James Dick and the Breakway Society people in Carrick and Galloway

After the collapse of the Restoration Regime in December, 1688, James Dick, Robert Dun and Robert Cathcart ‘in Carrick and Galloway’ directed a letter to Daniel Ker of Kersland which sought to open negotiations over a reunion between their breakaway societies and the United Societies.

St Brides Church, Douglas © Kevin Rae and licensed for reuse.

At the United Societies’ general meeting at the kirk of Douglas in Lanarkshire on 4 January 1689, the Societies positively responded to their overtures by sending two delegations – ‘William Harris [probably William Herries] and John Mack in Evandale, William Rigg and Andrew Ross in Carrick’ – to begin negotiations for reunion.

Map of Douglas           Street View of St Brides Church, Douglas

All four delegates met with Dick, Dun and Cathcart at Sanquhar on 23 January. Cathcart led the case for reunion for the breakaway societies, which had split from James Renwick in 1686.

According to Michael Shields, the meeting ended without agreement:

‘Robert Cathcart, in name of the rest, propounded first, That seeing we joined with such ministers as; were altogether extraneous of the church of Scotland, there could be no accommodation be thought on, till either we disowned them, or else that they should submit themselves to the ministers of the church of Scotland ;—and they desired we would make address to these ministers, of the church of Scotland ;—as to other proposals (though they said they had more) they refused to give them, seeing we could not agree about the first.

When the meeting heard this account, they wondered what these men could mean: if they intended union, the requiring of that which they sought as the foundation thereof* was not the way to attain it. For, to disown our ministers (except they would do that which in conscience they could not do, as matters are now circumstantiate) would have been provoking to God, and afforded matter of mocking of us to men. (Shields, FCD, 369-70.)

Earl of Angus Statue to the mustering of the Cameronian Regiment at Douglas © Elliott Simpson and licensed for reuse.

However, the negotiations were ultimately successful, as both factions mustered together at the formation of the Earl of Angus’ Regiment, aka. The Cameronian Regiment, at Douglas on 19 April, 1689. A few months later, the regiment played a key role in the defence of the Revolution settlement, which had made William of Orange king of Scots, against the Jacobite army in the desperate house-to-house fighting of Battle of Dunkeld. James Dick may have been the sergeant of the twentieth company of the regiment when it was mustered.

Aerial View of Statue and muster field

In 1690, a large section of the Society people did join with the reconstituted Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

Given Dick’s role in the negotiations alongside Robert Cathcart and Robert Dun, who was probably from the farm of Benquhat that lay next to Benbain, it is likely that James Dick was kin to John Dick in Benbain and Quintin Dick in Dalmellington parish, Ayrshire, whose names appear with that of Cathcart as leaders of the breakaway societies in 1685 and 1686.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

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~ by drmarkjardine on August 1, 2012.

One Response to “James Dick and the Breakway Society people in Carrick and Galloway”

  1. […] James Dick may have been acting as a proxy for John and Quintin Dicks, as they were fugitives in July, 1685. James, the factor, may be the James Dick involved in conferences with the Societies in 1689. […]

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