Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hackston, David

HACKSTON or HALKERSTONE DAVID (d. 1680), covenanter, was sprung from the Hackstons or Halkerstones of Rathillet, in the parish of Kilmany, Fifeshire. 'It is not known whether he was born at the family seat. The records of the kirk-session do no go back so far' (New Statistical Account of Scotland, ix. 539). In his youth he is said to have been a profligate, but a 'field preaching' led him to cast in his lot with the covenanters, and he became one of their most trusted leaders. He was asked to lead the party which had resolved to assassinate Archbishop Sharp, but declined 'upon account of a difference subsisting betwixt Sharp and him in a civil process, wherein he judged himself to have been wronged by the primate, which deed he thought would give the world ground to think it was rather out of personal pique and revenge, which he professed he was free of' (Scots Worthies). He agreed, however, to stand by the rest and take the consequences. Accordingly he sat at some distance on his horse, with his cloak about his face, while, led by Balfour of Burley [see under Balfour, John], the others despatched Sharp (3 May 1679). He now fled into the west country, and took part in drawing up and publishing 'The Declaration and Testimony of the true Presbyterian Party in Scotland,' which was affixed to the market cross of Rutherglen on 29 May 1679, the anniversary of the Restoration. He was one of the leaders of the covenanters at the battle of Drumclog on 1 June 1679, and again at the battle of Bothwell Bridge. A reward of ten thousand merks was now offered for his apprehension, and he was obliged to keep in hiding. At length on 22 July 1680 he and a number of others were surprised by a body of dragoons at Aird's Moss in Ayrshire. A skirmish ensued in which the covenanters were worsted, and Hackston, after fighting bravely, was taken prisoner. He was carried to Edinburgh, was condemned, and on 30 July 1680 was executed there with sickening cruelty and barbarity.

[Wodrow's Hist. of the Sufferings; Cobbett's State Trials, x. 791 et seq. ; Howie's Scots Worthies.]

T. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.143
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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423 ii 34 Hackston, David: for Scottish read Cobbett's