Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Chapter XXXVI


THE Indulgence was meant by its projectors to be a bone of contention and a snare to the Presbyterians. It proved to be so, inasmuch as it separated the clergy into two antagonistic parties-the indulged and the non-indulged. The people for the most part adhered, and that with more steadfastness than ever, to those ministers who declined to purchase ease and comparative comfort, by sacrificing an iota of what they deemed to be the imprescriptible rights of the Church. Conventicles, in house and field, as a consequence, increased; and to crush them, and punish their frequenters, the whole machinery of a merciless Government was set in operation. Among the many other means adopted for these ends, landlords were required to enter into bonds pledging themselves that neither their families, domestic tenants, nor the servants of their tenants, nor any one residing on their land, should attend the ministry of the proscribed preachers, or in any way give them countenance. "We cannot possibly come tinder such stipulations," pleaded a body of the proprietors before the Privy Council. "By the Lord Jehovah! you must and shall!" retorted Lauderdale, as the savage significantly bared his arms above the elbows; and, to assist him in making his threat good, eight thousand armed Highlanders were let loose upon the fertile districts of the south and west. This locust-like host ravaged the country for three months; and on being recalled, the other soldiers raised by the Government took their place, emulating them in rapacity, surpassing them in the art of hunting down the wandering occupants of the hills and glens.

An additional pretext for violence was unhappily supplied by the assassination of Sharpe on the 3rd of May, 1679-the deed of a few zealots, for which the Covenanters generally ought not to have been held responsible. The blame of it was, however, thrown upon the whole party; and a testing question was based upon it, which increased the inquisitorial resources of the military. If, when a suspected individual was asked, "Do you consider the killing of Archbishop Sharpe murder?" a negative answer was given, or no answer at all, he was dragged to prison, or summarily despatched. At length the patience of the persecuted sufferers gave way, and they resolved once more to give armed resistance to their rulers. On the 29th of May in the same year, the anniversary of the Restoration, a band of eighty armed Covenanters entered Rutherglen, extinguished the bonfires lighted in honour of royalty, burned the Acts of Council by which Episcopacy was established, and finished their demonstration by affixing to the Market Cross of the town a written document repudiating and condemning all the tyrannical doings of the Government in Scotland during the existing King's reign.

These daring acts were correctly looked upon by the Privy Council as a declaration of war; and they, nothing loath, commissioned John Graham of Claverhouse to take up the gauntlet on their behalf, feeling assured that he would make short work with the rebels. Claverhouse had already proved his fitness for such a task. After serving some time with distinction in the Dutch army, he returned to his native country, at the age of thirty-five, to become policeman-general over the disaffected districts, and gain transitory rewards and deathless infamy, by punishing the bodies of his poor fellow-countrymen when he failed by threat and fine to enslave their souls. The Council soon saw that he was admirably adapted for their purposes; he was so cool, self-reliant, unscrupulous, and cruel. An impression to the same effect is conveyed by the two authentic portraits that have been preserved of the notorious cavalier: one representing him when quite a youth, and comparatively unknown; the other when in the prime of manhood, and raised to the peerage as Viscount Dundee. An unmistakable dourness is visible in the first of these likenesses: the curl of the upper lip-the mouth compressed-the nostrils distendedthe troubled, anxious, almost sorrowful, expression thrown over the face-impress the beholder unfavourably, in spite of the regularity and graceful outline of the features. This portrait gives us the idea that lie must have been cold, reserved, proud, and pitiless before the age of puberty was reached. The youth is "Bonnie Dundee" in embryo-handsome, yet sinister and unattractive; and the impression conveyed by the other picture, though in some degree different, is of the same general kind. The countenance is rather softer, if anything, and is equally sad and haughty; the lower part of the face, however, having become heavy without any trace of that effeminacy of which Sir Walter Scott speaks, except in the mouth, which is small as compared with the colossal nose, indicative of the possessor's energy and power. Scott's mental sketch of the man may be fittingly subjoined:- "Profound in politics, and imbued, of course, with that disregard for individual rights which its intrigues usually generate, this leader was cool and collected in danger, fierce and ardent in pursuing success, careless of facing death himself, and ruthless in inflicting it upon others." [Old Mortality, chap. xii.] This is, on the whole, a fair outline of Graham's character, as indicated by his portraits, and as exemplified during his ten years of military misrule over the west and south of Scotland.

In a letter dated Moffat, December 28th, 1678, Claverhouse thus announced his arrival in Dumfriesshire to his commanderin-chief, the Earl of Linlithgow:-" My Lord,-I came here last night with the troop, and am just going to march for Dumfries, where I resolve to quarter the whole troop. I have not heard anything of the dragoons, though it is now about nine o'clock, and they should have been here last night, according to your lordship's orders. I suppose they must have taken some other route. I am informed since I came that this County has been very loose. On Tuesday was eight days, and Sunday, there were great field-conventicles just by here, with great contempt of the regular clergy; who complain extremely that I have no orders to apprehend anybody for past demeanours. And besides that, all the particular orders I have being contained in that order of quartering, every place where we quarter must see them, which makes them fear the less. I am informed that the most convenient posts for quartering the dragoons will be Moffat, Lochmaben, and Annan; whereby the whole County will be kept in awe. Besides that, my lord, they tell me that the end of the bridge of Dumfries is in Galloway, and that they may hold conventicles at our nose, [and] we dare not dissipate them, seeing our orders confine us to Dumfries and Annandale. Such an insult as that would not please me; and, on the other hand, I am unwilling to exceed orders: so that I expect from your Lordship orders how to carry in such cases." [We are indebted for this and other letters of Claverhouse to Mark Napier's Memoirs of Viscount Dundee.  ]

The impatient trooper, as we learn from another of his letters, was soon at work. Before his arrival, some of the Dumfries Covenanters and others occasionally met for worship during winter in a large building on the Galloway side of the Nith ; and he having received ample license to act in the Stewartry as well as in Dumfriesshire, arranged with the Steward for the demolition of the meeting-house ; with what success, is reported by him in the following terms:- "I must acknowledge," he says, by way of prelude, " that till now, in any service that I have been in, I never inquired farther in the laws than the orders of my superior officers." "After," he proceeds to say, "I had sent the Council's orders to the Stewart-Depute, he appointed Friday last, the third of January, for the demolishing the meeting-house, and that I should bring with me only one squad of my troop. He brought with him four score of countrymen, all fanatics, for they would not lay to their hands till we forced them. Everybody gave out that house for a byre; but when they saw that there was no quarter for it, and that we Lady Laurieston, but found them not. There is almost nobody lays in their bed that knows themselves any ways guilty within forty miles of us ; and within a few days I shall be upon them, three score of miles at one bout, for seizing on the others contained in the order."

Before Claverhouse "came down like a wolf on the fold," conventicles could be held with less risk in the vicinity of Dumfries. Great gatherings for worship frequently took place in the elevated and secluded districts of Terregles, Dunscore, and Irongray. No fewer than seventeen out of the nineteen ministers forming the Presbytery of Dumfries, refused to take the oath of supremacy in 1662; and, after being driven from their parishes, several of them continued to preach, in temples of Nature's own construction, to hearers who followed them thither, even as the flocks of Eastern lands follow wherever the' faithful shepherd leads. Among these outed clergy the most distinguished, if not the most devoted, was John Welsh of Irongray, who, it will be remembered, took part in the Pentland rising. Preach he would, and did almost daily, in fearless defiance of the persecutors, who would fain have gagged him in the Bass, or silenced him in the grave. Skeoch-hill, which rears its rugged crest in the moorlands of Irongray, about eight miles from Dumfries, is especially associated with the ministrations of Welsh; as, in a spacious recess half way up the eminence, on a Sabbath day in the summer of 1678, he preached and dispensed the Lord's supper to more than three thousand persons. This place was selected for the services because of its peculiar adaptation for them, as well as its seclusion. With materials already on the spot, a table for the elements, and sitting accommodation were furnished; and the country people still point out, with reverential interest, the rows, four in number, of large, flat, oblong whinstones on which the emblematic bread and wine were laid, and the boulders round about that served as seats for the communicants. Towards the close of the services an alarm was raised, by sentinels posted on neighbouring heights, that the military were in sight. Mr. Blackadder, formerly of Troqueer, who preached the closing discourse, paused for a few minutes, and no doubt a feeling of anxiety crept over the women and children present, but none of the worshippers offered to leave the scene of danger; and prompt preparations were made by Alexander Gordon of Earlston, [Descended from Alexander Gordon of Airds, the pioneer of the Reformation in Dumfriesshire and Galloway.] and other military gentlemen, to repel force by force. A resort to arms was fortunately not required; the troopers, who, according to Blackadder, consisted simply of "servitors" belonging to the Earl of Nithsdale [This was John, seventh Lord Herries, who, upon the death of Robert, second Earl of Nithsdale, without issue, succeeded to the earldom in 1678.] and Sir Robert Dalzell of Glenae, discreetly riding away in peace, and allowing the exercises to be closed without further disturbance. Consecrated by no ordinary rites are these Communion Stones of Irongray; hallowed memorials are they of a heroic witnessing time-meet monuments of John Welsh and its other worthies, tried and true.

Had Claverhouse been in Dumfries when this gigantic conventicle was held, he would scarcely have shrunk from attacking it; and he would at all events have done his best to seize some of the "fellows," "rogues," and "villains" - as he was accustomed to call the Covenanters - who had ventured to be present. Yet, in spite of his sleepless vigilance and his merciless system of repression, the hill-side congregations were never entirely put down; and, wonderful to relate, after he had been about four months in Dumfries, the very prison of the town was turned into a treasonable Presbyterian meeting-house, "under his very nose." This "great abuse" was attributed by Captain Graham to the laxity of the magistrates, to whom he pays an ironical compliment, which they could not have merited had they not been of a different stamp than their predecessors in the time of Sir James Turner. Claverhouse thus complained to his superior officer on the subject:- "There is here in prison a minister, was taken above a year ago by my Lord Nithsdale, and by the well-affected magistrates of this [town], has had the liberty of an open prison; and more conventicles have been kept by him there, than has been in any one house in the kingdom. This is a great abuse; and if the magistrates be not punished, at least the man ought not to be suffered any longer here, for that prison is more frequented than the kirk. If your lordship think fit, he may be sent in with the rest."

It will be recollected that John Irving was chosen chief magistrate in 1660. For thirteen years afterwards, he and another member of the Irving family bad a monopoly of the provostship; but, in 1674, William Craik of Duchrae, a moderate Presbyterian, was called to that office, and continued in it till 1678, when David Bishop, a gentleman of similar views, succeeded him for a short period, Mr. Craik again becoming provost in 1679, when Claverhouse visited the town. From such a man as Duchrae the Covenanters would receive something more than toleration: hence the remonstrance of Claverhouse against the indulgence shown to them by "the well-affected magistrates" of Dumfries.

Though the Burgh authorities in 1679 were suspected of disloyalty by Claverhouse, some of their predecessors kept on good terms with his persecuting colleagues and subordinates. The Provost, Bailies, and Convener had frequent convivial meetings with the officers, who with whetted swords and on fleet-limbed steeds scoured the neighbouring district; and it is most melancholy to reflect, that sometimes the very men who were one day boozing merrily over the blood-red wine in Dumfries with its burghal rulers, were the next busily employed in slaughtering their innocent countrymen, on the hills and moors around. In the treasurer's accounts, under date 9th January, 1669, when John Irving was still Provost, the following entry occurs:- "Dew by the magistrates in company with Sir Robert Dalzell, Patrick Nisbett, Robert Moorhead, and Birkhill, with severall uther gentlemen, the haill magistrats being present with severall of the counseil at the admitting of the said Patrick Nisbett, burges, twelf pynts of seek, quhereoff ther was 4 unce of sugyar to ilk pynt of eleven of the said pyntes, and the uther but [without] sugyar, with twa shortbreid, and 3 sh. for tobacco and pypes, 28 15." [Burgh Treasurer's Accounts] This Nisbet, thus feasted and honoured, became soon after a notorious persecutor, as the gravestones erected at Fenwick and elsewhere, over his martyred victims, still attest. [Cloud of Witnesses, p. 427]

We quote one other illustrative entry from the same record. Mistress Rome, who kept the town's tavern in 1687, charged the subjoined account against the Council that year:- "Spent with Lieutenant-Colonell Windram, Captaine Strauchane, Captain Bruce, Leivetenant Lauder, Leivetenant Livingstone, six pynts of wyne, with tobacco and pypes, 6 9s. 4d." Here is a pretty batch of blood-stained bacchanalians-convened, perhaps, to arrange over their cups for some fresh raid against the children of the Covenant. Of many cruel deeds Livingstone and Lauder were guilty; and the above tavern-score contrasts curiously with the rude elegy in St. Michael's churchyard over the remains of James Kirko, who was shot dead on the Dumfries Sands in Julie, 1685, at the bidding of one of the convivialists:

"By bloody Bruce and wretched Wright
I lost my life, in great despite;
Shot dead without due time to try
And fit me for eternity:
A witness of prelatic rage
As ever was in any age."

The remaining two of the same party, Windram and Strachan, met just two years before, under very different circumstances: the scene not a cozy Dumfries change-house, but the wild beach of Blednoch Bay; their object not to quaff the flowing bowl, but to drown two feeble women, a hoary matron and a girl of tender years, beneath the ravenous ocean tide, Lag and David Graham assisting them in their murderous work. [The reader will at once see that the reference here is to the martyrdom of Margaret Maclachlan and Margaret Wilson, in the water of Blednoch, near Wigtown, on the 11th of May, 1685.] Had magistrates of the Craik or Corsane stamp ruled the Burgh at this period, they would have scorned to sit at the same board with such infamous men as these.

During all these " troublous times," too, the anniversary of the tyrant King's birth and restoration (both of which fell on the 29th of May) was celebrated in jovial style by the very loyal magnates of the Burgh. Fancy can catch the echo of their fulsome toasts, and the flash of their festal fires, in such prosaic business entries as the following:- "29th May, 1672. - At the bonfyre at the Croce, nyne quarts of wyne, 18; item, at the bonfyre before the provest's gate, 3 quarts, 6 ; It., at the treasurer's direction to the peit leaders, and spent in his company, 9s.; the night after the bonfyres, with Carnselloch, Alexander Dowglas of Penzerie, Mr. Jon Crichton, and the clerk, three chopins of wyne; and that night, with Mr. Cairncross [the curate], Mr. Mair and his wife, thrie chopins of wyne; and 1s. 8d. for tobacco and pypes, is, together, 3 1s. 8d. [Tavern and other charges, as given in the Town Treasurer's Books.] 29th May, 1678. - Payed for 2 duzon and a half of glassis broken at the crosse, at 6 pence a peic, 9; paid to the offichers that day 4s.; for ringing the bell, 12s."

Claverhouse, as has been stated, was summoned by the Privy Council to take action against the Covenanters of Lanarkshire, when, on the 29th of May, 1679, they published their defiant Declaration at Rutherglen. In that very month, a measure that had been carried by Sharpe in the Council, a few days before his death, received the royal assent, which gave power not only to judges, but to the officers of all the forces "to proceed against all such who go with any arms to those field meetings, as traitors"-in other words, to put them to death without further warrant. Possessed of such ample powers, and placed at the head of a strong military force, Graham entered the revolted districts of the West, and had just begun his destructive work, when he learned that preparations had been made for holding a conventicle on a great scale, in the neighbourhood of Loudon hill. Hurrying forward from Glasgow with a troop of horse, and two companies of dragoons, he found the male worshippers of the assembly, to the number of a hundred and fifty foot, armed with halberds, forks, and such like rude weapons, fifty musketeers, and fifty horse, drawn up in battle array, ready to repel force by force. Claverhouse, eager for the fray, and confident that he would scatter the insurgents like chaff, attacked them with characteristic impetuosity. How he must have been chafed, when the "fanatics" he had despised, after steadily returning the fire of his troops, crossed an intervening swamp, and fell with such resistless force upon them, that they reeled, broke, and fled!

This Covenanting victory was won on Sabbath, the 1st of June; but, a short fortnight afterwards, the Royalists, at Bothwell Bridge, under the Duke of Monmouth, [He was the King's natural son, and had previously married the heiress of Buccleuch.] far more than made up for their defeat at Drumclog. In the one instance, proof was given of what a few brave men, firmly united, can do ; in the other, numbers, courage, and enthusiasm availed nothing in ranks already divided by jealousy and dissension. The chief bone of contention with the Covenanters in the latter case was the Indulgence-that artfully concocted measure, which proved of more service to the Royalist commander than a reinforcement of three thousand men. Welsh was the chief of the moderate party; and among others at the battle, belonging to the district, were M'Clellan of Barscobe, Gabriel Semple, and Alexander Gordon, younger of Earlston, [The house of Earlston stands on the banks of the Ken, at a short distance above the village of Dalry, with the wood of Airds in its immediate vicinity.] The elder Mr. Gordon, ignorant of the defeat of the insurgents, was hastening to join them, when he was seized by a party of Royalist dragoons, and by them put to death. In all, four hundred Covenanters fell on the field ; twelve hundred were made prisoners, of whom only a few, thanks to Monmouth's clemency, were sent to the scaffold, and the rest were banished to Barbadoes. Terrible and crushing though the fight was, its remote results were perhaps even more disastrous-it being made ever afterwards, till the Revolution, an ensnaring test and a new pretext for spoliation and violence.

Hitherto the suffering Presbyterians had made no open war against King Charles; but in the summer of 1680 the famous " Queensferry Paper," prepared by Donald Cargill, was extensively signed; the subscribers thereby declaring their rejection of the King, and those associated with him, because they had "altered and destroyed the Lord's established religion, overturned the fundamental laws of the kingdom, and changed the civil government of this land, which was by a king and free parliament, into tyranny." They further, in conclusion, entered into a bond for the mutual defence of their natural, civil, and religious rights-a bond never to be broken "till," they declared heroically and hopefully, "we shall overcome, or send them down under debate to posterity, that they may begin where we end." Cargill, enfeebled by age, was unfitted to embody this bold manifesto in deeds; that was done by the young Joshua of the movement, Richard Cameron, when, on the following 22nd of June (anniversary of the defeat at Bothwell), the remarkable Declaration penned by him was published by his brother and a few adherents in the burgh of Sanquhar-meet place for such a testimony against the tyrant King, since it was, says Dr. Simpson, the "centre of a spacious martyr field, every parish around it except one having been the scene of a Christian martyrdom."

On the morning of that day a band of twenty armed horsemen descended from their haunt among the neighbouring hills, rode leisurely down the principal street of the town; and having reached the Market Cross, they there, in the hearing of the inhabitants, solemnly pronounced the doom of dethronement on Charles Stuart. With all due formality and the utmost deliberation, they performed an act which made them amenable to torture and death. It was the deed of a daring-we shall not say a desperate body of men, impelled by conscience to proclaim openly-on the house-tops, as it were-what they thought of the despotic monarch and his deeds. They saw wickedness rampant in the high places of the land-the representative of Scotland's royal house proving a recreant to the trust reposed in him, trampling on the spiritual rights of the people, and in matters civil setting the very leges regnandi at nought. On account of these things, they said, the land mourned; and they deemed it part of God's controversy with them that they had not disowned the perjured King long ago. But, though meriting such treatment, his power was still unbroken: he was surrounded by a strong army which protected him, by a clique of crafty statesmen who confirmed him in his course, and by a mob of servile courtiers who regaled the royal nostrils with the incense of adulation.

" Come what may, and hold silent who list, we must and will publish the truth of this cruel King, protest against his misdeeds, and proclaim in the face of heaven that lie has forfeited his claim to the throne and to our allegiance." So saying, and under the influence of such sentiments, the little Cameronian band issued their manifesto, declaring that Charles Stuart, who had " been reigning, or rather tyrannizing, on the throne of Britain these years bygone," had forfeited " all right, title to, or interest in the crown of Scotland," and proclaiming war against the "tyrant and usurper, and all the men of his practises, and against all such as have strengthened him, sided with, or anywise acknowledged any other in like usurpation and tyranny." There was high moral sublimity in the uttering of this document. Brimful of treason it might be deemed by the upholders of the Government; but a few years afterwards the sentiments it embodied became the gospel of a new political dispensation, and were transformed into fact when, in 1688, William, Prince of Orange, acted out the bold, true words of his forerunner, Richard Cameron.

The men who had thus bravely spoken at the Market Cross of Sanquhar, knew well also how bravely to do and die. Returning to the hills once more, they rejoined their comrades; and the party, learning that soon after Bruce of Earlshall, with a troop of horse, was searching for them, resolved to make what resistance they could. The Cameronian force, numbering some sixty-three men, was attacked by Bruce at Ayrsmoss, near Cumnock, overpowered by superior numbers, and killed or scattered; the heroic founder of the sect, and author of the Declaration, falling among the slain.

During the occurrence of these aggravated troubles, the resources of the country were exhaustively drawn upon to uphold the military instruments of the dragonnade. Dumfriesshire, as one of the chief seats of the disaffected, had to bear a heavy share of the burden. Extracts have already been given from the minutes of the County Commissioners, showing that the task imposed upon them, at an earlier stage of the Persecution, was both difficult and exorbitant; we subjoin a few additional notices to the same effect dated after Bothwell Bridge. On the 26th of October, 1679, the Commissioners gave force to an Act of the Privy Council ordaining the Sheriffdom of Wigtown and Stewartry of Kirkcudbright to pay locality to the forces under the command of the Earl of Linlithgow, conform to their valuation with Dumfriesshire; and they found, from a list given in by the Laird of Earlshall, Lieutenant to Claverhouse, and Mr. Dalmahoy, quartermaster to the King's guard of horse, that they had to provide locality for sevenscore and ten horse, whereof the one half was the King's guard aforesaid. On the 25th of June in the following year, the Commissioners ordained "forty-eight horses to be provided out of the Parish of Dumfries and Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, with graith for the carriage of the baggage, &c., of his Majesty's force through this country." On the 3rd January, 1681, a letter from the Privy Council was considered, ordering a garrison of thirty horse to be furnished with all due requisites at the Castle of Dumfries. The magistrates of the Burgh were accordingly recommended "to sight the stables and assist in provyding what may be useful, and to furnish the hie rooms of the Castle with beds and dales, and caus the windows to be fitted up with divots." A few weeks afterwards the collector and clerk were appointed to proportion upon the several parishes in the Sheriffdom of Nithsdale, Stewartry of Annandale, and Five Kirks of Eskdale, "ane month's locality for sixty horses, more or fewer, as shall happen to be in the garrison."

On the 27th of January, Claverhouse was again sent by the Privy Council with a troop of guards " to punish all disorders, disturbance of the peace, and church irregularities in Kirkcudbright, Annandale, Wigton, and Dumfries." That he might carry on his murderous work under some colour of law, he was made Sheriff of Wigtownshire in room of Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw, a devoted Covenanter, who had been deprived of his office because he refused to subscribe the subservient oath called the Test, which had been framed by the Parliament of the preceding year. The letters written by " Sheriff"' Graham to the Marquis of Queensberry, the King's Commissioner in Scotland, breathe relentless hostility towards the scattered Presbyterians, and show his determination to put them down as a party at all risks, and without a scruple of remorse; though, of course, it would be absurd to expect to find in them minute particulars regarding his modes of action, or a list of those who perished through his means by weariness, hunger, exposure to the elements, or by the bullets of his dragoons. Of that black catalogue there is no transcript in the letters of the persecutor or full copy in the books of the Privy Council; though doubtless "the recording angel" has taken a note of their sufferings, and history, aided by tradition, has to some extent embalmed their names and given them to imperishable honour.

Claverhouse wrote as follows from New Galloway a few weeks after the beginning of his raid:-" The country hereabouts is in great dread. Upon our march yesterday most men were fled, not knowing against whom we designed. . . . My humble opinion is, that it should be unlawful for the donators to compound with anybody for behoof of the rebel till once he have made his peace. For I would have all footing in this country taken from them that will stand out. And for securing the rents to the donators and the Crown, it is absolutely necessary there be a fixed garrison in Kenmure, instead of Dumfries ; for without it, I am now fully convinced, we can never secure the peace of this country, nor hunt these rogues from their haunts. . . . I sent yesterday two parties in search of those men your lordship gave me a list of-one of them to a burial in the Glencairn, the other to the fair at Thornhill. Neither of them are yet returned : but Stenhouse tells me that the party at the burial miscarried; that he pointed out to them one of the men, and they took another for him, though I had chosen a man to command the party that was born thereabout. They shall not stay in this country, but I shall have them."

At first Claverhouse occupied the mansion belonging to Sir John Dalrymple of Stair, and a humbler dwelling in Kirkcudbright possessed by Sir Robert Maxwell; he afterwards, as is indicated by the above letter, made Kenmure Castle his headquarters. "My Lady [Kenmure] told me," he said, in reporting to Queensberry on the subject, "if the King would bestow two or three hundred pounds to repair the house, she would be very well pleased his soldiers came to live in it." Accordingly, on the 1st of November, after Claverhouse had warned the noble owner of the Castle to " make it raid and void," he took up his residence there, and it became thenceforth the chief citadel of the infamous sheriffship exercised by him in Galloway and Nithsdale.

His principal colleagues were Colonel James Douglas, brother of the Duke of Queensberry, Sir Robert Grierson of Lag, Sir Robert Dalziel, Sir Robert Laurie of Maxwelton, Sir James Johnstone of Westerhall, Captain Inglis, and Captain Bruce ; all of whom, by their activity and zeal against the Covenanters, proved that they were worthy of the persecuting commissions entrusted to them. It is right to add, however, that Colonel Douglas afterwards forsook his party, and served with distinction under William Ill.; and that he is said to have bitterly lamented the cruelties of which he had been the agent.

Return to Book Index


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus