The Captain who Rescued an Assassin Wrecked at Sea #History #Scotland

Scottish Ship

It is not everyday that you rescue one of the most-wanted men in the Kingdom from a ship wreck, but that is what happened to a James Cassill, the captain of a ship which found David Hackston of Rathillet wrecked at sea …

Rathillet had taken part in the assassination of Archbishop James Sharp on 3 May, 1679. After the defeat of the Covenanters, he had fled to Rotterdam, where, after causing considerable strife in the Scots exile community, he decided to return to Scotland to join Richard Cameron in raising the fallen standard of the Lord. It is clear that his return voyage in June 1680 had met with some catastrophe.

From the records of Edinburgh Tolbooth, under 20 August, 1680:

‘ffirst day of August 1680
The Lords off the committy off his majesties privie councell haveing considered James Cassill prisoner his oath beareing that he knew nott Rathillett when he took him up wracked att sea, nor while he wes aboord his ship and that as ane test off his loyalty he had taken the oath off alleadgiance befor the committy Doe ordaine the magistratts off Edinbu]r[gh] to sett the said James Cassills att liberty’. (Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, VI, 147.)

Thanks to his rescue, Rathillet was able to join Cameron’s band in Ayrshire. He was captured at the Battle of Airds Moss on 22 July and executed on 30 July, the day before Cassill was released from the Tolbooth.

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~ by drmarkjardine on October 19, 2017.

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