Quintin Dick: Dalmellington, Dunnottar and Disputes
Quintin Dick was close kin to John Dick in Benbain, Dalmellington parish, Ayrshire. He was also described as a ‘feuar in Dalmellington’, but appeared the Fugitive Roll of 1684 under Benbain. Like John Dick, he was a member of the United Societies until the schism at Friarminnan in January, 1686.
In October, 1684, Dick was called before the circuit court at Ayr presided over by the earl of Mar, lord Livingstone and Lieutenant-general William Drummond. After a ‘considerable struggle’, Dick decided to obey his citation. Before the court he confessed to supplying the broken rebels from Bothwell with meat and drink, but he refused to depone on treasonable questions or take the oath of allegiance. He was imprisoned, fined £1,000 Scots, forfeited and banished the American plantations. Dick’s house at Dalmellington became a guardhouse. From Ayr he was taken to Glasgow and then onto Edinburgh, where he disowned the Societies’ Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers before the privy council, but refused the Test oath. (Wodrow, History, IV, 125-8, 129-31.)
Dick continued in prison in Edinburgh where Patrick Walker encountered him. Wodrow wrote a warm account of Dick’s sufferings, but Walker was critical of Dick’s actions:
‘He wastes Time and Paper, giving an Account of old Quintin Dick, one of his Dawties, how he was cleared in Paying of it, by his Balaam-like Prayers. I knew more of Quintin Dick, and James Gray [of Chryston], whom he speaks so meikle of, than he did, being in Prison with them. He makes Use of that unhappy Argument [about paying the Cess tax that funded repression], which was much tossed in that Time by these who had more pawky Wit and Policy than Honesty, That the not-paying of it did strengthen the Enemy’s Hand more than Paying, considering how much Enemies robbed for Not-paying.’ (Walker, BP, I, 269.)
On 19 May, 1685, Dick was among the large body of prisoners shipped from Edinburgh to Burntisland and marched to Dunnottar Castle. Although Dick was sentenced to banishment, he escaped transportation due to sickness.
According to Wodrow:
‘after near three months severe treatment at Dunnotter, they come to Leith, two of them were left behind as dying men, of which Quintin Dick, so frequently mentioned, was one, and in his remarks formerly cited, he hath some sweet observations upon providence timeing his sickness at this juncture. He recovered in some time, and was overlooked, and got safe home to his own house, and lived some years to reflect with pleasure, and record the Lord’s wonderful steps of kindness to him, and his goodness under, and after all those sore troubles he underwent’. (Wodrow, History, IV, 331.)
It is more likely that Dick was released due to his infirmity, rather than ‘overlooked’ by the authorities. In late 1685 or early 1685, after he regained his liberty, he sided with Robert Langlands and George Barclay in the schism over the attempted reunion between the United Societies and the former supporters of Argyll:
‘Alexander Gordon [of Kilsture], before this, was joint in Principle, and Suffering with Mr. [James] Renwick, and that People [i.e., the Society people]; but, after this, was turned off, with Robert Cathcart, John and Quintin Dicks, George Welsh, and many others, in the Societies of Carrick, some in Galloway and Calder-Muir, chiefly by the Means and Influence of Mr. George Barklay, Mr. Robert Langlands:’ (Walker, BP, I, 87.)
In March 1686, a delegation of Society people, which included James Renwick, James Clark, John Clark, James Wilson and Alexander Ramsay went to Carrick to attempt to ‘regain’ the societies that had cast off Renwick. On 20 March, 1686, they held a conference with ‘Robert Cathcart, Quintin Dick and some others’, but the schism was not healed. (Wodrow, History, IV, 394.)
Dick later wrote a spiritual autobiography. (NLS. MSS. Wod.Qu.LXXV, f.200. See also Quintin Dick, ‘Copy of letter of (1678)’, Wod.Qu.XXXVI, f.48.)
Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.