- Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Vol. II (The Battle of Bothwell-Bridge.) by Sir Walter Scott
HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
Periods Alphabetically Nationality Topics Themes Genres Glossary

Selected Works
According To...
Suggested Reading
Other Resources
Related Materials


Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc

All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
28 October, 2012
Real Time Analytics

Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Vol. II
The Battle of Bothwell-Bridge.

by Sir Walter Scott

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 Bridge.

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.
"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.
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:
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.
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 proprietors.

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.
The same deplorable circumstances are more elegantly bewailed in Clyde, a poem, reprinted in Scotish Descriptive Poems, edited by Dr John Leyden, Edinburgh, 1803:
"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 from recitation.
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.
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.


"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.





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.
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.
"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."

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.


Terms Defined

Referenced Works