‘Under the Pain of Treason’: Covenanters Against the Union #History #Scotland


In his diary of the Scottish Parliament during the Union debates, David Hume of Crossrig recorded Parliament’s reaction to the Society people’s burning of the articles of Union at Dumfries in November, 1706.

The Hebronites, or the 3,000 to 4,000 Society people led by the minister John Hepburn, had submitted a ‘Humble Address’ to Parliament detailing their objections to the Union on 12 November. However, in their declaration at Dumfries on 20 November they had made a far broader appeal to opponents of the Union and, accompanied by 540 foot and horse, threatened insurrection.

The Society people, or their forebears, had a long history of attempting to mount raids on Edinburgh to influence political events, e.g., the battle of Mauchline Moor and the Whiggamore Raid of 1648, the Pentland Rising of 1666, the Bothwell Rising of 1679 and in their defence of the Convention of Estates to secure the Revolution in 1689. How would Scotland’s elite respond in 1706?

Friday, 29 November:

‘The Chancellour told he was ordered by the Privy Council to lay before the Parliament, That my L[ord]. Commissioner [James Douglas, Duke of Queensberry] and others had received advice from the Magistrates of Glasgow, that they had been lately insulted by the mob, not so much by those of the town as those from the country, demanding money and arms; that the Town had suppressed them, and hoped to keep the peace there.

As also, there was advice from the Magistrats of Drumfries, that about 420 foot and 120 horse, commanded by one [‘Captain’ William] Harries, came to the town after the Town’s endeavours to resist them, but in vain, and there drew up and burnt the Articles of Treaty of the Union; which latter were read.

[The] proclamation they made was read [in Parliament], and it was moved, Some course might be thought upon for suppressing these insolences; and a proclamation was offered, mentioning the shire of Cluidsdale, and the neighbouring Shires to Drumfries.

The D[uke]. of Hamilton and M[arquis]. of Annandale opposed it, seing there was no special information against them. So the Commissioner [Queensberry] told, he had advice there was irregular meetings in Cluidsdale. Others condescended on Kirk of Shots, Lesmahago, and Stennhouse, where several letters unsubscribed were dropt, [to] require several parishes to meet and rendezvous, and be ready on a call with 10 dayes provision.

Then the proclamation was objected against for forbidding all assemblies in arms during this Session of Parliament. It was alledged to be a suspension, not a rescission of the Act of Security [of 1703], requiring the heritors, &c., to bring arms, and muster their men, at least once a month. It was further said, this could not be without an Act of Parliament, requiring two readings. The matter was adjusted, and the proclamation was amended, forbidding all assemblies in arms, contrary to [>p188] law, which was voted and approven. And an Act, suspending that clause of the Act of Security, of mustering during this Session of Parliament, was read, and marked A first reading. […]’

Saturday, 30 November, 1706:

‘After the Minutes, proceed to the Act suspending the clause of the Act of Security, during this Session of Parliament, […] There was some reasoning against it as not necessary; but it came to a vote, Approve the Act, which discharges all assembling in arms during this Session of Parliament [i.e., the last ever session of Parliament], under the pain of Treason: it carried, with few Noes, and some Mutes. D[uke of]. Ham[ilton]. was not present. D[uke of]. Athol was No, and [the earl of] Errol, Visc[ount]. Stormont, [William Cochrane of] Kilmaronnock, &c. The Proclamation and Act of Parliament sent to the Cross to be proclaimed [on Monday, 2 December].’ (Hume, A Diary of the Proceedings of Parliament, 187-8.)

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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


~ by drmarkjardine on April 24, 2016.

2 Responses to “‘Under the Pain of Treason’: Covenanters Against the Union #History #Scotland”

  1. […] to the tumults in Glasgow, the Society people’s declaration at Dumfries and letters organising an anti-Union rebellion in Lanarkshire, by ordering a proclamation that was probably proclaimed in Glasgow, Dumfries and Lanark on Monday […]

  2. […] entry in Crossrig’s diary for 29 November mentions that the parishes of Stonehouse and Shotts were places where calls to muster against the Union were read. Both of them also lay in Lanarkshire, but were part of the Presbytery of Hamilton which also sent […]

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