From Wigtown to Barbados: The Banishment of Alexander Ballie in 1687

WigtownWigtown © Andy Farrington and licensed for reuse.

Alexander Baillie from Wigtown parish in Galloway was banished to the plantations of Barbados in 1687 and rescued by the Society people in 1688…

Ballie was captured by Captain Strachan’s troop of His Majesty’s Regiment of Dragoons in early 1686. He was discovered without a pass, which probably means that he had evaded taking the Abjuration oath in early 1685. He was probably held in Wigtown Tolbooth before he was sent to Edinburgh. The original tolbooth cell was incorporated into the nineteenth-century town house.

On 7 April, 1686, he was brought before a committee of the privy council:

‘Alexander Baylie in the paroch of Wigtoun, apprehended by Captain Strachans dragoons for want of a pass, declares he keept church but not constantly, but will not enact himselfe to keep the kirk hereafter; ownes authority but not this Kings authority [i.e., James VII]; will not answer to the question whither it be lawfull to ryse in armes against his authority; will not answer anent the Archbishops death [in 1679] whither it wes a murder or not; remanded to prisone; refuises to signe.’ (RPCS, XII, 189-90.)

There is no surviving official record of Ballie’s trial or banishment, but he subscribed the joint testimony of a group of Society people who had been sentenced to banishment to Barbados of 30 March, 1687. (Wodrow, History, IV, 412.)

His name is listed in Cloud of Witnesses as one of the banished. (Thomson (ed.), CW, 531.)

Ballie was among those whose forced indentures were purchased by the Society people in 1688 and his name appears as one of those who had been rescued in a letter to the Societies’ convention of 16 Feb, 1689. (Shields, FCD, 345.)

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

~ by drmarkjardine on January 29, 2013.

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