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The Highland Host of 1678


[Lauderdale Papers, edited by Airy, vol. iii. p. 95. See R'odrow, vol. ii. p. 383, for the instructions actually given.]

WHEN the forces march into the west it wold seem expedient:

1. That a Committee of council went along with them, who may be empowered to fine confine imprison or banish as they find cause; wch committee may consist of such officers and comanders as are privie councellors, viz. the M. of Athole, Earles of Marr, Linlithgow, Airlie, and Cattiness; the Lord Ross, and the E. of Glencarne and Perth may be by the Council's autoritie adjoynd to them and also the L.. Collinton if he may be spared from the session.

2. That these westren shyres sould be disarmed, and their armee to be transported to Stirling or Edinburgh Castle.

3. That all horses in possession of these disaffected people, which are above ye value of 40 or fiftie libs soots, could be taken from them at such rates as they shalbe estimated unto.

4. That the forces setle first at Aire, having rested some few days at Glasgow, Aire being the centre of a great circle of ye disaffected; and after having reduced Carrick and censured the Conventiclers in those parishes who are served by indulged ministers, they may goe to Lanerick and Clidsdale, and so forward to the stewartrie of Kirkcubright and the shyre of Galloway, in w0h places since the forces are to have free quarters, particular care wold be taken, that the burthen thereof may be upon ye guiltie, and thus ye innocent and orderlie people will find ymselves eased and encoraged to continue in yr orderlines and obedience.

5. Wherever the Forces ly, the Comittee wold call befor them the transgressors; and in ye first place wold cause rase to the ground all their new-erected meeting houses and punish the builders thereof, as prime incendiaries; and proceed against such who have mett at field conventicles or have resett or entertained Welsh, Arnot, or anie other intercomuned preachers according to yr severall estates with proportionable fynes, Which they wold take care to cause raise with the greatest diligence; and because the guilt of field conventicling is great, and the paine arbitrarie, therfor the fynes to be exacted wold be such as may be smartlie felt by the transgressors, in all which speciall regard wold be had that ye Ringleaders and chief abbettors of these disorders should be condignelie punished as promoters of sedition and rebellious courses; who if they be heretors, deserve to be deeplie fyned, and also imprisoned; and if they be persons of no estate, some notable corporall punishment wold be inflicted upon them in terrorem.

6. All means wold be used for apprehending and seizing the persons of Welsh, Arnot, etc. and for encoraging such as will bring them in, and deliver ym to anie officer etc. assurance wold be given them of their being discharged from whatever fynes imposed or to be imposed on them and that they shalbe exempted from quartering on themselves or tennants and that they shal be further rewarded.

7. All such fynes as are to be Levyed wold be carefullie brocht in to ye cash-keeper to Ly as a fund to reward such as shall approve themselves most faithfull and diligent in the present service; and his matie would be humblie moved that those fynes may be so applyed.

8. The Committee wold also oblige all the heretors in these countreys to take the oath of alledgiance, and cause them give bonds that themselves tennants and servands, shall hereafter carrie themslves peaceablie and orderlie, and live in obedience to the law, and such who shall refuse so to doe, wold be censured and punished as the councel shall ordain.

9. When these places are reduced, then the Committee and Forces may goe into Tiviotdale, and then to Stirlingshyre and to Fife and observe the same method and instructions for suppressing disorders and the disaffected there. But in all this or where the forces shall begin or end this service and in what shyres or districts, may be most advysedlie determined by the Committee and officers forsaid as they shall see most reasonable. For keeping these shyres in order and obedience for the tyme to come, it would seem expedient.

1. That Besides the oath of alIedgiance, and bonds to be exacted from all heretors ut supra for securing the persons and families of orthodox and orderlie ministers against injurie and violence and keeping the severall parishes free of conventicles, the heretors of each parish sould give sufficient bonds, under the forfeiture of six or seven thousand marks at least.

2. Since under the pretence of furnishing the militia, armes are brought in among the disaffected people in great quantities, it seems adviseable that the militia in these shyres should be quite discharged by his Matie; and the horses and armes being once out of ye possession of those people, this wold seem to follow of its owne accord.

3. Garrisons may be constantlie kept in Glasgo, Aire and Kirkcudbright, and sometyme in Dumfries and Lanerk, for kepping ane constant dread and awe over the disaffected and for asisting the persons intrusted by the council for punishing disorders in the shyres and districts about them, in levying fynes etc. and it wold seem convenient that no part of the forces should ly longer in any of these townes, then three months at one tyme, that by their constant changing of their quarter, the people may see such forces to be amongst them, as may suffice to keep them in order and peace.

4. The persons intrusted for noticeing and punishing disorders in ye severall shyres etc. would be requyred to doe their duetie according to their instructions, and sett dyets would be appoynted to them for giving one account of their diligence to the Privie Council, wch would be steddilie done, and carefullie exacted from tyme to tyme.

5. For rendring this whole service the more effectual the Committee alreadie appoynted for Church affairs wold constantlie and steddilie goe on at Edinbr, and wold keep constant and sure intelligence and correspondence with that committee wpb shalbe appoynted to goe along with the forces.

Endorsed :
Memor, by the Bps anent what is fit to be done for suppressing disorders in the West.
Dec. 21. 1677-
(In hand of Jo. Paterson, Bp of Galloway, aftd8 of Edinburgh.)

"SOME PARTICULAR MATTERS OF FACT relating to the administration of affairs in Scotland under the Duke of Lauderdale, humbly offered to your Majestie's consideration in obedience to your Royal commands." [Historical MSS. Commission, Report XI., Appendix iv. p. 30.]
(From MSS. Marquess Townshend, unsigned and undated.)

1st. The Duke of Lauderdale did grosly misrepresent to your Majestie the condicion of the westren counties as if they had been in a state of rebellion though there never had been any opposition made to your Majestie's authority, nor any resistance offered to your fforces nor to the execucon of the lawes, but hee purposeing to abuse your Majestie that soe hee might carry on his sinister designs by your authority advised your Majestie to raise an army against your peaceable subjects, at least did frame a letter to be sent to your Majestie to bee signed by your Royall hand to that effect, which being sent doune to your Councell orders were thereupon given out for the raiseing an army of 8 or 9000 men the greatest parte whereof were Hylanders, and notwithstanding that to avert this threatening the nobility and gentry of that country did send to Edinburgh and for the security of the peace did offer to engage, that whosoever should bee sent to put the lawes in execucon should meet with noe affront and that they should become hostages for their safety; yet this army was marched into a peaceable country and did take free quarters according to their comissions and in most places leavyed great sumes of money under notion of dry quarters and did plunder and robb your subjects of which noe redresse could bee obtained though complaynts were frequently made.

2. All which were expressly contrary to the lawes of the kingdome. In these quarterings it was apparent, that regard was only had to that Duke's private animosityes, for the greatest part of these places were mostly quartered on, and destroyed had not been guilty of any of the field conventicles complayned of, and many of the places that were most guilty were spared upon private consideracons.

3. The subjects at that tyme were required to subscribe an exorbitant and illegall bond which was impossible to bee performed by them (viz.) that they their wives and children and servants, their tenants and their wives children and servants, should live orderly according to law, not goe to conventicles or entertaine vagrant preachers and severall other particulars. By which bond those which syned it were made lyable for every man's fault that lived upon the grounds.

4. Your subjects were chrged with lawborrowes, denounced rebells and captions were issued out for seizeing their persons upon there refuseing to signe the aforsaid bond, and the nobility and gentry there who have been ever faithful to your Majesty and had appeared in armes for suppressing the last rebellion were disarmed upon oath, a proclamacon was also issued forbidding them upon great penaltyes to keepe any horses about 4. 3. 4d. price.

5. The nobility and gentry of the Shire of Ayre were also indicted at the instance of your Majestie's Advocate of very high crimes and misdemeanors whereof some did import treason. These indictments were delivered them in the evening to bee answered by them next morning upon oath, and when they did demand two or three day's tyme to consider of their indictments and make benefitt of Iawyers to advise within matters of soe high concernment and also excepted of their being put to sweare against themselves in matters that were capitall, which was contrary to all law and justice, those their desires were rejected though the like had never been done to the greatest malefactors in the Kingdome, and it was told them, they must either sweare instantly or they would repute them guilty and proceed accordingly.

6. The noblemen and gentlemen knowing themselves innocent of all that had been surmised against them did purge themselves by oath of all the particulars that were objected to them and were thereupon acquitted, and tho' the Comitte of the Councell used the severest maner of enquiry to discover any seditions or treasonable designs which were pretended as the grounds of leading that army into those countreys yett nothing could ever bee proved, soe false was that suggestion concerning a rebellion then designed that was offered to your Majestie and prevayled with you for sending the afore mentioned letter.

7. The oppressions and quarterings still continuing, the noblemen and gentlemen of those countyes went to Edenburgh to represent to your Councils the heavy pressure that they and their people lay under, and were ready to offer to them all that in law or reason could bee required of them for securing the peace, the Councill did imediately upon their appearing sett forth a proclamation requiring them to depart the town within three days upon all highest paines, and when the Duke of Hamilton did petition for leave to stay two or three dayes longer for some very urgent affaires, that was refused him.

8. When some persons of quality had declared to the Duke of Lauderdale, that they would goe and represent their conditions to your Majestie, if they could not have justice from your ministers, for preventing that a proclamation was sett forth forbidding all the subjects to depart the kingdome without licence, that soe your Majestic might not bee acquainted with the said condicon of your subjects, a thing without all president or law for putting of your subjects from makeing their application to your Majestic noe Iess contrary to your Majestie's true interest (who must alwayes bee the refuge of your people) then to the naturall right of the subject.


Who came to destroy the Western Shires in Winter 1678, by Mr. William Cleland, Lieutenant Collonel to my Lord Angus's Regiment.

(In a Collection of Several Poems and Verses, composed upon various occasions, printed in the year 1697.)


`But those who were their chief Commanders,
As such who bore the pirnie Standarts;
Who led the Van, and drove the Rear,
Were right well mounted of their Gear.'
With Brogues, Trues, and pirnie Plaides,
With good blew Bonnets on their Heads:
Which on the one side had a flipe,
Adorned with a Tobacco pipe,
With Durk, and Snap work, and Snuff-mill,
A bagg which they with Onions fill,
And as their strick observers say,
A Tupe Horn filled with Usquebay
A slasht out Coat beneath her plaides,
A Targe of timber, nails and hides;
With a long two handed Sword,
As good's the Countrey can afford
Had they not need of bulk and bones,
Who fights with all these Armes at once,
It's marvelous how in such weather,
Ov'r hill and hop they came together,
How in such stormes they came so farr,
The reason is they're smeared with tar,
Which doth defend them heel and neck,
Just as it doth their sheep protect;
But least ye doubt that this is true,
They're just the colour of tarr'd wool,
Nought like Religion they retain,
Of moral Honestie they're clean.
In nothing they're accounted sharp,
Except in Bagpipe and in Harpe,
For a nulobliging word,
She'll durk her neighbour ov'r the boord.
And then she'll flee like fire from flint.
She'll scarcely ward the second dint;
If any ask her of her thrift
Foresooth her nainsell lives by thift.


`For truly, they more cruel carrie,
Than ever Frenchmen under Yarie,
Or Spaniards under Ferdinando did,
Or French, when Duke of Guise commanded,
Yea they more savage far than those were,
Who with Kollkittoch and Montrose were,
And sixtie times they're worse than they
Whom Turner led in Galloway,
They durk our Tennents, shames our Wives,
And we're in hazard of our Lives,
They plunder horse, and them they loaden,
With Coverings, Blankets, Sheets and Plaidin'
With Hooding gray, and worsted stuff,
They sell our Tongs for locks of snuff,
They take our Cultors and our soaks,
And from our doors they pull the locks,
They leave us neither shoals nor spaids,
And takes away our Iron in laids,
They break our pleughs, ev'n when they're working
We dare not hinder them for durking:
My Lords, they so harasse and wrong us:
There's scarce a pair of shoes among us,
And for Blew bonnets they leave non,
That they can get Clauts upon,
If any dare refuse to give them,
They Durk them, strips them, and so leaves them,
They ripe for Armes, but all they find,
Is armes with them, leaves nought behind.
They take our Sadles and our Pades,
They stripe our Lecquies, ripes their Pouches,
They leave us neither Beds nor Couches.
Yea to be short they leave us nought,
That can from place to place be brought,
The Red Coats can tell them who spiers,
When they with them fell by the Bares,
When that their bootie they laid hold of,
They had much more than I have told of,
Where some gott wounds with sword and ball
I'm sorrie for't they were so small,
As if they could not Doe eneugh,
They fall on poor man at the pleugh,
Because they doe not understand,
Their Language they'll cut off their hand,
And for a proofe, I think I have it
Took out the hand and to them gave it.
Another Instance I shall tell
In which the Irish they excel
When they a poor man had Destroyed
Of meat cloathes money made him voide,
They left him nought that they could take
Except two horses and a corne stack.
The stacke they fired through very spyte,
But with the horse they would not quite,
Till he some money them did give,
One half whereof they did receive,
To buy the other nought he had,
Yet they so savage were and mad,
While the poor man with heavie Looks,
Was begging favour from these Ruikes,
The horse must die without remead,
They drove Lead Bullets through his head:
Another instance I shall give yet,
I shall be brief and to you Leave it,
When they by violence and force,
Had plundered a poor man's horse,
And Loaded him with his own gier,
For they took more than they could bear
The poor man followed to releave him,
Still begging that they bake would give him,
But finding he could not prevail,
That his requests did not avail,
He split the branks from his horses head
For which they shot this poor man dead.
Even Instantly without remorse
Because they could not grip the horse.


Their meat which is good Hens and Veal
The best of Bread, good Ale, and Wine
It sets them ill, shame on their kind;
Would us destroy in a short space,
It's true as I hold up my face,
For they most have four times a day,
And more at once, I'm clear to say,
Than might sustain a great Coach Mare,
For any half day in the Year:
For sixty men or but few more
They'll take up quarters for seven Score,
An shilling Starling we must grant,
For each person that they want,
And six pence also they receive,
For each Tail of them they have,
And thus each day must be renew'd
That they take meat, I wish they spew'd.


Now had the Red Shanks ran away,
How these behaved that did stay,
How they the Halie Kirk Reform'd
What Castles, and what Towns they storm'd
Whose Hens was slain, whose Geese murder'd,
What great Designes by them was further'd
And what great Credit to the King
His Grace procur'd by this designe:
How Conventickles all were quast,
And Schismaticks destroy'd and dasht:
And how our nobles Journeyed
How their addresses did succeed
Att court how they did represent
The countries Losse, and sad complaint,
And what success therein they had,
And whether it was good or bad,
How they gott off, and how things past,
Ye'll hear when my Parnassus winchie
Gets of Fount Cablin a pounchie,
And therewith stives her empty Tearses
And hatcht up with lumps of Verses.

For the following information I am almost entirely indebted to the efforts on my behalf of the late Mr. F. K. Macpherson, schoolmaster, Tarbolton, to whom my grateful thanks are due. Mr. Macpherson's queries were answered by the gentlemen whose names are appended to the various notes. The information with regard to the mention of the Highland Host in the various parish records, although entirely of a negative character, is nevertheless valuable.

Glasgow University Library: "Neither in this Library nor in the Hunterian Library are there any MSS. relating to the 1678 incident " (James L. Galbraith, Esq., Librarian).

Lanark: "I am sorry that the particular account of the depredations of the Highland Host in Lanark in 1678 is not extant" (James Annan, Esq., Town Clerk).

Mauchline Kirk-Session Records for 1677-78: "These contain no reference to the Highland Host " (Rev. Joseph Mitchell, Parish Minister).

St. Quivox Parish: "The Records of date 1677-78 were destroyed by fire" (Alexander Moody, Esq., Session Clerk).

Galston Parish: "The Records of Kirk-Session for 1677-78 are not in existence " (Robert Smith, Esq., Session Clerk).

Craigie Parish: "The Session Records in my possession extend back only to 1775" (Andrew M'Farlane, Esq., Session Clerk).

New Cumnock: "We have no records dating so far back as 1677-78 " (James M'Farlane, Esq., Session Clerk).

Dundonald, Kilmarnock: "Our minutes are a blank from 1643 to 1702 " (H. Gibb, Esq.).

Auchinleck: "The Session Records in my possession do not go so far back as 1678" (John Henderson, Esq.).

Riccarton: "December, 1787, begins the Records here" (John A. Gordon, Esq., Session Clerk).

Cumnock: "The oldest record in my custody is 1704" (James Muir, Esq., Session Clerk).

Straiton: "The Records do not go so far back" (W. MacMorland, Esq.).

Maybole: "The Session Records do not go further back than 1777" (R. M. Nisbet, Esq., Session Clerk)

Dailly: "There is no record in our books of the presence of the Highland Host" (C. Goodall, Esq.).

Kirkoswald: "There is a blank in our oldest Kirk-Session book, extending from 29th October, 1660, to 30th December, 1694" (Rev James Muir).

Kirkmichael: "I have made a search, and find no mention of the `Highland Host ' in the Records" (J. Kirkland, Esq., Session Clerk).

Beith: "We do not appear to have any Records prior to 1701" (M. Gilmore, Esq., Session Clerk).

Kilmaurs: "The Record for the period has been lost" (John Arron, Session Clerk).

West Kilbride: "There is no information of the kind desired" (George M'Nee, Esq., Session Clerk).

Irvine: "The only Session Records in our possession date from 1709" (Robert Boyd, Esq., Session Clerk).

Dairy: "I have no records as far back as 1677-78, all having been sent to Edinburgh Register Office" (Andrew Aitken, Esq., Session Clerk).

Stevenston: "The furthest back records are those of 1700" (George Forsyth, Esq., Session Clerk).

Tarbolton: "The records are in the Register House, Edinburgh" (F. K. Macpherson, Esq., Session Clerk).

Kilwinning: "No reference is found to the Highland Host in the records" (Andrew Speir, Esq.).

Kilmarnock: "I can find no trace in our records of the presence of the Highland Host in our district" (M. Robertson, Esq., Session Clerk).

Ardrossan Kirk: "The first Kirk-Session Book is begun in 1691" (Alexander Wood, Esq.).

Dunlop: "There is no record here relating to the Highland Host" (Rev. James Symon).

Muirkirk: "The records are almost undecipherable, but seem to contain nothing on the Highland Host" (John HaIIiday, Esq.).

Mauchline: "The Records go back only to x692, when the parish was created" (Rev. D. C. Lyell).

Dalrymple: "We have no Session Records further back than 1798" (G. A. Leach, Esq.).

Ochiltree: "We have no trace in our Session Minute Book of the presence of the Highland Host in Ochiltree" (Arch. Andrew, Esq., Session Clerk).

Coylton: "The earliest record in our Kirk-Session books commences in the year 1700" (J. Smith, Esq., Session Clerk).

Dalmellington: "Our records are wanting from 1666 to 1690 or '91" (Rev. George S. Hendrie).

Friedensheim: "The Session Records of this parish previous to 1845 have long since disappeared" (Robert Marshall, Esq.).

Barr: "There are no Session Records at Barr prior to 1781" (Rev. George Dods).

Monkton and Prestwick: "The records contain nothing relating to the Highland Host" (James Lockhart, Esq.).

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