble themselves in open defiance of our Government, and with manifest design to overturn the same, by insulting the Magistrates, attacking and assaulting the houses of our peaceable subjects, continuing openly in arms, and marching in formed bodies through the country, and into our Burghs, and insolently burning, in the face of the sun, and presence of the Magistrates, the Articles of Treaty, betwixt our two Kingdoms, entered into by the authority of Parliament, and even after the said Articles had been presented to Us, and were under the consideration of Us and our Estates, presently sitting in Parliament, and some progress made thereupon; and such crimes and insolencies being no ways to be tolerated in any well-governed nation; but, on the contrary, ought to be condignly punished conform to the Laws above-mentioned, and other Acts of Parliament made thereanent, especially if persisted and continued in after our displeasure therewith shall be made known:

Therefore, We, with advice and consent of the Estates of Parliament, peremptorily require and command all and every person, who have assembled themselves in manner above-mentioned, to lay down their said arms, and disperse themselves, and peaceably and quietly to retire, and betake themselves to their several habitations and employments; and We, with advice foresaid, prohibit and discharge any assembling or convocating in arms in manner foresaid, under the pains contained in the Acts of Parliament above-mentioned, certifying all that shall be guilty, actors, abettors, or assistants, in convocating or assembling in arms, or those who shall convocate and commit these practices above-mentioned, shall be treated and pursued as open traitors, and the pains of Treason execute upon them accordingly:

And in case any of our people shall dare to be so presumptuous, after publication of the premisses, to assemble or continue in arms; We hereby require and command the Sheriffs of our several Shires, Stewarts of Stewartries, Baillies of Regallities and Baronies, Magistrates of Burghs, and other Officers of our Law, Officers of our Forces and Troops under their command, to pass upon, disperse, and subdue the said convocation, by open force, and all manner of violence, as enemies and open rebels to us and our Government:

And in case any slaughter, blood, bruises, or mutilation shall happen to be done and committed by our said Sheriffs, and Officers of our Forces, and other Magistrates foresaid, or persons under their command; We, with advice foresaid, do hereby fully remit, pardon, and indemnify the same, and discharge the prosecution thereof civilly or criminally in all time coming.

Our will is therefore, and we charge you, that ye pass to the Mercat cross of Edinburgh, and the Mercat-crosses of Dumfries, Lanerk, and Glasgow, and other places needful, and there make publication hereof, by open Proclamation of the premisses, that none pretend ignorance: And ordains these presents to be printed, and our Solicitors to send Copies hereof to the Magistrates of the respective Burghs above mentioned, for that effect. Extracted forth of the Records of Parliament, by
JA. MURRAY, Cls. Reg.

God Save the Queen.’

(Reproduced in Defoe, History of the Union, 658-9.)

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‘Under the Pain of Treason’: Covenanters Against the Union #History #Scotland

•April 24, 2016 • 1 Comment


In his diary of the Scottish Parliament during the Union debates, David Hume of Crossrig recorded Parliament’s reaction to the Society people’s burning of the articles of Union at Dumfries in November, 1706.

The Hebronites, or the 3,000 to 4,000 Society people led by the minister John Hepburn, had submitted a ‘Humble Address’ to Parliament detailing their objections to the Union on 12 November. However, in their declaration at Dumfries on 20 November they had made a far broader appeal to opponents of the Union and, accompanied by 540 foot and horse, threatened insurrection.

The Society people, or their forebears, had a long history of attempting to mount raids on Edinburgh to influence political events, e.g., the battle of Mauchline Moor and the Whiggamore Raid of 1648, the Pentland Rising of 1666, the Bothwell Rising of 1679 and in their defence of the Convention of Estates to secure the Revolution in 1689. How would Scotland’s elite respond in 1706?

Friday, 29 November:

‘The Chancellour told he was ordered by the Privy Council to lay before the Parliament, That my L[ord]. Commissioner [James Douglas, Duke of Queensberry] and others had received advice from the Magistrates of Glasgow, that they had been lately insulted by the mob, not so much by those of the town as those from the country, demanding money and arms; that the Town had suppressed them, and hoped to keep the peace there.

As also, there was advice from the Magistrats of Drumfries, that about 420 foot and 120 horse, commanded by one [‘Captain’ William] Harries, came to the town after the Town’s endeavours to resist them, but in vain, and there drew up and burnt the Articles of Treaty of the Union; which latter were read.

[The] proclamation they made was read [in Parliament], and it was moved, Some course might be thought upon for suppressing these insolences; and a proclamation was offered, mentioning the shire of Cluidsdale, and the neighbouring Shires to Drumfries.

The D[uke]. of Hamilton and M[arquis]. of Annandale opposed it, seing there was no special information against them. So the Commissioner [Queensberry] told, he had advice there was irregular meetings in Cluidsdale. Others condescended on Kirk of Shots, Lesmahago, and Stennhouse, where several letters unsubscribed were dropt, [to] require several parishes to meet and rendezvous, and be ready on a call with 10 dayes provision.

Then the proclamation was objected against for forbidding all assemblies in arms during this Session of Parliament. It was alledged to be a suspension, not a rescission of the Act of Security [of 1703], requiring the heritors, &c., to bring arms, and muster their men, at least once a month. It was further said, this could not be without an Act of Parliament, requiring two readings. The matter was adjusted, and the proclamation was amended, forbidding all assemblies in arms, contrary to [>p188] law, which was voted and approven. And an Act, suspending that clause of the Act of Security, of mustering during this Session of Parliament, was read, and marked A first reading. […]’

Saturday, 30 November, 1706:

‘After the Minutes, proceed to the Act suspending the clause of the Act of Security, during this Session of Parliament, […] There was some reasoning against it as not necessary; but it came to a vote, Approve the Act, which discharges all assembling in arms during this Session of Parliament [i.e., the last ever session of Parliament], under the pain of Treason: it carried, with few Noes, and some Mutes. D[uke of]. Ham[ilton]. was not present. D[uke of]. Athol was No, and [the earl of] Errol, Visc[ount]. Stormont, [William Cochrane of] Kilmaronnock, &c. The Proclamation and Act of Parliament sent to the Cross to be proclaimed [on Monday, 2 December].’ (Hume, A Diary of the Proceedings of Parliament, 187-8.)

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The Hebronites’ Humble Address Against the Union in 1706 #History #Scotland

•April 24, 2016 • 2 Comments

Hebronites Humble Address 1706

In 1706, the Society people of the Hebronites voiced their opposition to the Union…

‘But to leave this for a little, it will not be amiss to touch at the Incorporating Union of Scotland and England, which was about that time warmly agitat, and which was still disliked by the Godly in this Land, yea and by the generality of the Inhabitants, as a Treaty that would endanger our whole Civil and Sacred Interests. From the very time that this project was known to be really on foot, Mr. [John] H[epburn]. in his Sermons declared against it as being an open and undenyable breach of Covenant, and discovered from time to time the many Evils he discerned to be in it; and likeways not being content with speaking against it in the places where he Preached [>p250] he with us his Adherents in South and West [shires] Protested in manner following.

To His Grace, Her Majestie’s High Commissoner, [James Douglas, Duke of Queensberry,] and Honourable Estates of Parliament, The Humble Address of a Considerable Body of People in the South and Western Shires.

We undersubcribers being Commissionate and Appointed by many Christian Societies in the South and Western Shires of this Kingdom for the Effect following, considering how much the Union treated of at present, may be of dangerous Consequence to the Civil and Sacred Liberties and Concerns of this Nation; and how it is like, if carryed on, to involve the Nation in much Guilt.


1mo. We Incorporat with a Nation deeply Guilty of many National Abominations, who have openly Broke and Burnt their Covenant with GOD, and League with Us, entered into in the Year 1643.

Are Sworn to the Maintainance of Abjured Prelacy, have their Publick and Established Worship horridly corrupted with Superstition and Idolatry; And their Doctrine dreadfully Leavened with Socinianism and Arminianism, Besides the most Gross and Deeply lamentable Profaneness that abounds among[s]t them. [>p251.]

2do. We would thereby bind up our Hands from Prosecuting the Ends of our League and Covenant, while Incorporating with them upon Terms quite Prejudicial thereunto, And such as whereby we could not but dishonour our GOD, and bring His Wrath upon us, on this Account; And hence for our parts, the Fear of GOD makes us abhore any thoughts of thus Imbodying with them, or of any Union whatsoever of that sort, without making this our joint Covenant the Primary and Fundamental Article thereof.

3tio. We can never for our Parts Own or Connive at the Civil Places of Church-Men, and that Bishops should have a Legislative Power, and Authority over us: Yea, We reckon the Title of Spiritual Lords, given to them as Blasphemous, The Lord CHRIST being the One only LORD in His Own House.

4to. It is an Extream Grievance to us, to think, That not only the Interest of the Church of England should be secured by an Oath of Abjuration, while that of ours is left to the Will and Discretion of the English in a British Parliament. But withal, for any thing we see or hear of as yet; Many in this Nation will be obliged to take the said Oath: Which considering the 2d. Act of Parliament, To which it refers, cannot be done, without both Inferring Guilt on our Part, Endangering our Church, and inevitably causing many Jealousies, Heart-burnings, and most grievous Ruptures amongst us.

5to. When we think how the Great GOD, who fixes the Bounds of Peoples Habitations, [>p252] has granted to us this Land; And by a very peculiar Providence has Preserved us as a FREE NATION, these 2000 Years, when many other Nations, Greater and Mightier than We have been Dispersed, and their Memory extinct; How unaccountable does it appear to us, that we should Destroy our Selves, and make a Voluntar surrender of our Liberties, Soveraignity, and Independency; And that when our GOD has so often interposed by a Marvellous Providence for our Deliverance and Defence, from the Encroachments and Invasions of Forreigners, and Injurious Neighbours! We should now distrust our PROTECTOR, and chuse England for the ground of our Confidence, our Shield and Stay, Which as we look upon as contrary to GOD’s Word. So l[ik]e wise to our SACRED COVENANTS, Whereby, according thereto, we are bound to maintain the Privilegesof our Parliaments, and Liberties of the Subjects.

6to. We cannot see what Security we can have for what ever is dear to us, that we need to have secured in case of an Incorporating Union with England, save only their bare Promise, who have broken the most Solemn Tyes of Sacred Engagements, and all Bonds of friendship, Confederacy and Neighbour hood, these Hundred Years bygone, to the estream hurt, & hazard both of our Church and State, and have even still, since ever we came under one Head with them, been in appearance seeking our Ruine. [>p253]

7mo. For any thing we can see, if this Union should go on, either we behooved to Ruine our Selves by submitting to a Toleration, destructive to our own Government and Discipline; or else to put our Honest Neighbours (some of the Dissenters) in England, in hazard of Losing theirs, since it will no doubt be pleaded, that the Dissenters in both Parts of the Nation should be equally dealt with; And yet for us we cannot without Horror think of the Sin, and sinful Consequences of a Toleration here.

8vo. Our Hearts do Tremble to think what bitter Fruits of Faction, Parties, and incurable Breaches the going into this Union may produce, and how easie an Access thro’ this and the great Ferment of the Nation it may make for the pretended King James the Eight to come to the Throne; At least we cannot understand how this Union can put a Bar thereupon, but rather have strong and not groundless Fears of its tending to the contrary – And as to the matter of Rents, and Irritation among these in our Bounds, We are very sure that they who have hitherto complained of the continuance, by Act of Parliament, of so many Prelatists in Churches, of the Connivance at others in Meeting houses, of Incroachments made on Assembles in their Adjournments and Dissolution; and otherwise also in the matters of Fasts and Oaths; And of the not duly Executing of good laws against Papists, Quakers, and [>p254] other Heretical and Profanely Scandalous Persons, will then have their Grievances greatly increased, and who knows what may be the Issue thereof.

9no. We cannot see how it can consist with this Union, to endeavour to bring to condign Punishment Malignants, or Enemies to Reformation, which is plain Duty in it self, and to which we stand Solemnly engaged by our Covenants; Yea, such being readied to take the Sacramental Test of England, are nearest to advancement, and no Scots man can be Advanced in England without it, whereas any Englishman may be in place of Trust in Scotland, how opposit soever to our Government.

Upon all which and many more such Weighty Reasons, we could offer, and are offered by others, who seek the welfare of the Church, and Kingdom, Tho we solemnly Protest and Profess, that we are not against an Union in the LORD, with England, And such as may be confident with the Liberty of our Nation, and with our sacred Covenants, and security of our Church; Yet we cannot but also Protest, Likeas hereby we do Protest, against this Union as Moulded in the Printed Articles; Neither do we judge our selves bound thereby, tho’ a prevailing Party in Parliament should conclude the same; But will stand by such Noble Patriots, with Life and Fortune, as are for the Maintainance and Defence of the Nations Independency and Freedom, and this Churches just Power, and proper Privilege, conform to our attained Reformation from 1638 to 1649. [>p255]

This in Name, of many Christian Societies United into a considerable Body of People, in the South and Western Shires of this Kingdom, is Subscribed this 12th day of November, 1706
W[illiam]. Woodburn,
J[ohn]. Hepburn,
J. Thomson,
G[eorge]. Mitchel,
W. Lorimer,
W[illiam]. Harris,
J. Mulican,
J. Millar.’ (Humble Pleadings (1713), 248-55.)

The Hebronites’ ‘Humble Address’ was subscribed on Tuesday, 12 November, 1706, the same day that it was submitted to Parliament in Edinburgh. The minutes of Parliament record the submission of an ‘address of a body of people in the south and western shires, subscribed by Mr John Hepburn and another seven persons’ (RPS, M1706/10/20.)

The ‘Humble Address’ had been agreed to at an earlier general meeting, as the eight delegates who subscribed it were ‘Commissionate and Appointed by many Christian Societies in the South and Western Shires of this Kingdom’. The address was also submitted in the name ‘of many Christian Societies United into a considerable Body of People, in the South and Western Shires of this Kingdom’. In 1705, Clerk of Penicuik estimated the strength of the Hebronites at 3,000 to 4,000.

The eight subscribers were probably delegated by the general meeting to go to Edinburgh to take the pulse of the members of Parliament about the proposed Union, which was then being debated and had caused widespread disquiet among the People. The delegates almost certainly subscribed the document in Edinburgh.

Eight days later on 20 November, the Hebronites, in the classic mode of the Society people that usurped the theatre of royal authority, publicly burnt the articles of Union, a list of the Scottish commissioners who had negotiated it and issued a declaration against the Union at the mercat cross of Dumfries. The declaration was carefully framed to have widespread appeal among the opponents of Union. Rather than listing the specific, mainly religious, grievances of the Hebronites against the proposed Union found in the ‘Humble Address’, it grounded its appeal in the national and constitutional rhetoric found in the popular petitions submitted to Parliament against the Union.

The obvious next step after the declaration was to take up arms against the Union and descend on Edinburgh to raise Parliament. The declaration carried that threat: ‘we are Confident, that the Soldiers not in Martial power, have somuch of the Spirits of SCOTS MEN; that they are not Ambitious to be Dispose of, at the pleasure of another Nation: And we hereby Declare, that we have no Design against them in this matter.’ The Society people appear to have been relatively confident that the rank and file of the Scottish Army either were, or could be, persuaded not to oppose their designs.

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The Cameronians and the Attempted Jacobite Rising of 1708 #History #Scotland

•April 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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The veracity of the claims made John Ker of Kersland about his role as a spy in Union Crisis of 1706 to 1708 have been much debated. Whether he had the influence he maintained he had in his Memoirs in swaying the Hebronites and the Cameronians away from joining with the Jacobites to overthrow the Union is an open question. However, at a point later in the Memoirs, Kersland reproduced a letter that he states he received from Cameronian officers seeking payment of arrears for the services of themselves and Cameronian irregulars…

It is only a minor detail in Kersland’s account of his alleged dealings with the Cameronians, but it is one that can be checked. It appears that the officers concerned were probably all veterans of the Lord Angus’ Regiment raised from among Society people in early 1689, which fought at the Battle of Dunkeld and on the Continent. Kersland, it seems, did not fabricate the names of the Cameronian officers who subscribed the letter. That indicates that he probably did have dealings with the Cameronians in 1707 and early 1708. What those dealings were is another question, but clearly he was known to them and had made offers ‘in the Name of England’ to them.

Perhaps the most intriguing line in the whole Cameronian letter is ‘what can be expected from People thus abused, if the Pretender ever makes another Attempt?’

Kersland’s Memoirs:

‘I came to London, which was about the latter end of March 1709.

The Lord Treasurer, upon my Arrival, payed all Accompts due to myself [for his role as spy in the Union Crisis]; but to my Sorrow, could never prevail in the Matter of the Cameronian Arrears, not withstanding all that the good Duke of Queensberry, &c. could do, who did every thing in his Power to serve and oblige me, and used his Argument very often with the Treasurer for that end, and which I cannot in Honour and Gratitude to his Noble Memory forget gratefully to mention; he generously, always, remembring my good Services, and as generously forgetting the several Disobligations I had given him, in taking a Part with the Squadrone, &c. tho’ much to his Prejudice.

Next May, the following Letter from some of the Cameronian Officers, in behalf of the
whole, came to my Hand.

[Penpont 15 May, 1709.]

Honoured Sir, You may remember when the Pretender [James VIII] was upon our Coasts [in March 1708], what Promises you was pleased to make us in the Name of England, and, indeed, we shall never impute Non-Performance of them to any Neglect or Fault in you, but only to those concerned in the Government; you was Witness to our Zeal then, and our readiness to oppose the Pretender, had he landed: Be pleased to let us know if we are to expect the payment of our Arrears, or not.
England, who hath no Opportunity to know any thing of us, may probably despise us; but it is well known, that under the Conduct of your worthy Predecessors [e.g., Daniel Ker of Kersland], we durst look our Enemies in the Face, and defend ourselves in the Reigns of King Charles [II] and King James [VII]: But what can be expected from People thus abused, if the Pretender ever makes another Attempt? However, Sir, whether you Succeed in your Endeavours for us, or nor, we shall always have an Esteem and Affection for you; and a due Regard to the worthy Family [of Kerslands] you have the Honour to represent.
We add no more, but commit you to God’s Blessing and Keeping, and remain with all Sincerity and Respect, in our own, and our Friends Names,
Your most Humble Servants,

[Captain William] Harris, [Captain John] Matthewson,
[Captain James] Gilchrist, [Lieutenant John] Howartson [i.e., Hewatson],
[Lieutenant] Hutcheson, [?] Campbell.

This Letter made me stay in London to negotiate their Arrears, and that made the Difference I betwixt a certain great Man and me; for a change of the Ministry happening soon afterwards, the Treasurer and his Friends were very anxious to have me out of Town; because I knew abundance of Things they were willing to conceal:’ (Kersland, Memoirs, 68-69.)

I have given the ranks the officers held when the regiment was mustered in 1689.

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