The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 10/Memoirs of Captain John Creichton
FROM HIS OWN MATERIALS.
DRAWN UP AND DIGESTED BY
FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1731.
THE PRINTER'S ADVERTISEMENT.
WHEN Dr. Swift was at sir Arthur Acheson's, at Markethill, in the county of Armagh, an old gentleman was recommended to him, as being a remarkable cavalier in the reigns of Charles II, James II, and William III; who had behaved with great loyalty and bravery in Scotland during the troubles of those reigns, but was neglected by the government, although he deserved great rewards from it. As he was reduced in his circumstances, Dr. Swift made him a handsome present; but said at the same time, "Sir, this trifle cannot support you long, and your friends may grow tired of you; therefore I would have you contrive some honest means of getting a sum of money, sufficient to put you into a way of life of supporting yourself with independency in your old age." To which captain Creichton (for that was the gentleman's name) answered, "I have tired all my friends, and cannot expect any such extraordinary favours." Then Dr. Swift replied, "Sir, I have heard much of your adventures; that they are fresh in your memory; that you can tell them with great humour; and that you have taken memorandums of them in writing." To which the captain said, "I have; but no one can understand them but myself." Then Dr. Swift rejoined, "Sir, get your manuscripts, read them to me, and tell me none but genuine stories; and then I will place them in order for you, prepare them for the press, and endeavour to get you a subscription among my friends, as you may do among your own." The captain soon after waited on the dean with his papers, and related many adventures to him; which the dean was so kind as to put in order of time, to correct the style, and make a small book of, entitled, The Memoirs of Captain John Creichton. A subscription was immediately set on foot, by the dean's interest and recommendation, which raised for the captain above two hundred pounds, and made the remaining part of his life very happy and easy.
TO THE READER.
THE author of these Memoirs, captain John Creichton, is still alive, and resides in the northern part of this kingdom. He is a very honest and worthy man, but of the old stamp; and it is probable that some of his principles will not relish very well in the present disposition of the world. His memoirs are therefore to be received like a posthumous work, and as containing facts, which very few alive, except himself, can remember: upon which account, none of his generous subscribers are, in the least, answerable for many opinions, relating to the publick, both in church and state, which he seems to justify; and in the vindication of which, to the hazard of his life, and the loss of his fortune, he spent the most useful part of his days. Principles, as the world goes, are little more than fashion; and the apostle tells us, that "the fashion of this world passeth away." We read with pleasure the memoirs of several authors, whose party we disapprove, if they be written with nature and truth. Curious men are desirous to see what can be said on both sides; and even the virulent flat relation of Ludlow, though written in the spirit of rage, prejudice, and vanity, does not want its advocates. This inclines me to think, that the memoirs of captain Creichton may not be unacceptable to the curious of every party; because, from my knowledge of the man, and the testimony of several considerable persons, of different political denominations, I am confident, that he has not inserted one passage or circumstance, which he did not know, or, from the best intelligence he could get, believe to be true.
These Memoirs are therefore offered to the world in their native simplicity. And it was not with little difficulty, that the author was persuaded by his friends to recollect and put them in order, chiefly for his own justification, and partly by the importunity of several eminent gentlemen, who had a mind that they should turn to some profit to the author.
The captain, having made over all his little estate to a beloved daughter, upon her marriage, on the condition of being entertained in her house for the small remainder of his life, has put it out of his own power, either to supply his incidental wants, to pay some long contracted debts, or to gratify his generous nature in being farther useful to his family: on which accounts, he desires to return his most humble thanks to his worthy subscribers; and hopes they will consider him no farther than as an honest, well meaning man, who, by his own personal courage and conduct, was able to distinguish himself, under many disadvantages, to a degree, that few private lives have been attended with so many singular and extraordinary events.
Beside the great simplicity in the style and manner of the author, it is a very valuable circumstance, that his plain relation corrects many mistaken passages in other historians, which have too long passed for truths; and whoever impartially compares both, will probably decide in the captain's favour: for, the memory of old men is seldom deceived, in what passed in their youth and vigour of age: and if he has, at any time, happened to be mistaken in circumstances of time or place (with neither of which I can charge him) it was certainly against his will. Some of his own personal distresses and actions, which he has related, might be almost the subject of a tragedy.
Upon the whole, comparing great things to small, I know not any memoirs that more resemble those of Philip de Comines (which have received so universal approbation) than these of captain Creichton; which are told in a manner equally natural, and with equal appearance of truth, although, I confess, upon affairs in a more obscure scene, and of less importance.
THE former part of my life having been attended with some passages and events, not very common to men of my private and obscure condition, I have (perhaps induced by the talkativeness of old age) very freely and frequently communicated them to several worthy gentlemen, who were pleased to be my friends, and some of them my benefactors. These persons professed themselves to be so well entertained with my story, that they often wished it could be digested into order, and published to the world; believing that such a treatise, by the variety of incidents, written in a plain unaffected style, might be, at least, some amusement to indifferent readers; of some example to those who desire strictly to adhere to their duty and principles; and might serve to vindicate my reputation in Scotland, where I am well known; that kingdom having been the chief scene of my acting, and where I have been represented, by a fanatick rebellious party, as a persecutor of the saints, and a man of blood.
Having lost the benefit of a thorough school education, by a most indiscreet marriage in all worldly views, although to a very good woman; and in consequence thereof, being forced to seek my fortune in Scotland as a soldier, where I forgot all the little I had learned, the reader cannot reasonably expect to be much pleased with my style, or methods or manner of relating; it is enough, if I never wilfully fail in point of truth, nor offend by malice or partiality. My memory, I thank God, is yet very perfect as to things long past; although, like an old man, I retain but little of what has happened since I grew into years.
I am likewise very sensible of an infirmity in many authors, who write their own memoirs, and are apt to lay too much weight upon trifles: which they are vain enough to conceive the world to be as much concerned in as themselves; yet I remember that Plutarch, in his lives of great men (which I have read in the English translation) says, that the nature and disposition of a man's mind may be often better discovered by a small circumstance, than by an action or event of the greatest importance. And besides, it is not improbable that gray hairs may have brought upon me a vanity, to desire that posterity may know what manner of man I was.
I lie under another disadvantage, and indeed a very great one, from the wonderful change of opinions, since I first made any appearance in the world. I was bred under the principles of the strictest loyalty to my prince, and in an exact conformity in discipline, as well as doctrine, to the church of England; which are neither altered nor shaken to this very day; and I am now too old to mend. However, my different sentiments, since my last troubles after the Revolution, have never had the least influence either upon my actions or discourse. I have submitted myself with entire resignation, according to St. Paul's precept, "to the powers that be." I converse equally with all parties, and am equally favoured by all; and God knows, it is now of little consequence what my opinions are, under such a weight of age and infirmities, with a very scanty subsistence, which, instead of comforting, will hardly support me.
But there is another point, which requires a better apology than I am able to give: a judicious reader will be apt to censure me (and I confess with reason enough) as guilty of a very foolish superstition in relating my dreams, and how I was guided by them with success, in discovering one or two principal covenanters. I shall not easily allow myself to be, either by nature or education, more superstitious than other men: but I take the truth to be this: being then full of zeal against enthusiastical rebels, and better informed of their lurking holes than most officers in the army, this made so strong an impression on my mind, that it affected my dreams, when I was directed to the most probable places, almost as well as if I had been awake, being guided in the night by the same conjectures I had made in the day. There could possibly be no more in the matter; and God forbid I should pretend to a spirit of divination, which would make me resemble those very hypocritical saints, whom it was both my duty and inclination to bring to justice, for their many horrid blasphemies against God, rebellions against their prince, and barbarities toward their countrymen and fellow Christians.
My great-grandfather, Alexander Creichton, of the house of Dumfries, in Scotland, in a feud between the Maxwells and the Johnstons (the chief of the Johnstons being the lord Johnston, ancestor of the present marquis of Annandale) siding with the latter, and having killed some of the former, was forced to fly into Ireland, where he settled near Kinard, then a woody country, and now called Calidon: but within a year or two, some friends and relations of those Maxwells who had been killed in the feud, coming over to Ireland to pursue their revenge, lay in wait for my great-grandfather in the wood, and shot him dead, as he was going to church. This accident happened about the time that James the Sixth of Scotland came to the crown of England.
Alexander, my great-grandfather, left two sons, and as many daughters; his eldest son John lived till a year or two after the rebellion in 1641. His house was the first in Ulster set upon by the Irish, who took and imprisoned him at Dungannon; fortunately making his escape, he went to sir Robert Stuart, who was then in arms for the king, and died in the service.
This John, who was my grandfather, left two sons, Alexander, my father, and a younger son, likewise named John; who being a child, but two or three years old at his father's death, was invited to Scotland by the lady Dumfries, there educated by her, and sent to sea: he made several voyages to and from Barbadoes, then settled in Scotland, where he died some time after the Restoration, leaving, beside a daughter, one son; who, at my charges, was bred up a physician, and proved so famous in his profession, that he was sent by her late majesty queen Anne to cure the king of Portugal of the venereal disease. He had a thousand pounds paid him in hand, before he began his journey; but when he arrived at Lisbon, the Portuguese council and physicians dissuaded that king from trusting his person with a foreigner. However his majesty of Portugal showed him several marks of his esteem, and, at parting, presented him with a very rich jewel, which he sold afterward for five hundred guineas. He staid there not above six weeks; during which time, he got considerable practice. After living many years in London, where he grew very rich, he died November 1726, and, as it is believed, without making a will; which is very probable, because, although he had no children, he left me no legacy, who was his cousin-german, and had been his greatest benefactor by the care and expense of his education. Upon this matter, I must add one circumstance more, how little significant soever it may be to others. Mr. archdeacon Maurice being at London, in order to his journey to France on account of his health, went to visit the doctor, and put him in mind of me, urging the obligations I had laid upon him. The doctor agreed to send me whatever sum of money the archdeacon should think reasonable, and deliver it to him on his return from his travels; but unfortunately the doctor died two or three days before the archdeacon came back.
Alexander, my father, was about eighteen years old in 1641. The Irish rebellion then breaking out, he went to captain Gerard Irvin, his relation, who was then captain of horse, and afterward knighted by king Charles the Second. This gentleman, having a party for the king, soon after joined with sir Robert Stuart in the county of Donegal; where, in the course of those troubles, they continued skirmishing, sometimes with the Irish rebels, and sometimes with those of the English parliament, after the rebellion in England began; till at length captain Irvin and one Mr. Stuart were taken prisoners, and put in gaol in Derry; which city was kept for the parliament against the king, by sir Charles Coote. Here my father performed a very memorable and gallant action, in rescuing his relation captain Irvin, and Mr. Stuart. I will relate this fact in all its particulars, not only because it will do some honour to my father's memory, but likewise because, for its boldness and success, it seems to me very well to deserve recording.
My father having received information, that sir Charles Coote, governor of Derry, had publickly declared, that captain Irvin and his companions should be put to death, within two or three days, communicated this intelligence to seven trusty friends; who all engaged to assist him, with the hazard of their lives, in delivering the two gentlemen from the danger that threatened them. They all agreed that my father, and three more, at the hour of six in the morning, when the west gate stood open, and the drawbridge was let down for the governor's horses to go out to water, should ride in, one by one, after a manner as if they belonged to the town, and there conceal themselves in a friend's house till night; at which time my father was to acquaint captain Irvin and his fellow-prisoner with their design, which was to this purpose: That, after concerting measures at the prison, my father should repair to a certain place on the city wall, and give instructions to the four without, at twelve at night: accordingly, next morning, as soon as the gate was open, my father, with his three comrades, got into the town, and the same night having settled matters with the two gentlemen, that they should be ready at six next morning, at which hour he and his three friends should call upon them; he then went to the wall, and directed the four, who were without, that as soon as they should see the gate open, and the bridge drawn, one of them should walk up to the sentry, and secure him from making any noise, by holding a pistol to his breast; after which, the other three should ride up, and secure the room where the by-guard lay, to prevent them from coming out: most of the garrison were in their beds, which encouraged my father and his friends, and much facilitated the enterprise: therefore, precisely at six o'clock, when the by-guard and sentry at the western gate were secured by the four without, my father and the other three within being mounted on horseback, with one spare horse, in the habit of town's people, with cudgels in their hands, called at the gaol door, on pretence to speak to captain Irvin, and Mr. Stuart. They were both walking in a large room in the gaol, with the gaoler, and three soldiers attending them; but these not suspecting the persons on horseback before the door, whom they took to be inhabitants of the town, my father asked captain Irvin, whether he had any commands to a certain place, where he pretended to be going; the captain made some answer, but said they should not go before they had drank with him; then giving a piece of money to one of the soldiers, to buy a bottle of sack at a tavern a good way off, and pretending likewise some errand for another soldier, sent him also out of the way. There being now none left to guard the prisoners but the gaoler, and the third soldier; captain Irvin leaped over the hatch door, and as the gaoler leaped after, my father knocked him down with his cudgel. While this was doing, Mr. Stuart tripped up the soldier's heels, and immediately leaped over the hatch. They both mounted, Stuart on the horse behind my father, and Irvin on the spare one, and in a few minutes came up with their companions at the gate, before the main guard could arrive, although it were kept within twenty yards of the gaol door.
I should have observed, that as soon as captain Irvin and his friend got over the hatch, my father and his comrades put a couple of broad swords into their hands, which they had concealed under their cloaks, and at the same time drawing their own, were all six determined to force their way against any who offered to obstruct them in their passage; but the dispatch was so sudden, that they got clear out of the gate, before the least opposition could be made. They were no sooner gone, than the town was alarmed, Coote, the governor, got out of his bed, and ran into the streets in his shirt, to know what the hubbub meant, and was in a great rage at the accident. The adventurers met the governor's groom, coming back with his master's horses from watering; they seized the horses, and got safe to sir Robert Stuart's, about four miles off, without losing one drop of blood in this hazardous enterprise.
This gallant person (if I may so presume to call my father) had above twenty children by his wife Anne Maxwell, of the family of the earl of Nithsdale, of whom I was the eldest; they all died young, except myself, three other boys, and two girls; who lived to be men and women. My second brother I took care to have educated at Glasgow, but he was drowned at two and twenty years old, in a storm, on his return to Ireland. The other two died captains abroad, in the service of king William.
I was born on the eighth day of May, 1648, at Castle-Fin in the county of Donegal. I made some small progress in learning at the school of Dungannon; but when I was eighteen years old, I very inconsiderately married Mrs. Elizabeth Delgarno, my schoolmaster's daughter, by whom I have had thirteen children, who all died young, except two daughters, married to two brothers James and Charles Young, of the county of Tyrone.
Having been so very young when I married, I could think of no other course to advance my fortune, than by getting into the army. Captain Irvin, often mentioned already, had a brother who was a physician at Edinburgh, to whom he wrote in my favour, desiring he would recommend me to the marquis of Atholl and others, then at the head of affairs in Scotland; this was in the year 1674. There were then but one troop of horse-guards (whereof the marquis was colonel) and one regiment of foot-guards, commanded by the earl of Linlithgow, in that kingdom; and they consisted chiefly of gentlemen.
Dr. Irvin, physician to the horse-guards, accordingly presented me to the marquis of Atholl, requesting that I might be received into his troop. His lordship pretending there was no vacancy, was, by the doctor threatened, in a free jesting manner, with a dose of poison, instead of physick, the first time he should want his skill; "Weell, weell then," quoth the marquis, "what is your friend's name?" "Deel tak' me," answered the doctor, "gin I ken;" whereupon I was called in, to write my name in the roll. I was then ordered to repair to the troop at Stirling, with directions to lieutenant colonel Cockburn, the commanding officer, to put me into which of the four squadrons, whereof the troop consisted, he thought fit. He thereupon placed me in his own, and appointed me my quarters.
Soon after this, the conventicles growing numerous in the west, several parties were drawn out to suppress them; among whom I never failed to make one, in hopes thereby to be taken notice of by my commanders: for I had nothing to recommend me, except my activity, diligence, and courage, being a stranger, and born out of that kingdom.
My first action, after having been taken into the guards, was, with a dozen gentlemen more, to go in quest of mas David Williamson, a noted covenanter; since, made more famous in the book, called the Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence. I had been assured that this Williamson did much frequent the house of my lady Cherrytree, within ten miles of Edinburgh; but when I arrived first with my party about the house, the lady, well knowing our errand, put Williamson to bed to her daughter, disguised in a woman's nightdress. When the troopers went to search in the young lady's room, her mother pretended that she was not well; and Williamson so managed the matter that when the daughter raised herself a little in the bed, to let the troopers see her, they did not discover him, and so went off disappointed. But the young lady proved with child; and Williamson, to take off the scandal, married her in some time after. This Williamson married five or six wives successively, and was alive in the reign of queen Anne; at which time, I saw him, preaching in one of the kirks at Edinburgh. It is said that king Charles the Second, hearing of Williamson's behaviour in lady Cherrytree's house, wished to see the man that discovered so much vigour while his troopers were in search of him: and in a merry way, declared, that when he was in the royal oak, he could not have kissed the bonniest lass in Christendom.
Some time after this, Thomas Dalziel, general of the forces in Scotland, an excellent soldier, who had been taken prisoner at the famous battle of Worcester, and sent prisoner to the tower, escaping from thence into Muscovy, was made general to the czar: and returning home, after the Restoration, was preferred, by the king, to be general of the forces in Scotland; in which post he continued till his death, which happened a little before the Revolution. This general commanded fifty of the foot-guards, with an ensign, to accompany me, and to follow my directions, in the pursuit of a notorious rebel, one Adam Stobow, a farmer in Fife, near Culross. This fellow had gone through the west, endeavouring to stir up sedition in the people, by his great skill in canting and praying. There had been several parties sent out after him, before I and my men undertook the business; but they could never discover him. We reached Culross at night, where I directed the ensign and all the men to secure three or four rebels, who were in the place, while I, with two or three of the soldiers to assist me, went to Stobow's house, about a mile and a half from Culross, by break of day, for fear some of his friends might give him notice. Before I got to the house, I observed a kiln in the way, which I ordered to be searched, because I found there a heap of straw in the passage, up to the kiln pot. There I found Stobow lurking, and carried him to Culross, although his daughter offered me a hundred dollars to let him go. We returned immediately to the general at Edinburgh, with Stobow and the prisoners taken by the ensign at Culross. They continued a while in confinement, but Stobow, at his trial, found friends enough to save his life, and was only banished; yet he returned home a year after, and proved as troublesome and seditious as ever, till, at the fight at Bothwell bridge, it was thought he was killed, for he was never heard of afterward.
During the time I was in the guards, about two years after the affair of mas David Williamson, at the lady Cherrytree's, I was quartered with a party at Bathgate, which is a small village, twelve miles from Edinburgh. One Sunday morning, by break of day, I and my comrade, a gallant highland gentleman, of the name of Grant, went out disguised in gray coats and bonnets, in search after some conventicle. We travelled on foot, eight or ten miles into the wild mountains, where we spied three fellows on the top of a hill, whom we conjectured to stand their as spies, to give intelligence to a conventicle, when any of the king's troopers should happen to come that way. There they stood, with long poles in there hands, till I and my friend came pretty near, and then they turned to go down the hill: when we observed this, we took a little compass, and came up with them on the other side; whereupon they stood still, leaning on their poles. Then I bounced forward upon one of them, and suddenly snatched the pole out of his hand, asked him why he carried such a pole on the Lord's day, and at the same time knocked him down with it. My comrade immediately seized on the second, and laid him flat by a gripe of his hair; but the third took to his heels, and ran down the hill. However, having left my friend to guard the two former, I overtook the last, and felled him likewise: but the place being steep, the violence with which I ran carried me a good way down the hill, before I could recover myself after the stroke I had given; and by the time I could get up again to the place where he lay, the rogue had got on his feet, and was fumbling for a side pistol, that hung at his belt, under his upper coat; which as soon as I observed, I fetched him to the ground a second time with the pole, and seized on his pistol; then leading him up to the other two, I desired my friend to examine their pockets, and see whether they carried any powder or ball; but we found none.
We then led our prisoners down the hill, at the foot of which there was a bog, and on the other side a man sitting on a rock; when we advanced near him, leaving our prisoners in the keeping of my friend, I ran up toward the man, who fled down on the other side. As soon as I had reached the top of the rock, there appeared a great number of people assembled in a glen, to hear the preaching of mas John King, as I understood afterward; whose voice was so loud, that it reached the ears of those who were at the greatest distance, which could not, I think, be less than a quarter of a mile; they all standing before him, and the wind favouring the strength of his lungs. When my friend had brought the three prisoners to the top of the rock, where I waited for him, they all broke loose, and ran down to the conventicle; but my friend advancing within about forty yards of that rabble, commanded them in his majesty's name to depart to their own homes. Whereupon about forty of their number, with poles in their hands, drew out from the rest, and advanced against us two, who had the courage, or rather the temerity, to face so great a company, which could not be fewer than a thousand. As this party of theirs was preparing with their long poles to attack me and my friend, it happened very luckily, that a fine gelding, saddled and bridled, with a pillion likewise upon him, came up near us in search of better grass; I caught the horse, and immediately mounted him, which the rest of the conventiclers observing, they broke up, and followed as fast as they could, some on horseback, and the rest on foot, to prevent me from going off with the horse; but I put him to the gallop, and suffering him to choose his own way through the mountain, which was full of bogs and hags, got out of reach. My friend kept up with me as long as he could, but having run a mile through such difficult places, he was quite spent, and the conventiclers hard at his heels; whereupon he called to me for assistance, and I alighting put him upon the horse, bidding him to make the best of his way to the laird of Poddishaw's about two miles off. By this time we saw twelve covenanters on horseback, who advanced toward us by a shorter cut, and blocked up a gap, through which we were of necessity to pass. I undertook to clear the gap for my friend, and running toward the rogues, with my broad sword and pistol, soon forced them to open to the right and left: my comrade got through, and was pursued a good way; but he so laid about him, with his broad sword, that the pursuers, being unarmed, durst not seize him. In the mean time, I, who was left on foot, kept the covenanters, who followed me, at a proper distance; but they pelted me with clods, which I sometimes returned, till at last, after chasing me above a mile, they saw a party of troopers in red, passing by, at some distance; and then they gave over their pursuit.
The troopers observing my friend galloping and pursued, imagined he was some fanatick preacher, till they came to an old woman on a hill, whom my friend had desired to deny his being gone that way; upon which they went off to their quarters, and he got safe to Poddishaw's, whither I soon after arrived. The laird of Poddishaw had been that day at church; from whence, returning with the laird of Pocammock, who lived about a mile off, they both wondered how the horse got thither: for Pocammock was the owner of the horse, and his lady had rode on it that day to the conventicle, without her husband's knowledge, having been seduced thither by some fanatick neighbours, for she had never been at their meetings before. My friend and I acquainted the two lairds of the whole adventure of that day: and after dinner, Pocammock requested to let him have the horse home, thereby to stifle any reflection his lady might bring upon him, or herself, by going to a conventicle; he likewise invited us to dine next day at his house, where the horse should again be delivered to me, as justly forfeited by the folly of his wife. We went accordingly with the laird of Poddishaw, and dined at Pocammock's: where the horse was ordered to be led out into the court, in the same accoutrements as I found him the day before: but observing the lady in tears, I told her, that if she would give me her promise never to go to a conventicle again, I would bestow her the horse, and conceal what had passed; she readily complied, and so the matter was made up. However, the laird her husband assured me that no horse in Scotland should be better paid for; and being a leading man in the country, and his lady discovering the names of those who had been at the conventicle, he sent for them, and persuaded them, as they valued their quiet, to make up a purse for me and my friend, which they accordingly did; and we both lived plentifully a twelvemonth after, on the price of that horse.
This adventure, making much noise at Edinburgh, was the occasion of my being sent for up thither by the marquis of Atholl my colonel, who in a very friendly manner expostulated with me upon my rashness; as indeed he had too much reason to do; neither was I able to say any thing in my own justification. However, since what I had done discovered my loyalty for my prince, my zeal for the church, and my detestation of all rebellious principles; his lordship ever after gave me many marks of his friendship.
Accordingly, these services gave me so much credit with the general, that he promised to apply to the government, in my favour, for some preferment in the army, upon the first opportunity, which happened about a year afterward. For the seditious humours in the west still increasing, it was thought proper, that three independent troops of horse, and as many of dragoons, should be raised to suppress the rebels. Whereupon Mr. Francis Stuart, grandson to the earl of Bothwell, a private gentleman in the horse-guards like myself, and my intimate acquaintance, was sent for, in haste, by the general; because the council of Scotland was then writing to the king, that his majesty would please to grant commissions to those persons whose names were to be sent up to London, that very night. Mr. Stuart gave me notice of this: whereupon, although I was not sent for, I resolved to go up with him to Edinburgh, and solicit for myself. When I arrived there, and attended the general, his first question was in a humourous manner, "Wha the deel sent for you up?" I answered, that I hoped his excellency would now make good his promise, of preferring me, since so fair an opportunity offered at present. On this occasion the general stood my firm friend; and although the sons and brothers of lords and baronets, and other persons of quality solicited to be made lieutenants and cornets in these new raised troops, yet the general, in regard to my services, prevailed with the council, that I might be appointed lieutenant to Mr. Stuart, who was then made captain of dragoons.
Soon after this, the archbishop of St. Andrew's was murdered by the laird of Hackston and Balfour, assisted by four poor weavers. Hackston, before this horrid action, was reputed an honest and gallant man; but his friendship for his brother-in-law Balfour drew him in to commit this inhuman murder. Balfour, who had been the archbishop's chamberlain (for so in Scotland we call a great man's steward) whether by negligence or dishonesty, was short in his payments to his lord; and the fear of being called to an account was a principal motive to assassinate his master: however, he pretended likewise a great zeal for the kirk, whereof he looked upon the archbishop as the greatest oppressor. It is certain, that the lower people mortally hated the archbishop, on pretence that his grace had deserted their communion: and the weavers who were accomplices of Balfour, believed they did God service in destroying an enemy of the kirk; and accordingly all the murderers were esteemed and styled saints, by that rebellious faction.
After the murder of the archbishop, several parties in the west took up arms, under the leading of Robert Hamilton, second son to sir William Hamilton, of Preston, the unworthy son of a most worthy father: whereupon the council met, and sent for Graham, then laird of Clavers, afterward created viscount Dundee by king James the Seventh. This noble person was, at that time, captain of one of those independent troops of horse, which, as I have already mentioned, were raised before the murder of the archbishop. The council therefore ordered him to march with a detachment of one hundred and twenty dragoons, and a lieutenant, with his own troop, in pursuit of the rebels. Clavers was obliged not to open his commission, until he came in sight of them. In his march he took mas John King, one of their principal preachers. Clavers carried King along, until he came in sight of the enemy, at Drumclog, eight miles from Hamilton. There the preacher was guarded by a dragoon sentry, at a little cabin, on the top of the hill, while Clavers opening his commission, found himself commanded to fight the rebels, let their number be ever so great, with those hundred and twenty dragoons.
But before I proceed to tell the issue of this affair, I must digress a little upon the subject of mas John King, above-mentioned. When I was in the guards, some time after I had missed Williamson at lady Cherrytree's house; the government hearing that this John King was beginning to hold his conventicles not far from Stirling, where the troop of horse then lay, ordered the commanding officer there to send a party out to take him, and bring him up to the council. I was pitched upon, with a small detachment, to perform this service. I went to my lord Cadrosse's house, to whose lady King was chaplain; there I took him and delivered him to the council. This preacher had gotten the lady's woman with child, about four or five months before, and it is supposed, had promised her marriage, provided the lady would stand his friend in his present distress; whereupon she was so far his friend, as to get him bailed, on her engaging, he should hold no more conventicles: however, he went to the hills, and there preached the people to arms; and in several towns, as Kirkcudbright, Lanerk, and Sanquehar in particular, in company with Cameron, set up declarations on the market crosses against the king, whom he excommunicated, with all his adherents. Thus he continued till Clavers took him at Drumclog, as is abovementioned, where he got off again, until I took him a third time, after the battle of Bothwell bridge, which shall be related in its proper place.
The rebels at Drumclog were eight or nine thousand strong: their leader, as I have said before, was Robert Hamilton, second brother to the loyal house of Preston, but a profligate, who had spent all his patrimony. There were likewise among them the lairds of Knockgray and Fruah, with many other gentlemen of fortune, whose names I have forgot. Clavers's men, with the addition of some few that came in to him, did not exceed one hundred and eighty; yet, pursuant to his orders, he was forced to fight the enemy; but being so vastly outnumbered, was soon defeated, with the loss of cornet Robert Graham, and about eight or ten private troopers. The rebels finding the cornet's body, and supposing it to be that of Clavers, because the name of Graham was wrought in the shirt neck, treated it with the utmost inhumanity, cutting off the nose, picking out the eyes, and stabbing it through in a hundred places.
Clavers, in his flight toward Hamilton and Glasgow, rode a horse that trailed his guts for two miles, from the place where the engagement happened; but overtaking his groom with some led horses, he mounted one of them, and with the remains of his small army escaped to Glasgow. The rebels, pursuing as far as Hamilton, advanced that evening within a mile of Glasgow, where they encamped all night. As Clavers was marching after his men up the hill, where he had left mas John King under the guard of a dragoon (who ran off with the first that fled) King, in a sneering way, desired him to stay, and take his prisoner with him.
The rebels being thus encamped within a mile of Glasgow, Clavers commanded his men in the town to stand to their arms all night; and having barricadoed the four streets, to prevent the rebels horse from breaking in, ordered me, at sun rise, to march with six dragoons, and discover which way the rebels intended to come into the town. I must here observe, that I, with captain Stuart's troop of dragoons, and a battalion of the foot guards, remained at Glasgow, while Clavers marched to Drumclog, where he was defeated. But to return; I followed the directions which were given me, and having discovered the enemy from a little eminence, I was ordered by Clavers, who came to me there, to watch at a small house, where the way divided, and see which of the roads they would take, or whether they separated, and each party took a different way. I stayed until I saw them take two different roads; some by that from whence I came from the town, which was over the Gallowgate bridge, and the rest by the high church and college, which was more than twice as far as the first party had to come, and consequently could not both meet at the same time within the town. This was a great advantage to Clavers, and his little army. That party of the rebels which took Gallowgate bridge road, followed me close to the heels, as I returned to inform Clavers what course they took.
The broad street was immediately full of them, but advancing toward the barricade, before their fellows, who followed the other road, could arrive to their assistance, were valiantly received by Clavers and his men, who firing on them at once, and jumping over the carts and cars that composed the barricade, chased them out of the town; but were quickly forced to return, and receive the other party; which, by that time, was marching down by the high church and college; but when they came within pistol shot, were likewise fired upon, and driven out of the town. In this action many of the rebels fell, but the king's party lost not so much as one man.
The townsmen being too well affected to the rebels, concealed many of them in their houses; the rest who escaped, met and drew up in a field behind the high church, where they stayed until five in the afternoon, it being in the month of May, and from thence marched in a body to the same place where they were in the morning, about a mile off the town. Clavers and his men, expecting they would make a second attack, and discovering by his spies whither they were gone, marched after them; but, upon sight of our forces, the rebels retired with a strong rear guard of horse to Hamilton; whereupon Clavers returned, and quartered that night in Glasgow.
Next morning, the government sent orders to Clavers to leave Glasgow, and march to Stirling, eighteen miles farther; and three days after, he was commanded to bring up his party to Edinburgh. As soon as he quitted Glasgow, the rebels returned, and having stayed in that town eight or ten days, encamped on Hamilton moor, within a mile of Bothwell bridge, where it was said that their numbers were increased to fourteen thousand; although bishop Burnet, in his History of his Own Times, most falsely and partially affirms, that they were not more than four thousand, or thereabout.
The council, finding the rebels daily increasing in their numbers, gave information thereof to the king; whereupon his majesty sent down the duke of Monmouth, with a commission, to be commander in chief, and to take with him four troops of English dragoons, which were quartered on the borders: but these, with the forces in Scotland, amounted not to above three thousand. Upon the duke's being made commander in chief, general Dalziel refused to serve under him, and remained at his lodgings in Edinburgh, till his grace was superseded, which happened about a fortnight after.
The army was about four miles forward, on the road toward Hamilton, when the duke of Monmouth came up with his English dragoons, on Saturday the 21st of June: from thence the whole forces marched to the kirk of Shots, within four miles of the rebels, where they lay that night. The next morning he marched the army up an eminence, opposite to the main body of the enemy, who were encamped on the moor.
The general officers, the earl of Linlithgow, colonel of the foot-guards, the earl of Mar, colonel of a regiment of foot, Clavers, the earl of Hume, and the earl of Airley, all captains of horse, the marquis of Montrose, colonel of the horse-guards (Atholl having been discarded) Dalhousie, with many other noblemen, and gentlemen volunteers, attending the duke together, desired his grace to let them know which way he designed to take to come at the enemy; the duke answered, it must be by Bothwell bridge. Now the bridge lay a short mile to the right of the king's army, was narrow, and guarded with three thousand of the rebels, and strongly barricadoed with great stones; but, although the officers were desirous to have passed the river, by easy fords, directly between them and the rebels, and to march to their main body on the moor, before those three thousand, who guarded the bridge, could come to assist them; yet the duke was obstinate, and would pass no other way than that of the bridge.
Pursuant to this preposterous and absurd resolution, he comnmanded captain Stuart (whose lieutenant I was) with his troop of dragoons, and eighty musqueteers, together with four small fieldpieces, under cover of the dragoons, to beat off the party at the bridge: the duke himself, with David Lesly and Melvill, accompanied us, and ordered the fieldpieces to be left at the village of Bothwell, within a musketshot of the bridge: when the duke and his men came near the bridge, the rebels beat a parley, and sent over a laird accompanied with a kirk preacher. The duke asking what they came for? was answered, "That they would have the kirk established in the same manner as it stood at the king's restoration, and that every subject should be obliged to take the solemn league and covenant." The duke told them, their demand could not be granted, but sent them back to tell their party, that if they would lay down their arms, and submit to the king's mercy, he would intercede for their pardon.
While this parley lasted, the fieldpieces were brought down, and planted over against the bridge, without being perceived by the rebels. The messengers returned in a short time, with this answer: "That they would not lay down their arms, until their conditions were granted them:" whereupon the dragoons and musqueteers fired all at once upon those who guarded the bridge, and the fieldpieces played so warmly, that some hundreds of the rebels were slain: the rest flying to the main body, on the moor.
The duke, as soon as he had commanded to fire, retired into a hollow, from the enemies shot, some say by the persuasion of Lesly and Melvill, and continued there till the action was over. Then captain Stuart ordered the musqueteers to make way for the horse to pass the bridge, by casting the stones into the river, which had been placed there to obstruct the passage over it; but the army could not pass in less than five hours; and then marched up in order of battle toward the enemy, who waited for them on the moor, confiding in the great superiority of their number. Clavers commanded the horse on the right, and captain Stuart the dragoons on the left. The fieldpieces were carried in the centre of the footguards, while the rest of the officers commanded at the head of their men; and the duke, after the enemy was beaten from the bridge, rode at the head of the army.
Upon the first fire, the rebels horse turned about, and fled upon the right and left; and although the duke ordered his men not to stir out of their ranks to pursue them, yet the army, not regarding his commands, followed the flying rebels, killing between seven and eight hundred, and taking fifteen hundred prisoners. Sir John Bell, provost of Glasgow, as soon as he saw the rebels fly, rode into the town; from whence, in a few hours, he sent all the bread he could find, together with a hogshead of drink to each troop and company in the army, out of the cellars of such townsmen as were found to be abettors or protectors of the rebels.
The cruelty and presumption of that wicked and perverse generation will appear evident from a single instance. These rebels had set up a very large gallows in the middle of their camp, and prepared a cart full of new ropes at the foot of it, in order to hang up the king's soldiers, whom they already looked upon as vanquished and at mercy; and it happened, that the pursuers in the royal army, returning back with their prisoners, chose the place where the gallows stood, to guard them at, without offering to hang one of them, which they justly deserved, and had so much reason to expect. The pursuers were no sooner returned, and the whole action over, than general Dalziel arrived at the camp from Edinburgh, with a commission renewed to be commander in chief, which he received that very morning by an express. This commander having learned how the duke had conducted the war, told him publickly, and with great plainness, that he had betrayed the king; that he heartily wished his commission had come a day sooner, for then, said he, "these rogues should never have troubled his majesty, or the kingdom any more."
Thus the duke was at the same time superseded, and publickly rebuked, before all the army; yet his grace forgot his dignity so far, as to sneak among them at the town of Bothwell (where the forces encamped) until the Saturday following: then all the troops marched back to Glasgow, from whence, in two or three days, they were sent to their several quarters; after which the duke of Monmouth passed by Stirling to Fife to visit the duke of Rothes.
The same evening after the rout on the moor, the prisoners were sent with a strong guard toward Edinburgh. On Sunday morning, when the army was to march to Glasgow, I desired the general's leave to go with twelve dragoons, in search of some of the rebels, who might probably pass the Clyde, about Dunbarton, to shelter themselves in the Highlands. With these dragoons, clad in gray coats and bonnets, I made haste down the side of the river; and about midnight, after travelling twenty-four miles, I came to a church, and while the soldiers stayed to refresh their horses in the churchyard, I spied a country fellow going by, and asked him in his own dialect, "Whither gang ye this time of night?" He answered, "Wha are ye that speers?" I replied, "We are your ane fo'ke:" Upon this the fellow came up, and told me, there were eighteen friends, with horses, at an old castle waiting for a boat to pass over into the isle of Arran. I mounted the man behind one of the dragoons, and went toward the place: but the rebels, not finding a boat, were gone off, and the guide dismissed. There was a great dew on the grass, which directed me and my party to follow the track of their horses, for three or four miles, till the dew was gone off; I then inquired of a cowherd on a hill, whether he saw any of our "poor fo'ke" travelling that way; he answered, that they had separated on that hill, and gone three several ways, six in a party; adding, that in one party there was "a braw, muckle kerl, with a white hat on him, and a great bob of ribands on the cock o't." Whereupon I sent four of my dragoons after one party, four more after another; and myself, with the remaining four, went in pursuit of him with the white hat. As I went forward, I met another cowherd, who told me that the fellow with the hat, and one more (for as the rogues advanced farther into the west, they still divided into smaller parties) were just gone down the hill, to his master's house. The good man of the house returning from putting the horses to grass in the garden, was going to shut the door: whereupon myself and two of the dragoons commanded him, with our pistols at his breast, to lead us to the room where the man lay who wore a white hat. We entered the room, and before he awaked, I took away his arms, and commanded him to dress immediately: then finding his companion asleep in the barn, I forced him likewise to arise, and mounting them both on their own horses, came at nine o'clock in the morning, with my two prisoners, to the other dragoons, at the place where we appointed to meet. From thence we rode straight to Glasgow, and arrived there about eight in the evening, after a journey of fifty miles, since we left the army at Bothwell the day before.
This was upon a Sunday, and although we met with many hundreds of people on the road, yet we travelled on to Glasgow without any opposition. I must here inform the reader, that although I had once before taken this very man, who wore the white hat, yet I did not know him to be mas John King already mentioned, until I was told so by the man of the house where I found him. I likewise forgot to mention, that King, who knew me well enough, as soon as he was taken in the house, entreated me to show him some favour, because he had married a woman of my name; I answered, "That is true, but first you got her with bairn, and shall therefore now pay for disgracing one of my name."
When we arrived near Glasgow, I sent a dragoon to inform the general, that mas John King was coming to kiss his hand: whereupon his excellency, accompanied with all the noblemen and officers, advanced as far as the bridge, to welcome me and my prisoner; where, it is very observable, that Graham, laird of Clavers, who came among the rest, made not the least reproach to mas John, in return of his insolent behaviour when that commander fled from Drumclog. Mas John was sent to Edinburgh next morning, under a guard, and hanged soon after: from hence I went to my quarters in Lanerk, sixteen miles from Glasgow; and about a month after (I hope the reader will excuse my weakness) I happened to dream that I found one Wilson, a captain among the rebels, at Bothwell bridge, in a bank of wood upon the river Clyde. This accident made so strong an impression on my mind, that as soon as I awoke, I took six and thirty dragoons, and got to the place by break of day; when I caused some of them to alight, and go into the wood, and set him up as hounds do a hare, while the rest were ordered to stand sentry, to prevent his escape. It seems I dreamt fortunately, for Wilson was actually in the wood, with five more of his company, as we afterward learned; who all seeing me and my party advancing, hid themselves in a little island on the river, among the broom that grew upon it. Wilson had not the good fortune to escape; for, as he was trying to get out of one copse into another, I met him, and guessing by his good clothes, and by the description I had received of him before, that he was the man I looked for, I seized and brought him to my quarters; and from thence immediately conveyed him to Edinburgh, where he was hanged; but might have preserved his life, if he would have condescended only to say, "God save the king." This he utterly refused to do, and thereby lost not only his life, but likewise an estate worth twenty-nine thousand marks Scots.
For this service, the duke of Queensberry, then high commissioner of Scotland, recommended me to the king, who rewarded me with the gift of Wilson's estate; but, although the grant passed the seals, and the sheriff put me in possession, yet I could neither sell it nor let it; nobody daring, for fear of the rebels, who had escaped at Bothwell bridge, either to purchase or farm it; by which means I never got a penny by the grant; and at the Revolution the land was taken from me and restored to Wilson's heirs.
The winter following, general Dalziel, with a battalion of the earl of Linlithgow's guards, the earl of Airlie's troop of horse, and captain Stuart's troop of dragoons, quartered at Kilmarnock, in the west, fifty miles from Edinburgh. Here the general, one day, happening to look on, while I was exercising the troop of dragoons, asked me, when I had done, whether I knew any one of my men, who was skilful in praying well in the style and tone of the covenanters? I immediately thought upon one James Gibb, who had been born in Ireland, and whom I made a dragoon. This man I brought to the general, assuring his excellency, that if I had raked Hell, I could not find his match for his skill in mimicking the covenanters. Whereupon the general gave him five pounds to buy him a great coat and a bonnet, and commanded him to find out the rebels, but to be sure to take care of himself among them. The dragoon went eight miles off that very night, and got admittance into the house of a notorious rebel, pretending he came from Ireland out of zeal for the cause, to assist at the fight of Bothwell bridge, and could not find an opportunity since, of returning to Ireland with safety; he said he durst not be seen in the day time, and therefore, after bewitching the family with his gifts of praying, he was conveyed in the dusk of the evening, with a guide, to the house of the next adjoining rebel; and thus, in the same manner, from one to another, till in a month's time he got through the principal of them in the west; telling the general, at his return, that whereever he came, he made the old wives, in their devout fits, tear off their biggonets and mutches; he likewise gave the general a list of their names and places of their abode, and into the bargain, brought back a good purse of money in his pocket. The general desired to know how he had prayed among them; he answered, that it was his custom, in his prayers, to send the king, the ministers of state, the officers of the army, with all their soldiers, and the episcopal clergy, all broadside to Hell; but particularly the general himself. What, said the general, did you send me to Hell, sir? Yea, replied the dragoon, you at the head of them, as their leader.
And here I do solemnly aver, upon my veracity and knowledge, that bishop Burnet, in the History of his Own Times, has, in a most false and scandalous manner, misrepresented the action at Bothwell bridge, and the behaviour of the episcopal clergy in Scotland: for, as to the former, I was present in that engagement, which was performed in the manner I have related; and as to the latter, having travelled through most parts of that kingdom, particularly the north and west, I was well acquainted with them, and will take it to my death, that the reverse of this character, which Burnet gives of both, is the truth. And because that author is so unjust to the episcopal clergy, and so partial to the covenanters and their teachers, I do affirm, that I have known several among the latter sort guilty of those very vices wherewith this bishop brands the episcopal clergy. Among many others, I will produce one instance, rather to divert the reader than from any obloquy. One of those eight fanatick teachers who were permitted, at the Restoration, to keep their livings, came to sir John Carmichael's house, within a mile of Lanerk, where I was then upon a visit to sir John. We drank hard till it was late, and all the company retired, except sir John and myself. The teacher would needs give us prayers, but fell asleep before he had half done; whereupon sir John and I, setting a bottle and glass at his nose, left him upon his knees. The poor man sneaked off early the next morning, being, in all appearance, ashamed of his hypocrisy.
To return from this digression. The general sent out several parties, and me with a party among the rest; where, during the winter, and the following spring, I secured many of those whose names and abodes the canting dragoon had given a list of.
In July following, the general, by order of the council, commanded me to go, with a detachment of thirty horse and fifty dragoons, in pursuit of about one hundred and fifty rebels, who had escaped at Bothwell bridge, and ever since kept together in a body, up and down in Galloway. I followed them for five or six days, from one place to another; after which, on the 22d of July, they staid for me at Airs-moss, situate in the shire of Air, near the town of Cumlock. The moss is four miles long from east to west, and two broad. The rebels drew up at the east end, and consisted of thirty horse and one hundred and twenty foot. I faced them upon a rising ground with my thirty horse and fifty dragoons. The reason why the rebels chose this place to fight on, rather than a plain field, was for fear their horse might desert the foot, as they did on Hamilton-moor, near Bothwell bridge: and likewise, that in case they lost the day, they might save themselves by retreating into the moss.
I placed myself on the left, as judging, that the best officer the rebels had would command on the right. The action began about five in the afternoon, but lasted not long; for I ordered my men first to receive the enemy's fire, then to ride down the hill upon them, and use their broadswords: they did so, and before the enemy had time to draw theirs, cut many of them down in an instant; whereupon they wheeled about, and captain Fowler, who commanded the rebels on the right, being then in the rear, advancing up to me, I gave him such a blow over the head with my broad sword, as would have cleaved his scull, had it not been defended by a steel cap. Fowler turning about, aimed a blow at me, but I warded it off, and with a back stroke cut the upper part of his head clean off, from the nose upward.
By this time, the rebels leaving their horses, fled to the moss; but the royalists pursuing them, killed about sixty, and took fourteen prisoners. Here Cameron, the famous covenanter, lost his life; and Haxton was taken prisoner, infamous for imbruing his hands in the blood of the archbishop of St. Andrews, as I have already mentioned; for which parricide, both his hands were afterward cut off, and he was hanged at Edinburgh.
But this victory cost me very dear; for being then in the rear, I rode into the moss after the rebels, where I overtook a dozen of them hacking and hewing one of my men, whose horse was bogged; his name was Elliot, a stout soldier; and one of Clavers's troop. He had received several wounds, and was at the point of being killed when I came to his relief, I shot one of the rogues dead with my carbine, which obliged the rest to let the poor man and his horse creep out of the hole, but at the same time drew all their fury upon myself; for Elliot made a shift to crawl out of the moss, leading his horse in his hand, but was wholly disabled from assisting his deliverer, and was not regarded by his enemies, who probably thought he was mortally wounded, or indeed rather that they had no time to mind him; for I laid about me so fast, that they judged it best to keep off, and not to venture within my reach; till it unfortunately happened, that my horse slipped into the same hole out of which Elliot and his had just got. When they had me at this advantage, they began to show their courage, and manfully dealt their blows with their broadswords, from some of which, the carbine that hung down my back defended me a little. As I was paddling in the hole, the horse not able to get out, one of the rebels ran me through the small of the back with his broadsword, and at the same instant, two more wounded me under the ribs with their small ones. Then I threw myself over the head of my horse, taking the far pistol out of the holster in my left hand, and holding my broadsword in my right; and as one of the villains was coming hastily up to me, his foot slipped, and before he could recover himself, I struck my sword into his skull: but the fellow being big and heavy, snapped it asunder as he fell, within a span of the hilt. The rebels had me now at a great advantage: one of them made a stroke at me, which I warded off with the hilt of the sword that was left in my hand; but the force with which he struck the blow, and I kept it off, brought us both to the ground. However, I got up before him, clapped my pistol to his side, and shot him dead. As soon as this was done, another came behind me, and with some weapon or other, struck me such a blow on the head as laid me flat on my back; in which posture I remained a good while insensible; the rogues taking it for granted that I was dead scoured off, fearing that by this time some of my men were returning back from the pursuit.
After some time, I a little recovered my senses, and strove to lift myself up, which one of the rogues happening to see at some distance, immediately returned, and said in my hearing, "God, the dog is not dead yet;" then coming up to me, took his sword, and putting its hilt to his breast, and guiding it with both his hands, made a thrust at my belly; but my senses were now so far recovered, that I parried the thrust with a piece of the sword which remained still in my hand. The fellow, when he missed his aim, almost fell on his face; for the sword ran up to the hilt in the moss; and as he was recovering himself, I gave him a dab in the mouth, with my broken sword, which very much hurt him: but he aiming a second thrust, which I had likewise the good fortune to put by, and having as before given him another dab in the mouth, he immediately went off, for fear of the pursuers, whereof many were now returning.
In this distress I made a shift, with much difficulty and pain, to get upon my feet, but my right leg being disabled by the wound I received from the broadsword, I was forced to limp by the help of the carbine, which I made use of as a staff. I had lost my horse; for one of the rogues, when I had quitted him in the hole, led him away through the moss. I recovered him about a year after from the man to whom the rebel had sold him: and the said rebel, when he was at the gallows, confessed himself to be the same man who took away the horse at Airs-moss. There was a Lancashire gentleman, one Mr. Parker, who came a volunteer to Airs-moss, with intent, as he expressed himself, to see the sport. This gentleman, riding on my right hand at the time when we received the enemy's fire in the beginning of the action, was shot with a blunderbuss under the left shoulder; the wound was so large that a man might thrust his fist into it: yet when I desired him to fall back, and take care of his wound, he answered me, that he would first have his pennyworth out of the rogues; and accordingly followed us on horseback into the moss, as far as the horse could go without bogging. But, by that time, his wound so grievously pained him, with some other cuts he got in the pursuit, that he was forced to alight and sit on a dry spot of ground which he found in the moss, from whence he saw all that happened to me without being able to come to my assistance, any more than Elliot; who, having gotten to a rising ground, saw likewise all that had passed. However Mr. Parker, as I came limping toward him, could not forbear laughing, and said, "What a plague, have you got your bones well paid too?" Then both of us made a shift to get up to Elliot on the rising ground.
The trumpeter being by this time returned, with some others, from the pursuit, was ordered to sound a call, which brought all the rest back, with the fourteen prisoners and Haxton among the rest, who was that day commander in chief among the rebels. Of the king's party but two were killed, Mr. Andrew Kerr, a gentleman of Clavers's own troop, and one McKabe, a dragoon in captain Stuart's troop, where I was lieutenant. The wounded were about eight or nine, beside Parker and Elliot. Elliot died the next day: he, Kerr, and McKabe, were honourably buried, by Mr. Brown; a gentleman who lived hard by, to whose house their bodies were carried after the fight at the moss. An English lady, living about eight miles off, took care of Mr. Parker, but he died at her house a year after, of his wounds, very much lamented on account of his loyalty and valour.
When the fight was over, night coming on, I ordered all my men, except twelve dragoons, whom I kept to attend myself, to march with the prisoners, and those who were wounded, to Douglas, fourteen miles off, and to carry along with them Cameron's head. In the mean time, I and my party of dragoons went, that night, sixteen long miles to Lanerk, where the general and all the foot quartered; as well to acquaint him with what had been done, as to have my own wounds taken care of. I sent one of my dragoons before me with my message: whereupon the general himself, although it were after midnight, accompanied with the earls of Linlithgow, Mar, Ross, Hume, and the lord Dalhousie, came out to meet me at the gate: Dalhousie forced me to lodge in his own chamber, to which I was accordingly carried by two of my dragoons. After my wounds had been dressed in the presence of this noble company, who stood round about me, being very thirsty through the loss of blood, I drank the king's health, and the company's, in a large glass of wine and water; and then was laid in Dalhousie's own bed.
Next day the general leaving Lanerk, with the forces under his command, ordered a troop of horse and another of dragoons to attend me, till I should be able to travel up to Edinburgh for the better conveniency of physicians and surgeons. My wounds did not confine me to my bed; and in a month's time I went to Edinburgh on horseback by easy stages, where I continued till Candlemas following, lingering of the wound I had received by the broadsword. My surgeon was the son of the same Dr. Irvin who first got me into the guards; but having unfortunately neglected to tie a string to the tent of green cloth, which he used for the wound, the tent slipped into my body, where it lay under my navel seven months and five days, and exceedingly pained me, not suffering me to sleep otherwise than by taking soporiferous pills. When the tent was first missing, neither the surgeon nor any body else ever imagined that it was lodged in my body, but supposed it to have slipped out of the wound while I slept, and carried away by some rat, or other vermin: the tent lying thus in my body, made it impossible that the wound could heal: wherefore, after lingering seven months, by the advice of a gentlewoman in the neighbourhood, I got leave to go for Ireland with my surgeon, and there try whether my native air would contribute any thing to my cure.
However insignificant this relation may be to the generality of readers, yet I cannot omit a lucky accident to which I owe my cure. While I continued at Edinburgh, I ordered some pipes of lead to be made in a mold, through which the thin corruption, which continually issued out of the wound caused by the tent remaining in my body, might be conveyed as through a faucet. These pipes I cut shorter by degrees, in proportion as I imagined the wound was healing at the bottom; till at last, by mistaking the true cause, the tent continuing still where it did, the pipes became too short for the use intended; wherefore, when I was in Ireland, I made a coarse pipe myself, which was long enough: this pipe, after the wound was washed with brandy, always remained in my body till the next dressing; but being made without art, and somewhat jagged at the end, it happened one morning, when the pipe was drawn out as usual, in order to have the wound washed, the tent followed, to the great surprise of my father, who, at that time, was going to dress the wound; my surgeon being then at Castle-Irvin, where I had left him with his brother Dr. Irvin, at sir Gerard Irvin's house; the same gentleman who was delivered out of Derry gaol by my father, as I have related in the beginning of these memoirs.
The night before the tent was drawn out of my body, having not slept a wink, I thought myself in the morning somewhat feverish, and therefore desired my father to send for Dr. Lindsey, to let me blood. In the mean time, slumbering a little, I dreamed that the covenanters were coming to cut my throat; under this apprehension I awaked, and found my neighbour captain Saunderson in my chamber, who was come to visit me. I then called for my father to dress my wound; when the tent followed the pipe, as I have already said, to my great joy, for then I knew I should soon be well. I therefore ordered my horse to be got ready, and rode out with captain Saunderson and my father, to meet Dr. Lindsey, who hearing the joyful news, carried us to a gentleman's house, where we drank very heartily: then I returned home and slept almost four and twenty hours. Two days after, Dr. Irvin and his brother, the surgeon, came to my father's house, where the doctor being informed in the circumstances of my cure, severely chid his brother for his neglect, swearing he had a mind to shoot him, and that, if I had died, my blood would have been charged on his head. He then ordered me a remedy, which would heal up the wound in twenty days. This fell out in the beginning of May; at which time taking leave of my father and other friends in Ireland, I returned to Edinburgh, where, before the end of that month, my wound was perfectly healed up; but I was never after so able to bear fatigues as I had hitherto been.
The duke of York was arrived at Edinburgh the Michaelmas before, where the general, from the time he left Lanerk in July, continued with the guards; the rest of the forces quartered up and down in other places. The general, after my arrival, coming every day to see me, in his way, as he went to the duke's court, did me the honour to mention me and my services to his royal highness, who was desirous to see me; I was admitted to kiss his hand, and ordered to sit down, in regard to my honourable wounds, which would not suffer me to stand, without great pain. I cannot conceal this mark of favour and distinction, shown me by a great prince, although I am very sensible it will be imputed to vanity. I must remember likewise, that upon my return to Edinburgh, happening to overtake the general in the street, and gently touching him, his excellency turning in a great surprise, cried out, "O God, man, are you living?" I answered that I was, and hoped to do the king and his excellency farther service.
After I had continued a month with my friends in Edinburgh, who all congratulated with me upon my recovery, I repaired to the troop at Lanerk, where I often ranged with a party through the west, to find out the straggling remains of the covenanting rebels; but for some time without success, till a week before Christmas, after the duke of York succeeded to the crown, and a year and a half after I was cured. Having drank hard one night, I dreamed that I had found captain David Steele, a notorious rebel, in one of the five farmers houses on a mountain in the shire of Clydesdale, and parish of Lismahego, within eight miles of Hamilton, a place that I was well acquainted with. This man was head of the rebels, since the affair of Airs-moss; having succeeded to Haxton, who had been there taken, and afterward hanged, as the reader has already heard: for, as to Robert Hamilton, who was their commander in chief at Bothwell bridge, he appeared no more among them, but fled, as it was believed, to Holland.
Steele, and his father before him, held a farm in the estate of Hamilton, within two or three miles of that town. When he betook himself to arms, the farm lay waste, and the duke could find no other person, who would venture to take it; whereupon his grace sent several messages to Steele, to know the reason why he kept the farm waste. The duke received no other answer, than that he would keep it waste, in spite of him and the king too: whereupon his grace, at whose table I had always the honour to be a welcome guest, desired I would use my endeavours to destroy that rogue, and I would oblige him for ever.
I must here take leave to inform the reader, that the duke of Hamilton's friendship for me was founded upon the many services he knew I had done the publick, as well as upon the relation I bore to sir Gerard Irvin; the person whom, of all the world, his grace most loved and esteemed, ever since the time they had served in arms together for the king, in the Highlands, with my lord Glencairn and sir Arthur Forbes (father to the present earl of Granard) after the king's defeat at Worcester, during the time of the usurpation.
To return therefore to my story; when I awaked out of my dream, as I had done before in the affair of Wilson (and I desire the same apology I made in the introduction to these memoirs may serve for both) I presently rose, and ordered thirty-six dragoons to be at the place appointed by break of day. When we arrived there, I sent a party to each of the five farmers houses. This villain Steele had murdered above forty of the king's subjects in cold blood; and as I was informed, had often laid snares to entrap me; but it happened, that although he usually kept a gang to attend him, yet at this time he had none, when he stood in the greatest need. One of my party found him in one of the farmers houses, just as I happened to dream. The dragoons, first, searched all the rooms below without success, till two of them hearing somebody stirring over their heads, went up a pair of turnpike stairs. Steele had put on his clothes, while the search was making below: the chamber where he lay was called the chamber of Deese, which is the name given to a room where the laird lies when he comes to a tenant's house. Steele, suddenly opening the door, fired a blunderbuss down at the two dragoons, as they were coming up the stairs; but the bullets, grazing against the side of the turnpike, only wounded and did not kill them. Then Steele violently threw himself down the stairs among them, and made toward the door to save his life, but lost it upon the spot; for the dragoons who guarded the house dispatched him with their broadswords. I was not with the party when he was killed, being at that time employed in searching at one of the other four houses, but I soon found what had happened, by hearing the noise of the shot made with the blunderbuss; from hence I returned straight to Lanerk, and immediately sent one of the dragoons express to general Drummond at Edinburgh.
But I cannot here let pass the death of so brave and loyal a commander, as general Dalziel, without giving the reader some account of him, as far as my knowledge, or inquiry could reach.
Thomas Dalziel, among many other officers, was taken prisoner at the unfortunate defeat at Worcester, and sent to the Tower; from whence, I know not by what means, he made his escape, and went to Muscovy; where the czar then reigning made him his general: but some time after the restoration of the royal family, he gave up his commission, and repairing to king Charles the Second, was, in consideration of his eminent services, constituted commander in chief of his majesty's forces in Scotland; in which post he continued till his death, excepting only one fortnight, when he was superseded by the duke of Monmouth, some days before the action at Bothwell bridge, as I have already related. He was bred up very hardy from his youth, both in diet and clothing. He never wore boots, nor above one coat, which was close to his body, with close sleeves, like those we call jockey coats. He never wore a peruke; nor did he shave his beard since the murder of king Charles the First. In my time, his head was bald, which he covered only with a beaver hat, the brim of which was not above three inches broad. His beard was white and bushy, and yet reached down almost to his girdle. He usually went to London once or twice in a year, and then only to kiss the king's hand, who had a great esteem for his worth and valour. His unusual dress and figure, when he was in London, never failed to draw after him a great crowd of boys, and other young people, who constantly attended at his lodgings, and followed him with huzzas, as he went to court, or returned from it. As he was a man of humour, he would always thank them for their civilities, when he left them at the door, to go in to the king; and would let them know exactly at what hour he intended to come out again, and return to his lodgings. When the king walked in the park, attended by some of his courtiers, and Dalziel in his company, the same crowds would always be after him, showing their admiration at his beard and dress, so that the king could hardly pass on for the crowd; upon which his majesty bid the devil take Dalziel, for bringing such a rabble of boys together, to have their guts squeezed out, while they gaped at his long beard and antique habit; requesting him, at the same time (as Dalziel used to express it) to shave and dress like other Christians, to keep the poor bairns out of danger. All this could never prevail on him to part with his beard, but yet in compliance to his majesty, he went once to court in the very height of the fashion: but as soon as the king and those about him had laughed sufficiently at the strange figure he made, he reassumed his usual habit, to the great joy of the boys, who had not discovered him in his fashionable dress.
When the duke of York succeeded to the crown, general Dalziel was resolved still to retain his loyalty, although, at the same time, he often told his friends, that all things were going wrong at court; but death came very seasonably, to rescue him from the difficulties he was likely to be under, between the notions he had of duty to his prince on one side, and true zeal for his religion on the other.
I must now resume a little my discourse upon captain Steele. Some time before the action in which he was killed, general Drummond, who was then newly made commander in chief, sent for me in haste, to attend him in Edinburgh: my way lay through a very strong pass, hard by Airs-moss, and within a mile of Cumlock: as I was going through Cumlock, a friend there told me, that Steele, with a party, waited for me at the pass. I had with me only one dragoon and a drummer: I ordered the latter to gallop on straight to the pass, and when he got thither, to beat a dragoon march, while I with the dragoon should ride along the by-path, on the edge of the moss. When Steele and his men heard the drum, they scoured cross the by-path, into the moss, apprehending that a strong party was coming in search of them: but either I or the dragoon (I forgot which) shot one of the rebels dead, as he crossed us to get into the moss. To put an end to this business of Steele. When the dragoon, whom I sent express, had delivered his message to general Drummond, he was just setting out for his country house at Dumblain; but returned to his lodgings, and wrote me a letter, that he would send for me up after the holydays, and recommend me to the government, to reward me for my services. He faithfully kept his word, but I received nothing more than promises.
Steele was buried in the churchyard of Lismahego, by some of his friends; who, after the revolution, erected a fair monument, on pillars, over his grave, and caused an epitaph to be engraved on the stone, in words to this effect:
Here lieth the body of captain David Steele, a saint, who was murdered by John Creichton, [with the date underneath.]
Some of my friends burlesqued this epitaph, in the following manner:
Here lies the body of saint Steele,
Murdered by John Creichton, that de'el.
Duke Hamilton, in queen Anne's time, informed me of this honour done to that infamous rebel: and when I had said to his grace, that I wished he had ordered his footmen to demolish the monument, the duke answered, he would not have done so for five hundred pounds, because it would be an honour to me as long as it lasted.
The last summer, about the end of May, if I remember right (and I desire to be excused for not always relating things in the order when they happened) the marquis of Argyle, after having escaped out of the castle of Edinburgh, into Holland, returned to invade Scotland, to support the duke of Monmouth's pretensions to the crown, as was generally believed. He landed in his own country, in the Highlands, with a party of Dutch, and some Scottish gentlemen, who had fled for treason; among whom sir John Cochran was of the greatest note: whereupon the government ordered the marquis of Atholl, and Mr. Owen Cameron, laird of Lochiel, to raise their clans, and march with their party against Argyle. They did so, and, in the evening, pitched their camp close by him. Here in the night, Cameron, patroling with a party, met another of his own men, and taking them for enemies, because they had lost the word in their cups, killed eight or nine; among whom two or three happened to be persons of note; the friends of those who were killed, resolving, if possible, to have him hanged, he was obliged to ride post to the king. He went to his majesty in the dress in which he had travelled; and the king, being already informed how the accident happened, instead of suffering him to tell his story, commanded him to draw his broadsword, intending to knight him therewith: but Cameron could not draw it, because the scabbard had got wet on the way. The king observing the confusion he was in, said, he knew the reason that kept the sword in the sheath; adding that he never failed to draw it, in the service of his father, his brother, and himself: whereupon he was knighted with another sword, with the title of sir Owen Cameron. He returned to Edinburgh, and from thence went as a volunteer, to serve in the standing army, which was then moving toward the coast of Galloway, to prevent Argyle from landing. For, upon the opposition he found from the marquis of Atholl, and his men, with their assistance in the Highlands, he shipped his forces, and sailed round to the west, hoping to land there. But the army moving along the coast, always in sight of him, compelled him to return the way he came, until he landed in his own country again. From thence, after gathering what supplies of men he could, he marched, and encamped in the evening, within two or three miles of Glasgow. But the king's army, having sent out scouts to discover what way he took, encamped over against him the same evening, on an eminence: there being a bog between both armies.
The king's forces consisted of the earl of Linlithgow's regiment of foot-guards, the earl of Mar's of foot, Clavers's of horse, Dunmore's of dragoons, Buchan's of foot, and Levingston's of horse-guards, with some gentlemen of quality, volunteers; among whom the earl of Dunbarton was of the greatest note.
Here the two armies lay in sight of each other; but, before morning, Argyle was gone, his Highlanders having deserted him; and then the king's army went to refresh themselves at Glasgow, waiting till it could be known which way Argyle had fled. It was soon understood that he had crossed the Clyde, at Kilpatrick; and that sir John Cochran lay with a party, in a stonedike park, about ten miles off. The lord Ross was therefore dispatched, with a party of horse, and captain Cleland, who was now my captain (my friend Stuart being dead) with another of dragoons, to find them out: when they came up to the park, where sir John Cochran lay with his Dutch, they fired at one another, and some of the king's soldiers fell, among whom captain Cleland was one; whereupon the troop was given to sir Adam Blair (who was likewise wounded in that rash engagement) although, upon duke Hamilton's application to the king, I had been promised to succeed Cleland. But sir Adam, and secretary Melford, being brothers-inlaw, that interest prevailed.
I must desire the reader's pardon, for so frequently interspersing my own private, affairs with those of the publick; but what I chiefly proposed, was to write my own memoirs, and not a history of the times, farther than I was concerned in them.
Night coming on, the king's party withdrew, leaving sir John Cochran in the park; who, notwithstanding this little success, desired his followers to shift for themselves, and left them before morning. Argyle next evening was found alone, a mile above Greenock, at the waterside, endeavouring to get into a little boat, and grappling with the owner thereof, a poor weaver. It seems he wanted presence of mind, to engage the man with a piece of money, to set him on the other side. In the mean time, sir John Shaw, riding with some gentlemen to Greenock, and seeing the struggle, seized the earl, and carried him to Glasgow, from whence he was sent with a strong guard to Edinburgh, and some time after beheaded.
The next day, the army marched toward the borders against the duke of Monmouth; but an express arriving of his defeat, the troops were commanded to repair to their several quarters.
I shall here occasionally relate an unfortunate accident, which happened this summer in Scotland.
McDonnel, laird of Cappagh in the Highlands, within eight miles of Inverlochy, was unjustly possessed, as most men believed, for many years of an estate, which in right belonged to the laird of Mackintosh. Both these gentlemen were well affected to the king. The laird of Cappagh, after sowing time was over, had gone that summer, as it was his custom, to make merry with his clans, on the mountains, till the time of harvest should call him home. But in his absence, Mackintosh, and his clans, assisted with a party of the army, by order of the government, possessed himself of Cappagh's estate: whereupon McDonnel, and his clans, returning from the mountains, set upon the enemy, killed several gentlemen among them, and took Mackintosh himself prisoner. McDonnel had given strict orders to his men, not to kill any of the army. But captain McKenzie, who commanded on the other side, making a shot at one of McDonnel's men, who was pursuing his adversary, the man, discharging his pistol at the captain, shot him in the knee, who, after having been carried fifty miles to Inverness, to a surgeon, died of his wound.
Soon after, the government ordered me to detach sixty dragoons, with a lieutenant, cornet, and standard, and to march with captain Streighton, and two hundred of the foot-guards, against the McDonnels; to destroy man, woman, and child, pertaining to the laird of Cappagh, and to burn his houses and corn. Upon the approach of our party, McDonnel, laird of Cappagh, dismissing his prisoners, retired farther into the mountains; whereupon we who were sent against him continued to destroy all the houses and corn, from the time of Lammas to the tenth of September: and then we advanced toward the borders, to join the Scotch army, which at that time was marching toward England, against the prince of Orange, who then intended an invasion. We arrived there the first of October, after a march of two hundred miles.
General Drummond being then dead, James Douglas, brother to the duke of Queensberry, succeeded him as commander in chief: and Graham laird of Clavers (about this time created lord Dundee) was major general. On the first of October the army passed the Tweed, and drew up on the banks, on the English side; where the general gave a strict charge to the officers, that they should keep their men from offering the least injury in their march; adding, that if he heard any of the English complain, the officers should answer for the faults of their men; and so they arrived at Carlisle that night.
Next day, general Douglas, by order from the king, marched the foot, by Chester, toward London; and Dundee the horse, by York: at which city he arrived in four or five days. The army did not reach London till about the five and twentieth of October, being ordered, by the contrivance of Douglas the general, to march slow, on purpose that the prince of Orange might land, before the king's forces should grow strong enough to oppose him.
The Scotch army, at this time, consisted of four regiments of foot, one of horse, one of dragoons, one troop of horse-guards; and it was computed, that the earl of Feversham, who was then general of all the king's forces, had under his command, of English, Scotch, and Irish, an army of near thirty thousand men. Soon after the prince's landing, the king went to Salisbury, with a guard of two hundred horse, commanded by the old earl of Airlie, two days before the body of the army came up to him. The earl of Airlie, when he was lord Ogleby, had attended the great marquis of Montrose in all his actions, for king Charles the First and Second. But, at this time, being old, it was reported that he was dead, before the Scotch forces went into England, to oppose the prince of Orange; whereupon the king believing the report, had given his troop in Dundee's regiment to the earl of Annandale. But the earl having overtaken the army at Cambridge, in their march, went on to London, and there presenting himself before king, his majesty was so just and gracious that he immediately restored his lordship to the troop, ordering him at the same time to command those two hundred men who attended him down to Salisbury.
When all the forces were arrived at Salisbury, the earl of Dunmore with his regiment of dragoons (wherein I served) was ordered to a pass three miles below the city, where I commanded the guard that night.
The same morning that the army arrived, the great men about the king, as the lord Churchill, &c. to the number of thirty, advised his majesty to take the air on horseback, intending, as the earl of Dunmore was informed, to give up their master to the prince: but the king, probably suspecting the design, returned in haste to the city. Next night, at a council of war, called to consult what was fittest to be done in the present juncture of affairs, the very same great men swore to stand by his majesty with their lives and fortunes; and as soon as he was gone to rest, mounting on horseback, they all went over to the prince, except the earl of Feversham, Dunbarton, and a very few more: for the earl of Dunbarton going to his majesty, for orders, at four of the clock in the morning, found they were all departed.
Those few who staid with the king advised his majesty to return immediately to London; and the lord Dundee was ordered to bring up the Scotch horse and dragoons, with the duke of Berwick's regiment of horse, to Reading; where he joined Dunbarton with his forces, and continued there nine or ten days. They were, in all, about ten thousand strong. General Douglas, with his regiment of foot guards, passing by Reading, lay at Maidenhead; from whence one of his battalions revoked to the prince, under the conduct only of a corporal, whose name was Kemp. However, Douglas assured the king, that this defection happened against his will; and yet, when the officers were ready to fire upon the deserters, his compassion was such, that he would not permit them.
After this, the earl of Dunbarton, and the lord Dundee, with all the officers who adhered to the king, were ordered to meet his majesty at Uxbridge, where he designed to fight the prince: the earl of Feversham got thither before the king and the army arrived. When the forces drew together, every party sent an officer to the earl of Feversham, to receive his commands. I attended his lordship for my lord Dundee, and was ordered, with the rest, to wait till the king came to dinner, his majesty being expected within half an hour; but it fell out otherwise; for the earl, to his great surprise, received a letter from the king, signifying that his majesty was gone off, and had no farther service for the army. When I carried this news to my lord Dundee, neither his lordship, nor the lords Linlithgow and Dunmore, could forbear falling into tears: after which, being at a loss what course to take, I said to my lord Dundee, that as he had brought us out of Scotland, he should convey us thither back again in a body; adding, that the forces might lie that night at Watford, six miles off: my advice was followed, and I went before to get billets, where to quarter the men. My lord Dundee ordered all to be ready at sound of trumpet, and to unbridle their horses no longer than while they were eating their oats. The townsmen contrived to give out a report, before day, that the prince of Orange was approaching, hoping to fright us away with a fake alarm: whereupon we marched out, but at the same time drew up in a strong enclosure, at the town's end: resolving to fight the prince if he should advance toward us. My lord Dundee dispatched me immediately, to discover whether the report of the prince's approach were true: but I only met a messenger with a letter from his highness, to my lord Dundee, which I received and delivered to his lordship. The contents of it, as far as I am able to recollect, were as follow:
"My lord Dundee,
"I understand you are now at Watford, and that you keep your men together; I desire you may stay there till farther orders, and, upon my honour, none in my army shall touch you.
"W. H. Prince of Orange."
Upon the receipt of this letter, our forces returned into the town, set up their horses, and refreshed themselves. About three in the afternoon, there came intelligence, that the king would be at Whitehall that night, having returned from Feversham; whither he had fled in disguise, and was ill treated by the rabble before they discovered him. Upon this incident, the lords Dundee, Dunmore, Linlithgow, and myself, who desired leave to go with my colonel, took horse; and, arriving at Whitehall a little after the king, had the honour to kiss his majesty's hand.
The next morning, the earl of Feversham was sent by the king, with some proposals to the prince of Orange, who was then at Windsor: where his lordship was put in arrest by the prince's command, who sent the marquis of Halifax, the earl of Shrewsbury, and the lord Delamere (if I rightly remember) to the king, with his highness's order that his majesty should remove from Whitehall, next day, before twelve o'clock. This order was given about one in the morning: at the same time, a barge was brought to Whitehall, and a Dutch guard set about the king, without his knowledge, but with directions to see him safe, if he had a mind to go on board any ship, in order to his escape. A ship, it seems, was likewise prepared, and his majesty, attended by the lords Dunmore, Arran, and Middleton, went on board; and then the three lords returned to London. The prince arrived at St. James's about two hours after his majesty's departure: and the earl of Arran went, among the rest, to attend his highness: to whom being introduced, he told the prince, that the king, his master, had commanded him, upon his departure, to wait upon his highness, and receive his commands. The prince replied, he was glad to see him, and had an esteem for him and all men of honour. Then turning aside to some other persons, who were making their court; Dr. Burnet, soon after made bishop of Salisbury, who had been the earl of Arran's governor, coming up to his lordship, cried, "Ay, my lord Arran, you are now come in, and think to make a merit when the work is done." To this insult the earl, in the hearing of many, replied only, "Come, doctor, we ken ane another weell enough." And the earl's own father told the prince, that if this young fellow were not secured, he would, perhaps, give his highness some trouble. Whereupon this noble young lord was sent to the tower, where he continued about a year, and then returned to Scotland: and soon after, the young lord Forbes, now earl Granard, was likewise imprisoned in the same place. King William had made several advances to his lordship, as he did to many other persons of quality, to engage him in his service; and sending for him one day, asked him, why he did not take care of his regiment? My lord Forbes, not being provided on a sudden with a better answer, told the king, that having been born in Ireland, he had not credit enough, he believed, to raise men to fill up the places of the papists in his regiment. King William thereupon said, he would take that charge upon himself. Lord Forbes, having now recollected himself, said, he had likewise another reason why he found it necessary to decline his service, but was unwilling to mention it, not having the least intention to disoblige his highness. The prince desired that he might do it freely, and it should not disoblige him; whereupon my lord said, that having sworn to retain his loyalty to king James, he could not, in honour and conscience, without his master's permission, enter into the service of another prince, during his majesty's life. Whereupon king William, soon after, thought it proper to send him to the tower; but however, was so generous, as in the time of his confinement, to send one of the clerks of the treasury with an order to pay him two hundred pounds, as very reasonably thinking, that under the loss of his regiment, as well as his rents in Ireland, he might want money to support himself. My lord Forbes having asked the clerk, by whose direction he brought that sum? And the other answering, that he was only ordered to pay the money to his lordship, and to take his receipt, conjectured this present to have proceeded from king William; and therefore desired the clerk to present his most humble respects and thanks to his highness, and to let him know, that as he had never done him any service, he could not, in honour, receive any marks of his bounty.
Upon this subject I must add one more particular, that when my lord Forbes arrived with his regiment out of Ireland, and attended on king James, he advised his majesty to fight the prince upon the first opportunity after his landing, before his party should grow strong: but those about the king, who had already engaged in the other interest, would not suffer that advice to be followed.
I now return to my lord Dundee, and my lord Dunmore. Their lordships acted no longer as colonels, when they understood that the prince intended to place himself on the throne during his majesty's life: but the first, with the twenty-four troopers, who followed him up from Watford, left London, and repaired, with the utmost expedition, to his own castle: and the second, some time after, to Edinburgh, lying both quiet until the convention of the states of Scotland was called.
After their lordships were gone to Scotland, I went to Watford, where my lord Kilsyth, as lieutenant colonel, commanded the lord Dunmore's regiment of dragoons; the rest of the army, which had been there, being gone to other places. Then major general McCoy ordered the lord Kilsyth to march the regiment from place to place, until they should come to Congerton, a town in Cheshire. Here they quartered, when the prince and princess of Orange were proclaimed king and queen of England, &c. by the sheriff and three or four bailiffs. It happened to be a very stormy day; and when the sheriff had done his office, a crackbrained fellow, at the head of a great rabble, proclaimed the duke of Monmouth king, to the great diversion of the regiment, not believing he had been beheaded.
When my lord Dundee refused to serve the prince of Orange, sir Thomas Levingston, of my lord Kilsyth's family, got the regiment. This gentleman was born in Holland, and often used to raise recruits in Scotland; upon which account, he was well known to the regiment. He came down post to Congerton, at supper, told the officers, that he was sent to know, which of them would serve king William, and which would not? Now the oath of allegiance to that prince having not been offered to that regiment, one of the company answered, that we, having sworn allegiance to king James, could not, in conscience and honour, draw our swords against him; whereupon sir Thomas, drinking a health to king James upon his knees, answered, that he wished he might be damned, whenever he should command them to break that oath. And, in order to ingratiate himself farther with the regiment, added, that he would return to London next day, for a command to march them straight to Scotland, where their wives and friends were; and likewise to procure a captain's commission for me, since sir Adam Blair, who commanded the troop in which I was lieutenant, had refused to serve king William; both which he accordingly obtained.
When he returned from London, he marched with the regiment directly through Berwick into Scotland; and as they passed by Edinburgh (the castle whereof was kept for king James by the duke of Gordon) sir Thomas and my lord Kilsyth went into the town, to receive duke Hamilton's command, who was then high commissioner; and some other officers went in at the same time, to see their wives and friends.
The duke asked sir Thomas, where I was? And, being informed that I was gone to Stirling, desired I might be sent for. Upon my attending his grace, he was pleased to say, that he had been always my friend; and that he now had it in his power to provide for me, if I would be true to my trust (for he supposed I had taken the oath to king William) and upon my answer, that I would be true to what I had sworn, the duke replied, it was very well.
Upon this occasion, and before I proceed farther, I think it will be proper, to make some apology for my future conduct; because I am conscious, that many people, who are in another interest, may be apt to think and speak hardly of me: but I desire they would please to consider, that the Revolution was then an event altogether new, and had put many men much wiser than myself at a loss how to proceed. I had taken the oath of allegiance to king James; and having been bred up in the strictest principles of loyalty, could not force my conscience to dispense with that oath, during his majesty's life. All those persons of quality in Scotland to whom I had been most obliged, and on whom I chiefly depended, did still adhere to that prince. Those people whom, from my youth, I had been taught to abhor: whom, by the commands of my superiours, I had constantly treated as rebels; and who consequently conceived an irreconcileable animosity against me; were, upon this great change, the highest in favour and employments. And lastly, the established religion in Scotland, which was episcopal, under which I had been educated, and to which I had always born the highest veneration, was utterly destroyed in that kingdom (although preserved in the other two) and the presbyterian kirk, which had ever been my greatest aversion, exalted in its stead.
Upon all these considerations, I hope every candid reader will be so just to believe, that supposing me in an errour, I acted at least sincerely, and according to the dictates of my conscience; and as it is manifest, without any worldly view: for, I had then considerable offers made me, and in all probability should have been greatly advanced, if I could have persuaded myself to accept them.
Having said thus much to excuse my conduct from that time forward, I shall now proceed to relate facts and passages just as they happened; and avoid, as much as possible, giving any offence.
My lord Dunmore being then at Edinburgh, I thought it my duty to pay my respects to his lordship, who had been also my colonel. He was pleased to invite me to dine with him that day at a tavern; where he said lieutenant general Douglas (who had left England, a little before, on some pretence or other) the lord Kilsyth, and captain Murray (all his ain lads, as his lordship expressed himself) were to meet him. I objected against Douglas, that he was not to be trusted; this was the same man, who afterward was lieutenant general of king William's army in Ireland, against king James; and whose name will never be forgot in that kingdom, on account of his many ravages and barbarities committed there; but his lordship answered, that he would pawn his life for his honesty; because my lord Dundee had assured him, that the lieutenant general had given him his faith and honour, to be with him in five days, if he marched to the hills to declare for king James. Whereupon I submitted my scruples to my colonel's judgment; and accordingly we all met together at the tavern.
Dinner was no sooner done, than we heard the news that king James was landed in Ireland: then Douglas taking a beer glass, and looking round him, said, gentlemen, we have all eat of his bread, and here is his health; which he drank off, on his knees; and all the company did the same: then filling another bumper, he drank damnation to all who would ever draw a sword against him.
I then returned to Stirling, and soon after the states of Scotland met. To this convention my lord Dundee went incognito; lest the rabble, who had threatened his person, should assault him in the streets. He made a speech to the house, to the following purpose: "That he came thither as a peer of the realm to serve his majesty; and that if the king had no service for him, he hoped that honourable assembly would protect him as a peaceable subject from the rage of his enemies."
Upon receiving an answer from the states, that they could not possibly do it, he slipped out of the house, and privately withdrew from the town; followed by the twenty-four troopers, who had attended him thither: and, as he rode by the castle, seeing the duke of Gordon, who commanded it, walking on the walls, he charged his grace, to keep the place for king James, till he should hear farther from him; who was then going, he said, to appear in the field for his majesty.
His lordship had no sooner left the town, than one major Bunting, with a party by order from the convention, followed, with directions to seize him; whereupon my lord Dundee, commanding his attendants to march on gently, stopped to speak with the major; and understanding his errand, advised him to return, or he would send him back to his masters in a pair of blankets, as he expressed himself. The major (who perhaps was no enemy to his lordship) returned accordingly, and my lord arrived at his castle, where he staid only that night: for in the morning, taking four thousand pounds with him, he went into the Highlands, to sir Owen Cameron; where he was soon joined by the laird of Cappagh, who, some time before, had been driven out of his estate by order of king James (as I have already related) and by many other gentlemen of quality.
Major general McCoy, coming to Edinburgh at this juncture, was ordered to march the forces, which he brought with him, against my lord Dundee. These forces consisted of three or four regiments of foot, and one of horse: beside sir Thomas Levingston's of dragoons. They stopped, in their march, a night or two at Dundee. The first night, I got privately into the castle (as it had been agreed between my lord Kilsyth and me) and there assured my lady Dundee, that the regiment of dragoons, in which I served, should be at her lord's service, whenever he pleased to command; whereof her ladyship gave notice next day to her husband; who sent me a note, by a ragged Highlander, which I received as we were on our march from the town of Dundee toward the Highlands. The contents of my lord's note were, "That he had written to the king, to send him two thousand foot, and one thousand horse out of Ireland; and that as soon as those forces were arrived, he would expect me with a regiment of dragoons."
When major general McCoy came within sight of my lord Dundee, night coming on, obliged him to halt, which gave opportunity to his lordship to retreat in the morning; but McCoy followed him all day; whereupon, facing about, my lord advanced toward him, which caused the major general to retreat in his turn. Thus we spent about three weeks, sometimes pursuing, and sometimes pursued; our leader, McCoy, still writing every post, for new supplies; till at last, one regiment of dragoons, and another of foot, came to his assistance on the 5th of June 1689. When this reinforcement came, he got intelligence of my lord Kilsyth's intention and mine, of going over with the regiment to my lord Dundee.
All people agreed, that lieutenant general Douglas, who had made so many solemn professions of his loyalty to king James, and whose health he had drank on his knees, was the very person who had given this intelligence to McCoy; because he alone knew what had passed at the tavern, where we dined: and because, instead of going with Dundee, as he had promised him upon his faith and honour, he had rid post for London.
From this period, my troubles began; for I was then sent up to Edinburgh, and there imprisoned in the tolbooth, together with my lord Kilsyth, captain Levingston, captain Murray, and lieutenant Murray; each of us in a separate dungeon: with orders that none should be permitted to speak with us, except through the keyhole: and in this miserable condition we lay for two months.
My lord Kilsyth's friends were under great apprehensions that I would betray his lordship. But my lord did me the justice to assure them, that I would suffer the worst extremity rather than be guilty of so infamous an action; which, he said, they should find, upon any temptation that might offer. When we had been close confined in our dungeons for two months, we were brought before the council, one by one, to be examined, concerning our knowledge of my lord Kilsyth's intention to carry off the regiment. Levingston and the two Murrays, having not been privy to that design, were able to discover nothing to his lordship's prejudice; and were likewise gentlemen of too much honour, to purchase their liberty with a lie: whereupon they were remanded back to their several dungeons. It was my turn to be next examined; and I was strongly suspected; but notwithstanding my liberty was promised me if I would discover all I knew of the matter, the lord advocate at the same time also urging I must have certainly been privy to it; I positively denied any knowledge of that affair, adding, that I believed my lord Kilsyth had never entertained such a design; or, if he had, that it was altogether improbable his lordship should impart it to me, a poor stranger born in Ireland, and yet keep it a secret from gentlemen of the kingdom, in whom he might much better confide. This I still repeated, and stood to with great firmness, even after I saw the hangman, with the torturing boots standing at my back: whereupon I was likewise returned to my dungeon.
The council, although they could force no confession from me, or my companions, that might affect my lord Kilsyth, on whose estate their hearts were much set, yet resolved to make a sacrifice of some one among us. But, the other gentlemen being of their own kindred and country, and I a stranger, as well as much hated for prosecuting the covenanters (who, by the change of the times, measures, and opinions, were now grown into high favour with the government, as I have before mentioned) the lot fell on me, and they gave out a report that I should be hanged within a few days. But, a gentleman then in town, one Mr. Buchanan, who held a secret correspondence with my lord Dundee, sent his lordship intelligence of this their resolution concerning me.
That lord was then at the castle of Blair of Atholl; and having notice of the danger I was in, wrote a letter to duke Hamilton, president of the council, desiring his grace to inform the board, "That if they hanged captain Creichton, or (to use his own homely expression) they touched a hair of his tail, he would cut the laird of Blair, and the laird of Pollock, joint by joint, and would send their limbs in hampers to the council."
These two gentlemen having been taken prisoners at St. Johnstown, by my lord Dundee, were still kept in confinement. Whereupon the duke, though it was night, called the council, which met immediately, supposing that the business, which pressed so much, might relate to some express from court. But when the clerk read my lord Dundee's letter, they appeared in great confusion: whereupon the duke said, "I fear we dare not touch a hair of Creichton; for ye all know Dundee too well, to doubt whether he will be punctual to his word; and the two gentlemen in his hands are too nearly allied to some here, that their lives should be endangered on this occasion." What his grace said was very true: for, if I remember right, the laird of Blair had married a daughter of a former duke of Hamilton. The issue of the matter was, that under this perplexity, they all cried out, "Let the fellow live a while longer."
Not long after this, happened the battle of Gillicranky (or Killikranky) near the castle of Blair of Atholl; where the forces under the lord Dundee, consisting of no more than seventeen hundred foot (all Highlanders, except three hundred sent him from Ireland, under the command of colonel Cannon, when he expected three thousand, as I have mentioned) and forty-five horse, routed an army of five thousand men, with major general McCoy at their head; took fifteen hundred prisoners, and killed a great number, among whom colonel Balfour was one. McCoy escaped, and fled that night twenty-five miles endwise, to the castle of Drummond.
But my lord Dundee did not live to see himself victorious: for, as he was wheeling about a rock, over the enemy's heads, and making down the brae to attack them (they making a running fire) he was killed by a random shot, at the beginning of the action: yet his men discovered not his fall, till they had obtained the victory. The next day, though victorious, they suffered their prisoners to depart, on parole, that they would never take up arms against king James: colonel Fergusson only excepted, on account of his more than ordinary zeal for the new establishment.
King William, having heard of this defeat, said, "He knew the lord Dundee so well, that he must have been either killed or mortally wounded; otherwise, before that time, he would have been master of Edinburgh."
I now desire leave to return to my own affairs. About four months after my examination, I was advised, in plain words, by the dukes of Hamilton and Queensberry who were then going up to London, that I should bribe Melvil, then secretary of Scotland; with whom their graces likewise would use their interest, to get an order from king William for my liberty. But I was so far from having money to bribe a courtier of the secretary's rank, that I had hardly enough to support myself. Whereupon my noble friend, the lord Kilsyth, who thought himself indebted to my fidelity for his life and fortune, was so extremely generous, as to make me a present of five hundred pounds, which I immediately sent to Melvil; who, thereupon, joining his interest with the good offices of the two dukes before mentioned, prevailed with king William to send down an order; upon the receipt of which, I was to be set at liberty by the council. But they would not obey it; alleging that the king was misinformed: and out of the abundance of their zeal, wrote to him, that if captain Creichton should obtain his liberty, he would murder all Scotland in one night.
Thus my hope and liberty vanished; for king William soon after going to Flanders, and not thinking it prudent to discredit the representation which the council had made of me, as so very dangerous a person, left me in the Tolbooth; though the two dukes, out of their great friendship (which I should be most ungrateful ever to forget) had both offered to answer body for body, for my peaceable demeanour. But notwithstanding all this, king William, for the reason before mentioned, left me prisoner in the Tolbooth, as I said; where I continued two years and a half longer, without one penny of money; though not without many fiends, whose charity and generosity supported me under this heavy affliction.
My wife and two boys, with as many daughters, were in town all the time of my confinement. The boys died young, but the mother and the two girls lived to endure many hardships; having been twice plundered by the rabble, of the little substance they had left: however, they and myself were still providentially relieved by some friend or other; and particularly once by the lady Carnwath (mother of the present earl) who, when we had not one penny left to buy bread, sent us up a sack of meal, and a basket of fowl, sixty miles from Edinburgh.
My fellow prisoners and I, after the time of our examination by the council, were allowed, for four or five hours every day, to converse with each other, and with our friends: and when we had been three years in the Tolbooth, my companions being related to the best families in the kingdom, were at last permitted, on bail, to lodge in the city, with a sentry at each of their doors. But I was not allowed the same favour, till two months after; when duke Hamilton, still my friend, with much difficulty and strong application to the council, obtained it for me: and when the order was at last granted, I was at a great loss to find such a person for my bail whom the council would approve of; till the laird of Pettencrife, a gentleman whom I had never seen before, sent up his name (without any application from me) to the clerk, and was accordingly accepted.
I had not been two months discharged out of the Tolbooth, and removed to a private lodging in the town, with a sentry upon me, when the government, upon some pretence or other, filled the castle with a great number of persons of quality; among whom were the lords Kilsyth, Hume, and several others; and the Tolbooth again, with as many of inferiour note as it could hold.
In a week after I had been permitted to live in the city with my family, I found the sentry had orders to keep me close, without allowing me to stir from my lodgings upon any pretence whatsoever: but when another regiment came to relieve that which was before upon duty, I bribed him who had been my keeper, at his going off, that he should tell the first who came in his place, that his orders were to "walk with me to any part of the town I pleased." This was accordingly done, and thenceforward I used to take my sentry along with me, and visit my old fellow prisoners, the Gillicrankymen, and sometimes stay with them all night; at other times, my friends would do the same at my lodgings; among whom the lord William Douglas often did me that honour: nay, sometimes, in company of some gentlemen, I would leave the sentry drinking with the footmen in an alehouse, at the back of the town wall, while we rambled nine or ten miles in the country, to visit some acquaintance or others still taking care to return before two in the afternoon, which was the hour of parade, to save the sentry from danger.
Thus I spent above two months, till the day the government had filled the castle and the Tolbooth again, as I have mentioned already. As soon as I was told of my lord Kilsyth's imprisonment, I knew the danger I was in, and had just time to run with the sentry to a cellar, where I found twelve officers got together for shelter likewise from the storm, a little before me. We staid there close till night, and then dispatched my sentry, with captain Mair's footman, to the lady Lockhart's (who was married to the captain) four miles out of town, to let her know, that her husband would be at home that night, with twelve other cavaliers (for so in those days we affected to style ourselves) to avoid being imprisoned in the Tolbooth.
When the message was delivered, the lady ordered three or four of her servants, to take the sentry up four pair of stairs, and to ply him well with drink. Accordingly they kept him drunk for twelve days and nights together, so that he neither saw me, nor I him, in all that time. Two days after we came to lady Lockhart's, I determined, against her and her friends advice, to return privately to Edinburgh, to discourse with the laird of Pettencrife, my bail: resolving at all adventures, that so generous a person should not be a sufferer on my account. I accordingly repaired, in the night, to the same alehouse, at the back of the town wall, and thence sent the footman, who attended me, to bring the laird thither. He presently came, with two other gentlemen in his company; and after drinking together for half an hour, he bid me "go whither I pleased, and God's "blessing along with me;" whereupon, thrusting me out at the door in a friendly manner, he added, that he would pay the hundred pounds, he was bound in, to the council, next morning, if demanded of him; which they accordingly did, and the money was paid.
I then returned to the company at my lady Lockhart's, and thence wrote to the two dukes before mentioned for their advice, what course to take? Their answer was, "That, in regard to my poor family, I should make my escape to my own country, and there set potatoes, till I saw better times." At the end of twelve days, captain Mair and his eleven friends got over seas to St. Germains; when I likewise took my leave of them and the lady, to make the best of my way for Ireland. But I bethought me of the poor sentry (to whom the twelve days we staid there seemed no longer than two or three, so well was he plied with drink) and calling for him, asked whether he would choose to share with me and my fortunes, or go back to the regiment, perhaps to be shot for neglect of his duty? He readily answered, that he would go with me whither ever I went; and not long after we came into Ireland, I had the good luck to get him made a sergeant of grenadiers, in the regiment formerly commanded by my lord Dunbarton, by a captain who was then gone thither for recruits; in which regiment he died a lieutenant some years after.
The lady, at parting, made me a present of a good horse, with ten dollars, to bear my charges on the way; and moreover hired a tenant's horse to carry the sentry to the borders. I durst not be seen to pass through Galloway, and therefore went by Carlisle to Whitehaven. Here I found an acquaintance, who was minister of the town, of the name of Marr; a gentleman of great worth and learning. Before the Revolution, he had been minister of a parish in Scotland, near the borders: but about the time of that event, the rabble, as he told me the story, came to his house, in the night, to rob and murder him; having treated others of his brethren, the episcopal clergy, before in that inhuman manner. He was a single man, and had but one man servant, whose business was to dress his meat, and make his bed; and while the villains were breaking into the house, he had just time to put on his breeches, stockings, and shoes, and no more; for by that time they were got in; when he thought it better to leap out at the window, but half clothed as he was, than to expose his life to the fury of such, whose very mercies might be cruel. Thus he saved his life, and made his escape to the English side, with only four dollars in his pocket; leaving his goods, house, and parish, as plunder, to those saints; who, doubtless, looked on such as he was, as no other than a usurper of what, of right, pertained to them; pursuant to the maxim, "That dominion is founded in grace."
And here I beg leave to relate the treatment which another episcopal clergyman received from that tribe, about the same time: his name was Kirkwood, whom I likewise knew, before the Revolution, minister of a parish in Galloway, in Scotland, and afterward rector in the county of Fermanagh, in Ireland. Among other good qualities, this gentleman was a very facetious person; and by his presence of mind, in making use of this talent, he had the good fortune to save both his life and goods, from the fury of those godly men, who then thought all things their own. When they broke into the house, he was in bed; and sitting up in his shirt, desired leave to speak a few words before he died; which (I cannot tell how it happened) they granted, and he spoke to this effect; "That he had always prayed to God, he might die in his bed; adding that he had in his house as good ale and brandy as was in all Scotland; and therefore hoped the worthy gentlemen would do him the honour to drink with him, before they did any thing rashly."
This facetious speech, which they little expected from him in the article of so much danger as then threatened him, had the luck to divert them from their bloody purpose, and to make them comply with his request; so that after drinking plentifully, they said he was a hearty cheel; and left him in quiet possession of his house and goods. But he durst not trust his talent to another trial, lest the next company might not be influenced as this first had been; and therefore, as soon as it was day, made oft, with his family and effects, in the best manner he could; and rested not until he was safe in Ireland.
I could not forbear relating these stories, from the gentlemen's own mouths, as I might do others of the same kind, upon my own knowledge; although they are contradictory to what the preachers of the new established kirk have so confidently given out. They would fain have the world believe, that they showed great indulgence to the episcopal clergy, at the Revolution, and for several years after. But they must grant me and others leave not to believe them: nor ought they to be angry, if I give the reader a farther idea of them, and of the spirit that reigned in synods, conventions, or general assemblies, of their kirk.
During my confinement in the Tolbooth, a general assembly was called; to which my lord Lothian, as I was informed afterward, was sent commissioner from king William. His lordship's instructions were, to signify to them the king's desire, that as many of the episcopal clergy as would take the oath of allegiance to him might keep possession of their several parishes. To this the members answered in a disdainful manner, "What! shall we suffer any scabbed sheep among us? Na, na, nat ane;" and thereupon sent two of their brethren to king William, who was then in Flanders, to move him for more favours to the kirk, and power farther to oppress the episcopal clergy. But that prince told them, in plain terms, that he had been imposed upon, in granting to the kirk the favours she had already got; and withall commanded them to let the general assembly know, that it was his will and pleasure, that they should live peaceably with those who were willing to live so with them; otherwise he would make them know, that he was their master.
With this unwelcome answer from king William, the two spiritual envoys returned to those who sent them; and at the same time, or soon after, the prince dispatched an order to the commissioner to dissolve the assembly, if he found them persisting in their severity toward the episcopal clergy.
As soon as the legates delivered the message, all in the assembly began to speak out with the greatest boldness imaginable; saying, "That the king durst not have sent them such an answer, if he had not an army at his back." Whereupon the commissioner dissolved the synod; and in the king's name, commanded all the members to depart to their several homes.
But, instead of obeying that order, they all went in a body, with that poor weak creature the lord Crawford at their head, to the market cross; and there published a protestation, declaring, that the king had no authority in church affairs, nor any right to dissolve their general assembly. I relate this story as it was told me, not only to give the reader an idea of the spirit that reigned in that kirk, established now in Scotland, as I have said, but likewise to do justice to the memory of king William, which may be the more acceptable, as coming from one who was in a contrary interest. And, indeed, I have so good an opinion of that prince, as to believe he would have acted much better than he did, with regard to the civil and ecclesiastical constitution in Scotland, if he had been permitted to govern by his own opinions.
But now to come to the conclusion of my story. The Hollantide after I arrived in Ireland, my wife and two daughters followed me; and we settled in the county of Tyrone, with my father (who died two years afterward) on a small freehold; where I made a hard shift to maintain them, with industry and even manual labour, for about twelve years, till my wife died, and my daughters were married, which happened not very long after I became a widower.
I am at present in the eighty-third year of my age; still hated by those people who affirm the old covenanters to have been unjustly dealt with; and therefore believe a great number of improbable stories concerning me; as that I was a common murderer of them and their preachers, with many other false and improbable stories. But the reader I hope, from whom I have not concealed any one transaction or adventure that happened to me among those rebellious people, or misrepresented the least circumstance, as far as my memory could serve me; will judge whether he has reason to believe me to have been such a person as they represented me; and to hate me, as they do, upon that account. And my comfort is, that I can appeal from their unjust tribunal, to the mercy of God; before whom, by the course of nature, I must soon appear; who knows the integrity of my heart and that my actions (condemned by them) were, as far as my understanding could direct me, meant for the good of the church, and the service of my king and country.
And although such people hate me because they give credit to the false reports raised concerning me; another comfort left me in my old age is, that I have constantly preserved (and still do so) the love and esteem of all honest and good men, to whom I have had the happiness at any time to be known.
END OF THE TENTH VOLUME.
- These memoirs contain a most striking picture of the spirit and calamities of those times: such a one as is not to be found in more general histories, where private distress is absorbed in the fate of nations.
- "One of them fired a pistol at him, which burnt his coat and gown, but did not go into his body: upon this, they fancied he had a magical secret to secure him against a shot, and they drew him out of his coach, and murdered him barbarously, repeating their strokes till they were sure he was quite dead." Burnet, History, vol. ii, 8vo, p. 102.
- The numbers were represented to the king, by the privy council of Scotland, to have been between six and seven thousand. The duke of Buccleugh has a curious delineation of the action at Bothwell bridge; whence the numbers appear to be exaggerated even by the privy council.
- "They had neither the grace to submit, nor the sense to run away, nor the courage to fight it out; but suffered the duke of Monmouth to make himself master of the bridge. They were then four thousand men; but few of them were well armed; if they had charged those that came first over the bridge, they might have had sure advantage; but they looked on like men who had lost both sense and courage: and, upon the first charge, they threw down their arms and ran away. There were between two and three hundred killed, and twelve hundred taken prisoners." Burnet, vol. II, p. 105.
- From the minutes of the privy council of Scotland, June 22, 1679, it appears, that from the time of the army being formed, to the total discomfiture of the rebels, three hours only intervened.
- The commission to general Dalziel was delivered to him June 22, 1679, but it was not a commission superseding the duke of Monmouth, who is styled lord general by the privy council June 24, and wrote in that character to their lordships the same day. His commission, however, was revoked the first of November following.
- "The clergy were so delighted, that they used to speak of that time as the poets do of the golden age. They never interceded for any compassion to their people. They looked on the soldiery as their patrons; they were ever in their company, complying with them in their excesses; — and, if they were not much wronged, they rather led them into them, than checked them for them. Things of so strange a pitch of vice were told of them, that they seemed scarce credible." Burnet, vol. I, p. 334.
- Burnet represents this general as "acting the Muscovite too grossly," and "threatening to spit men, and roast them." — "He killed some in cold blood, or rather in hot blood; for he was then drunk, when he ordered one to be hanged, because he would not tell where his father was, for whom he was then in search." Vol. I, p 334.
- He served the emperor of Russia, as one of the generals of his forces against the Polanders and Tartars, till the year 1665, when he was recalled by king Charles the Second; and thereafter did command his majesty's forces at the defeat of the rebels, at Pentland hills in Scotland; and continued lieutenant general in Scotland, when his majesty had any standing forces in that kingdom, till the year of his death, 1685. Granger, III, 380.
- The reader, perhaps, will not think very honourably of the government, or of Creichton's employment under it, when he reads the above particulars. An order from the king to get possession of a contested estate by force, and a grant of a military power to effect it, was illegal, arbitrary, and tyrannical, totally inconsistent with the liberty of the people, and the coronation oath of the king: but to give orders to revenge an opposition by the murder, not only of the men, but of all the women and children belonging to the injured party, was an instance of cruelty that disgraced human nature, and would have been a crime of the deepest die, if there had been no positive institution, and neither law nor compact existing upon earth.
- John Graham, created viscount Dundee by king James, was a major general of the Scottish army, and a privy counsellor, in the reign of Charles II. He was then employed in reducing the west of Scotland, and in forcing the dissenters to comply with the constitution of the established church, by imposing heavy taxes upon them, which was one of the methods of making proselytes in that kingdom. But he was a man of too noble a nature, to execute his orders in their full rigour. Granger, IV, 277.
- He advised the king to three things; one was, to fight the prince: another, to go to him in person, and demand his business; and the third, to make his way into Scotland. James had once resolved to pursue the last advice; but that, in the fluctuating state of his mind, was soon followed by another resolution. Upon the king's departure, Dundee applied himself to the prince of Orange, to whom he spoke with all that frankness which was natural to him; but met with a very cool reception. Granger, IV, 278.
- "A guard went with him, that left him in full liberty, and paid him rather more respect than his own guards had done of late. Most of that body, as it happened, were papists. So when he went to mass, they went in, and assisted very reverently. And when they were asked, how they could serve in an expedition that was intended to destroy their own religion, one of them answered, His soul was God's, but his sword was the prince of Orange's. The king was so much delighted with this answer, that he repeated it to all that came about him." Burnet, vol. II, p. 548.
- "It happened to be a very rainy day; and yet great numbers came to him. But, after they had stood long in the wet, he disappointed them: for he, who loved neither shows nor shoutings, went through the park: and even this trifle helped to set people's spirits on the fret." Burnet, vol. II, p. 548.
- "Now that the prince was come, all the bodies about the town came to welcome him. The bishops came next day: only the archbishop of Canterbury [Dr. Sancroft, afterward deprived for not taking the oaths] though he had once agreed to it, yet would not come. The clergy of London came next. The city, and a great many other bodies, came likewise, and expressed a great deal of joy for the deliverance wrought for them by the prince's means. Old serjeant Maynard came with the men of the law. He was then near ninety; and yet he said the liveliest thing that was heard of on that occasion. The prince took notice of his great age; and said, 'That he believed he had outlived all the men of the law of his time.' "He answered, 'He should have outlived the law itself, if his highness had not come over.'" Ibid. p. 549.
- Bishop Burnet, who on many occasions had a retentive memory, seems to have forgotten this curious little anecdote.
- This extraordinary species of torture used to be performed by putting a pair of iron boots close on the legs, and driving wedges between the leg and the boot. See Burnet, vol. I, p. 333.
- "A general officer, that had served long in Holland with great reputation, and who was the piousest man I ever knew in a military way, was sent down to command the army in Scotland. He was one of the best officers of the age, when he had nothing to do but to obey and execute orders; for he was both diligent, obliging, and brave: but he was not so fitted for command. His piety made him too apt to mistrust his own sense; and to be too tender or rather fearful in any thing where there might be a needless effusion of blood." Burnet, vol. iii, page 36.
- He was mortally wounded in the engagement. The Highlanders, animated by their commander, gained a signal victory. Upon his asking how things went, he was told that all was well. "Then, said he, I am well;" and presently expired. He was a man of an enterprising genius, and his conduct was equal to his courage. He had a good deal of the spirit of his uncle, the famous James Graham, marquis of Montrose. He died July 6, 1689. (See a characteristick account of him, and an excellent description of the battle of Killikranky, in Dalrymple's Memoirs, p. 342, &c. 2d edit.) Granger, iv, 278. And see Burnet, iii, 37.
- The feast of all saints.