A Covenanter Against the Glorious Revolution and Union of 1707: Hugh Dickie in Kilmarnock

Hugh Dickie was one of the Society people who survived the repression of the 1680s and when on to join the Society people who refused to accept the Revolution Settlement of church and state of 1689 to 1690.

Dickie was a dissenter who would only accept a covenanted settlement of church and state. The historian Colin Kidd refers to such dissenters as ‘conditional Britons’, as they did not accept the formulation of the United Kingdom found in the Revolution Settlement and in the Union of 1707. When Dickie died in 1728, he left a testimony against all defections since Restoration and the Revolution including ‘the cursed, unhappy, unhallowed union [of 1707]; patronage, toleration, and leagues offensive and defensive with the papists.’

It is clear that he and others like him were hostile to both Scotland’s acceptance of the Union and the Jacobites, who also rejected the settlements of 1689 to 1690, 1707 and the Hanoverian succession for different reasons.

Craigdow 2Craigdow Hill © Mary and Angus Hogg and licensed for reuse.

A pivotal moment in the radicalisation of Dickie was a ‘communion at Carrick, near Maybole’, which refers to communion service held by John Welsh at Craigdow Hill on 12 August, 1678. According to Dickie, the communion ‘was the only motive that moved me to join with those who appeared in arms at Bothwell’ in 1679.

Craigdow Hill lies in Kirkoswald parish in Carrick.

Map of Craigdow Hill (change to OS view)

John Stevenson in Camregan also attended Welsh’s Craigdow field preaching.

Dickie fought at the battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679 and appears on the published Fugitive Roll of May, 1684, as ‘Hugh Dickie, servant to John Dickie in Crooked-holm Walkmill’ in Kilmarnock parish, Ayrshire. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 207.)

Map of Waulk Mill at Crookedholm

He later testified to having heard Richard Cameron (d.1680), Donald Cargill (d.1681) and James Renwick (d.1688) preach in the mountains and muirs.

At some point in the 1680s, Dickie was captured and imprisoned in Stirling and Edinburgh. By his own account he spent ‘nine weeks, day and night in irons’.

After 1688, Dickie joined with the Society people who refused to accept the Revolution Settlement. He testified against the uncovenanted settlement of crown on William of Orange and Mary in 1689. He also testified against the Societies’ ministers, William Boyd, Thomas Linning and Alexander Shields for betraying their cause when they led them into reunion with the established Presbyterian Church in 1690.

Dickie appears to have taken an active part in the continuing Societies. At a general meeting held in Crawfordjohn on 25 October, 1699, a ‘Hugh Dickie’ was appointed to a committee to revise the resolutions of the continuing Societies. At a general meeting on 2 August, 1708, ‘Hugh Dickies summonses for his marriage’ was referred to the next meeting. (Minutes of the Proceedings and Conclusions of the Covenanting Societies, 10, 22.)

Dickie died in March, 1728. He left behind a fascinating testimony:

The Dying Testimony of Hugh Dickie, who lived in Kilmarnock, and died there, upon the 17th day of March 1728.

Although it cannot be expected (every thing considered,) that I (who cannot do it with my own hands,) should leave any thing of this nature behind me. Yet for the glory of God, and vindication of his cause, (that I have through much weakness, been endeavouring to follow,) and for exhonoration of my own conscience, I am obliged by the pen of another, to leave this mite of a testimony behind me; to shew to the world when I am gone, what I own, and what I disown. And,

1. As to what I own: I own the sweet word of God, contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as the only and alone rule of faith and manners.

2. I own the Confession of Faith, (saying nothing of that article of the 23d chapter, concerning infidility, and difference in religion, not taking away the magistrate’s power; but only that it is mis constructed and made use of for another end, than ever the honest and faithful ministers of Jesus Christ had before them, when they gave their approbation of the same,) also, I own the Catechisms Larger and Shorter, Sum of saving Knowle[d]ge, and Directory for Worship, &c.

3. I own our covenants, national and solemn league, with the solemn acknowlegement of sins, and engagement to duties.

4. I own our work of reformation, as it was in our best and purest times, from 1638 to 1649; reforming this land from popery, prelacy, malignancy, and erastianism. Even that work I own, as it was in opposition to every sin, and a motive to every duty.

5. I own the western remonstrance, protestations, and testimonies given against the malignant party, and their malignant actions; they being found to be contrary to the word of God, inconsistant with the principles of the church of Scotland, and hurtful to Christian societies.

6. I own all the honest faithful testimonies and declarations, both before and since the revolution [of 1688]; particularly in our Informatory Vindication [of 1687], and [James Renwick’s] Testimony against the Toleration [of 1688].

7. I leave my testimony to the faithful preaching of the gospel, upon the muirs and mountains, and high places of the fields; particularly to the faithful preaching of Mr. Donald Cargill, Mr. Richard Cameron, and Mr. James Renwick; which my soul was often refreshed to hear, they being faithful in preaching down the sins, and up the duties of the times.

8. I leave my testimony to the lawfulness of lifting up arms in personal defence, and in defence of the gospel, when people are obliged thereunto by the oppression of their enemies.

In the next place, I shall give an account of that which I disown and testify against. And,

1. I testify against, and disown Charles II. his overturning the glorious work of reformation, and instead thereof, setting up abjured prelacy; his breaking and ignominiously burning the national, and solemn league and covenants, and declaring it criminal to own the same. His blasphemous supremacy over all persons, and in all causes. His hell-hatched indulgencies, with all the blood shed and tyranny exercised by him upon the bodies, estates, and consciences of men.

2. I leave my testimony against all the accepters, approvers of, and pleaders for that woful church-renting, sinful indulgency.

3. I leave my testimony against the receptance of the Duke of York, (a known papist,) to the throne of Britain [in 1685], and against all the bloody tyranny exercised by him.

4. I leave my testimony against his large and boundless [1687] toleration of papists, and all other heretics without restriction. And also, against the unlawful restrictions, contained in that part of his toleration relative to the presbyterians, viz. that they should preach nothing that should alienate the hearts of the hearers, from him and his government; although it was both popish and tyrannical. I do also leave my testimony against all the accepters and approvers of the same.

5. I leave my testimony against the nations setting up upon the throne of Britain, William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange; because they wanted scriptural and covenant qualifications, and were not admitted covenant ways.

6. I leave my testimony against Messrs. Thomas Linning, Alexander Shields, and William Boyd, for their betraying of the cause of Christ, and joining with the first assembly of these indulged men [i.e., the Presbyterian ministers] after the revolution.

7. I leave my testimony against that assembly [in 1690], for settling their establishment near one hundred years backward, and thereby, in shameful forgetfulness, burying all our best and purest degrees of reformation, from 1638 to 1649 inclusive.

8. I leave my testimony against all their base (Issachar like) yieldings to secular powers, by swearing oaths of allegiance, assurance, and abjuration, and that as ministerial qualifications, and instead of the covenants; though they be as far opposite to the covenants as darkness is to light. Their tame compliance, and kindly submitting to their civil power’s commands, in calling, adjourning, and dissolving their supreme judicatories; and appointing causes and dyets of fasting and thanksgiving; by which. the crown is taken off Christ’s head, and set upon the head of a mortal man, whose breath is in his nostrils.

9. I leave my testimony against the nation’s setting up Ann Stewart, and after her decease [in 1714], the Duke of Hanover and Brunswick [i.e., George I], as supreme magistrate over these covenanted nations; notwithstanding of their being sworn enemies, and adversaries to the covenanted work of reformation, by their being solemnly sworn to maintain prelacy in England, and themselves to be of that communion. I testify against all the abominations enacted in their days, as the cursed, unhappy, unhallowed union; patronage, toleration, and leagues offensive and defensive with the papists.

10. I leave my testimony against cess paying, both in the time of persecution, when it was for the beating down of the faithfully preached gospel. And Since that time, as it is for the upholding of a throne of iniquity, that frames mischief by a law. And for maintaining of papists and malignants, who are joined with them in a confederacy for the ruining o the Work of God. And,

Finally. I leave my testimony against all sorts and sizes of popery, prelacy, erastianism, and sectarianism; and every other thing which is contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness.

Now, having given an account of what I own and what I disown. I shall, in the next place, to wipe off the reproach that hath bean cast upon me by some; declaring that it was upon the account of these, and the many other defections that this land hath gone into; that I durst not hear nor own the present erastian ministers of this church. And not upon the account of any oath binding me up from hearing of them, as some falsely alleged. For their being no such oath among us, but only the oath in the national and solemn league and covenants [of 1638 and 1643], which we look upon to be of perpetual binding force; and a breach of the same to hear, or own any that are carrying on courses of defection, contrary to the holy covenants.

And last of all. I cannot but look upon it as a great mercy of the Lord bestowed upon me, who am less than the least of all his mercies, that he called me out to hear the persecuted gospel, and so ordered and disposed of my heart, so as to make me dedicate, and give away myself to the Lord, to be for him, and not for another. Particularly at that communion at Carrick, near Maybole [in 1678], which was the only motive that moved me to join with those who appeared in arms at Bothwell [in 1679], in defence of the gospel. And afterwards, through all my wanderings and trials, I found much of his sensible presence, outlettings of his love, and light of his countenance shining upon me. Particularly, when hearing the gospel preached by these three great worthies, Mr. Richard Cameron, Mr. Donald Cargill, and Mr. James Renwick. But most of all, when I was in prison, and bonds for Christ, in the prisons of Stirling and Edinburgh, there he gave me his love, feasted me with fat things, and made me rejoice in the way of his testimony, as these who find great store of spoil. And gave me such confirmations of his kindness, that notwithstanding I lay nine weeks, day and night in irons, and sixteen hours in weighty irons about my neck; yet the Lord sanctified that part of his cross, that he, during that time, made that place rather a Bethel of joy, than a bondage of sorrow. So that I was made to joy in tribulation, by finding Christ with the cross, which carried me up, until in his holy providence, he was pleased to bring me forth, without any compliance, or hurt done to his cause. And hath kept me ever since in the same mind anent these things that I suffered for. Which I look upon, and takes as a token for good, that he will so preserve me unto the end.

And now, O Lord, what shall I more say? I have waited for thy salvation. Be forthcoming for me, and perfect that which concerneth me. And into thy hand, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I commit my spirit, in hope of eternal life. Amen.
Sic subscribitur,
Hugh Dickie.’ (A Collection of Dying Testimonies, 241-6.)

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

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~ by drmarkjardine on August 28, 2013.

One Response to “A Covenanter Against the Glorious Revolution and Union of 1707: Hugh Dickie in Kilmarnock”

  1. Fascinating. I assume Hugh Dickie was satisfied by John McMillan of Balmaghie’s credentials since he did not testify against McMillan. I have read H.M.B. Reid’s ‘A Cameronian Apostle’ (1896) about McMillan and the Society People. The renewal of the Covenants at Auchensaugh in 1712 was a significant point in the continuation of the struggle of the ‘suffering remnant’ into the 18th century and towards the founding of the Reformed Presbyterian church in 1743.

    Dickie’s rejection of George I is significant, since it shows that in 1724 the Galloway Levellers were not Cameronians/ McMillanites but aligned (despite the death of John Hepburn of Urr in 1723) with the Hebronites who had been prepared to support George I in 1715 when local Jacobites threatened Dumfries. This support for George I was used in pro-Leveller literature in 1724 to ‘prove’ the Levellers loyalty to the Crown (and by implication the Union of 1707).

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