The Execution of Richard Rumbold in Edinburgh, 1685 #History #Scotland

•December 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment


Rumbold Executed

After Richard Rumbold was captured in Lesmahagow and dragged through the streets of Edinburgh, he faced trial and execution on 26 June, 1685.

The day before the assize, the privy council decided how he was to be executed:

‘And June 25th, before the justiciary meet, the council make the following act and recommendation.

“The lords of his majesty’s privy council do hereby recommend to the lords justice-general, justice-clerk, and remanent commissioners of his majesty’s justiciary, to meet to morrow [26 June] by ten o’clock in the forenoon, and to call the dittay of high treason against Rumbold, commonly called colonel Rumbold, or the Maltster; and, after he is found guilty of the said crimes, do recommend to the said lords, to cause him, the said Rumbold, to be immediately taken from their bar, to the laigh council-house, to be examined by the magistrates, and hear prayer in the ordinary way; and that order may be given by them to the said magistrates, that a scaffold and a high gibbet be erected above the [mercat] cross, towards the west, and that after he is examined, and prayer heard, they cause him to be led down by the hangman, with his hat on to the scaffold [above the mercat cross], and there to be hoised up the gibbet, with a rope about his neck, and immediately to be let down, and the rope being about his neck, his heart to be cut out by the hangman, and shown to the people upon the point of a bayonet or dagger, round about on the scaffold, who is to express these words, “here is the heart of a bloody traitor and murderer,” and which thereafter the hangman is with disdain to cast in a fire prepared on purpose on the scaffold, and thereafter his head is to be cut off, and shown to the people by the hangman, in manner foresaid, and expressing the former words; and then his body is to be quartered,”’

There is a sense that the Scottish privy council detailed what had to happen to Rumbold in accordance with English traditions of execution because they knew that it would be widely reported there.

His body was to be distributed to locations in the South of Scotland. In practice, quartering meant his body being cut into five parts (including the head):

“and one part thereof to be affixed at the port or tolbooth of Glasgow, another at Jedburgh, a third at Dumfries, and a fourth at the Newton of Galloway [in Kells parish], his head being to be affixed at the west-port of Edinburgh, on a high pole; and do ordain the magistrates of Edinburgh to see this order put in execution accordingly.”

The selection of Jedburgh, Dumfries and Newton of Galloway for his body parts probably reflected a desire by the privy council to send a message to areas where there were indications that they might rise in support of Monmouth, rather than reflecting where Rumbold’s crimes took place.

His appearance before the privy council prior to execution was another opportunity to make a point:

‘I am well informed, that when examined by the council he was basely insulted, which did not much move him, but with great calmness he owned the cause he had appeared for, and his joy in his sufferings. Whereupon one of them railed on him, calling him ‘a confounded villain.’ With the utmost sedateness he replied, “I am at peace with God through Jesus Christ, to men I have done no wrong, what then can confound me?”’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 314.)

The Trial, Morning, 26 June
Rumbold was tried and executed on the same day, as Scotland had adopted the French mode of single-day trial and execution to deal with militant Covenanters since mid 1684. According to Fountainhall;

‘On the 26 of June, being Friday, [he] got a fair tryall and was execute that day; […] Being told, in the Court, that Monmouth, in England, was assuming the title of King, Rumbold sayd, James Stewart [of Goodtrees] had indeid advised him to assume that title, but that his best men ware republicans, who would never fight for him in that quarrell; and that James Stewart [of Goodtrees] had cast the horoscope of Argile’s affair, (which he said he might easily forsee, without ather the spirit of prophecy or divination,) viz.: that he would ruin all by lingring in the Iies [i.e., Isles], and not marching into the Inne country and landing in Galloway, and he beleived that might be the reason why James S[tewart of Goodtrees]. would not come alongs. As to the stock with which Argile furnished his ships and armes, Rumbold said, he thought it did not exceid 12,000lb. sterling: how he got it, some said, ane English widow in Amsterdam, called Mistress Smith, advanced him considerably; others say, that [Patrick Hume of] Polwart, [George Pringle of] Torwoodly, Mr. Gilbert Elliot, &c., went to Geneva, and to the Protestant churches of Germany, begging supply to the poor afflicted Protestants of Brittain, and thus raised a great summe; but I think it was not understood by the givers that it was to be imployed in a rebellion or invasion.’ (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 190-1.)

According to the privy council’s act, the assize met on 26 June. He was found guilty by his own confession:

‘“Richard Rumbold, designed colonel Rumbold, maltster at Rye, in the county of Hartford in England, enters the pannel. His indictment is read, that Richard Rumbold, the most execrable of all traitors, did conspire, undertake, and endeavour to kill the king [James VII] and his late majesty [Charles II], at their return from Newmarket [in 1683], and being disappointed in this, he fled over to Holland, was with the late earl of Argyle, and with him invaded this kingdom with ships, men, arms, ammunition, upon the [twentieth] day of May last [1685], and sent over their treasonable proclamations, convocate subjects, and was in open rebellion, and continued therein till taken.

The [Lord] advocate restricts the libel to his being with that execrable traitor, Archibald Campbell sometimes earl of Argyle, and associated with him to invade this kingdom [in 1685], as above; and for probation adduceth the pannel’s own confession, as follows.

“That he did associate himself to the earl of Argyle, invade the kingdom, was a commander, and assaulted some of the king’s forces at Ardkinglass, where there was one killed on each side; that he did not know [the assassin] John Balfour of Kinloch till aboard, that he was designed to have been a cornet of horse, and was in the Highlands.

Confesseth, he knew James Stuart [of Goodtrees], who was privy to their invading Scotland; that the said Mr Stuart said to him, that the earl of Argyle would spoil all by landing in the Highlands, and lingering there, that the best and surest way for them was, to land in the main land, in the west of Scotland, and offer arms to such as would take them; that he heard the late earl of Argyle say, Mr Stuart had given the duke of Monmouth counsel to assume the title to the crown.”’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 314-5.)

The libel was probably restricted to Rumbold’s obvious role in the Argyll Rising, as Rumbold refused to confess to his part in the Rye House Plot of 1683 and producing witness evidence of that would have been a complex task.

Wodrow continues:

‘Very soon the assize found him guilty, and the lord’s pass their severe sentence,

“That he be taken from the bar to the laigh council house of Edinburgh, &c.” just in the terms of the council’s act above-mentioned, and ordain this sentence to be put in execution this 26th day of June, betwixt two and five in the afternoon [to the west of the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh].’(Wodrow, History, IV, 315.)

Edinburgh Mercat Cross

The site of Edinburgh’s mercat cross lay at the top of Old Fishmarket Close in 1685 and is, today, marked in the paving of the High Street. Rumbold was executed to the west of the mercat cross, probably somewhere around were the statue of Adam Smith now stands.

The Execution of Rumbold, Afternoon, 26 June
Wodrow left a full account of Rumbold’s execution:

‘Accordingly it was put in execution in every article of it. Rumbold, when brought to the scaffold, was so weak, that he could not walk alone, but was supported by two officers, and not being able to stand, he was led to the north side of the scaffold in that posture, and directed his speech to the people to this purpose. “Gentlemen , and brethren, it is appointed for all men once to die, and after death is the judgment; and since death is a debt all of us must pay, it is a matter of small moment and consequence, what way it be done. But seeing the Lord is pleased to take me to himself after this manner, as it is somewhat terrible to flesh and blood, yet, glory to him, it is not terrible to me in any wise. I bless his name that hath carved out such a lot to me, and I desire to magnify and bless his holy name for it, that it is upon no ill account, but for owning and adhering to his distressed work and interest.”

Here they beat the drums, at which he shook his head, and said, “Will they not suffer a dying man to speak his last words to the people?” and then went on. “And for my avowing to be against popery and prelacy, these two superstitious and pernicious devices of men, obtruded on the church of God. I am so confident of the righteousness of the cause, and my innocence in the matter, that though every hair in my head were a man, I could willingly part with them for it. I confess, enemies think they have gotten their foot on the neck of the protestant interest now: but I am persuaded it is as true, as that I am this day entering into eternity, that Christ shall be glorious in those lands, and even in poor Scotland, and that shortly: and it is like, many who see me die this day, may be witnesses thereof; yea, he shall govern those [three] nations with a rod of iron, and that to the terror of his enemies.”

This was just the present sense and feeling of his soul. He was not able, through pain and weakness, to form any premeditated discourse, but off hand spoke out the present thoughts and sentiments of his heart.

After this he addressed himself to the Lord in prayer, with the greatest cheerfulness and composure. His expressions in prayer, as far as they could be remembered, were to this purpose.

“O Lord, I have been a great sinner, and I desire thou mayest get this opportunity for expressing thy great mercy in pardoning great sins. Thou hast allowed me a considerable time in the world, and I am turned grey-headed in my sins, but thou hast commanded the ends of the earth to look to thee and be saved, which I desire to do this day, and thou hast said, that those who come unto thee, thou wilt in no wise cast out. I cast myself wholly on thee, and trust thou wilt be as good as thy word. I desire to embrace Christ on his own terms, and beg thou may safely guide me through the dark valley of the shadow of death, and make thy rod and staff comfort and support me. It is true, I am going to die, but what is the matter? though I had a thousand lives to lose, if so be I may gain the least grain weight of glory to thy holy name thereby, I am content.”

When he prayed for the extirpation of popery and prelacy, and other superstitions out of God’s house, the drums ruffled again. After the prayer was ended, the executioner kneeling begged his forgiveness, He answered, ‘Yes, good fellow, I forgive thee and all men.’

Then after he had prayed again within himself, and given the sign, he was executed and quartered, as in the sentence.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 315-6.)

The Earl of Argyll, who was executed within days of Rumbold, said that ‘Poor Rumbold was a great support to me, and a brave man, and died christianly.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 299.)

John Erskine of Carnock, an Argyll rebel then in hiding, heard about Rumbold’s execution on 1 July, 1685: ‘Wednesday. — By this time we heard of Colonel Rumbold’s being executed at Edinburgh, and how barbarously he was used.’ (Erskine, Journal, 132.)

William Maxwell of Cardoness, a witness to his execution, left a vivid account of Rumbold’s death.

Wodrow added a final postscript :

‘Let me only add, that August 4th, the council order Rumbold’s head [spiked on the Netherbow] to betaken down and put in a chest, and sent to London in a ship, to be disposed of as his majesty pleases.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 316.)

Rumbold’s execution was reported in England

For more on Richard Rumbold, see here.

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Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine



“He Looked Alwayes for the Gibbet”: The Entry of Rumbold the Plotter into Edinburgh, 1685 #History #Scotland

•December 16, 2017 • 2 Comments

The ripples from the capture of the notorious rebel and plotter Richard Rumbold in Lesmahagow spread out to Edinburgh and to the Monmouth Rising in England. He was brought to Edinburgh as a prisoner on 22 June, 1685.

Water Gate Edinburgh Holyrood

Edinburgh’s Water Gate (centre)

News of his being taken had quickly reached the Capital:

“June 22d, The council ordain the magistrates of Edinburgh, as soon as he comes to the water-gate, to put him in a cart, and cause the hangman put a rope about his neck, and the hangman’s man going before him leading the horse, Rumbold being fettered and bare headed; and captain Graham is to receive him with drums beating, and colours displayed, and carry him to the castle!” (Wodrow, History, IV, 314.)

Lord Fountainhall was probably an eyewitness to Rumbold’s entry:

‘Mr. Rumbold was brought in to Edinburgh on the 22 June, (that same day of the moneth on which Bothuelbridge was foughten [in 1679],) and, at the Watergate, was put upon a sled or hurdle, with a rope about his neck, and so drawen up to the Castle; he looked alwayes for the gibbet, thinking he was going instantly to be hanged;’ (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 190.)

Rumbold entered the city via the Water Gate, which lay at the bottom of the Canongate where it meets Calton Road beside Holyrood Palace. Immediately to the left of the Water Gate as he entered was the Guard House to Holyrood Palace where Gilbert McIlroy was held prisoner in July. It is clear that Rumbold was deliberately brought in that way to be taken on a sled up through the city to the Castle, as it would have been easier to bring him in from the West by any other gate. Rumbold’s humiliation was the public theatre of royal power.

Rumbold’s Capture in English Propaganda, 24 June
News of his capture also quickly reached England, where it was used for propaganda purposes. On 24 June, two days after Rumbold had entered Edinburgh, his taking was used to encourage James VII’s soldiers to capture the rebel Duke of Monmouth, who was then in arms in England:

‘The King […] to incouradge his souldiers, he declares, he will give the 5 militia men of Arran’s regiment, in Cliddisdale, who […] took Rumbold prisoner, the 500 lb. sterling he had promised, by his English declaration, for any to take him, and if they ware dead, ther wives, children, or nearest of kin, should get it sequally amongs them.’ (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 203.)

The ‘Dead or Alive’ Proclamation on Rumbold’s Capture
A Scottish proclamation announcing Rumbold’s capture was issued on 24 June. It offered rewards for the capture ‘dead or alive’ of several other fugitive Argyll rebels:

‘Sir John Cochran, sometime called Sir John Cochran of Ochiltree, Patrick Hume, some time called Sir Patrick Hume of Polwart, forfeited traitors’, the sons of Argyll and ‘[George] Pringle of Torwoodlee, Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck, and each of them, the sum of eighteen hundred merks Scots money; [William] Denholm of Westshiels, and [John] Balfour, and [George] Fleming, murderers and assassins of the said late archbishop of St Andrews [in 1679] William Cleaveland, called captain Cleaveland [i.e., William Cleland], and [David] Stuart younger of Coltness, grandchild to Sir James Stuart [d.1681] sometime provost of Edinburgh, and each of them, one thousand merks money foresaid; for [Captain James?] Wisheart master of one of the ships who came alongst with the said arch traitor Archibald Campbell, five hundred merks, and for every fanatical preacher who was with the rebels, one thousand merks money foresaid.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 311n-312n.)

The day before the proclamation, the Lord Advocate was ordered to process Rumbold before the justiciary. His trial took place in Edinburgh on 26 June.

For more on Richard Rumbold, see here.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

The Notorious Plotter Richard Rumbold is Captured in Lesmahagow, 1685 #History #Scotland

•December 15, 2017 • 2 Comments

In mid 1685, Richard Rumbold, one of the most notorious plotters of regicide in British History, was captured in an armed fight at Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire. Rumbold was escaping from the failed Argyll Rising against James VII.

How The Republican Rumbold Joined Argyll’s Rising
Lord Foutainhall reflected on how Rumbold had become involved in the Argyll Rising:

‘What had unfortunatly ingadged him in this interprize was, that he had been from his infancy bred up in the republican and anti-monarchick principles; and he ouned he haft been fighting against thesie idols of Monarchy and Prelacy since he was 19 years of age, (for he was now past 63,) and was a Lieutenant in Oliver Cromwell’s army, and at Dundy [in the massacre of 1651] and sundry of the Scots battells [e.g. Dunbar in 1650]; and by the discoverie of the English phanatique plot in 1683, it was proven and deponed against him, that this Rumbold had undertaken to kill the late King in Aprill 1683, as he should returne from Newmarket to London, at his oune house at the Ry in Hogsdone, in the county of Hartford, wher he had married a maultster’s relict, and so was designed the maultster, and intended to have a cart overturned in that narrow place to facilitate ther assassination; but God disappointed them by sending the accidentall fyre at Newmarket, which forced the King to return a weik sooner to London then he designed, (see all this in the King’s printed Declaration); but Rumbold absolutly denyed any knowledge of that designed murder, tho on the breaking out of that plot [in July, 1683] he fled with others to Holland, and ther made acquaintance with Argile.’

In the United Provinces, he became part of the exiled Earl of Argyll’s circle of plotters. Fountainhall did not think that reflected well on Argyll:

‘It is certainly a reflection and leives a mark of basenesse on my Lord Argile, that he should have assumed such villians and miscreants into his company as this Rumbold and 2 of the murders of the late Archbishop of St. Andrews, viz. J[ohn]. Balfour of Kinloch, alias Captain Burlie, and on[e George] Fleiming in King’s-Ketle in Fyffe [i.e., George Fleming in Balbuthie]; (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 183-4.)

Rumbold’s Flight From the Failed Argyll Rising, 18 June
After Argyll’s invasion force had landed Campbeltown, Rumbold commanded troops throughout the rising up until Argyll fell back from his attempt to bypass Glasgow. As the rising disintegrated in the early hours of 18 June, Rumbold and his men intended to cross the Clyde at Kilpatrick with Sir John Cochran’s men who took part in the Battle of Muirdykes later that day. However, Rumbold’s men lost their way and failed to make the rendezvous. (Wodrow, History, IV, 295.)

What happened next is not clear, but Rumbold’s party broke up. Travelling on horseback with one companion, he crossed the Clyde with the intention of escaping to the Duke Monmouth’s forces who were then in arms in England against King James.

He possibly used the same crossing point as Argyll, where the latter was captured on 18 June. Or he skirted round Glasgow and crossed, either at Bothwell Bridge, or at one of the fords upstream from it. It was logical for Rumbold to make for Lesmahagow parish, as it was a key stronghold of the militant Society people from whom he probably could have expected help and shelter. However, it was there that he was taken.

The Capture of Rumbold at Lesmahagow on 20 to 21 June

According to Wodrow:
‘Not long after the earl [of Argyll], that gallant and good man colonel Rumbold was taken. I have no distinct account of the manner or place; but am told, that being attacked by the country militia, he made his way easily through them, and being of great courage, skill, and strength, when two or three attacked him at once, he was abundantly able for them, and maintained a running fight, and was like to get off, till one of them wiser than the rest came up and cut his horse’s legs miserably, and disabled him so, that he was no longer of use to him; and then he was soon oppressed with numbers, and terribly wounded.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 313-4.)

Lord Fountainhall also reported Rumbold’s capture:

‘Collonell Richard Rumbold, another Englishman, was also taken at Lesmahaigo, by Hamilton of Raploch younger, and his militia men; […] He was flying into England, being conducted by on[e] Turnbull, a man of [Patrick Hume of] Polwart’s (for Polwart had secured himselfe by flight sooner then the rest had done.)

He was bold, answerable to his name, and killed on[e] and wounded 2 in the taking, and if on[e] had not been some wiser than the rest by causing shoot his horse under him, he might have escaped them all; however he undervalued much our Scots souldiers as wanting both courage and skill.’ (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 183.)

‘His Militia Men’
Which unit captured Rumbold? Later in the same work, Fountainhall confirms that it was a local Lanarkshire militia raised by James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, to oppose the Argyll Rising, that were the unit responsible for his capture. Arran was the eldest son of the Duke of Hamilton, who held extensive lands in Lesmahagow parish and Lanarkshire. (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 203.)

Fountainhall’s record that ‘Hamilton of Raploch[,] younger’ was involved suggests that the man who led the small group of Arran’s militia that captured Rumbold was William, the eldest son of the sheriff-depute of Lanarkshire, Gavin Hamilton of Raploch. William Hamilton of Raploch, younger, was a commissioner of supply in 1689. He was also commissioned to command in the militia and given a commission as lieutenant of Horse in 1689. (RPS, 1689/3/189., M1689/3/7., 1689/3/144.)

However, other versions of the text omit the word ‘younger’ and later tradition recorded that his name was Gavin Hamilton, which suggests that either tradition confused him with his notorious father, or that it may have been William’s brother, Gavin Hamilton of Hill, who captured Rumbold. Gavin Hamilton of Hill was forfeited for his part in the Bothwell Rising of 1679. (ST, XI, 882.)

On 22 June, Rumbold was publicly dragged through Edinburgh.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

The Grave of the Wishaw Covenanter, Arthur Inglis: An Update #History #Scotland

•December 12, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I am very grateful to Maryellen for finding a photograph she has of where Arthur Inglis’ grave lay. Judging by the images, below, some fragments of it might remain, but you never know …

Arthur Inglis Grave Old Cambusnethan

Photograph © Copyright Maryellen McKenzie and reproduced by her very kind permission.

If you compare the two images, you can see where the grave lay. Maryellen’s photograph was taken a couple of years ago. The image of the grave below was possibly taken in the 1960s. You can work out roughly where the grave lay from its relationship to the position of the two buildings on the right.

Arthur Inglis Cambusnethan 2

Thanks to Robert French for his very kind permission to share this photograph. Also thanks to Tookie Bunten for arranging that. Do not reproduce these photographs without permission.

We know that at some point between those photographs that the memorial of 1837 was vandalised and fragments of it lay where it stood. It is possible that those fragments have been scattered. It seems less likely that the concrete slab into which the original gravestone of Inglis was set has completely disappeared, but, again, you never know.

The Graveyard lies here, if anyone is seeking out the grave.

For more on how Arthur Inglis died, see here.

For the Oak Trees where Inglis was killed, see here.

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The Last Speech of Thomas Robertson, Hanged between Edinburgh & Leith on 9 December, 1684 #History #Scotland

•December 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Thomas Robertson apparently lived in Newcastle and was imprisoned, there, for refusing the English oath of allegiance. He escaped and fled to Edinburgh where he was captured in a sweep search of the city on 29 November, 1684. The search of Edinburgh had been provoked by the assassination of two Lifeguards by the Society people at Swine Abbey. Hanna Kier was captured in the same search. Alexander Reid escaped the search.

Robertson was executed at the Gallowlee between Edinburgh and Leith on 9 December, 1684, with James Graham, George Jackson and Thomas Wood.

The Last Speech and Testimony of Thomas Robertson, who suffered at the Gallowlee on 9 December, 1684:

‘Now, Dear Friends,—Time seems to me to be but short; oh! now, welcome long eternity. It is, and has been the butt of my desire, this considerable time, to eye God’s glory, and I preferred it to my own soul’s salvation; yet, when I heard my indictment, it had a strange effect upon me; and although death hath sometimes been my desire for the cause of Christ; yet it seemed not a little terrible unto me, and that for the space of six or seven hours; so that sometimes it had such a prevalency, that I was afraid I should have turned back; and I was so put to it, that I had nothing to hold by but former purposes and determinations; and from the consideration of Christ’s faithfulness, I grappled like a man more than half-drowned. At last I got hold—a small hold of Him whom I could not see. And that small grip which I got through His mercy, I kept until I got more; so that now He has discovered Himself unto me, and He was pleased to stay, and make with me a new contract; so that now, through His grace, I am resolved not to let Him go, let the cost be what it will.

Now, my friends, I say not this for the discouragement of any that is beginning to follow Christ, or any that is already begun; only I do it as a warning. I would fain have poor things to make sure work, and to get sure hold of Him; for although He seems to cover Himself, and that when poor things think they stand in most need, yet He will return unto them, in His own appointed time, and that for the greater advantage of them that are thus trysted [i.e., tried].

Oh! for hearts to love Him! It hath been my great trouble, that I could never love Him much, nor fall upon the right way of worshipping Him. Oh! to have my soul soundly knit to Him. Oh! for strength. Oh! for strength to be carried straight and cleanly through, so that I may lose neither hair nor hoof of the truths of Christ. In so far as I am able to understand, it hath been my great care always to know what was sin, and what was duty. I think I have not been out of my duty in so doing; and I think it is the duty of all persons to be concerned in that matter; for how can persons know how to avoid the one, and cleave to the other, except they distinguish betwixt the two. Now, I shall say no more to that, but only, oh! that folk would make it a great part of their work, to distinguish betwixt the two. tor the cause of Christ, and are banished to foreign lands for the name of Christ, and His most noble cause.

Now, I adhere to the covenant of redemption betwixt the Father and the Son, before the foundation of the world, for redemption of poor things that He has chosen out of the world. O! for love to Him! oh for love to Him! O! now to be with Him, that I may experience the benefit of that Covenant which cost Him His precious blood! And now, seeing He is calling me to give a testimony, I think, if every hair of my head were a man, it is all too little to lay down for Him. O for love to this nonsuch Jesus Christ!

I adhere and leave my testimony to the Word of God, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, by which I must be judged; for if we take any other way, we will be sure to go wrong, for the Spirit of God witnesseth with our spirits, that the Word of God is the only rule by which we ought to walk.

I leave my testimony to the Work of Reformation, once glorious in our land; although, alas! now defaced, and the hedge and government of Christ’s house broken down; and the kingly office of Christ usurped by a cruel and blood-thirsty man, to whom I could wish repentance, if it were the will of God; and to all that associate and join with him; but alas! I think it is hid from their eyes.

Now, I leave my testimony to the National and Solemn League and Covenant, Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Sum of Saving Knowledge, and the several parts of Reformation to this day of my death.

Also, I leave my testimony to all the faithful ambassadors, and sent servants of Jesus Christ, and to the preached Gospel itself; to Mr Donald Cargill, that worthy servant of Jesus Christ, who kept up the standard and banner of Jesus Christ, when the rest fled from Him, and the Lord’s standard. Also, I leave my testimony to Mr James Renwick, as a faithfully and lawfully ordained and called servant of Jesus Christ.

And I leave my testimony to all the testimonies of the faithful martyrs and witnesses of Jesus Christ, that have laid down their lives

And, also, I disown, disclaim, and witness against all this evil and adulterous generation—a generation of revolters, backsliders, and evil-doers, that will meet with severe punishment, great wrath and judgments, and eternal death besides, except they repent.

And now, in a special manner, being convinced of my sin and folly in adhering to Prelacy, and spending the most part of my time in hearing of curates, and thereby approving of them and their corruptions, and corrupt doctrines; notwithstanding that I came always away from hearing them with more hardness of heart than when I went to hear them; but at last I began to consider that matters were not right with me in this case, and hearing that there was a people in the place that were hearers of Presbyterian ministers, but not being acquainted with them, I knew not what to do to be acquainted. However, I presumed to tell my case to one of them, who took me to the place where I heard a Presbyterian minister preach, which left a conviction upon my conscience of my former courses, and that I was out of the way of the Lord for salvation and eternal life. After which time I went no more back to follow them that are in direct opposition to the way of the Lord, our Covenants, and work of Reformation; and by degrees came to see clearly, that the ministers that were most even-down for God, and against the defections and abominations of the time, and this adulterous generation, were only they that the Lord honoured with the revealing of His secrets and His mind concerning the duty of the day; as Mr Donald Cargill, and these that were faithful to the death, and sealed the cause with their blood. And oh! how did I love and long to be a witness for Him, both against my own former ways and the ways of that abominable Prelacy, which now I hate, and to get leave to lay down my life for Christ and His precious truths. And now He has granted me my heart’s desire, and I seal this with my blood that this is the way of God, and His truth, which I now lay down my life for.

Not having time, I shall say no more, but leave my wife to the good guiding of the Lord, and commend Him and His way for her to follow, and my love to her and all my dear friends in Newcastle. Farewell, farewell in our blessed Lord Jesus. And welcome Lord Jesus, for whom I suffer, and whose love I long to have in possession. Welcome heaven and holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, through the blood of the Lamb. Welcome Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, into whose hands I commit my Spirit.
Sic subscribitur,
Thomas Robertson.’

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Testimony of James Graham Hanged between Edinburgh & Leith, 9 December, 1684 #History #Scotland

•December 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Execution Seventeenth Century

James Graham was hanged at the Gallowlee on 9 December, 1684. George Jackson, Thomas Wood and Thomas Robertson were hanged with him. James Graham’s brother, William Graham, was killed by Claverhouse’s troop of Horse in 1682.

The Last Testimony of James Graham, a tailor in Crossmichael parish in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, who suffered at the Gallowlee, betwixt Leith and Edinburgh, on 9 December, 1684.

‘Men And Brethren,—I am come here this day to lay down my life for the cause of Christ, and I bless the Lord, that ever He gave me a life to lay down for such a noble cause; and now I wish this day that every hair of my head, and every drop of my blood were a life, I could willingly lay them down for Him. For it is all too little I can do for Him. Oh! it is a wonder that ever He should have chosen me or the like of me, to witness or die for Him in such a cause! For He hath no need of me, or any of the lost sons of Adam, but He hath testified in His Word, that He will make the poor things of the earth to confound the prudent.

And now I bless the Lord that I die not as a murderer, nor a thief, nor as an evil doer. nor as a busybody in other men’s matters. The heads whereupon I am indicted, are, because I refused to disown that paper which is most agreeable to the Word of God, and to our sworn Covenants and work of Reformation; and because I would not swear to that which I durst not for my soul do. Now, I giving a short account what I am indicted for, I shall likewise give an hint of what I adhere to.
1. I adhere to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, Confession of Faith, Catechisms Larger and Shorter, and to the whole work of Reformation, as it was once established in our land, although now, alas! defaced and denied by the most part of this generation.
2. To the Covenants, National and Solemn League, to which we are sworn, with hands uplifted to the most high God, and bound to maintain.
3. To the Sum of Saving Knowledge, the Acknowledgment of Sins, and Engagement to Duties.
4. To the preached Gospel, as it was faithfully preached in our land, by the sent messengers of Jesus Christ, especially by Messrs J[ohn]. K[i]d., J[ohn]. K[ing]., D[onald]. C[argill]., and R[ichard]. C[amero]n., who took their lives in their hands, and went forth upon all hazards, when the rest of their brethren turned their back upon the cause.

5. To Mr James Renwick, as a faithful sent servant of Jesus Christ, who has lifted up the standard where Messrs Donald Cargill [d.1681] and Richard Cameron [d.1680] left it, who sealed the cause with their blood.
6. To all the appearances in arms in defence of the Gospel and our sworn Covenants, and the whole work of Reformation.
7. To the Excommunication at the Torwood [of 1680], by Mr Donald Cargill.
8. To the Sanquhar Declaration [of 1680], as a thing most agreeable to the Word.
9. To the Declaration at Rutherglen [of 1679].
10. To the paper that was taken off worthy Henry Hall at the Queensferry [in June, 1680].
11. To the burning of that hell-hatched thing called the Test, at Lanark [before the proclamation of the Lanark Declaration in January, 1682].
12. To the fellowships of the Lord’s people, for reading, singing, and praying; according to the Scripture in Mal. iii. 16, and Heb. x. 25, and several other Scriptures which warrant this.
13. To all the Testimonies of the faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, from the appearance in arms at Pentland Hills [in 1666] to this day.
14. To that Paper upon which I was indicted, in so far as it is agreeable to the Word of God, and our sworn Covenants, and work of Reformation [i.e., The Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers of November, 1684].

And now, on the other hand, I shall desire to let you see what I shall witness and testify against, so far as I am enabled by His Holy Spirit.
1. I leave my testimony against all breach of Covenant, which is a sin that hath overspread the whole land.
2. Against the acceptors of the Indulgence first and last, because they have fled from their first engagements, which engagement was to be faithful ministers to the Church of Christ, which they have broken and rent.
3. Against the hearers of curates, because they have broken our sworn Covenants and work of Reformation.
4. Against Popery, Prelacy, Quakerism, and all heresy, and whatsoever is contrary to the Word of God.
5. Against paying of the cess and locality, and against paying of fines, because it is bearing up of these soul-murderers, and an acknowledgment that we have done a fault in following our duty.
6. Against Charles Stuart, in regard he hath broken the Covenant, that he was once sworn to, and put forth his hand against the people of God.
7. Against that perjured and abominable thing called the Test and the Oath of Allegiance, which is an oath against our Covenant.
8. Against [John] Gib and his followers [the Sweet Singers], and all their pernicious ways.
9. Against the overthrowing of our work of Reformation, which we had from our Lord and Master, and His faithful servants, to be comforts to our souls.

Now, the time being short, I shall say no more; but farewell mother, brethren, and sisters; farewell all Christian friends and acquaintances in the Lord. Farewell Holy Scriptures, which have been my comfort many a day. Farewell meat and drink, sun, moon, and stars. Welcome eternity. Welcome heaven. Welcome holy angels. Welcome God in Christ; into Thy hands I commit my spirit!

Sic subscribitur,

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Testimony of James Stewart, A Wishaw Covenanter Hanged in 1681 #History #Scotland

•December 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Cloud of Witnesses 1714 Wigtown Martyrs


The Testimony of James Stewart, domestic servant to Thomas Steuart in Coltness in the parish of Cambusnethan, who was hanged at the Gallowlee, betwixt Edinburgh and Leith, on 10 October, 1681.

‘Dear Friends—I being in prison for Christ, and his persecuted cause, though some may say otherwise, and that upon the account of my taking; but I do not care what they say—for I have had, and yet have great peace in my sufferings—but some will be ready to say, That it was an—imprudent and an unsure action, and so might have been forborne—and suppose it be so, it is not the head of my suffering, for it was not that upon which I was staged,—for I was presently staged for the truth, the next day after I was taken, being brought before a committee;—though indeed I was not so free as I should have been.

There is a passage, Acts xxi. of Paul’s going up to Jerusalem, which, some say, he might have forborne, but more especially his going up to the temple, and doing these things which are according to the law; he might, I say, have forborne this, and walked consonant to his former practice, doctrine and writings: but though his going to the temple was the occasion of his taking, yet not the head of his suffering; so, I say, though that which I did in relieving my brother, was the occasion, yet my suffering was stated on another head. But I cannot see, how it is as ye say; for I seeing it my duty, and finding opportunity, had a clear call for all that I did. And besides all that, we being bound in covenant to defend and maintain one another, we are bound as well to relieve one another out of prison, when there is a probability seen.

But I need not stand much in making this out, it being the way that the Lord took to bring me to my suffering; and I am heartily content with my lot, and desire with my soul to bless him for it. Though I was dreadfully aspersed when that bond of liberation was offered to us, (for though some had clearness to take it, yet I could never have thoughts of taking it in peace; and I bless the Lord who kept my hand from it), it was neither strength nor sharp-sightedness in me that withheld me from yielding to the temptation; but the Lord hath shewed himself graciously favourable and kind onto me, now when I am set up like a beacon upon the top of an hill, and the eyes of many being upon me, and all are wondering at me, and calling me distracted, and saying, I am a fool, but (the Lord be thanked) I have all the senses that ever I had, though distressed, yet I despair not. Neither am I suffering as a fool; for I know assuredly, this is the way to obtain the promise.

There is nothing in it meritorious, I confess; for all my suffering, he may put me into hell; but I say, the suffering of reproaches and the scourge of tongues, is a symptom or mark of his way, when it is for his sake, Matth. v. 11. ‘Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and speak all manner of evil against you, and persecute you for my name’s sake.’ It is for his name’s sake that I am suffering, and this confirms me of it, Matth. x. 22. ‘Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake; but he that endureth unto the end, shall be saved.’

Now, it is for Christ’s kingly office that I am suffering; and this being the main head on which my suffering is stated, even that great truth, viz. Jesus Christ is king and head of Zion, I desire and charge you to beware of misconstructing my sufferings, and saying, that I was suffering for disowning of authority, and declining of judges; for it is not so;—I being a presbyterian in my judgment, and owning both magistracy and ministry, according to the word of God, and as he hath ordained them: but if Charles Stuart’s authority be according to the word of God, I am mistaken. If he be exercising his power, to the terrifying of evil-doers, and the encouraging them that do well, I die in an error. I say, beware of your judging, for I am a presbyterian in my judgment, and a member of the church of Scotland, and am to seal it with my blood.

I adhere to that blessed transaction between the Father and the Son,—that holy device devised from all eternity,—the Father to send his Son, and the Son to come and satisfy divine justice, and so redeem lost man.

I adhere to all the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, which are all standing in force until this day, and obligatory upon us, except the ceremonial law, with a part of the judicial, which is now abrogated and abolished by our Lord’s coming,—he being the end of the law.

I adhere to our glorious work of reformation, Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Acknowledgment of Sins, and Engagement to Duties, though they be abused and misconstructed by many.

And I adhere to the Sum of Saving Knowledge, wherein is held forth the life and marrow of religion.

I adhere to all the testimonies that have been given. Mr. Guthrie, Argyle, and Warriston,— they gave in their testimony according to the light that the Lord gave them; and I do not condemn their testimony, as some say, for at some times the Lord gives more light than at other times; so it cannot be said, that we contradict or disown their testimony, though it hath pleased the Lord, through continuance of time, to give more light of the abounding abominations that are still growing and abounding in this generation; and so whatever they omitted through want of that light, which it hath pleased the Lord to let its see, makes no contradiction.

I adhere to the Rutherglen and Sanquhar Declarations.

I adhere to the Paper found upon Mr Richard Cameron at Air-moss July 22, 1680 [, i.e., the Bond Before Sanquhar].

I adhere to the Papers that were found at the Queensferry upon Henry Hall.

I adhere to any writings that are according to the word of God, for truth is truth, come by whom it will. Now, as a dying man, I adhere to all these things. I have received an unjust sentence from men, for owning and adhering to the same, and for protesting against the inbringing of Popery, to defile the land.

And likewise, upon these accounts, I disown Charles Stuart to be my king and sovereign: First, because of that hellish Act of Supremacy, and that Act Rescissory, whereby they have overturned and wrested all the laws, acts, and constitutions of the land: for in the foresaid act, he assumeth that unto himself which belongs properly to our Lord and Master, and says, That he rules over all things both spiritual and temporal; and then, when he hath made himself supreme over all things, he rescinds the laws that are of God, and sets up other laws to satisfy his own lusts, in murdering, killing and destroying the Lord’s people; and this is the reason why I disown him: and likewise his dreadful perjury and blasphemy in his covenant-breaking.

I decline them as judges, for the opening a door there to Popery, which they have done, by receiving that popish duke [of York] in among them, which I protest and leave my testimony against;—it being contrary to our engagements to suffer papists to dwell amongst us, and to have a professed papist to usurp over us,—it being repugnant to our principles.

I leave my testimony against Prelacy,—it being a limb of that anti-christian whore of Rome.

I leave my testimony against all the abominations of this generation, as blaspheming of the holy name of the Lord, drunkenness, stealing, whoring, sodomy, and all manner of uncleanness.

I leave my testimony against all indifferency and lukewarm neutrality in our Lord’s matters.

I leave my testimony against the indulgencies first and last, as having a greater hand in breaking of the church of Scotland, than all the enemies living in it could have done; for they sold their Master’s truths, and gave away their pleasant things with their own hands, and so came in under Charles Stuart, and took him for their head, and have cast off their rightful head Jesus Christ; Eph. i. 22. ‘And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church.’ Wo will be unto them, for what they have done to the poor kirk of Scotland.

I leave my testimony against silent and unwatchful ministers. Remember, there are many taken away, and it is to be feared, in their iniquity; and do ye think that ye are free of their blood? Ye may look what warning ye have given, and if it be faithful; then ye may say, that ye are not guilty. But there is not a minister this day, who dares say, he is at his duty. They refuse to give counsel when asked at, as I myself can witness; for when that liberation was granted, I sent to one of them, and charged him, as I judged him faithful, to tell me his mind, which he refused; and said, silence might serve for an answer, I was not suffering for truth. But I heartily forgive him, and all men, what they have done to me, as for my own particular; but how they have reproached Christ and his way, it is not mine to forgive them.

O the ministers of Scotland are become light and treacherous persons, as well as revellers; they are become ravening wolves; so I cannot see, how they have not unministered themselves. If Ahiathar was turned out of the priest’s office for leaving David, and following Adonijah; how much more ought the ministers of Scotland, for leaving of him, who is the true head of the church, and choosing Charles Stuart for their head? It is not long since they were preaching that to be sin, which they are now practising. I have no doubt, but ere long there shall come out fire from Ahimelech, and destroy the men of Shechem, and fire from them, and devour him. And ere long, Mr. Donald Cargill, and Mr. Richard Cameron, their names that now stink, among ministers and professors, shall have a sweet smell; and those that calumniate and asperse them, their names shall go away with a stink, and fly away with a smoke; but I am sure, that that now glorified martyr Mr. Donald Cargill’s name shall last from generation to generation; and he shall have cause to rejoice in his king, head, and Master, who is Jesus Christ,—when those who condemned him, shall not know where to flee for shelter, and shall be weary of their head, king, and master,—who is Charles Stuart; and what, brethren (disaffected as they were) did cast upon him as a shame, was his glory and decorement. He was of a high heroic spirit, and was free of a base and Simonian carriage. He was a man hated of his brethren; but the great Elijah in his time was so. Time and tongue would fail me to speak his commendation. He was the man who carried the standard, without the help of any visible: but he had the help and assistance of his Master, at whose command he was aye wandering here without residence, yet knew of one above, and had full assurance of his dwelling-place.

I leave my testimony against uplifting, or causing uplift, cess or excise, or any thing, for the maintaining that tyrant, or any of his emissaries;—it being for nothing, but maintaining these ruffian troopers and soldiers, who are kept for nothing, but to suppress and bear down the gospel, and banish it out of the land.

I leave my testimony against all declaration-takers and bonders, especially the taking that bond of liberation as they call it, of the date of August 5,1680, as far as they were convinced it was sin,—as some of themselves said it was.

I leave my testimony against that test, and all the rest of their proceedings, and acts of parliament [in 1681].

I leave my testimony against jailor-fee paying; it being an acknowledgment of their tyranny to be lawful, which how unjust it is, I have a proof among others; for that night I was before York, and the rest, being October 1, 1681,—I being examined by Sir George M’Kenzie,—York and Mr. William Paterson coming unto me, when I was silent, and would not answer to some things they asked at me,—he threatened to take out my tongue with a pair of pincers, if I would not: and he held him as a witness against me. And though I told him, that he was a judge the other night, and —“would ye hold him as a witness against us before your justiciary!” yet they did it; which was neither according to law nor reason.— If there were no more but that passage, it proves them to be unjust judges, as there are many worse than that is.

I leave my testimony against the mounting of militia, and uplifting of money for his service.

I leave my testimony against every thing that may strengthen his hands, or weaken the hands of the people of the Lord.

Now I desire you, (as a dying man, who am within forty-eight hours, or little more, of eternity), to disown Charles Stuart to be your king and sovereign. I charge you so to do, as you would have peace with God; for I never knew what true peace was till I did it, and took Jesus Christ for my king and lawgiver. This is not—that I disown kings or kingly government,—for I own both; but when their actions are such as his are, and a covenanted king as he was, we cannot in conscience yield to him; for he hath murdered the Lord’s people our brethren: and when we acknowledge even his civil authority, I cannot see what way we are clean of their blood, it being by a shadow of law and authority that he takes away their lives, and so we cannot own him in that; and to own him in ecclesiastic matters, I think there will be none so absurd, as to say, we should do that, he having nothing to do in church matters: he only received the sceptre in his hand, to be a hedge about, and to defend her against all opposition; and now ye may see how he hath destroyed her, instead of defending her.

I give you it in short, and desire you to ponder and consider it, and ye will not find me so mad, as many of you say I am; for I am not prodigal of my life, neither have I a hand in my own death; for I love my life as well as my neighbours, and it is as dear to me as any of yours is to you; but, when it comes in competition with my Lord’s truths, I dare not seek to save my life with prejudice thereunto. Neither am I wearied of my life, though it is true indeed, there is nothing here to be coveted, that is not enough to weary one, neither am I wearied of it; therefore I charge you, that ye do not brand me with aspersions when I am gone.

I leave my blood on all the assizers, who after we had given in our protestation against all their proceedings, both in their council and justiciary, and told them, That it was for no action that we were suffering, but only on the matters of conscience and judgment that we were pannelled; yet notwithstanding our charging them with our blood, they most unjustly took away our lives. Do not think this flows from a spirit of malice, spite, bitterness, or revenge; for I desire to bless the Lord, I am free from the spirit of bitterness or revenge: but they take away my life without and against any just law; I cannot get it passed.

Do not think that I am an enthusiast, and take on me a bare impulse of the spirit for a call to suffer on,—or the word as it lies literally, for a call,—for it is not so;—I having desired and used some endeavours, (though it has been in great weakness I confess, yet I dare say, in some respect, my desire to the Lord about it hath been sincere,) that he would help me to get his word and my own conscience consulted, and try the word by the spirit, and the spirit by the word;—for it is but a dead letter without the spirit.

And likewise my blood is lying, and will be heavy on that popish Duke [of York]. And I will not say but the Lord will permit him to usurp the crown of Scotland, but the blood that he hath got to welcome him home to it, and to satisfy his own lust,—will weigh him downfrom the throne; but indeed, I fear, that he get his design drawn to a great length, and get the ark carried away, even to your apprehension, out of Scotland; but remember the Philistines carrying away the ark, and the men of Bethshemesh looking into it, how the Lord smote them: and so I think, when they have got the kirk banished and destroyed, and the witnesses all killed, when they will look on the church as carried clean away, and thereupon shall turn secure,—will not the Lord be avenged on them, and charge them with all the blood they have so heinously shed? But indeed we have deserved no less than the Lord’s leaving of this land, and to give them into the hands of our enemies: but as long as there is no appearance of a better church in the whole world, ye need not fear that the Lord will enhance Scotland’s right of a church to any other. He suffered the children of Israel many a time to fall into, and lie under the hands of their enemies; but he never forsook them altogether, until there came a better in their place.

Likewise, my blood is on all these parliamenters and counsellors, these of the justiciary, as they call it.

Now, dear friends, I am going to eternity, ere it be long, from whence I cannot return; and as a dying man, I give you warning, and bid you take heed what you are doing. Be tender of the glory of God, and take no unlawful gate to shun suffering, nor sinful shifts to come by the cross. But when there is a cross lying in the way, see that ye seek not to go about it; and venture upon suffering before sinning: for he never sent any a warfare upon their own charges. If any knew the sweetness of a prison, they would not be so afraid to enter upon suffering; ye would not join with the Lord’s enemies as ye are doing. O dear friends, take warning now, for it is a question if ever ye get any more warnings of this kind: for it is a sad juncture that your lot and mine is fallen into; but now I am going away home. O! the Lord is kind to me, who hath honoured me so highly, and is also taking me away from the evil that is to come: for, indeed I think, there are sad days abiding poor Scotland. O sirs! be busy, and venture all upon him, and put all in his hand; and whatever you have been, let not that scare you; if you have been a great sinner, I say, let not that hinder you from coming to him, and closing with him; for the greater sinner you be, the more free grace is magnified in reclaiming you. I may speak this from my own experience; for I was as a brand plucked out of the fire: and he hath brought me through many difficulties, temptations, and snares, and made my soul escape as a bird out of the cunning fowler’s net, and brought me to a prison at length, to suffer bonds for him. He made all things sweet to me, the company sweet to me, even bad company; he made reproaches sweet. I have been made to wonder at his kindness and love to me-ward; and now he hath brought me this length, without being afraid what enemies can do to me, and that is a great confirmation to me of true love, that—perfect love casts out fear. Now, He is faithful, into whose hands I commit my spirit and soul, and he will keep it against that day.

Now when I am going,—farewell all friends and Christian acquaintances; farewell sweet and holy Scriptures, wherewith my soul hath been refreshed; farewell reading, singing, and praying; farewell sweet meditation; farewell sun, moon, and stars; farewell all created comforts. Welcome death; welcome sweet gallows, for my sweet and lovely Lord; welcome angels; welcome spirits of just men made perfect; welcome eternity; welcome praises; welcome immediate vision of the Sun of righteousness.

Sicsub.—James Stewart.’

For more on the death of James Stewart, see here.

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