It has been often remarked, that the Scottish, notwithstanding their
national courage, were always unsuccessful, when fighting for their
religion. The cause lay, not in the principle, but in the mode of its
application. A leader like Mahomet, who is, at the same time, the
prophet of his tribe, may avail himself of religious enthusiasm, because
it comes to the aid of discipline, and is a powerful means of attaining
the despotic command, essential to the success of a general. But,
among the insurgents, in the reigns of the last Stuarts, were mingled
preachers, who taught different shades of the presbyterian doctrine;
and, minute as these shades sometimes were, neither the several
shepherds, nor their flocks, could cheerfully unite in a common cause.
This will appear from the transactions leading to the battle of Bothwell
We have seen, that the party, which defeated Claverhouse at Loudoun
Hill, were Cameronians, whose principles consisted in disowning all
temporal authority, which did not flow from and through the Solemn
League and Covenant. This doctrine, which is still retained by a
scattered remnant of the sect in Scotland, is in theory, and would be in
practice, inconsistent with the safety of any well regulated government,
because the Covenanters deny to their governors that toleration, which
was iniquitously refused to themselves. In many respects, therefore, we
cannot be surprised at the anxiety and rigour with which the Cameronians
were persecuted, although we may be of opinion, that milder means would
have induced a melioration of their principles. These men, as already
noticed, excepted against such presbyterians, as were contented to
exercise their worship under the indulgence granted by government,
or, in other words, who would have been satisfied with toleration for
themselves, without insisting upon a revolution in the state, or even in
the church government.
When, however, the success at Loudoun Hill was spread abroad, a number
of preachers, gentlemen, and common people, who had embraced the more
moderate doctrine, joined the army of Hamilton, thinking, that the
difference in their opinions ought not to prevent their acting in the
common cause. The insurgents were repulsed in an attack upon the town
of Glasgow, which, however, Claverhouse, shortly afterwards, thought it
necessary to evacuate. They were now nearly in full possession of the
west of Scotland, and pitched their camp at Hamilton, where, instead of
modelling and disciplining their army, the Cameronians and Erastians
(for so the violent insurgents chose to call the more moderate
presbyterians) only debated, in council of war, the real cause of their
being in arms. Hamilton, their general, was the leader of the first
party; Mr John Walsh, a minister, headed the Erastians. The latter so
far prevailed, as to get a declaration drawn up, in which they owned the
king's government; but the publication of it gave rise to new quarrels.
Each faction had its own set of leaders, all of whom aspired to be
officers; and there were actually two councils of war issuing contrary
orders and declarations at the same time; the one owning the king, and
the other designing him a malignant, bloody, and perjured tyrant.
Meanwhile, their numbers and zeal were magnified at Edinburgh, and great
alarm excited lest they should march eastward. Not only was the foot
militia instantly called out, but proclamations were issued, directing
all the heritors, in the eastern, southern, and northern shires, to
repair to the king's host, with their best horses, arms, and retainers.
In Fife, and other countries, where the presbyterian doctrines
prevailed, many gentlemen disobeyed this order, and were afterwards
severely fined. Most of them alleged, in excuse, the apprehension of
disquiet from their wives. [A] A respectable force was soon assembled;
and James, duke of Buccleuch and Monmouth, was sent down, by Charles,
to take the command, furnished with instructions, not unfavourable
to presbyterians. The royal army now moved slowly forwards towards
Hamilton, and reached Bothwell-moor on the 22d of June, 1679. The
insurgents were encamped chiefly in the duke of Hamilton's park, along
the Clyde, which separated the two armies. Bothwell-bridge, which is
long and narrow, had then a portal in the middle, with gates, which the
Covenanters shut, and barricadoed with stones and logs of timber. This
important post was defended by three hundred of their best men, under
Hackston of Rathillet, and Hall of Haughhead. Early in the morning, this
party crossed the bridge, and skirmished with the royal vanguard,
now advanced as far as the village of Bothwell. But Hackston speedily
retired to his post, at the western end of Bothwell-bridge.
While the dispositions, made by the duke of Monmouth, announced his
purpose of assailing the pass, the more moderate of the insurgents
resolved to offer terms. Ferguson of Kaithloch, a gentleman of landed
fortune, and David Hume, a clergyman, carried to the duke of Monmouth
a supplication, demanding free exercise of their religion, a free
parliament, and a free general assembly of the church. The duke heard
their demands with his natural mildness, and assured them, he would
interpose with his majesty in their behalf, on condition of their
immediately dispersing themselves, and yielding up their arms. Had the
insurgents been all of the moderate opinion, this proposal would have
been accepted, much bloodshed saved, and, perhaps, some permanent
advantage derived to their party; or, had they been all Cameronians,
their defence would have been fierce and desperate. But, while their
motley and misassorted officers were debating upon the duke's proposal,
his field-pieces were already planted on the eastern side of the
river, to cover the attack of the foot guards, who were led on by Lord
Livingstone to force the bridge. Here Hackston maintained his post with
zeal and courage; nor was it until all his ammunition was expended, and
every support denied him by the general, that he reluctantly abandoned
the important pass. [A] When his party were drawn back, the duke's army,
slowly, and with their cannon in front, defiled along the bridge,
and formed in line of battle, as they came over the river; the duke
commanded the foot, and Claverhouse the cavalry. It would seem, that
these movements could not have been performed without at least some
loss, had the enemy been serious in opposing them. But the insurgents
were otherwise employed. With the strangest delusion, that ever fell
upon devoted beings, they chose these precious moments to cashier their
officers, and elect others in their room. In this important operation,
they were at length disturbed by the duke's cannon, at the very first
discharge of which, the horse of the Covenanters wheeled, and rode off,
breaking and trampling down the ranks of their infantry in their flight.
The Cameronian account blames Weir of Greenridge, a commander of the
horse, who is termed a sad Achan in the camp. The more moderate party
lay the whole blame on Hamilton, whose conduct, they say, left the world
to debate, whether he was most traitor, coward, or fool. The generous
Monmouth was anxious to spare the blood of his infatuated countrymen, by
which he incurred much blame among the high-flying royalists. Lucky it
was for the insurgents that the battle did not happen a day later, when
old General Dalziel, who divided with Claverhouse the terror and hatred
of the whigs, arrived in the camp, with a commission to supersede
Monmouth, as commander in chief. He is said to have upbraided the
duke, publicly, with his lenity, and heartily to have wished his own
commission had come a day sooner, when, as he expresses himself, "These
rogues should never more have troubled the king or country." [B] But,
notwithstanding the merciful orders of the duke of Monmouth, the cavalry
made great slaughter among the fugitives, of whom four hundred were
slain. Guild thus expresses himself:
"Balcanquhall of that ilk alledged, that his horses were
robbed, but shunned to take the declaration, for fear of disquiet from
his wife. Young of Kirkton—his ladyes dangerous sickness, and bitter
curses if he should leave her, and the appearance of abortion on his
offering to go from her. And many others pled, in general terms, that
their wives opposed or contradicted their going. But the justiciary
court found this defence totally irrelevant."—Fountainhall's
Decisions, Vol. I. p. 88.
Ei ni Dux validus tenuisset forte catervas,
Vix quisquam profugus vitam servasset inertem:
Non audita Ducis verum mandata supremi
Omnibus, insequitur fugientes plurima turba,
Perque agros, passim, trepida formidine captos
Obtruncat, saevumque adigit per viscera ferrum.
MS. Bellum Bothuellianum.
The same deplorable circumstances are more elegantly bewailed in
Clyde, a poem, reprinted in Scotish Descriptive Poems, edited by Dr
John Leyden, Edinburgh, 1803:
There is an accurate representation of this part of the
engagement in an old painting, of which there are two copies extant;
one in the collection of his grace the duke of Hamilton, the other at
Dalkeith house. The whole appearance of the ground, even including a few
old houses, is the same which the scene now presents: The removal of the
porch, or gateway, upon the bridge, is the only perceptible difference.
The duke of Monmouth, on a white charger, directs the march of the party
engaged in storming the bridge, while his artillery gall the motley
ranks of the Covenanters. An engraving of this painting would be
acceptable to the curious; and I am satisfied an opportunity of copying
it, for that purpose, would be readily granted by either of the noble
Dalziel was a man of savage manners. A prisoner having
railed at him, while under examination before the privy council, calling
him "a Muscovia beast, who used to roast men, the general, in a passion,
struck him, with the pomel of his shabble, on the face, till the blood
sprung."—FOUNTAINHALL, Vol. I. p. 159. He had sworn never to shave his
beard after the death of Charles the First. This venerable appendage
reached his girdle, and, as he wore always an old-fashioned buff coat,
his appearance in London never failed to attract the notice of the
children and of the mob. King Charles II. used to swear at him, for
bringing such a rabble of boys together, to be squeezed to death, while
they gaped at his long beard and antique habit, and exhorted him to
shave and dress like a Christian, to keep the poor bairns, as Dalziel
expressed it, out of danger. In compliance with this request, he once
appeared at court fashionably dressed, excepting the beard; but, when
the king had laughed sufficiently at the metamorphosis, he
resumed his old dress, to the great joy of the boys, his usual
attendants.—CREICHTON'S Memoirs, p. 102.
"Where Bothwell's bridge connects the margins steep,
And Clyde, below, runs silent, strong, and deep,
The hardy peasant, by oppression driven
To battle, deemed his cause the cause of heaven:
Unskilled in arms, with useless courage stood,
While gentle Monmouth grieved to shed his blood:
But fierce Dundee, inflamed with deadly hate,
In vengeance for the great Montrose's fate,
Let loose the sword, and to the hero's shade
A barbarous hecatomb of victims paid."
The object of Claverhouse's revenge, assigned by Wilson, is grander,
though more remote and less natural, than that in the ballad, which
imputes the severity of the pursuit to his thirst to revenge the death
of his cornet and kinsman, at Drumclog; [A] and to the quarrel betwixt
Claverhouse and Monmouth, it ascribes, with great naiveté the bloody
fate of the latter. Local tradition is always apt to trace foreign
events to the domestic causes, which are more immediately in the
narrator's view. There is said to be another song upon this battle, once
very popular, but I have not been able to recover it. This copy is given
There were two Gordons of Earlstoun, father and son. They were descended
of an ancient family in the west of Scotland, and their progenitors were
believed to have been favourers of the reformed doctrine, and possessed
of a translation of the Bible, as early as the days of Wickliffe.
William Gordon, the father, was, in 1663, summoned before the privy
council, for keeping conventicles in his house and woods. By another act
of council, he was banished out of Scotland; but the sentence was never
put into execution. In 1667, Earlstoun was turned out of his house,
which was converted into a garrison for the king's soldiers. He was not
in the battle of Bothwell Bridge, but was met, hastening towards it, by
some English dragoons, engaged in the pursuit, already commenced. As
he refused to surrender, he was instantly slain. WILSON'S History
of Bothwell Rising—Life of Gordon of Earlston, in Scottish
Worthies—WODROW'S History, Vol. II. The son, Alexander Gordon
of Earlstoun, I suppose to be the hero of the ballad. He was not a
Cameronian, but of the more moderate class of presbyterians, whose sole
object was freedom of conscience, and relief from the oppressive laws
against non-conformists. He joined the insurgents, shortly after the
skirmish at Loudoun-hill. He appears to have been active in forwarding
the supplication sent to the duke of Monmouth. After the battle, he
escaped discovery, by flying into a house at Hamilton, belonging to one
of his tenants, and disguising himself in female attire. His person
was proscribed, and his estate of Earlstoun was bestowed upon Colonel
Theophilus Ogilthorpe, by the crown, first in security for L.5000,
and afterwards in perpetuity.—FOUNTAINHALL, p. 390. The same author
mentions a person tried at the circuit court, July 10, 1683, solely for
holding intercourse with Earlstoun, an intercommuned (proscribed) rebel.
As he had been in Holland after the battle of Bothwell, he was probably
accessory to the scheme of invasion, which the unfortunate earl of
Argyle was then meditating. He was apprehended upon his return to
Scotland, tried, convicted of treason, and condemned to die; but his
fate was postponed by a letter from the king, appointing him to be
reprieved for a month, that he might, in the interim, be tortured for
the discovery of his accomplices. The council had the unusual spirit
to remonstrate against this illegal course of severity. On November
3, 1653, he received a farther respite, in hopes he would make some
discovery. When brought to the bar, to be tortured (for the king had
reiterated his commands), he, through fear or distraction, roared like a
bull, and laid so stoutly about him, that the hangman and his assistant
could hardly master him. At last he fell into a swoon, and, on his
recovery, charged General Dalziel and Drummond (violent tories),
together with the duke of Hamilton, with being the leaders of the
fanatics. It was generally thought, that he affected this extravagant
behaviour, to invalidate all that agony might extort from him concerning
his real accomplices. He was sent, first, to Edinburgh castle, and,
afterwards, to a prison upon the Bass island; although the privy council
more than once deliberated upon appointing his immediate death. On 22d
August, 1684, Earlstoun was sent for from the Bass, and ordered for
execution, 4th November, 1684. He endeavoured to prevent his doom by
escape; but was discovered and taken, after he had gained the roof of
the prison. The council deliberated, whether, in consideration of this
attempt, he was not liable to instant execution. Finally, however, they
were satisfied to imprison him in Blackness castle, where he remained
till after the Revolution, when he was set at liberty, and his doom of
forfeiture reversed by act of parliament.—See FOUNTAINHALL, Vol. I. pp.
238, 240, 245, 250, 301, 302.
There is some reason to conjecture, that the revenge of the
Cameronians, if successful, would have been little less sanguinary than
that of the royalists. Creichton mentions, that they had erected, in
their camp, a high pair of gallows, and prepared a quantity of halters,
to hang such prisoners as might fall into their hands, and he admires
the forbearance of the king's soldiers, who, when they returned with
their prisoners, brought them to the very spot where the gallows stood,
and guarded them there, without offering to hang a single individual.
Guild, in the Bellum Bothuellianum, alludes to the same story, which
is rendered probable by the character of Hamilton, the insurgent
general. GUILD'S MSS.—CREICHTON'S Memoirs, p. 61.
THE BATTLE OF BOTHWELL-BRIDGE.
"O Billie, billie, bonny billie,
"Will ye go to the wood wi' me?
"We'll ca' our horse hame masterless,
"An' gar them trow slain men are we."
"O no, O no!" says Earlstoun,
"For that's the thing that mauna be;
"For I am sworn to Bothwell Hill,
"Where I maun either gae or die."
So Earlstoun rose in the morning,
An' mounted by the break o' day;
An' he has joined our Scottish lads,
As they were marching out the way.
"Now, farewell father, and farewell mother,
"An' fare ye weel my sisters three;
"An' fare ye weel my Earlstoun,
"For thee again I'll never see!"
So they're awa' to Bothwell Hill,
An waly [A] they rode bonnily!
When the duke o' Monmouth saw them comin',
He went to view their company.
"Ye're welcome, lads," then Monmouth said,
"Ye're welcome, brave Scots lads, to me;
"And sae are ye, brave Earlstoun,
"The foremost o' your company!
"But yield your weapons ane an' a';
"O yield your weapons, lads, to me;
"For, gin ye'll yield your weapons up,
"Ye'se a' gae hame to your country."
Out up then spak a Lennox lad,
And waly but he spak bonnily!
"I winna yield my weapons up,
"To you nor nae man that I see."
Then he set up the flag o' red,
A' set about wi' bonny blue;
"Since ye'll no cease, and be at peace,
"See that ye stand by ither true."
They stell'd [B] their cannons on the height,
And showr'd their shot down in the how; [C]
An' beat our Scots lads even down,
Thick they lay slain on every know. [D]
As e'er you saw the rain down fa',
Or yet the arrow frae the bow,—
Sae our Scottish lads fell even down,
An' they lay slain on every know.
"O, hold your hand," then Monmouth cry'd,
"Gie quarters to yon men for me!"
But wicked Claver'se swore an oath,
His cornet's death reveng'd sud be.
"O hold your hand," then Monmouth cry'd,
"If ony thing you'll do for me;
"Hold up your hand, you cursed Graeme,
"Else a rebel to our king ye'll be."
Then wicked Claver'se turn'd about,
I wot an angry man was he;
And he has lifted up his hat,
And cry'd, "God bless his majesty!"
Then he's awa to London town,
Ay e'en as fast as he can dree;
Fause witnesses he has wi' him ta'en.
An' ta'en Monmouth's head f'rae his body.
Alang the brae, beyond the brig,
Mony brave man lies cauld and still;
But lang we'll mind, and sair we'll rue,
The bloody battle of Bothwell Hill.
Waly! an interjection.
NOTES ON THE BATTLE OF BOTHWELL-BRIDGE.
Then he set up the flag of red,
A' set about wi' bonnie blue.—P. 91. v. 1.
Blue was the favourite colour of the Covenanters; hence the vulgar
phrase of a true blue whig. Spalding informs us, that when the first
army of Covenanters entered Aberdeen, few or none "wanted a blue
ribband; the lord Gordon, and some others of the marquis (of Huntley's)
family had a ribband, when they were dwelling in the town, of a red
fresh colour, which they wore in their hats, and called it the royal
ribband, as a sign of their love and loyalty to the king. In despite
and derision thereof, this blue ribband was worn, and called the
Covenanter's ribband, by the hail soldiers of the army, who would not
hear of the royal ribband, such was their pride and malice."—Vol. I. p.
123. After the departure of this first army, the town was occupied by
the barons of the royal party, till they were once more expelled by the
Covenanters, who plundered the burgh and country adjacent; "no fowl,
cock, or hen, left unkilled, the hail house-dogs, messens (i.e.
lap-dogs), and whelps, within Aberdeen, killed upon the streets; so that
neither hound, messen, nor other dog, was left alive that they could
see: the reason was this,—when the first army came here, ilk captain
and soldier had a blue ribband about his craig (i.e. neck); in despite
and derision whereof, when they removed from Aberdeen, some women of
Aberdeen, as was alleged, knit blue ribbands about their messens'
craigs, whereat their soldiers took offence, and killed all their dogs
for this very cause."—P. 160.
I have seen one of the ancient banners of the Covenanters: it
was divided into four copartments, inscribed with the words,
Christ—Covenant—King—Kingdom. Similar standards are mentioned in
Spalding's curious and minute narrative, Vol. II. pp. 182, 245.
Hold up your hand, ye cursed Graeme,
Else a rebel to our king ye'll be.—P, 91. v. 5.
It is very extraordinary, that, in April, 1685, Claverhouse was left out
of the new commission of privy council, as being too favourable to the
fanatics. The pretence was his having married into the presbyterian
family of lord Dundonald. An act of council was also past, regulating
the payment of quarters, which is stated by Fountainhall to have been
done in odium of Claverhouse, and in order to excite complaints
against him. This charge, so inconsistent with the nature and conduct of
Claverhouse, seems to have been the fruit of a quarrel betwixt him and
the lord high treasurer. FOUNTAINHALL, Vol. I. p. 360.
That Claverhouse was most unworthily accused of mitigating the
persecution of the Covenanters, will appear from the following simple,
but very affecting narrative, extracted from one of the little
publications which appeared soon after the Revolution, while the
facts were fresh in the memory of the sufferers. The imitation of the
scriptural stile produces, in some passages of these works, an effect
not unlike what we feel in reading the beautiful book of Ruth. It is
taken from the life of Mr Alexander Peden, [A] printed about 1720.
"In the beginning of May, 1685, he came to the house of John Brown and
Marion Weir, whom he married before he went to Ireland, where he stayed
all night; and, in the morning when he took farewell, he came out of the
door, saying to himself, "Poor woman, a fearful morning," twice over. "A
dark misty morning!" The next morning, between five and six hours, the
said John Brown having performed the worship of God in his family, was
going, with a spade in his hand, to make ready some peat ground: the
mist being very dark, he knew not until cruel and bloody Claverhouse
compassed him with three troops of horse, brought him to his house, and
there examined him; who, though he was a man of a stammering speech, yet
answered him distinctly and solidly; which made Claverhouse to examine
those whom he had taken to be his guides through the muirs, if ever they
heard him preach? They answered, "No, no, he was never a preacher." He
said, "If he has never preached, meikle he has prayed in his time;" he
said to John, "Go to your prayers, for you shall immediately die!" When
he was praying, Claverhouse interrupted him three times; one time, that
he stopt him, he was pleading that the Lord would spare a remnant, and
not make a full end in the day of his anger. Claverhouse said, "I gave
you time to pray, and ye are begun to preach;" he turned about upon
his knees, and said, "Sir, you know neither the nature of preaching or
praying, that calls this preaching." Then continued without confusion.
When ended, Claverhouse said, "Take goodnight of your wife and
children." His wife, standing by with her child in her arms that she had
brought forth to him, and another child of his first wife's, he came
to her, and said, "Now, Marion, the day is come, that I told you would
come, when I spake first to you of marrying me." She said, "Indeed,
John, I can willingly part with you."—"Then," he said, "this is all I
desire, I have no more to do but die." He kissed his wife and bairns,
and wished purchased and promised blessings to be multiplied upon them,
and his blessing. Clavers ordered six soldiers to shoot him; the most
part of the bullets came upon his head, which scattered his brains upon
the ground. Claverhouse said to his wife, "What thinkest thou of thy
husband now, woman?" She said, "I thought ever much of him, and now as
much as ever." He said, "It were justice to lay thee beside him." She
said, "If ye were permitted, I doubt not but your cruelty would go that
length; but how will ye make answer for this morning's work?" He said,
"To man I can be answerable; and for God, I will take him in my own
hand." Claverhouse mounted his horse, and marched, and left her with the
corpse of her dead husband lying there; she set the bairn on the ground,
and gathered his brains, and tied up his head, and straighted his body,
and covered him in her plaid, and sat down, and wept over him. It being
a very desart place, where never victual grew, and far from neighbours,
it was some time before any friends came to her; the first that came was
a very fit hand, that old singular Christian woman, in the Cummerhead,
named Elizabeth Menzies, three miles distant, who had been tried with
the violent death of her husband at Pentland, afterwards of two worthy
sons, Thomas Weir, who was killed at Drumclog, and David Steel, who was
suddenly shot afterwards when taken. The said Marion Weir, sitting upon
her husband's grave, told me, that before that, she could see no blood
but she was in danger to faint; and yet she was helped to be a witness
to all this, without either fainting or confusion, except when the shots
were let off her eyes dazzled. His corpse were buried at the end of his
house, where he was slain, with this inscription on his grave-stone:—
In earth's cold bed, the dusty part here lies,
Of one who did the earth as dust despise!
Here, in this place, from earth he took departure;
Now, he has got the garland of the martyrs.
"This murder was committed betwixt six and seven in the morning: Mr
Peden was about ten or eleven miles distant, having been in the fields
all night: he came to the house betwixt seven and eight, and desired to
call in the family, that he might pray amongst them; when praying, he
said, "Lord, when wilt thou avenge Brown's blood? Oh, let Brown's blood
be precious in thy sight! and hasten the day when thou wilt avenge it,
with Cameron's, Cargil's, and many others of our martyrs' names; and oh!
for that day, when the Lord would avenge all their bloods!" When ended,
John Muirhead enquired what he meant by Brown's blood? He said twice
over, "What do I mean? Claverhouse has been at the Preshil this morning,
and has cruelly murdered John Brown; his corpse are lying at the end of
his house, and his poor wife sitting weeping by his corpse, and not a
soul to speak a word comfortably to her."
The enthusiasm of this personage, and of his followers,
invested him, as has been already noticed, with prophetic powers; but
hardly any of the stories told of him exceeds that sort of gloomy
conjecture of misfortune, which the precarious situation of his sect
so greatly fostered. The following passage relates to the battle
of Bothwell-bridge:—"That dismal day, 22d of June, 1679, at
Bothwell-bridge, when the Lord's people fell and fled before the enemy,
he was forty miles distant, near the border, and kept himself retired
until the middle of the day, when some friends said to him, 'Sir, the
people are waiting for sermon,' He answered, 'Let them go to their
prayers; for me, I neither can nor will preach any this day, for our
friends are fallen and fled before the enemy, at Hamilton, and they are
hacking and hewing them down, and their blood is running like water."
The feats of Peden are thus commemorated by Fountainhall, 27th of March,
1650: "News came to the privy council, that about one hundred men, well
armed and appointed, had left Ireland, because of a search there for
such malcontents, and landed in the west of Scotland, and joined with
the wild fanatics. The council, finding that they disappointed the
forces, by skulking from hole to hole, were of opinion, it were better
to let them gather into a body, and draw to a head, and so they would
get them altogether in a snare. They had one Mr Peden, a minister, with
them, and one Isaac, who commanded them. They had frighted most part
of all the country ministers, so that they durst not stay at their
churches, but retired to Edinburgh, or to garrison towns; and it was sad
to see whole shires destitute of preaching, except in burghs. Wherever
they came they plundered arms, and particularly at my Lord Dumfries's
house."—FOUNTAINHALL, Vol. I. p. 359.
While we read this dismal story, we must remember Brown's situation
was that of an avowed and determined rebel, liable as such to military
execution; so that the atrocity was more that of the times than of
Claverhouse. That general's gallant adherence to his master, the
misguided James VII., and his glorious death on the field of victory, at
Killicrankie, have tended to preserve and gild his memory. He is still
remembered in the Highlands as the most successful leader of their
clans. An ancient gentleman, who had borne arms for the cause of Stuart,
in 1715, told the editor, that, when the armies met on the field of
battle, at Sheriff-muir, a veteran chief (I think he named Gordon
of Glenbucket), covered with scars, came up to the earl of Mar, and
earnestly pressed him to order the Highlanders to charge, before the
regular army of Argyle had completely formed their line, and at a moment
when the rapid and furious onset of the clans might have thrown them
into total disorder. Mar repeatedly answered, it was not yet time; till
the chieftain turned from him in disdain and despair, and, stamping with
rage, exclaimed aloud, "O for one hour of Dundee!"
Claverhouse's sword (a strait cut-and-thrust blade) is in the possession
of Lord Woodhouselee. In Pennycuik-house is preserved the buff-coat,
which he wore at the battle of Killicrankie. The fatal shot-hole is
under the arm-pit, so that the ball must have been received while his
arm was raised to direct the pursuit However he came by his charm of
proof, he certainly had not worn the garment usually supposed to
confer that privelage, and which is called the waistcoat of proof, or
of necessity. It was thus made: "On Christmas daie, at night, a thread
must be sponne of flax, by a little virgine girle, in the name of the
divell: and it must be by her woven, and also wrought with the needle.
In the breast, or forepart thereof, must be made with needle work, two
heads; on the head, at the right side, must be a hat and a long beard;
the left head must have on a crown, and it must be so horrible that it
maie resemble Belzebub; and on each side of the wastcote must be made a
crosse."—SCOTT'S Discoverie of Witchcraft, p. 231.
It would be now no difficult matter to bring down our popular poetry,
connected with history, to the year 1745. But almost all the party
ballads of that period have been already printed, and ably illustrated
by Mr Ritson.
END OF HISTORICAL BALLADS.