The Mystery of Swine Knowe: The Nitty Gritty of #History #Scotland

•August 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The Sanquhar Declaration of 1680 was the explosive moment at which a new radical and militant presbyterian movement was born. Composed by Richard Cameron, it was proclaimed by an armed band at Sanquhar’s mercat cross on 22 June. It was an unwelcome surprise to the authorities and they threw all the resources that they had into tracking down the traitors behind it.

Like a meteor lighting up the firmament, Cameron’s campaign was brief. One month later he was dead, but the shockwaves from the Sanquhar event have reverberated for centuries.

Monument Sanquhar Declarations

Monument to the Sanquhar Declaration of 1680 © kim traynor and licensed for reuse.

When Cameron’s campaign began and how it developed is difficult to unravel. It appears to have begun at a field preaching with no fixed date at a mysterious location known as Swine Knowe in New Monkland parish, Lanarkshire.

Establishing a date for the Swine Knowe field preaching is not a simple task. It requires some historical detective work.

Patrick Walker gave the first and earliest account of the Swine Knowe preaching in his life of Richard Cameron in the 1720s:

‘After their Parting [post the Auchengilloch fast], Mr. Cameron had a publick, desirable, confirming and comforting Day (to the sweet Experience of some yet alive) at the Swineknow in Newmunkland in Clidsdale, upon that sweet, Soul-refreshing Text, Isa. 32. 2. And a Man shall be an hiding Place from the Wind, and a Covert from the Tempest, as Rivers of Waters in a dry Place, and the Shadow of a great Rock in a weary Land. In his Preface that Day, he said, he was fully assured, That the Lord, in Mercy to this Church and Nation, would sweep the Throne of Britain, of that unhappy Race of the Name of Stewart, for their Treachery, Tyranny, Leachery, but especially their usurping the royal Prerogatives of King CHRIST: This he was as sure of, as his Hand was upon that Cloth, yea more sure; for he had that by Sense, but the other by Faith.’ (Walker, BP, I, 199.)

What were Cameron’s movements before Swine Knowe?
The fragmented sources for where and when Cameron was before Swine Knowe are challenging to interpret, as the dates for the two key events in that period, the fast days at Darmead and Auchengilloch, are not completely secure. The key date for the Swine Knowe preaching is that it took place after the fast at Auchengilloch, which of the two key events mentioned appears to have the most reliable dating evidence. It also took place after Cameron and Donald Cargill had parted.

The Auchengilloch Fast
Maurice Grant’s biography of Cameron links the Auchengilloch fast to a letter from Cameron to Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun of Saturday 22 May that mentions a meeting on the Friday following, i.e., Friday 28 May. It was word of that rendevous, after it had taken place, that led to General Thomas Dalyell to write to the Earl of Airlie that he should ‘strive to get intelligence what the enemy’s rendezvous has been for’. (Letter from Dalyell to Airlie, Saturday 29 May, 1680. Quoted in Grant, Lion of the Covenant, 217, 319n.)

The date of Friday 28 May for the Auchengilloch fast day is relatively secure. However, what happened next is not clear.

Howie’s Shawhead or Walker’s Hyndbottom?
Grant states that Cameron immediately left the area around Auchengilloch for a field preaching at Shawhead on 30 May. However, some evidence clearly suggests that that preaching (which was at Hyndbottom in Walker) took place later on 11 July. In his discussion on the conflicting sources for the Shawhead and Hyndbottom preaching or preachings, i.e., those given by John Howie and Patrick Walker, Grant favours Howie’s date which was based on the internal evidence of the sermon, but suggests that there is ‘no compelling reason’ to discount Walker’s account as Cameron may have preached on the same text on two separate occasions. In my view, contextual evidence and a different reading of the evidence in the sermon favours Walker’s later date. An intelligence report from Robert Cannon of Mardrogat to Airlie of 11 July, also placed Cameron between Crawfordjohn and Roberton. Both Hyndbottom and Shawhead lie in Crawfordjohn parish. (Grant, Lion of the Covenant, 323n. Cannon’s intelligence quoted in Grant, 274, 323n.)

The Dating of Swine Knowe
Grant also places the preaching at Swine Knowe ‘on the Lord’s day after the publication of the Sanquhar Declaration’. The declaration was on Tuesday 22 June, placing the Swine Knowe preaching on Sunday 27 June, a week before the Gass Water preaching on 4 July.

However, Walker does not place the Swine Knowe preaching immediately after Sanquhar. He places it after Cameron and Cargill had parted post the Auchengilloch fast of 28 May and does not say if the Gass Water preaching on the 4 July was the next Sabbath: Walker only states that ‘He preached at the Grass-Water, near Cumnock, upon the Fourth Day of July’.

One reason why the Swine Knowe preaching is thought to be on the Sabbath after the declaration is that Howie of Lochgoin, writing in the late eighteenth century, placed it there. He told the same story about Swine Knowe as Walker, but framed it in a different context. Howie’s biographies were sometimes cut-and-paste jobs, rather than original source material. It was Howie, not Walker, who placed Swine Knowe in the context of the declaration and the proclamation issued after it.

Here is Howie’s version:

‘After several meetings among themselves, towards forming a declaration and testimony, they at last agreed upon one, which they published at the market-cross of Sanquhar, June 22, 1680; commonly called the Sanquhar Declaration. After this they were obliged to separate one from another, and go to different corners of the land: and that not only upon account of the necessity of the people, who were then in a starving condition, with respect to the faithfully preached gospel, but also on account of the indefatigable scrutiny of the enemy, who for their better encouragement, had, by proclamation, 5000 merks offered, for apprehending Mr. Cameron, 3000, for Mr. Cargill and Mr. [Thomas] Douglas, and 100 for each of the others, who were concerned in the publication of the foresaid declaration.’

He immediately followed that with an almost verbatim, recycled, version of Walker’s Life of Cameron text on Swine Knowe, which implies that Swine Knowe took place after the declaration or proclamation:

‘After parting, Mr. Cameron went to Swine-knowe, in New Monkland, where he had a most confirming and comforting day, upon that soul refreshing text, And a man shall be a hiding plact from the wind and a covert from the tempest. In his preface, that day, he said, he was fully assured that the Lord in mercy to this church and nation, would sweep the throne of Britain of that unhappy race of the name of Stuart, for their treachery, and tyranny, but especially their usurping the royal prerogatives of Christ; and this he was as sure of as his hands were upon that cloth, yea, and more sure, for he had that by sense, but the other by faith.’

Almost immediately after that, Howie inserted a passage based on another story found in Walker’s later ‘Vindication of Mr Cameron’s Name’, rather than from the Life of Cameron, the source for the Swine Knowe preaching. The story was about a Cameron house preaching in Cumnock parish. While Walker correctly placed in the story in early 1680, Howie set it after the Sanquhar Declaration of 22 June and before Cameron’s Gass Water field preaching ‘near Cumnock’ on 4 July. Howie effectively linked the Cumnock events together. In fact, the Cumnock house preaching and the Gass Water preaching took place months apart.

The end result of Howie’s cut-and-paste approach to the narrative is that the reader finds the Sanquhar Declaration is followed by the Swine Knowe preaching and then followed by the Gass Water preaching. Howie then confirms that chronology.

His account of the Gass Water preaching of 4 July was copied Walker’s Life of Cameron, but with one crucial difference. Howie adds the word “following” to the opening line of it, which implies that the Swine Knowe preaching took place on Sunday 27 June, a week before the Gass Water preaching:

‘Upon the 4th of July following, being eighteen days before his death, he preached at the Grass-water side near Cumnock…’

Howie’s patchwork narrative altered the context in which the Swine Knowe preaching had taken place from mid 1680 to 27 June, 1680. It is not a reliable source for the date of the Swine Knowe event.

When did Cameron field preach at Swineknowe?
In his account, Patrick Walker provides little in the way of direct dating evidence for when Cameron was at Swine Knowe. He simply informed his readers that after the fast day at Auchengilloch in Evandale parish with Cargill and Thomas Douglas at the end of May, ‘they were obliged to separate, and preach in different Corners of the Land’ due to the demand for their preaching. (Walker, BP, I, 198.)

We know that they had parted at the latest a day or two before the ‘Queensferry Incident’ on 3 June, in which Cargill was wounded and Henry Hall died of his wounds. A bandaged-up Cargill was barely fit enough to preach at Cairnhill (probably at Wolf Craigs) on 6 June, but then he disappears from the record, probably recovering from his wounds, until he preached with Cameron at the Kype Water on 18 July and, again, after Cameron’s death, at Starryshaw on 25 July.

After Auchengilloch, Cameron’s movements are also obscure. Possibly after Cargill and Cameron had parted at the end of May, Cameron and Douglas subscribed the bond before Sanquhar, as Cargill’s signature is missing from the bond. The bond probably hints at the general area where Cameron was in June, as it was mainly subscribed by individuals from the South West.

Cameron, Douglas and some who subscribed the bond were present at the proclamation of the Sanquhar Declaration on 22 June.

The action at Sanquhar brought the full force of the state down on them. On 30 June, a proclamation was issued that left no doubt that those behind the declaration would be pursued to death.

Soon after, military units were deployed into the area to capture Cameron. It was probably the pressures the proclamation unleashed that led to an acrimonious schism with the ranks of Cameron’s followers over whether they should confront their enemies like Gideon’s three hundred or not. As a result of those disputes, Douglas departed from Cameron’s band in early July and preached alongside John Hepburn, a more moderate preacher.

After the proclamation, Cameron and some followers – the size of his band appears to have varied – continued in the fields. He preached at the Gass Water on 4 July, in Carluke parish on 8 July, at Hyndbottom/Shawhead on 11 July and by the Kype Water with Cargill on 18 July, the latter just days before his death at the battle of Airds Moss.

The chronology, above, and Cameron’s movements clearly suggest that he probably preached at Swine Knowe at some point after Auchengilloch on 28 May and before the end of June. Five Sundays fell in that period: 30 May, 6 June, 13 June, 20 June and 27 June.

It is clear from what Walker reports about Swine Knowe that it was a significant event in the preaching of a new militant platform. Cameron was explicit in a way not seen before about foreseeing the downfall of Stuart monarchy:

‘In his Preface that Day, he said, he was fully assured, That the Lord, in Mercy to this Church and Nation, would sweep the Throne of Britain, of that unhappy Race of the Name of Stewart, for their Treachery, Tyranny, Leachery, but especially their usurping the royal Prerogatives of King CHRIST’.

The Swine Knowe preaching is clearly related to the Sanquhar Declaration, which forfeited Charles II and declared ‘war’ on the persecuting regime. Whether Swine Knowe was a prelude to, or a postscript to, the Sanquhar Declaration is not clear, but it obviously links in a direct way to developments after the Auchengilloch meeting and Cameron’s drafting of the Sanquhar Declaration.

It is tempting to imagine that Cameron had a draft manuscript of the Sanquhar Declaration in his pocket when he preached at Swine Knowe. Was Cameron giving his followers a sign of what was to come in the next few days or weeks? The evidence suggests that is a possibility, as it may have been preached before the Declaration. In that scenario, the historical significance of Swine Knowe increases, as it was the first public signal of a new militant platform. However, it also possible that it took place in the week after the Declaration, in which case, it was the first public preaching heralding the Declaration’s new militant platform.

near-little-drumbreck newNear Little Drumbreck © Raymond Okonski and licensed for reuse.

A Final Mystery: Where was ‘Swineknowe’?
One other frustrating mystery about Swine Knowe is that we do not know where it lay in New Monkland parish, Lanarkshire? The problem is that Swine Knowe does not appear on any recorded map of the parish, even though the placename was recorded (at least twice) in the early eighteenth century. If the habits of field preaching are any guide to its whereabouts, it probably lay in the east of the parish, where there is evidence of field preachings taking place close to the bogs around Caldercruix and the shire boundary near Black Loch. (See Little Drumbreck, Arnbuckle and Black Loch.)

Swine Knowe would remain a significant site for the Cameronian Society people. When John MacMillan launched his ministry among the “Continuing” Society people in late 1706, it was at Swine Knowe.

If anyone knows were Swine Knowe lay, please get in touch.

For more on the Covenanters in New Monkland parish, see here.

For more on Richard Cameron, see here.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free 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 Cocker’s Vomit and the Fire at Horsecleugh, Cumnock, 1680 #History #Scotland

•August 24, 2016 • 1 Comment

According to a witness interviewed by Patrick Walker in the 1720s, Richard Cameron the Covenanter foretold strange events near Cumnock in 1680:

‘In the Beginning of the Year 1680, he [i.e., Richard Cameron, who had returned to Scotland in October, 1679,] went to the West; and tho’ they had wanted the publick preached Gospel only about six Months [i.e., since the defeat at Bothwell in June 1679], for some Time could get none to call him to preach publickly, he turned very melancholy. [George] The Laird of Logan of that Ilk, in the Parish of Cumnock (esteemed by all for a good Man) and the [John Campbell the] Laird of Horsecleugh represented him as a Jesuite, and naughty Person:’


The laird of Logan’s house lay in the vicinity of Holmhead Cresent in Logan, which lies east of Cumnock. Both it and its successor house have been demolished.

According to Walker’s story, Cameron’s message to lift the fallen standard of the Lord and renew field preaching was not welcomed by two moderate-presbyterian lairds in Cumnock parish, who spread word, presumably among their tenants, that they should not hear Cameron. Their hostility to Cameron is understandable. In the years before the defeat at Bothwell Bridge, Cameron’s preaching had been divisive, with the result that he was removed to Rotterdam by other ministers. At Bothwell in mid 1679, militants who agreed with Cameron had clashed with moderate-presbyterian lairds and ministers in rancourous debates that may have contributed to the defeat of the Presbyterian army. When he returned to Scotland in October, 1679, his message, although backed by influential militant ministers in Rotterdam, was shunned by ministers. However, by March 1680, his message was beginning to make headway in the South West and he was receiving calls to preach. On 22 March, we was with five miles of the Nith, a river which flows from Cumnock parish via Nithsdale.

Walker’s story continues with house conventicle in Cumnock parish:

‘At length some of the Lord’s People, who had retained their former Zeal and Faithfulness, called him to preach the Word in the same Parish [i.e., of Cumnock]. When he began, he exhorted the People to mind that they were in the Sight and Presence of a holy God, and that all of them were hastning to an endless State, either of Well or Wo, and that there was no Mids. One Andrew Dalziel a Debauchee (a Cocker or Fowler) being in the House, it being a stormy Day, cried out, Sir, we neither know you nor your God. Mr. Cameron musing a little, said, Ye, and all that do not know my God in his Mercy, shall know him in his Judgments, which shall be sudden and surprising in a few Days upon you, which shall make you a Terror to yourself, and all that shall be Witness to your Death; and I, as a sent Servant of Jesus Christ, whose Commission I bear, and whose Badge or Blaze is upon my Breast, give you Warning, and leave you to the Justice of God. Accordingly, in a few Days thereafter, the foresaid Andrew, being in perfect Health, took his Breakfast plentifully, and, before he arose, fell a vomiting, and vomit his Heart’s Blood in the very Vessel out of which he got his Breakfast, and died in a frightful Manner:

This astonishing Passage, together with the Power and Presence of the Lord going along with the Gospel-Ordinances dispensed by him in that six Months before his bloody Death [i.e., between early 1680 and July], wherein he ran fast, his Time being short, he was taught and helped of the Lord to let down the Net at the right Side of the Ship, where there was in every publick Day many catcht, to their Conviction, Conversion, Confirmation, Comfort and Edification, according as their various Cases were.

Our Martyrs, Sufferers, and other Christians had to tell to the Fearers of the Lord, what he did for their Souls at such Times and Places, both in their Life and at their bloody Deaths; these signal Manifestations of the Lord’s Love and Pity in these Sun-blink Days of the Gospel, not only of clear enlightning Light, but also of the vehement Heat, to thaw, warm and melt their Hearts in such a Flame of Love to the Lord Jesus Christ, and such a Zeal upon their Spirits for the Concerns of his Glory, that made them willing and ready to spend and be spent and rejoice that they were counted worthy to die for the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ; which deserves to be recorded to all Generations.

The Report of these strange Things occasioned Calls to come to him for dispensing of publick Gospel-Ordinances, from all Corners in the South and West of Scotland; and made the Lairds of Logan and Horsecleugh, who had vented themselves against him in a strange Way, disswading all from countenancing him any Manner of Way, to desire a Conference with him, which he willingly granted; where, and when they had a very friendly Conference, which obliged them to say, That they had been far in the Wrong to him, and requested him to forgive them. He said, From his Heart he forgave them for what Wrongs they had done to him; but, for what Wrongs they had done to the Interest of Christ, it was not his Part, but was perswaded they would be remarkably punished for it. He rebuked Logan, and said, Your Family shall be written Childless; which is now more and more taken Notice of by many, tho’ 50 Years since it was foretold, that none of his Offspring have Children. And that Reproof to Horsecleugh, that he should suffer by Burning, which shortly thereafter was seen by many upon his House.

I wrote these foregoing Accounts since the publishing of Cameron’s Life, from the Mouth of an old Christian Sufferer, whom I have not seen these 40 Years before, who was Ear and Eye-witness to all of them, and much more, in that Time.’ (Walker, BP, II, 97-99.)


One reason why the fates of the lairds may have been singled out is that both Horsecleugh and Logan gave evidence of the violent rabbling by armed Covenanters of the local minister in 1688. (History of Old Cumnock, 98-100.)

The laird’s house at Horsecleugh has disappeared. In the 1750s it lay on the north side of the burn, opposite the present farm. According Walker, its burning down ‘soon thereafter’ was seen by many’. A late nineteenth-century history of Old Cumnock, states that there was no recollection in the district of how the house had disappeared. (History of Old Cumnock, 193.)

Map of Horsecleugh Farm            Street View of Horsecleugh

Howie’s Version:
In the late eighteenth century, John Howie of Lochgoin recycled Walker’s version of the Cumnock story, but with once crucial difference. Howie changed the historical context of the story from early 1680, when Cameron was just establishing his message, to just after Cameron’s Sanquhar Declaration of 22 June, when the full weight of the state was targeted on Cameron’s band. He ignored Walker’s setting of the ‘Beginning of the Year 1680’ and placed it before Cameron’s Gass Water preaching of 4 July, which was said to be held ‘near Cumnock’, but was actually held in Auchineck parish. The two stories are set months apart.

Howie’s opening passage is very similar to that in Walker’s version:

‘When he came to preach about Cumnock, he was much opposed by the Lairds of Logan and Horsecleugh [i.e., George Logan of Logan and John Campbell of Horsecleugh], who represented him as a Jesuit. But yet some of the Lord’s people, who retained their former faithfulness, gave him a call to preach in that parish. When he began, he exhorted the people to mind that they were in the sight and presence of a holy God, and that all of them were hastening to an endless state of either weal or woe. One Andrew Dalziel, who was in the house, (it being a stormy day,) cried out, “Sir, we neither know you nor your God.” Mr. Cameron, musing a little, said, “You, and all who do not know my God in mercy, shall know him in judgment, which shall be sudden and surprising in a few days upon you; and I, as a sent servant of Jesus Christ, whose commission I bear, and whose badge I wear upon my breast, give you warning, and leave you to the justice of God.” Accordingly, a few days after, the said Dalziel, being in perfect health, took his breakfast plentifully, but before he rose he fell a vomiting blood into the very vessel out of which he had taken his breakfast, and died in a most frightful manner.’

Howie edited down the latter part of Walker’s story to cut to the chase of the story of the two lairds:

‘This astonishing event, together with the power and presence of the Lord going along with the gospel as dispensed by him, made the two Lairds desire a conference, to which he readily assented. Upon this they felt obliged to acknowledge, that they had been in the wrong with regard to him; and desired his forgiveness. He said, from his heart he forgave them what wrongs they had done to him; but for what wrongs they had done to the interest of Christ, it was not his part to forgive them; on the contrary, he was persuaded they should be remarkably punished for it. And to the Laird of Logan he said, that he should be written childless; and to Horsecleugh, that he should suffer by burning.—Both of which afterwards came to pass.’ (Howie, Scots Worthies, 334-5.)

For more on the Covenanters in Cumnock parish, see here.

For more on Richard Cameron, see here.

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Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free 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

John Hepburn: “He ay joucked to the lee side, in persecution, and out of persecution” #History #Scotland

•August 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Robert Smith, a minister without ordination from Douglas in Lanarkshire and a key figure in the post-Revolution, Cameronian, Society people, was sharply critical of two other ministers, John Hepburn and John MacMillan, on his death bed in 1724.

From ‘The Dying Testimony of Mr. ROBERT SMITH, Student of Divinity; who lived in Douglas Town, in the Shire of Clydesdale, who died (about two o’clock in the Sabbath Morning,) Dec. 13, 1724, aged 58 years.’:

‘In the next place, that I may give my judgment of this late dispensation of the gospel; and how far different from that under, or in the persecuting period [before 1689], by our faithful martyr ministers, Messrs. Richard Cameron [d.1680], Donald Cargill [d.1681], and James Renwick [d.1688]. And how defection came on gradually, I shall not insist upon what pains and diligence the honest suffering contending party were at, after the death of Mr. James Renwick [in 1688]; and defection of Messrs. Alexander Shields, Thomas Linning, and William Boyd [in 1690]; with the general bulk and the body of the party, who then went alongst with them; whom the Lord raised up (as it were) out of the former ashes, by conferences, &c. with Mr. [John] Hepburn and his party; and after with Mr. [Hugh] M’Henery [minister of Dalton parish], Mr. Farquhar, &c. before we had any appearance of any thing hope like, by Mr [John] M’Millan [from the end of 1706].

… After he had joined with them, and they with him, upon the terms and heads of their testimony; to be seen in their Informatory Vindication, Testimony against the Toleration, and their declaration emitted anno 1692, &c. After he had gone (I mean Mr. [John] M’Millan) through the land [from late 1706], in baptizing our children, and marrying to the general contentment, and satisfaction of the whole party. If ever the gospel had any sweetness, and success amongst us, it was then and at that time; for then. [>p217] as people’s frame was most tender, so he seemed to be most tender in the cause and testimony. But these Hallicon, or peaceable times lasted not long, Satan the enemy of man’s salvation, envying at our well or good, began to. sow the tares of discord and dissention amongst us, viz. betwixt minister and people. For within two, or at most three years [of 1706], that controversy betwixt us, about [his] keeping on the elders of Balmaghie, who had been constitute in his predecessor’s time, or during the time of his defection there, men of unsound judgments concerning the testimony; and his baptising compliers children there, and elsewhere.

Together with his unfreeness in doctrine, concerning the testimony. All these came to be complained of, regrated, and represented unto him in Dumbarton; and some in Kilmalcolm [in Renfrewshire] fellowships withdrew, because of want of freedom in doctrine, &c.

After five years wearisome, and undesirable contention, anent the Balmaghie affairs (to which, in the mean time, he added that of his marriage [to Jean Gemble in late 1708, which was conducted by John Reid, minister of Carsphairn parish]) a considerable party in Tinwald [parish], &c. withdrew, when no appearance of amendment by him. What satisfaction the generality had, with reference to his marriage, did not heal the wound unto all, but some were grieved, yet continued hearing, still hoping for a better of matters; but instead thereof things grew worse still. Neither had he long comfort of enjoyment, of that dear bought pleasure, by marriage; for within a few years his wife died [on 12 June, 1711], leaving him a sickly infirm child behind her, which did not long survive. […]

To heal all, and to make up the breach, it was thought that renewing of our covenants [at Auchensaugh in Douglas parish in 1712], by confession of our sins, &c., and participation of the Lord’s Supper, might prove effectual, whereupon sundry draughts of the steps of defection being drawn up, they were at last put in order, by way of acknowlegement of sins, and engagement to duties; (as it is to be seen in the Auchensaugh work [in 1712]) but neither had this the success expected: for though all were invited [including the Hebronites], such as had withdrawn, as well as others, yet they came not. Yea, instead of being a mean of bettering us, many turned worse and worse, from that day backward, as having taken on the vows of God, neglected, and forgot to perform the same. […]

Not long after, there being a change in their corrupt government, [Queen] Ann Stewart dying [in 1714], the nations called and set up George Lewis of Hanover, as their head and king, not after the old covenanted way, nor of a covenant qualification, but of the same profane kidney with the former. A representation, but really an address, was drawn up and sent to this man, through the instigation of some evil instruments amongst us. And when done, notwithstanding of all the evil consequences that it had, would not be so [>p219.] unmanly as to retract it, nor would not be resiled from, as its abettors and favourites. Mr. [John] McMillan, with some of the leading men among the people, having once avouched it, would not own their fault, though we should all break, and go off on that head. Thus, the state of our quarrel was changed into the common Form of the corrupt present establishment. This was fairly and fully testified against, by Edinburgh fellowship; but little regarded by the addressing party, and so the more afflicting, and wounding to the more tender and contrary party, in the general meeting, who were loath to leave Mr. [John] McMillan, &c., if they could have got any thing like satisfaction; but the more they strove, the worse he grew. Many proposals were given, among the rest, that a declaration should be drawn up; which accordingly was done, but rejected, because of its honesty. And after that a second, and a third draught of one At length a sham one admitted, and read out of a tent, several years after, when they had done all the ill they could before, by breaking and dividing the party, after Edinburgh friends had made their minds known to the general meeting, against the address: not long after they emitted a declaration in print against Hanover; yet by reason of the manner of publishing it, and their after divisions, that fell in amongst themselves, the fewer espoused it. This woful address, caused many to withdraw both from ministers and general meeting, leaving their testimonies behind them, and protestations against that, and other steps of defection; but neither were the defective party bettered thereby, but went on from evil to worse; for the Jacobites rising against the Hanoverians [in 1715], Mr. [John] M’Millan and his party fell in tampering with Messrs. [John] Hepburn [James] Gilchrist [minister of Dunscore] and [John] Taylor [in Wamphray parish], and their party.

Meeting after meeting was appointed and held: at length a manifesto was agreed on to be drawn up, containing both parties [>p220] principles and ground of quarrel. But before it could be agreed to, by both parties, the wars ceased, and both got leave to be as formerly. There were many secrets here among some of the ministers, of dangerous consequences, if they had succeeded, that never came to the ears of many of the people, particularly betwixt Mr. McMillan and Mr. [James] Gilchrist. After [the Earl of] Mar’s year [of the 1715 Jacobite Rising] was over, Mr. M’Millan causing his general meeting, protest in favour of Mr. Gilchrist, &c. and Mr. Gilchrist marrying Mr. M’Millan [to Mary Gordon (1681-1723), second daughter of Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun and his more militant wife, Lady Earlstoun (d.1696), in 1719]. Both which had their own bitter fruits afterwards, to the more tender.

[p232>] ‘Of Mr. [John] Hepburn, I say if he had been as clear, tender, and distinct in the cause and testimony, as he was said to be tender in his walk, the Lord might have honoured him, but because he ay joucked to the lee side, in persecution, and out of persecution; and pushed at the more tender, and straight in the testimony, with head and shoulder. I fear his name be not written among Scotland’s worthies. He that hath been Reuben like, unstable as water, shall not excel. I agree with what is said, in our first declaration after the Revolution [in 1692], whether it be meant of him, or comprehend others. With reference to Messrs. [James] Gilchrist [in Dunscore parish] and [John] Taylor [in Wamphrey parish], I think they were beguiled by him; (i. e. Mr. [John] Hepburn) But neither can their unstraight dealing in the cause of God be approved of, but rather condemned. For as long as they own that throne of iniquity, and him that sits thereon, they cannot be said to be faithful witnesses for the Lord, and his cause, or any other that bends that way.’ (A Collection of Dying Testimonies, 216-20, 232.)


Opponents of John Hepburn and the Hebronites after the Revolution #History #Scotland

•August 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Hepburn's Chair

The activities of John Hepburn among the Society people after the Revolution of 1688 to 1690, drew hostile comment in several dying testimonies of the “Continuing Society people” that were also known as the McMillanites post 1706. His opponents outlined what they found objectionable about Hepburn and his followers, the so-called Hebronites:

From ‘The Dying Words of Robert Currie, Wright in Tinwald’ who died on 6 June, 1702:

‘And as for Mr, John Hepburn, who pretends to keep at a distance from the pollutions of the times, and from the rest of the present ministers, which he has very often cried out against; and yet to this day he has -never declined them. He has proven a great enemy to the poor witnessing remnant, in dividing and scattering them, who were aiming too keep up a standing testimony for Christ and his covenanted cause.

For my part, I witness in my last words (as I did in my former practice,) as a dying man against him, and his adherents, for what is above mentioned; and for their continual practical owning of sinful time-serving courses, both in church and state, by paying them stents, hearth-money, pole-money, and money for furnishing out soldiers: and for paying stipends to the present ministers, or rather intruders; and whatever other acknowlegements they pay unto them in other things.

And for their contempt of that particular point in our Sanquhar declaration, emited August 10. 1692, because it strikes against them. Ah! lamentable, this is far from a seeing their fault, and turning from, their sin.’ (A Collection of Dying Testimonies, 61.)

The passage in the 1692 declaration that referred to Hepburn and his faction in the “Continuing” Society people was probably this one:

‘And finally, we desire all Persons, of whatsoever new party they be, minister or other, that would appear more refined than the rest, and pretending to act separately from our enemies and antagonists, whilst yet really incorporate with them, and carrying on their designs more effectually, though more smoothly; and instrumental, to break and divide us more than any, as if purposely sent forth by the rest for that effect; not to mistake us, as if what we have said in order to the rest, were not applicable to them. But on the contrary, that we look upon their course, as accompanied with many aggravations that others are not capable of, and so, as more loathsome to God ought to be the more detestable to us.’

The Testimony of Janet Hannay in Troqueer parish.
She had heard Hepburn preach in c.1690. She was not forthcoming on what the faults she found in Hepburn, but she does seem to indicate that some of her ‘relations’ attempted to ‘instigate’ her to hear Hepburn at a later date:

‘Where continuing for a certain time, after the death of that blessed martyr foresaid [in February, 1688], even till the revolution [of 1689], and some space after, without hearing of any; frae once the three that were our ministers turned aside [i.e., William Boyd, Thomas Linning and Alexander Shields in 1690]; till, partly by advice, and partly to evite that odious calumny of casting off the gospel, I went and heard Mr. John Hepburn, and thereafter one Mr. Somervaile twice [1691 to 1696], who was entered to the parish I lived in: yet praise, praise and thanks be to the Lord, because he recovered me from them also, and all others, by that great word born in upon me; “The leaders of this people cause them to err, and they that are led of them are destroyed.” Isa. ix. 16. From which time to the present, I never durst, for my soul, venture to hear any of them again, how great and faithful soever they were called, nor for the instigation of relations thereunto. Then, and at that time, (notwithstanding these my declining and backslidings from him,) it pleased the Lord to bring me into that poor despised, yet desirable remnant, way, and testimony;’ (A Collection of Dying Testimonies, 69-70.)

The Testimony of Rachel Black, died Dumfries 28 June, 1705:

‘I witness against Mr. John Hepburn, for his unfaithfulness and unstedfastness , and for his not owning and maintaining the testimony and truths as held forth in the word of God, and the practice of the church of Scotland; and as now owned and maintained by a poor despised remnant thereof [that adhered to the Sanquhar Declaration of 1692].

And also, against whomsoever pays stents, stipends, hearth, or pole-money, or any exactions that may interprate an owning of their kirk or state; as they now stand in opposition to Christ’s kingly power in his own house, and the privileges of the church, which standeth in the exercise of a free court, granted and given by Christ unto his bride or spouse, having no dependence on any court under the cape of heaven. They have incapacitated themselves of being owned as such in these lands, without manifest breach of covenant; by the owning of which, it were an owning of his enemies, for his friends.’ (A Collection of Dying Testimonies, 54-5.)

The Testimony of Jean Irvine in Roucan, Torthorwald parish, Dumfriesshire, 8 July, 1705:

‘[testified] against Mr. Hepburn, for his being never down-right for God, and faithful in owning and maintaining of the testimony of Christ, his cause and truth, as held forth from the word of God, and the practice of the church of Scotland, of old and of late, now owned by the remnant.

And, finally, I leave my testimony against whosoever [like the Hebronites] pays stent, stipends, hearth-money, or pole-money, or any exactions which may interprate an owning of their present kirk and state, as they are now circumstantiated , seeing they have incapacitated themselves to be owned in these lands, without manifest breach of covenant. Moreover, I leave my testimony against all unfaithfulness in the remnant; and all such who live uncontentedly, indifferently, or are neutral in the matters of God.’ (A Collection of Dying Testimonies, 58.)

The dying testimony of John Mathieson (d.1710) in Rosehill, Closeburn parish, also mentions Hepburn:

‘More particularly [than testifying against William of Orange etc.], I leave my testimony to, and approves of the four protestations, given in at four several times, against the intruders on this parish [of Closeburn]; and they were but little esteemed of either by one or other. Yet I bless the Lord for what hand I had therein, and the sweet peace I found thereby. And I testify against all that fainted then, and left me when I protested’. *

“* These four protestations he here speaks of, were these he and the few with him gave in against four different ministers, then called to the parish, viz. Mr. Elder, Mr. Hepburn, Mr, Laurie of Penpont, which protestations are now lost.’

The local Society people appear to have heavily contested the settling of several ministers in Closeburn parish and it is not clear if the parish truly had a minister in residence for any period of time from the Revolution in late 1688 to 1718.

The four ministers that Mathieson referred to were:

Mr James Elder, who had accepted toleration under James VII. He was minister of Keir parish in Penpont Presbytery from 1691.

John Hepburn was not formally called to Closeburn, but probably preached in the parish on an irregular basis during the frequent vacancies that afflicted the charge. From his testimony, it is clear that Mathieson personally protested about Hepburn’s presence, but that his opinion of him was not shared by other Society people who then ‘left me when I protested’.

Robert Lawrie was called to Closeburn in November, 1692, and ordained on 1 November, 1693. However, he died a month later.

Six months later, his brother, Thomas Lawrie, followed him as the minister of Closeburn. He was presented by the presbytery in August 1694 and ordained in September. He was deposed for adultery in 1709, but after 1712 began to hold field meetings in Closeburn parish. How long Lawrie was in post is unclear, but he appears to be the most successful of the ministers in terms of the duration of tenure. He did face opposition from another minister, John McMillan, who conducted baptisms and marriages among the Society people of the parish from April, 1707.

After the deposition of Thomas Lawrie in 1709, there was a very long gap in which no Established Church minister filled the vacant charge until 1718.


Covenanters Against the Union: The Smoaking Flax Unquenchable (1706) #History #Scotland

•August 18, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Radicalism Radicals Scotland

Flax Unquenchable;

Where the
Betwixt the two KINGDOMS is Dissecated, Anatomied, Confuted and Annuled.

That good Form and Fabrick of Civil GOVERNMENT,
Intended and Espoused by the true Subjects of the Land, is
illustrated and held out.

Hag. 2. 6. For thus saith the LORD of Hosts, yet once it is a
little while, and I will make the Heavens, and the Earth, and
the Sea and dry land: and I will shake all Nations, and the
desire of all Nations shall come, and I will fill the house with
Glory, saith the LORD of Hosts.

* *
* * *
* *

Printed in the Year 1706.

Flax Unquenchable

Man by Creation was an admirable Creature, the Psalmist cannot but wonder at him, considering the fabrick and form of his Body, as in Psal, 139 where he saith, For I am wonderfully made, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the Earth. This curious Work by the wisdom and power of the Maker consists much in the Unitie, and harmonious Participation of the Members, with one another; as that they contribute to the subsisting, and preserving of the Body in Life and Beeing: Now as it is with the Body natural, even so is it with a politick Body, such as a Kingdom or Commonwealth. I say, what Power and Wisdom is required in in it’s constituting and ordering? God being a God of Order; and therefore will have Union, and harmonious Participation of the Members, one with another; so as this union may tend to the preserving of the Kingdom of Life and Beeing: But where Union leads not to the preservation of Life and Beeing in a Kingdom or Common-wealth; then it may be said, that it has not been well perpended or considered, in it’s constitutive Parts, which makes the consequtive Parts to be so Hetrogenious and Disagreeable, as that it destroys the Life and Beeing of the whole. Now in compleating of an Action, (so as to make it, not only splendid and beautiful, but also good) there are three things required, (1.) A good Judgment to deliberat well (2.) Fervent Zeal to prosecute (3.) Constancie in preserving. Now where these are to be found, either in a Person, or yet in a Body of people Colectively taken; then it makes for the perfecting of compleating [>p4.] thereof, to a happy and prosperous end. But where it is wanting, then there is Schism, Division and Destruction of the whole.

Now as to the first, I mean the constitutive part, which is good Deliberation of the Action, which consists in these three. First one principal moving, the will to elect, & chose. 2. The end elected and chosen. 3. The mean that leads to the end. 1. Now as to the principal moving there must be singularity in Love; not only sinistrious motion, flowing from self Interest or the like. 2. The end elected and chosen, must terminate in a right object, which ultimat object or end is the glory of God: Subordinate, the safety and well Beeing of the Kingdom. 3. The means that leadeth to this end must be agreeable to Scripture and Reason. Now where all these are to be found, then the Action is good in it’s constitutive part, having all the essential Atributes and Properties, that makes for the perfection thereof. But if wanting, then of necessity the consequtive Parts, must fall, such as fervent Zealous porsecution, and constant perseverance; for where the Anticedent is not good, the consequence is nought.

Now for application, even so is the case betwixt the Kingdoms, in matter of this Union; for its deliberation be rightly drawn forth, so as to terminat in a right object and end, such as the glory of God; the saftie and weell being of the King[d]om Then it may and ought to be imbraced, seing that Union is so desirable, by reason and strength of the Kingdom lies therein: And therefore to be wished by all, who desires to live in Peace and Truth. Therefore I shall dissecat and anatomie the Heads and Articles contained therein. As first, it is Decreed, in this Union, That there shall be an assenting to the Succession, in that the Prince of Hannover shall succeed to the Throne of Britain, as lawful Heir to the Crown. Nothing minded in all this, the Coronation Oath and fundamental Laws; nor yet the Qualifications of the Person intended. (1.) Whether or no he be of sound [>p5.] Principles in matters of Religion. 2. Or of an unholy Life, in so far as Man can discern. 3. Or not lying under any publick scandal, as to matters of God and godliness. Now all these are to be required in a Prince; otherways a People (who intends to set up Kingly Government in a Land) can never act rationally if they do not observe these. Now altho the true and faithful Subjects of Scotland inclines not to Monarchy Government (this being so hurtful to the Subjects formerly, or rather the abuse of it as our Ancestors has testified) Yet I speak of these who contends for it; and has England pitched on Hannover, as Successor to the Throne, without the lawful and free exercise of Election, as afterward I shall make it appear: But however in the first place, I shall premise a little, concerning the lineal and hereditarie Succession and Election consists together.

Now all sound Politicians acknowledgeth, that lineal Succession, is a Physical Law or Statue, (for preventing Ambition and aspireing Pride among the Nobles and Peers of the Land, in coveting the Authority in time of the Crowns Vaccance) that they choise a Familie or Person in that Familie to the Throne to Rule according to Gods Word and the Fundamental Laws of the Land, so that this Statute is the fruits and effects of Election; Election being the cause of giving it Beeing, so that this doth noways avert or overturn Election: seing this Statute depends upon the Qualifications of the Governour, as in Exod 18. 21. and Numb. 11. 16. And the Lord said unto Moses, gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the People, And v. 17. And I will take of the Sprit, which is upon thee and will put it upon them. Now thir Qualifications in their Exercise are ascribed to Kings, and is to be found in Deut. 17, 18, 19. And it shall be when he sitteth upon the throne of his Kingdom, that he shall Writ him a copy of this [>p6.] Law in a book, &c. and it shall be with him and he shall read therein all the days of his life that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of the law, and these Statutes to do them. Now where these Qualifications are wanting, then the person may be rejected, ever and while they get a qualified Person within the Line: And if they cannot have a qualified Person, then they may change, either the Familie or the Government. Now I think if this were well considered, it would be found that Qualifications are only requisit in this matter of which more anon. Now in this Union it is agreed that Hannover shall succeed to the Throne, without any mention of conditions, or qualifications for the Government, such as the Coronation Oath, and Covenants: But on the other hand is to continue a Toleration of Sectaries of all sorts, in permitting that the present state of the Kingdoms shall continue as they are, that Popery, Prelacy and all errors may rein in without Extirpation. Now how can this consist with Scotland’s Engagements, is not this perjurie and breach of Covenant to comply with this Union: Yea certainly it is, and therefore to be oppossed, and noways to be consented to, seing that the Person designed, invests himself with Prelacie, by his joining with English Prelats. I say Prelacie is Antichristian; & therefore not a thing indifferent, being an Hierrarchical species and form of Government, contair to the Doctrine of our Saviour, as in Matth. 20. 25. and Luke 22 25, 26 and the Institutions of the holy Apostles; also the Judgment of all sound Divines, where they prove that it has no Foundation, or Footing in Scripture (being objectively and essentiallie different from Presbyterian Government which is agreeable to the Word) and therefore not in Faith, so that it [is?] an adding to the Scriptures, Principals and Practises not contained therein. Now in this, let the Transgressor read his Judgment, Rev. 22. 18. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plaugs that are written in this book. I will not use [>p7.] many Arguments, seing I intend to be brief in this Tractat, only I commend the Reader to peruse the Writings of Mr Foster and Mr Jameson, in this contraversie, who has Learnedly and Elabouratly confuted the same, only this Argument, I take from the Fruits and Effects of Prelacy; in that it is owned by none, but these who are grosly and wilfully ignorant, or else avowedly Prophane; the best of them can have no more, but moral Piety. But on the other hand it is dayly by experience to be seen, that no sooner a Man turns to be Godly, but he hateth Prelacie: that is as natural to him, as it is to the Sun to give light at Noon-day: Now seing the Godly neither can nor yet dare comply with Prelacie, not yet with any Ruler that invests himself there with, this being Perjurie and Breach of Covenant. Shall then the Blood of the Godly be shed for Disobedience to sin and sinners? Shall the Kingly Government of Christ Jesus be wronged, and his People not cry out? Certainly as he is a King, as certain he shall have a Party, crying Hosanna, in their testifieing against the Usurpation: for no other thing can it be called seing that our Ancestors did not admit Charles the IId to the Government, until he did Swear (in the Year [16]51.) to maintain Presbyterian Government in Scotland, and to endeavour to the outmost of his Power, the Reformation of England and Ireland, from Poperie, Prelacie, and all errors whatsomever: For certainly who doth not so engage, is an Usurper; And therefore from the consideration of what is above, it appears to any that are not byassed and prejudged, that this Union is altogether unlawful, and therefore to be rejected and resisted: For certainly it is intolerable that Union can be where Religion is not the Object and End; So that altho there were no other ground of refussing yet this is sufficient. But hower, I shall speak to the other Articles and Heads contained in ths Union. I will not mention all the Heads and Articles, for it were tedious so to do, seing the point may be gained by some few that are most Substantial for Confutation [>p8.], the rest being comprehended under them.

Secondly, It is agreed, that England shall raise and advance three Hundred, ninety eight Thousand, eighty five Pound; and that out of the same Sum of Money, they shall make up to Scotland the loss of the Affrican Trade: Also out of that Sum there is so much to return back again to England for causes known to themselves. Likeways the Over plus is ordained for setting up of an Fisherie and other Manufactures. Now this Article is rediculous and unlawful, seeing that it is the Price of the Land, By which our Liberties and Nation are sold, and we made the footstool of England. and their reproach to all posterity, if this shall be, the reason is becaus it declares, that we have no substance of our own to set about or accomplished our trade that is fallen, or els we want rationality to act for our selves: so that we must be ordered by England as they in prudence shall think meet to advance themselves, and keep us low for certainly nature bears an equality (I mean corrupt nature) to see their neighbours partaking of the same benifits with themselves so that by this they intend to hinder this so usefull a benifit to the Land, in setting up a Forraign trade, which the land cannot want, & therefor not to be beholden to others as Beggars and Misers: for certainly England depends als much on Scotland, as Scotland does on them: & therfor in this we are to act rationaly, in providing substance of our own, which may be done very well without any prejudice to the Subjects, as I shall afterward make it appear[.] Now as to the Fisherie and Manufactors thats intended, I say ther is as litle good to be expected from them, seing that Religion is not set in the first place, this land being so ingaged to God by such manifestations of his Power made knowen to them and therfor will marke their sins more seveirlly and narowly then others as is Amos 3. 2 Yow only have I known of all the families of the earth; therfor will I punish yow for all yowr iniquities. [>p9.]

Therefore considering the present state and circumstances of this Sinfull generation, ther is no promise of Blessing upon their undertakings: likewayes no care (at this day) is had of getting honest faithfull men for Publick bussines, so that by the neglect of this, it hath been found by late experience, that men have destroyed the Publick interest to advance their own; & therefore from the consideration of this article, it is intolerable. & will be imbraced by few except by Merchants, who are gaping for this Benefit (as they call it) whose Chists and Coffers are empty by the sad Judgment thats on the Land for want of Money, so that their Trade almost is in trust both as to Selling and Buying, which makes them greedily snatch at this Bait.

Moreover, altho Scotland had all this performed that is promised: Yet in this the should be no Gainers, considering that England hath the Seat of the Throne, and therefore in a few Years, the Nobility and Parliamentars, will spend alse much Money at Court, as all the above mentioned benefit. For alace our Miseries and Mistrivings! may be dated from the day that our Kings medled first with England, and that has appeared both in Religion and Vertue[.] 2 The Customs, Excises that the absolute Parliament of Britain may lay upon these Commodities thats brought from their Indian Plantations, will cast down all their imaginary Benefit.

Thirdly it is agreed, That Scotland shall have libertie to Trade in the English Plantations; And therefore it is said, it shall be Beneficial to the Land. I Answer, this Salve will not answer our Sore: And that for these two Reasons, 1. That we have a proper right and possession of our own for Trade, seing that Religion and Vertue can well thrive in one Land, so that the people may be delivered from Bondage, Povertie and the Miserie that they are in by want thereof; for as Riches may be a mean (when unsanctified) to draw Men away from God, and Godlyness, so [>p10] likeways Poverty, as in Prov. 31. Alace many throw Poverty, are driven to sad Miseries, so as to want Education, not getting so much time for worldly bussiness, as to allow them the exercise thereof: being under such cruel Task masters and grievous Burdens, as that their time is little enough to be imployed for getting Food and Raiment, and cannot well get that: Likeways as little time for seeking of God, and Godliness: So that by this Povertie their Lives are bitter unto them. Now considering that we are a Island compassed about with Sea, that might have free Navigation throw the world for Trade; Then how comes it that our state does not answer our circumstances. Certainly our defect and want herein is an astonishment and reproach cast upon us by all Europe: Then from the Consideration of this, we ought unweariedly and uncessantly to contend for this Benefit, that the Land may be in a better case for serving God, and educating one another: And this cannot be well, without a proper right and possession of our own. 2. The next reason is because this Land is so populous, as that the inhabitants cannot well live therein, but many of them must go to other Nations and imploy themselves in these things, where neither the glory of God, nor safetie of the Kingdom is to be seen, and thereby debauches both Soul and Conscience, Whereas on the other hand, if we had Possessions in Forreign places of the World, they would be better exercised, in defending of our own Rights and Liberties, so that the might be in a fair way for the glory of God, and the safetie and well beeing of the Kingdom, and their own Consciences. Now there is no certainty of obtaining these ends without a proper Possession of our own: for any other, will be both unstable, and uncertain; and therefore from the consideration of this, we cannot imbrae this offer given to us by our Neighbour Kingdom.

Fourthly, It is agreed by the Union, That by Corporating, we assist and join with England in War offensive and defensive in [>p11.] bearing Cess and Press, for maintaining and defending thereof, whatever the cause be; no mention if it be agreeable to Gods Word, and the Consciences of the Godly, so that this Article is most absurd and therefore to be exploded, seing we are not to Espouse any Battels but the Lords, and therefore not to join with Papists, who are the enemies of God, and subjects of Antichrist: And seeing associating and joining in War with Idolaters is expresly forbidden in Scripture, as in 2 Chro. 19. 3. And also condemned by our faithful Ancestors, then how can we unite with these who are walking contrair to the command of God. Certainly none in Conscience dare do this, and therefore from the consideration of this with all the unlawful Articles above mentioned, it appears that this Union is altogether intolerable.

Therefore we the true Subjects of the Covenanted Kingdom of Scotland, do by vertue of the same Representative Power, that our worthy Ancestors exercised, in calling off Tyrrannie, and in abolishing and annulling all Acts made against Religion and Liberty (in the Years [16]80 and [16]81.) [i.e., in the Sanquhar Declaration of 1680 and the Lanark Declaration in late 1681] do by the same power annul the present unlawful Union betwixt the Kingdoms. And we hope that this act with is agreeable to Scripture and reason, shall be approven of God, and ratified in Heaven,

Quest. Now the Question is, seeing we refuse that King, and denys the Union with England upon the above mentioned Heads: then, What course shall be taken in order to set up Government & Governours in the Land; now when Monarchie is like to expire. Certainly a Kingdom cannot subsist without Magistrats and Subjects, Authority and Obedience, for this is the essential conception of a Kingdom, or Corporation of People so to be. I Answer, There is no Government without inconveniences, Monarchie, & Aristocracie, are lyable to Tyrrany and Oppression, Democracie to confusion:

Therefore seeing our worthy Ancestors hath casten off Monarchie Government, (and hath chosen a Common wealth)[,] upon [>p12.] the account of its Tyrannie and oppression, which has been excersiced in a most absolute and cruel manner, upon the Subjects: Then in these Circumstances in which we have been, and now are, who are the true Subjects of the Land; it becomes us to begin where they left, and to choise that manner and form of Government that’s most Convenient, for the propogating of Religion, and vertue in the Land, and least Lyable to oppression and Confusion. Therefore we say there may be a Government found and Fabricated, that may very little pertake of these inconveniences; formerly mentioned. Now therefore we think in a Common-wealth, there cannot be better; and more easy Government, than a Government consisting of few members. We have seen and heard of many kinds of Governments; but none so fit in a Common wealth, as a Lord Protector, [who?] Judges: Such a Form of Government we had in the time of Cromwels Usurpation, which Form and Fabrick was good; tho we cannot approve of the Usurper and Usurpation, in its Exercise: Yet at the time, altho in the hands of such Usurpers: Yet the Government was so full of Morality, Equity and Justice betwixt Man and Man; as that the Praise and Commendation thereof Remains unto this day. Now seeing that such a Government is so to be Praised, when not Right in its Circumstances: then what shall such be; when in the hands of good Men, and Rightly Circumstantiated: Certainly pleasant to all these who have been; and now are under such Government, and Governours, as has been made their Lives bitter unto them, by Oppression, and Spoil, grinding the Faces of the poor Inhabitants, by Cesses and Impositions unnecessar, for no other end almost; but to maintain and uphold Oppressors, to keep up oppression, of which more afterwards: Now seeing that such a Form of Government as is mentioned above appears to be so little Lyable to inconveniences, as other Governments are: Then in reason this Government must be chosen, and Elected as the best. Therefore I shall speak to the [>p13.] manner of Election, that is, what are the qualifications of the Rulers? And how they are to be Elected.

First, As to the qualifications, I say, (1) they must be Men of sound principles, such as are Friends and professors of the true Reformed Religion. (2) They must not be lying under any known Scandal of Life and Conversation. (3) They must be of a Godly Life, such as are Corporat in Christian Society, having the impressions of the Dutys of the day upon their Spirits, such as Men that fears God and hateth Covetousness, as in Exod. 18. 21. Now having set a part these Persons, for the Magistracie ths qualified: Then in the next place, the manner of Election is to be gone about in choising a Protector for the Kingdom, who is to be chosen by Lots, as the manner was in the year [16]80, and [16]81, & to be gone about by Fasting and Prayer, for he only is to be Elected after this manner,; and that partly (tho not principalie) for preventing, and Removing of Envy, Ambition and Contention among a People, for certainly without this method Contention would never cease.

Secondly, In the next place, we declare our selves against all Hereditarie Offices, either Civil or Militarie, as that they shall pass from Father to Son, without the qualifications above mentioned, and the free Election of the People.

Thirdly, We Declare, that we incline and intend to abolish all Rents and Revenews given to any in publick Office, (either Civil or Military) more than will maintaine a honest Christian Life, as that Family and Children may be provided in a Christian way: So that henceforth no Man out of Ambition, or Pride, may covet these Places to uphold Pride or Prodigality: But rather out of Conscience; the desire of this may flow from the Love of God, and the safety and well being of the Kingdom, that they imbrace these places. And if it be objected, that by mean Rents and Revenues their Children may be in want. I Answer, if it shall fall out that they be in want, then they may and ought [>p14.] to have a competent and sufficient portion given to them from the Publick; according to the qualities of parents or Children deserves or calls for, as in Psal 37. 25. I have not seen the Righteous forsaken, nor his Seed Begging Bread.

Fourthly, We incline and intend, (considering the Tedious and Expensive manner of Law, that now is in the Land, by such a numerous Multitude of Members, how that the Poor are so oppressed, and wronged by such a Tedious, weary manner of Justice; so that they are not in a capacity and State, for contending against the Rich and Powerful,) that the Colledge of Justice may be Contracted into fewer Members, viz four Judges, as was in the year [16]52. and [16]53. and downward: And that these Judges may Determine Causes and Contraversies as the manner was at that present time; that thereby partiality and oppression may be removed, that thereby Justice may be Exercised towards all Ranks without Respect or Persons.

Fiftly we incline and intend that all cesses, and all taxes upon ale, Kings customes, may be abolished, seing that the Land can well want all these, without any Prejudice to the Kingdom, we confess that the Land cannot want a Partie of armed Souldiers for Ruling, Awing, and Defending of the Kingdom from insurection, Rebelion, and Disobedience of People to the Laws: so that ther must be money Provided to maintaine them. I confess it must be so, but however this can be had aboundantly another way, than by these Cesses, Taxes, and Customs above mentioned: for certainly the Crown Rents, Castle Rents and Bishops rents might be sufficient, but I add the Signet, Clerk Register, the bill Chamber, and other such like places, ought to be farmed out for the maintaining these Forces, and upholding the Publick, which now are sinfully and vainly Spent maintaining and upholding idle Prodigal Wasters, such as Corrupt Pensioners. And as for owr Castles, I see no use they are for, except it be for to keep on of them as a Magazin hous, for Keeping of Armour, for [>p15.] certainly we being an Island compassed about with sea, which is great strenth and Bulwark against Forraign enemies; but Likewayes a grater strenth than this, may & ought to be sought after, which is Unitie in Religon: this would be beyound all the Castals in the world for saftie and Refuge, as in Pro. 18. 10. The Name of the Lord is a strong Tower and the righteous runs to it, and are safe then from this it doth appear, our strenth and saftie consists Principaly in Religion, and in the faithfull and free zealous exercise of the Fundamental Lawes, and not in those Castles and forts, which are so burdensome and expensive to the Land.

It is objected, that by the abolishing of Kings Customs, the Land shall be filled with Forraign Commodities, and Liquors, which will be hurtful to the Kingdom. Ans. Then let such a mean lo price be put upon these Commodities (by the civil Power) as that the Buyer shall never be able to bring them home at the Rate. This way and mean (I say) will be beyond all the Prohibitions in the World.

Now having held out this comely Form and Fabrick of Civil Government thats intended by all the true Subject of the Land, how that among all Governments, it is the least lyable to inconveniences, such as Tyrrannie, Confusion, Contention, Pride and Ambition, this flowing naturally from it’s form, and likeways from its manner of Election, furder, none more for the propogating of Religion and Vertue in the Land. And therefore in reason to be imbraced by all who desires saftie and well beeing of the Kingdom.

Now it is to be expected, that there shall be various sentiments given, concerning this Tractat by several Persons, As 1. Some will say, the Actor or Actors means well, in that their Propositions are both good and reasonable. 2. Others will say, the Actors are well light Headed. 3. Again others will say it is impossible to get such Government and Governours, how shall [>p16.] the Nobility and Gentrie either imbrace it, or consent to it? Will not their Corruption and Pride, make them despise and hate this design and contrivyance? Will they be led by other Mens Judgments? Will not this be a Blot upon them (as they think, and therefore it may be expected that the Nobility will stand in Opposition to it as mountains in the way: And therefore it is impossible to get this design accomplished. I Ans[wer]. I doubt not, but they shall have full Liberty (in the first place) to play their Game, in order to set up their Kings, that they are contending for; so that they may drink of the Cup that the Kingdoms of Europe are Drinking of, who are wasting and destroying one another, which Lot I fear will be Scotland’s ere it be long: and then it shall be found that those great Mountains shall be removed: And then there shall be no impossibility for accomplishing such a duty as this, seeing it is the best and most reasonable mean for obtaining Religion and Vertue in the Land, whereby the Subjects may be most freed from Tyrannie over their Consciences; and likeways from injustice and oppression in their Goods. So that from this it will appear, that its pleasing in the sight of GOD, and therefore will be owned and countenanced of him, altho the Actors be few and mean; For certainly the Lord will not despise good and honest ends, where his glory is sought as the ultimat end, and the safetie of the Kingdom as the subordinat: And therefore as in Isa. 42. 3. A bruised reed will he not break, and the smoaking flax will he not quench. Now seeing the Lord the Lord will so carefully and tenderly carry on that work thats pleasing in his sight: then this may be called The smoaking flax Unquenchable: For certainly the Lord will have a Church in Scotland that will be famous and glorious. Which Church hitherto has come throw much Blood and Affliction, which Blood will at length prove Victorious over all it’s enemies, according to that promise, Luke the 18. 7. And shall not God avenge the elect; Yea certainly he will, seeing [>p17.] that his Providence always terminats in Mercie and Justice. I say in Mercy towards his People and Judgment towards his Enemies, and therefore it is to be expected (if Repentance prevent not) that the day of the Lords Judgments shall be on this Land, and therefore all those great Mountains and tall Cedars (that stand in opposition) shall be removed, as in Isa: 2. 12. For the day of the Lord shall be upon every one that is proud and loftie, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low: and upon all the Cedars of Lebanon and upon all that Oaks of Bashan. &c. And tho Loftiness of Men shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of Men shall be made low, and the Lord alone shall be Exalted in that day. So that from this it doth appear, that the Lord will come in Mercy towards His People, and in Judgement to his Enemies. At which time His People will not find any difficulty (throw his Strength) to set up that Comely Form and Fabrick of State and Church in the Land, that is now intended.

Obj: But it is objected, how shall Judgements come upon this Land; seeing there are three invincible arguments to prove the contrare, as 1st, there is a Faithful Ministrie and People who are acting as Faithfully and Strictly as prudence will permit, or the present Circumstances or Exigences doth Require. 2dly, There is a Lawful Magistracie, such as is Conscience, they have Sworn the Oath of Alledgance to, by taking God to be an Everlasting Judge and Witness, to what they have done, in that it is both good and Right. 3dly, Both Ministers and People Prayes, for the Continuance of their present Rulers, together with the State of their present Church: And surely the Lord will never shut out the Prayers of the Godly, when Lawful and honest, (as they say,) so that from what is said, there ariseth three invincible arguments to prove, that Judgements cannot come to this Land, such as are Expected, seeing that the Lord will not destroy a Church thats bearing and bringing forth: I Answer indeed, the [>p18.] Judgements shall decide the Controversie: For if they be such as they affirm; then there will not come Judgements: But if they be not such, then Judgements will come, so that the Controversie shall be brought to a point, in the Lords good time; but however, let the State of the present Church be considered │what they have been, and now are, and then it will appear that the Marks, Properties, and Attributes of the Church of Christ, are not to be ascribed to the present indulged Church, which is Erastian; so that from this it shall appear, that the Judgements that are coming, are not Fatherly Chastising Stroaks: But on the other hand, is the Sword of a Sin Revenging Judge, bringing Desolation and utter Ruine on them, if Repentance prevent not: and that for these Reasons and Causes following, As,

First, In the changing of their head, CHRIST JESUS, as doth appear by their bowing to the Supremacie, in their Indulgences and Tolerations, where the Laws of Men are obeyed in place of the Laws of God and Christ, so that their present State and Libertie (as they call it,) is founded on a Sacraficeing and giving up of the Doctrine, Discipline and Kingly Government of Christ Jesus, (together with the Lands Engagements and Fundamental Laws) unto the hands of Men, which is to be seen in their Complyance, Silence, and Connivance at and with the present corrupt Magistratical Power, which is a Power no-wise Subject or Subordinate to the Doctrine, Discipline and Kingly Authority of Christ Jesus; and therefore by Consequence is a Supremacie; to which Idol they yeild obedience, as is to be seen in their present practise of which more afterward.

Secondly. The unfaithfulness and Defection of the present Church appears in Perjurie & Blood, in that they lay aside the Covenants, in their setting up and assisting of ungodly, Malignant, Corrupt, Wicked Rulers, without Covenant Qualifications and Engagements. Likewise they have Strengthned the hands of [>p19.] these Rulers in oppression, and Blood; by their Condemning the Actings and Proceedings of the suffering party in their Testimonies, for the Setting up of Lawful good Government, and Governours in the Land. 2dly. In their Silence and Connivance at the present Rulers; which is an assisting of them, and a Condemning of the Godly: For certainly in time of War, (according to the Judgement of all sound Politicians,) there are no Neuteral Persons: Yea according to our Savours words, Mat 12 30. He that is not with me; is against me, and he that gathereth not with me Satereth abroad So that from this it appears that Vengance is approaching to this Church, Seeing that God will avenge the Elect as in Luke. 18. 7.

Thirdly. The unfaithfulness of this present Church in their Doctrine appears, that altho it be good and sound in tanto: Yet Yet not in quanto, it being considered in the abstract, in so far as it may distinguish from them: But in practise and Application it is Hypocritical, by reason that it is no longer, absolute, (as to the purity and Power of Practise,) than the Preacher is inclosed within the Pulpit, as is to be seen how that they cry up the Cross of Christ Jesus, in affirming that the Cross and Crown are Linked together; whereas they wagg with all Winds, that’s to say with all Powers, so that in this their Cow allwise gives Milk: Also they affirme that their hearers ought to be singular, and not to say a Confederacie, with all these with whom this People shall say a Confederacie as ] as in Isa. 8. 12. Moreover they press self Denyal and Holyness of Life, to be practised by all their hearers: And yet no longer absolute, then it is in delivering: For the hearers must follow the Faith and practise of the Erastian indulged Corporation in which the are, as their Rule; and not the word of God: So that in this their Preaching is Hypocritical, by Reason that they declare themselves to be these, whom indeed they are not; like to a Stage player, who acts the part of the Fool on the Stage; but afterwards acts as one wise: [>p20,] So is it with these Ministers, they Preach Sincerity, but alace no longer to be practised, than they are [in the Pulpit: For if their hearers should put in practise what they say, they would be longer Members of their Corporation. But furder in quanto thate to say, in so far as they ought to hold out the Defections, and Cases of the Lords Wrath, such as Perjurie and Blood, which they are guilty of, and that both as to their present and past practise, Alace then ! how shall such who are going on in Sin? Convert or turn Men from Sin, who instead of diswading them from Evil, encourageth them therein, and can such be called any other but Soul Murders, to whom that Threatning belong to, as in Jer. 23 1. Wo to the Pastors that Destroy and Scatter the Sheep of my Pasture saith the Lord. So that from this it appears, that Desolation and Destruction is approaching to this Land.

Fourthly. The Defection of this present Church appears in Discipline, in that their Power Extends no furder, than the poor simple ignorant Commonality; and to none thats obstinate of these: as for the great ones they are not under Christs bands, like to these spoken of in Psal. 2. They will not Subject themselves to Church Discipline: neither can the present Church reach them, which holds out that they either want Power or else they are partial, which impotencie and partiality, militats Strongly against the Repentance, and Submission of the Vulgar to the present Discipline, in declaring that they are both blind and ignorant of the State of the present Erastian Church, which is both impotent and partial: and therefore their obedience to them, is a sin no less odious to God, than their sin which they are censured for[.] So that from this you see, that the present Discipline is not any other thing, but a sham and shadow of Discipline, whereby they both deceive themselves, and others like themselves, but not God and Godly Men: and therefore from this it doth appear, that the marks of the Church of Christ [>p21.] are not to be found among these: All which evidences and holds out that Destruction and Desolation is approaching to them.

Secondly, in the next place, it is affirmed, That there is a lawful Magistracie in the Land, such as in Conscience they have Sworn the Oath of Alledgancie to, by taking God to be an everlasting Judge and Witness to what they have done, which according to their Faith, is an invincible argument, that Judgment will not come, seing they have such a hedge of Governours, who are a wall and Bulwark against all Enemies. I Ans[wer]. Let the Event speak in its own due time; for sure I am, such Magistrats and Rulers, has not the Qualifications required of in Gods Word; and better they cannot have, seing they are satisfied with the present, and are all ready full; and therefore no room left for others: Neither any promise, as in Luke 1. 53. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away. Now if they had done right and well in this, in setting up such Brethren in Iniquity; then let them rejoyce in one another, as in Judges 9 For certainly in the day of the Lords Judgment the will prove to them like the broken reed of Egypt, as in 2. Kings 18. 21. And if they prove such, will they then Samson like shake themselves (as it may be said in another caise) when once their head is razed, as at other times, I firmlie believe (in that day) their state and liberty shall come to nought, then where shall their strength and power be? when the Lord shall have his fire in Zion and his furnace in Jerusalem[.]

Thirdly, It is affirmed, That there is a Godly Party, who are praying for the preservation, and continuance of the present state of Magistracie and Ministrie: and certainly the Lord never shuts out the prayers of the Godly, as in John. 9. 31. But if any man be a worshipper of God, him he heareth, thats to say, him he answereth, or shews favour or love to, as in Psal 25 14. The secrets of the Lord are with them that fear him, and he will shew them his Covenant, which is to be understood of his Providential Pro[>p22.] tection. Now according to the Faith of the present Generation, they hold fast all these three Arguments: then how shall Judgments come. Indeed if the come, then of necessity, it must be acknowledged, that there is no ground to ascribe to themselves such Arguments and Assertions, as formerly mentioned; so that from this it shall appear, that the Lords Judgments, shall decide this contraversie, viz, who are the Lords Church, or who are not, for certainly the Lord never yet destroyed his own Church and People, when Faithful.

Quest. Now it may be interrogat, What shall Scotland do, at this present time, when Monarchie Government is now to expire: And the Union with England upon the Terms above mentioned is both unlawful and intolerable.

Res. Ans. Let them humbly confess their sins before the Lord, and turn unto him by Repentance, and then they shall be in case for receiving Counsel and Direction from GODS Word, in order to set up Government and Governours in the Land. But alace! It’s to be feared, that this Generation in the day of their distress (shall with the Prodigal Luke 15) Try all means imaginable, before that they will repent and reform, and betake themselves to the Lord. Yea they will rather joyn with the Citizens of darkness (that is with the Frenches, in receiving King James the eight (as they call him) or else Hannover, or with the Prince of Prussia (as some has already proposed) before that they will Espouse that Government and these Governours, thats most for the propogating of Religion and Vertue in the Land; But let them do as they will in all this; yet surely the Lord by the good Hand of his Providence, will make all things work together for the Building of his Church and People, and for setting up a hedge of lawful Government about his House; Therefore I shall lay out some motives to be considered, As

First, That all things in this Government are objectively good, and both absolute & indispensible for the propogating of Religion [>p23.] & Vertue in the Land & from delivering of the oppressed from Oppression, whose Cry soundeth loud in the ears of the Lord of Hosts; Therefore seeing all this is good and consonant to scripture and reason: then take warning, least in Reproaching or Opposing, ye be found to fight against God, to that in this ye shall be no Gainers, but rather Lossers, as in Acts 9. 5. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Secondly, Consider that this form and fabrick of state, doth noways incroach or wrong the Interest of any Subject in the Land, either of the Nobility or Commonality, unless that the Nobility may be deprived of Parliament Meetings, an therefore no such occasions as formerly, for Rumbling and Railing in Coaches, Spending and Debauching their time, Health, Strength and Estates, in Pride and Prodigality, Drinking and Swearing, and the like. Now if a stop to these occasions of Prodigal living and spending, be a just offence to the Nobility; then let Men of understanding Judge.

Thirdly, Consider the great Blessings that would accompanie this Duty when set about; this being the best and most effectual mean for advancing the glory of God, the safetie and well being of the Kingdom. Then certainly from this it appears that the Blessings and Promises contained in Gods word, shall be fulfilled on the Doers of this Duty, as in Lev 26. And Deut 28. 13. And the Lord shall make thee the Head and not the Tail, That is the chief of all People; in power and priviledges as to good Government, so that the Nations about shall be content (as our Faithful Martyrs has left in Testimonie) to take a Copy of the Church of Scotland, according to that Promise, Isa 49. 7. Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful. Also Rev, 21. 24. Kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour unto it, (which principally is to be approved to the Church Triumphant, but not amiss to apply it to the Church militant, according to the Judgment of all sound Divines. [>p24.]

Fourthly, Consider the sad Judgments, that will certainly come not only upon the Omission and neglect of this Duty; but also the contempt and obstinat Perseverance therein, together with all the Sins of the Land, which are to be seen in Church and state, and in all ranks of People, both of the Clergie, Nobility together with Commons of all Ranks. I say of the Clergy, consider the Prelatick Malignant, what they are guilty of, is well known to the World. Also the present Erastian Church thats lying in guilt of perjurie and Blood, with many other Sins formerly mentioned, which the Lord cannot pass by in his righteous just judgment, also the practise of the Nobility and Gentrie, how odious is it? Alace! the most and greatest part of them, are so naked of Morality, and such as are scarce to be found in Turkie Land among Pagans. I do not say; that they are all such, for some are more reasonable and conversable: But I fear the rest are unfit to act for the good and safetie of the Land at this present time. But I shall proceed no furder on this head: The Event shall speak in its own time, when the Lord shall meet with sinners in Judgment.

Now seeing that the Lord will come in Judgment to his Enemies, and Mercies to his People, in building up his Church, and in setting up a hedge about his House[,] then let none of his People be discouraged or casten down to see Providence frown against his work, in bringing his Church throw dark Channels, seing the Lord intends to make her Victorious, for certainly the Lord will come in a mean loe and humble way to this Land; therefore hold on and hold out. For behold he comes with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him even so. Amen. Rev. 1. 7.


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The ‘Meeting of General Dalziel and Captain Paton of Meadowhead’ #History #Scotland #Poetry

•July 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

General Thomas Dalyell


In 1684, two veterans of the seventeenth-century European and British wars meet at the edge of Edinburgh. One is the commander of the army hunting the Covenanters, General Tam Dalyell of the Binns. The other, Captain John Paton of Meadowhead, a captive militant Covenanter destined for execution…

John Paton of Meadowhead

Paton of Meadowhead. Dalyell (Above)

This poem was published by the Reverend James Dodds of Dunbar in Lays of the Covenanters (1880), 240-45.

When the Latter was brought Prisoner to Edinburgh, August, 1684.

Hath his good sword her temper lost,
Or her master now forsaken?
Or why, such wars and dangers passed,
Is he a captive taken?
Nay, nay! his arm is powerful yet,
His sword as keen as ever;
But he is life-worn, and would fain
That God should him deliver.

The same that won his maiden scars
At Lutzen, famed in story;
And since, in every hard campaign,
Hath shared the toil and glory.
But chiefly to his native land
His heart and sword were given;
That she might keep her ancient rights
And her covenant with heaven.

And still his frame is knit like brass,
Age passes gently o’er it,
As loath to touch the stately pile:
Alas! who shall restore it?
And still his adamantine step
Sounds like the charger prancing:
The troopers shrink as he looks round,
With eyes like an eagle’s glancing.
Oh, had he roused his ancient strength,
He’d given these kites to slaughter,
Until the swamps about Lochgoin
Had run with blood like water!

But death, familiar to his thoughts,
With no dark shadow haunts him;
And, strong and valiant in his mind,
No earthly suffering daunts him.
Nor his the merely brutal strength,
That like the whirlwind sweepeth,
But when his work and warfare end,
Calm as a dove he sleepeth.
And he surrenders patiently
To those who come to snare him:
When, fast as horses feet can tramp,
To Edinburgh town they bear him.

And now they skirt Corstorphine Hill,
With August blossoms merry:
When by the way Dalziel rides forth,
To see what spoils they carry.

His grizzled beard falls down his breast,
Like a knot of scorpions twisted;
His flinty brow with harshness scowls,
And violence unresisted.
Like fire from the blacksmith’s forge, his eye
Glares forth with lawless fury:
Woe worth the land, where such a man
Is general, judge, and jury!

Yet, albeit bred in savage deeds,
His heart’s blood all congealing,
One touch of kindness lingers there:
The true old soldier’s feeling.
When he beheld amid his band,
Old Paton wearily wending,
Unwonted pity lit his face,
A glow to his grey cheek lending.

Down from his coal-black steed he leaps,
The aged prisoner meeting,
And takes him kindly in his arms:
A right old veteran’s greeting.
“John! had we but sooner met,
These pinions had not bound thee;
But I shall sue, and ‘twill go hard
If pardon be not found thee.”

“Thy suit will be in vain: my life
Though scantly worth the taking,
Must go to feed an ancient feud,
Long years of vengeance slaking.
Thou, General, hast the soldier’s touch,
The soldier’s mind and mettle;
But I am in the bishop’s clutch,
Not on the field of battle.”
“What, sayst thou so? I’ll save thy life:
Or, if they dare refuse it,
I’ll fling my sword down in the mire,
For slaves that like to use it.”

‘Twas then a vile, obsequious groom
Came up his zeal to blazon:
“Ha, Paton! art thou caught at last,
Thou spawn of Whiggish treason?”
“Friend, stint thy speech! I’ve served the king,
More true and tried than thou art:
Time was my sword and life were pawns
For the royal House of Stuart.”

“True, my old comrade! thou wert first
Wherever duty called thee:
At Wor’ster, where the game was lost,
No dangers e’er appalled thee.
There for the king thy blood was shed,
Thy sword was fell and ready;
And in all changes thou hast been
A soldier tried and steady.
Let house-dogs whine and gnaw their bone,
Snug-kennelled from the weather;
Our jaws were set where the war-dogs met,
And we lapped red blood together.
Since then in hostile camps we’ve fought,
Each would have slain the other;
Yet now in thee I only see
A soldier and a brother!”

Then round he turned, all black in the face,
His beard as stiff as brambles,
And his staff came whack! on the varlet’s back,
Till he rolled like an ox in the shambles.
‘”Lie there, false loon! and cool thy tongue,
This noble foe decrying:
One whiff of his sword would send ten like thee
As summer-gnats a-flying!”

They parted, these two hoary chiefs:
Dalziel’s request was granted,
But treacherous fingers came between,
And the act of grace prevented.

Old Paton dies with a soldier’s heart,
With a martyr’s high devotion;
Rests from his labours and his woes,
From war and wild commotion.

Dalziel lives on: this one bright act
His dark career to chequer,
As the stormy sky one ray darts forth,
Then thicker glooms and thicker.

Guilt sears his conscience: festering lust
His dotard heart debases:
Till, at the sumptuous banquet set,
While splendour round him blazes,
In a moment dead he falls like lead,
As the wine to his lip he raises!’


For more literature inspired by the Covenanters of the 1680s, see here.

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‘The Battle of Airsmoss’ #History #Scotland #Poetry

•July 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Airds Moss Monument

The martyrdom of the outlawed minister Richard Cameron at the battle of Airdsmoss in July 1680 was turned into poetry by the Reverend James Dodds in the nineteenth century. His poem on the battle, which was loosely based on accounts of it, was published in Lays of the Covenanters (1880), 174-180.

Dodd’s followed in the poetic footsteps of James Hyslop, who composed an acclaimed poem on the same subject in 1820.

Fought in July, 1680.

‘Tis morn, the broad red sun
Gleams through his misty covering;
The plover and the wild curlew
On fitful wing are hovering.
The wearied ones have laid them down,
If but a moment they may rest;
Earth! they shall soon be all thine own,
Then take them gently to thy breast!

Scarce have their eyelids closed
When the watcher’s warning cry is heard,
And each with a sudden bound
Starts from sleep, and grasps his sword.
Along the dark, outstretching heath,
Sullen and fierce the troopers come,
With helmets’ glare, with cries of rage.
With loud harsh clang of trump and drum.

One moment, stern and still,
The martyrs view them gathering nigh;
One moment, with an earnest look,
Each on his brother turns his eye.
But Danger’s hour is Freedom’s birth,
No fear or craven look is there;
All circle round the man of God,
Who calmly pours their latest prayer.

Cameron’s Last Prayer.

Shepherd that didst Joseph lead!
Helper in the hour of need!
Treader in the winepress! we
Lift our waiting eyes to Thee!
On rush the foeman like a flood.
And the desert gapes for blood.
Lord! spare the green, the ripest take
Hear us for Thine own name’s sake!

Here stand we, on the last retreat
That earth will yield our weary feet;
From rocky cave to mountain chas’d.
From mountain to the desert waste;
From the waste to heaven we soar,
Sinless, painless evermore.
Lord! spare the green, the ripest take:
Hear us for Thine own name’s sake!

With a longing strong and deep,
With a bridegroom’s joy we leap;
We have panted for this hour,
To grasp the tyrant in his power;
And write in blood our legacy
To nations struggling to be free.
Lord! spare the green, the ripest take
Hear us for Thine own name’s sake!

Through the floods be Thou our guide,
In the flames be at our side;
Purge us from our drossy clay,
Wash our mortal stains away:
Christ our King hath pass’d before;
Bloody sea, but blessed shore!
Bearer of the eternal keys,
Bear us through our agonies!

How long, O Lord! shall Zion lie
A scorn to all the passers-by?
Shall godless heart and gory hand
For ever scourge Thine ancient land?
Awake, arm of the Lord! ‘tis time,
The earth is drunk with blood and crime.
And crush the thrones that will not fear Thee
Smite the lands that will not hear Thee!

Now for the onset! Brothers, kneel!
Lord, give us faith and holy zeal;
Loose the ties that gently bind us,
Heal the hearts we leave behind us;
May we die as die the brave,
And Freedom yet spring from our grave!
Treader in the winepress! we
Rise to be evermore with Thee!

By the black and weltering swamp,
A small green mound uplifts its brow,
‘Twas the altar whence their incense rose:
‘Tis their camp and battle-fortress now!
The startled hare hath fled the brake,
No lark remains to greet the morn;
The raven only flaps his wing,
And whets his beak on the gnarled thorn.

“Down with the cut-eared dogs!”
The troopers gnash their teeth and cry:
“God is our refuge and our strength!”
Is the brief and sternly-breathed reply.
With hunger, toil, oppression worn,
Their numbers few, their weapons rude,
In firm and close array they stand
Against that ravening multitude.

The blades like lightning flash,
And volleyed thunders rend the sky;
The war-steeds paw the heathery sod,
Aloft the glittering pennons fly.
But, as from Ailsa’s sea-beat cliff,
The howling surge is backward toss’d;
Even so these fierce battalions reel.
Stemmed by that firm, devoted host.

Though few and scant equipped.
Eight forth they burst with one loud cheer,
And many an empty saddle tells
The fate of many a cavalier.
Before that storm of peasant strength,
Dark sweeping as the northern blast.
White plume and glittering pennon whirl.
In one wild wreck and ruin cast.

High on his gallant roan.
From rank to rank Rathillet flies;
Where he rushes terror spreads.
Where he strikes a foeman dies.
But what avails the lion’s might
When crowding hunters round him close?
Pierced from behind, Rathillet falls,
Amid the yell of deadly foes.

“Shame on the coward arm!”
Young Chryston cries, and, like a dart,
Flies to avenge Rathillet’s fall;
An eagle, young and strong of heart.
Whose nest is on the Calder banks;
On fierce and fiery wing he rushes,
And in one glorious hero-burst,
Forth from its fount his young heart gushes.

And Cameron, soul of fire!
What quenches others quickens thee!
In the tumult still his voice is heard,
“For Scotland’s faith and liberty!”
Priest of the outcast! down he sinks.
The shepherd ‘mid his slaughtered flock.
Brave one! thy Master calls thee home.
Then soar through blood and battle-smoke!

Long rolls the unequal strife.
And men and horse like foam are driven;
And shouts and shrieks, curses and prayers,
Ring wide through all the vault of heaven.
At length, in threefold numbers ranged.
On press the foe with rage and pride.
Till one by one the martyr-band
Drop by their faithful pastor’s side.

Like reapers dropping down,
Their sheaves around them thickly strewn;
So drop the soldiers of the Cross,
By numbers crushed, and toil alone.
Silence again is on the heath,
The war-steed’s neigh comes faint and far.
Ye chosen ones, to glory rise!
The harp, the crown, the morning star!

By the black and weltering swamp,
A small green mound uplifts its brow;
‘Twas their altar, ‘twas their battle-ground,
‘Tis their martyr-spot and death-bed now!
There, shrouded in their own heart’s blood.
Their bodies rest upon the field.
Till pious hands shall make their tomb,
And lay them where their truth was sealed.

For their rights and faith they fell!
They fell that these might ever stand.
Men of a race that shall ne’er forget
What they owe to that dauntless martyr-band.
Then rear for them no sculptur’d pile,
Set a rough grey stone on the lonely heath!
Not a hind or child in Scotland all
But can tell right well who lie beneath!’


For more on Richard Cameron, see here.

For more on literature inspired by the Covenanters of the 1680s, see here.

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