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bishop's coach was in a neighboring village and that he would soon pass near the spot •where they then wore. Disappointed of their intended victim chance thus threw in. their way one who was even more the object of their hatred. It was true that there was no recent or immediate cause for exasperation against Sharpe, but he was an apostate, —he had abandoned Presbyteriarusm for Episcopacy seventeen years before,—he was an archbishop,—he had already once narrowly escaped the pistol of an assassin, the ; shot which was intended for him having taken ; effect upon his friend, the Bishop of Orkney, —he was known to have shown little mercy towards those who had shown none to him, —he was old, unarmed, utterly defenceless, accompanied by no one but his daughter and some domestic servants, who were wholly unable to offer any effectual resistance to nine men well armed and mounted. The temptation was too strong to be resisted. Rathillet and his party had come out expressly to commit murder. Their appetite tor crime was sharpened by disappointment, when the victim they had least hoped, but most desired to immolate, presented himself ready for slaughter. Their resolution was immediately taken: the pistols which had hcen loaded, and the swords which had been sharpened for the murder of Carmichael, were turned against the archbishop, and they spurred their horses to their utmost speed alter the carriage. .The coachman, alarmed at their pursuit, quickened his pace, and the archbishop, looking out, and seeing armed men approaching, turned to his daughter and-exclaimed, "Lord have mercy upon me, my poor child, for I am gone!" He had scarcely spoken when three or four pistols •were fired at the coach, and the best mounted of the pursuers, riding up to the postillion, struck him over the face with his sword, and shot and hamstrung his horse. The coach being thus stopped the assailants fired into it upon the archbishop and his daughter, and this time with more effect, for the former was wounded. The archbishop opened the door, came out of the coach, and begged the assailants to spare his life. "There is no mercy," they replied, "for a Judas, an enemy and traitor to the cause of Christ." He then begged for mercy for his child. The details of the butchery are too revolting to be repeated.* One of the murderers even
* James Russell, one of the murderers, giTes the following account of the final act of the tragedy: * Falling upon his knees, he said,' For God's sake, Kive my life;' and his daughter, falling upon her
knees, begged his life also John Balfour
stroke him on the face, and Andrew Henderson stroke him on the hand, and cut it, and John Balfour rode him down; whereupon he, lying upon his
exclaimed in horror to his comrades, to "spare those gray hairs." The daughter threw herself before her father, and received two wounds in a fruitless attempt to save him. When their bloody work was done, the murderers remounted their horses and left her on the moor with the mutilated body of her father.*
Such Was the murder of Archbishop Sharpe. It is recorded by Sheilds, who, we are told by Wodrow, was " a minister of extraordinary talents and usefulness, well seen in most branches of valuable learning; of a most quick and piercing wit, full of zeal and public spirit; of shining and solid piety; a successful, serious, and solid preacher, and useful minister in the Church, moved with love to souls, and somewhat of the old apostolic spirit,"^ in the following words:— "That truculent traitor, James Sharpe, the arch-prelate, etc., received the just demerit of his perfidy, apostacy, sorceries, villanies, and murders—sharp arrows of the mighty and coals of juniper. For, upon the 3d of May, 1G79, several worthy gentlemen, with some otlier men of couraye and zeal for th» cause of God and the good of the country, executed righteous judgment upon him in Magus Muir, near St. Andrews." J At the same time, Hackston, of Rathillet is commemorated as a "worthy gentleman who suffered at Edinburgh on the 30th of July, 1680," one of a " cloud of witnesses for the royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ!" Such is the language in which the fact that this infamous murderer was hanged is recorded by the historians of the Covenant! Something of the same spirit seems still to survive. A recent historian of the Church of Scotland says, after giving an account of the archbishop's murder, " It was such a deed as Greece celebrated with loudest praises in the case of Harmodius and Aristogiton, and Rome extolled when done by Cassius and Brutus." J
The skirmish at Drumclog, immortalized in Old Mortality, took place on the 1st of
face as if he had been dead, and James Rus.sc!!, hearing his daughter say to Wallace [the Archbishop's servant] that there was life in him yet, in the time Jumes was disarming the rest of the bishop's men, went presently to him, and east off his hat, for it would not cat at first, and hated his head in pieces. Having done this his daughter came to him and cursed him, and called him a bloody murderer; and James answered, they were not murderers, for they were sent to execute God's vcn
ance on him."—James RuatU's Account oftlie
'urder of Archbishop Sharpe; Khkton, 418.
* See State Trials,!. 791; Wodrow: Jltisstlft Narrative, Kirkton; Sir Wm. Sharp's Letter, Kirkton, A pp.
t Wodrow, iv. 233. J Bind Let Look.
§ Iletherington's History of the Church of Scotland, 94, as to Shnrpe's murder.
June, 1679, within a month after the archbishop's murder. The insurgents were commanded by Robert Hamilton, a near connection and pupil of Bishop Burnett. Following the example of the Covenanters at Tippermuir, whose watchword was "Jesus and no quarter," he gave, as he himself informs us, strict orders, that "no quarter should be given." * These orders, were, however, disobeyed during his absence, and five prisoners were spared. Hamilton, returning from the pursuit of Claverhouse, found his followers debating whether mercy should be shown to a sixth, when he put an end to the argument by slaughtering the unhappy prisoner in cold blood with his own hand. Seven years afterwards we find him exulting in the act. "None could blame me," he says, "to decide the controversy, and I bless the Lord for it to this day!" This was the man whom Lord Macaulay has truly designated as " the oracle of the Extreme Covenanters," and justly denounced as a "bloodthirsty ruffian." That his conduct met with the sympathy and approval of his followers, is shown by the fact that we find him still in command of the insurgent forces under the title of Getieral Hamilton, at the battle of Bothwell Brig, in conjunction with Hackston of Rathillet, the murderer of the archbishop. The banner which floated over their heads is still in existence, f and, after the desecrated motto, "For Christ and his Truths," bears, in blood-red letters, the words, "No Quarter for the Active Enemies of the Covenant." Reckoning upon certain victory, these champions of the Prince of Peace, had erected upon the battle-field a high gallows, and prepared a cartload of new ropes, in order that there might be no more such "stoppings aside" as had occurred when the five prisoners were spared at Drumclog. It is somewhat inconsistent with the supposed ferocity of the commanders of the royalist troops that these preparations were not turned against the insurgents upon their defeat.^
Such were the leaders of the Covenanters —men of rank, station, and education. As may well bo supposed, their example was not thrown away upon their more humble and ignorant followers. Of the numberless outrages committed by them, we will select one only, and narrate the facts as they came from the mouths of the perpetrators of the crime.
Peter Peirson, the curate of Carsphairn, was a bold and determined' man, and had
* Hamilton's Letter to the Sectariet—Dec. 7, 1665.
t Xnp., Afemoin of Dundee, 228. J Crightoii's Memoirs.
the courage to reside alone, without even a servant, in the solitary manse belonging to that parish. His offence consisted in being suspected of favoring " popery, papists, and purgatory," and in having been heard to declare that "he feared none of the Whigs, nor any thing else, but rats and mice." On this provocation, James M'Michael and three others, one night in the middle of November, 1684, went to the manse, knocked at the door, and upon its being opened by Mr. Peirson, immediately shot him dead on his own threshold.*
Instances of the most cold-blooded murder might be multiplied by thousands. But we must now consider the second question, and inquire, what were the circumstances* and what the conduct, of Claverhouse in the particular case of John Brown. Lord Macaulay's assertion that he was sentenced to death because he was "convicted of nonconformity " is pure invention. Neither Wodrow nor Walker assign any cause; the former, indeed, expressly says, "Whether he [Claverhouse] had got any information of John's piety and nonconformity, / cannot tell;" and we shall presently see that Lord Macaulay might just as truly have said that John Thurtel was hanged for reading BM'a Life in London.
John Brown was a " fugitated rebel." His name appears a year before in a list appended to a proclamation of those who had been cited as rebels in arms, or rather of rebt-Is who had not appeared, f Sir Walter Scott says, with perfect truth, "While we read tins dismal story, we must remember Brown's situation was that of an avowed and rffetermined rebel, liable as such to military execution." What then does Lord Macaulay mean by asserting that " he was blameless in life, and so peaceable that the tyrants could find no offence in him, except tliat he absented himself from the public worship of the Episcopalians?" That he was blameless and feaceable in the eyes of those who regarded lackston of Rathillet as "one of Sion's precious mourners and faithful witnesses of Christ, a valiant and much-honored gentloman,"who shouted "Jesus and no quarter!" at Tippermuir—who felt that they had forfeited the favor of God because they had abstained from "dashing the brains of the brats of Babel against the stones" at Drumclog—who fought under the "bluidy banner," and prepared the gibbet and the heir topes at Bothwell Brig—we can readily understand. But that any historian should be
* \Vodrow, vol. ii. p. 467.
t Wodrow, App. vol. ii. p. 110. Tlie entry ii as follows: " Mai,'!:ii-!;, John Brown of 1'ricstfiald, for Rtut."
found, in the middle of the nineteenth century, deliberately to adopt such a statement, •we confess fills us with surprise.
Yet such, unhappily, is the fact. Year after year, and edition after edition, Lord Macaulay has given the trash of Wodrow to the public, backed by his own high authority. It was in vain that Professor Aytoun laid before him the evidence which proved, in the most conclusive manner, that Wodrow •was contradicted by contemporary authorities,—that even by his own party his History was denounced as a collection of "lies and groundless stories." It was in vain that his attention was directed to the fact that Sir Walter Scott, though himself adopting a •yiew by no means favorable of the character of Claverhouse, rejected the story told by Wodrow, and adopted that told by Walker, and had distinctly pointed out the fact that John Brown was an avowed rebel, amenable to the law, such as it then was—that the assertion that he was " convicted of nonconformity," and had committed no offence except that he absented himself from the public •worship of the Episcopalians," was not only unsupported by any evidence whatever, but betrayed a want of knowledge of the state of Scotland at the time. Still the story of the Christian carrier appeared over and over again without even a note or a hint from which the reader could surmise that its authenticity had ever been even questioned. It appeared as the sole evidence on which Lord Macaulay relied for painting Claverhouse with the features of a fiend, and bestowing upon him the nickname of "The Chief of Tophet!"
So the matter stood at the time of the appearance of the last edition of Lord Macaulay's History. Within the last year, however, a valuable addition has been made to the materials previously before the world for the history of that period of Scottish annals. The Queensbcrry Papers, preserved among the archives of the Buccleuch family, have been examined, and amongst the extracts from those valuable documents which have been recently published by Mr. Mark Napier, in his Memoirs of Dundee, is the original despatch which Claverhouse sent to the Duke of Queensberry, then the high treasurer of Scotland and head of the government, on the 3rd of May, 1685, giving an account of the execution of John Brown only two days after the event. One might almost fancy that the spirit of the hero had been awakened from its slumbers by the sound of the only voice whose slanders he deigned to answer:—
"May it please your Grace,—On Friday last, amongst the hills betwixt Douglas anil the
Ploughlands, we pursued two fellows n great way through the mosses, and in the end seized them. They had no arms about them, and denied they had any. But lieinj asked if they would take the abjuration, the eldest of the two, coiled John Brown, refused it; nor mould he swear not to rise in arms ayainst tlie king, but said he knew no king. Upon which, and there being found bullets and match in his house, and treasonable papers, I caused shoot him dead; which be suffered very unconcernedly. The other, a young fellow and his nephew, culled John Brownen, offered to take the oath; hut would not swear that he had not been at Ncwmills in arms, at rescuing the prisoners. So I did not know what to do with liim; I was convinced that ho was guilty, hut saw not how to proceed against him. Wherefore, after he had said his prayers, and carabines presented to shoot him, I offered to him, that if he would make an ingenuous confession, and make a discovery that might bo of any importance for the king's sen-ice, I should delay putting him to death, and plead for him. Upon which he confessed that he was at that attack of Newmills, and that he had come straight to this house of his uncle's on Sunday morning. la the time he was making this confession the soldiers found out a house in the hill, under ground, that could hold a dozen of men, and there were swords and pistols in it; and this fdlow diclared that they belonged to his uncle, and that he had lurked in that place ever since Botliwell, where he was in arms. Ho confessed that ho had n halbert, and told who gave it him about a month ago, and wo have the fellow prisoner. ... I have acquitted myself when I have told your grace the case. lie has been but a month or two with hishalbcrt; and if your grace thinks he deserves no mercy, justice will pass on him: for I, having no commission of justiciary myself, have delivered him up to the lieutenantgeneral, to bo disposed of as ho pleases.
"I am, my lord, your Grace's most humble servant,
It must not be supposed that the abjuration oath here referred to had any thing whatever to do with the religious tenets of the person to whom it was administered. As misconception upon this point is not uncommon, and as that misconception may possibly have led to Lord Macaulay's assertion that Brown was " convicted of nonconformity," it may be well to examine what the Oath of Abjuration was, and to inquire into its history.
On the 28th of October, 1684, a declaration was published by the Covenanters, and Affixed very generally upon the church-doors and other public places, " disowning the authority of Charles Stuart, and all authority depending upon him; •' declaring war against him and his accomplices, such as lay out themselves to promote his wicked and hellish
* Nnpier's Memoirs of Dundee.
designs "—denouncing all bloody counsellors, justiciaries, generals, captains, all in civil or military power, bloody militiamen, malicious troopers, soldiers, and dragoons, viperous and malicious bishops and curates, and all witnesses who should appear in any courts, as enemies to God, to be punished as such. This was met by the government by a proclamation denouncing the penalty of death against all who should not renounce the declaration, and prescribing the following form of oath to be taken by all persons who should bo required to do so by any lawful authority:—
"I, A. B., do hereby abhor, renounce, and disown, in the presence of the Almighty God, the pretended declaration of war lately affixed at several parish churches, in so far as it declares a war against his sacred majesty, and asserts that it id lawful to kill such as serve his majesty in church, state, army, or country." *
This oath being taken, a certificate was to be delivered to the party taking it, which was to operate as a free pass and protection. Of the treasonable nature of the declaration it is impossible to entertain a doubt, and the refusal to take the Oath of Abjuration was, in fact, precisely equivalent to a plea of guilty to an indictment for high treason. The proceeding, it is true, was summary, and liable to abuse. The law was harsh; but the country was in open rebellion, and Claverhouse was no more censurable for carrying the laws into execution, than a judge would be who should sentence to death a person who pleaded guilty at the bar of the Old Bailey. Here, then, we arrive at last at the true history of John Brown, the Christian carrier, the man represented by Lord Macaulay as of " singular piety, versed in divine things, blameless in life, and so peaceable that oven the tyrants could find no fault with him, except that he absented himself from the public worship of the Episcopalians." His peaceableness was shown by his being in arms at Bothwell j his piety by shouting, "No quarter for the enemies of the Covenant"—by rallying round the gibbet and the ropes prepared for the "bloody militiamen and malignant troopers," over whom the Lord would have given his chosen people an easy victory, but for their " stepping aside" in sparing the five "brats of Babel" at Drumclog—and by providing a secure hiding place for men and arms, to be used for future slaughter.
Rebellion is a dangerous and desperate game, which, as has often been remarked requires success to justify it, not unlike the' sport which, "the story runs," a certain English traveller in the south of France de
* Wodrow, ii. App. 158.
clined to share, in words memorable for good sense and bad French,—" Je n'aimo pas la chasse au loup parceque, si vous ne tuez pas le loup, le loup tue vous."
The Christian carrier played and lost. Ii he had won, he and his comrades would have hanged Claverhouse and his dragoons in cold blood, and gloried in the act; and it is rather unfair to canonize him because he met a more merciful death at the hands of those for whom he had prepared a gibbet and a halter.
It may perhaps be urged that the despatch of Claverhouse does not in terms negative the account given by Walker and Wodrow of the conversation between Claverhouse and the widow of John Brown. This is true; but it appears improbable that Claverhouse should nave detailed with so much particularity what took place, and have noticed the unconcerned manner in which Brown met his fate, and yet have omitted all notice of so remarkable a scene, if it had, in fact, taken place. It is impossible that he could have passed over without observation any symptoms of mutiny, or even of unwillingness to execute his orders, on the part of his troops. Here, then, is a distinct contradiction to the most important part of Wodrow's story j and the total suppression by both Wodrow and Walker of all that relates to John Brownen, the nephew, to the discovery of the " bullets, match, and treasonable papers " in the house of John Brown, and of the place of concealment and arms in the "house in the hill under ground," throws the greatest possible suspicion on the rest of both narratives. The simple account given by Claverhouse, therefore, disposes at once of the absurd story of the dragoons haviug refused to obey orders, and renders the poetical and fanciful additions of both those very apocryphal writers, to say the least, highly improbable. The death of John Brown was simply a military execution, ne might be sincere and honest—so was Thistlewood; be might be bold, and meet death unconcernedly —so did Brunt. John Brown was a fanatic of the same class. His courage was upheld by religious and political enthusiasm. He was one of thousands who, in those days, were equally prepared to commit the most savage atrocities, or to endure the most terrible extremities, secure, as they thought, of the approbation of the God of mercy, of the crown of martyrdom, and the joys of paradise.
Whether the oppressions of the government justified the rebellion of the Covenanters, or whether the outrages committed by the Covenanters justified the severities of the government, are matters which we are not now called upon to discuss. They in no dejree affect the question as regards the charicter of Claverhouse. It would be as reasonable to hold Sir John Moore or Massena answerable for the justice and morality of their respective sides in the war of the Peninsula, as to hold Claverhouse responsible for the policy of the government he served.
"We have bestowed so much space upon an examination of this particular charge that we have none left to follow Claverhouse through bis gallant career to its brilliant close. We must content ourselves with one or two instances of his conduct during his command in the west, which seem to us wholly to disprove the view of his character taken by Lord Macaulay, and to remove the dark stains which Sir Walter Scott supposed to have existed.
In the early part of the year 1679, Claverhouse was stationed at Dumfries. Not Wellington himself could be more sedulous in suppressing outrage and maintaining discipline amongst his troops than we find this "chief of Tophet" to have been.
On the 6th of January he thus writes to the commander-in-chicf:—
"On Saturday night when I came back here, tho sergeant who commands the dragoons in the castle came to me ; and while ho was here, they came and told mo there was a horse killed just by upon the street, by a shot from the castle. I went immediately and examined the guard, who denied point-blank that there had been any shot from thence. I went and heard the bailie take depositions of men that were looking on, who declared upon oath that they saw the ehot from tho guard-hall, and the horse immediately fall. I caused also search for tho bullet in the horse's head, which was found to be of their calibre. After that I found it so clear, I caused seize upon him who was ordered by the sergeant in his absence to command the guard, and keep him prisoner till ho find out the man, which I suppose will be found himself. His name is James Ramsay, an Angus-man, who has formerly been a lieutenant of horse, as I am informed. ft is an ugly business; for, besides the wrong tho poor man has got in losing his horse, it is extremely ngainst military discipline to fire out of n guard. 1 have appointed the poor man to be here to-morrow, and briny with him some neighbors to declare the worth of the horse; and have assured him to satisfy him, if the eaptain, who is to be here also to-morrow, refuse to do iV."*
Again, he hears complaints that, before his command had commenced, some of the dragoons had taken free quarters in the neighborhood of Moffat j this, he remarks, was no charge against him, as the facts had occurred before he came into that part of the country, but he immediately institutes an inquiry. "I begged them, " he.says, "to forbear till
* Napier's Mtmoiri of Dundee.
the captian ami I should come there, when they should be redressed in every thing. Your lordship will be pleased not to take any notice of this till I have informed myself upon the place." • It is a curious illustration of the perversion of language and of diversity of character, that at the very time when that" worthy gentleman," Hackston of Rathillet, inspired by " zeal for the cause of God,' was butchering the Archbishop on Magus Muir, "Bloody Claver'se " was delaying the march of his prisoners in consideration of the illness of one of them, a conventicle preacher of the name of Irwin. He thus writes to tho commander-in-chief in the 21st April, 1679: —" I was going to have sent in the other prisoners, but amongst them there is one Mr. Francis Irwin, an old infirm man, who is extremely troubled with the gravel, so that I will be forced to delay for five or six days." He again apologizes for the delay, on the same ground, on the 6th of May, three days after the murder of the Archbishop. This man, so considerate of the sufferings of his prisoners, Lord Macaulay would fain have his readers believe to have been a "chief of Tophet, of violent temper and of obdurate heart." The kindliness of his disposition breaks out repeatedly in his correspondence. With the murder of Magus Muir, the slaughter of Drumclog, and the hijjh gallows and new ropes of Bothwell fresh in his memory, he can yet write,—" I am sorry to see a man die, even a Whig, as any of themselves ; but when one dies justly, and for his own faults, and may save a hundred to fall in the like, 1 have no scruple." Again, in 1682, he writes—
"The first thing I mind to do, is to fall to work with all that liavc been in the rebellion, or accessory thereto by giving men, money, or arms; nnd next, resellers; and after ihtit, licit! convcnlicles. Kor what remains of the laws ngainst ihe fanatics, I will threaten much, but forbear severe execution for a while; for fear people should grow desperate, and increase too much the nuaiber of our enemies."
On the 1st of March, 1682, commenting upon what was occurring in other parts of the country, he says—
"The way that I see laken in other places is to put laws severely against great and small in execution, which is very just; but trhat effectt does that produce but to exasperate and alienate Ihe hearts of the people 1 For il renders three desperate where it gains one ; and your lordship knows that in the greatest crimes it is thought iciscst to pardon the multitude and punish the ringleaders, where the number of the guilty is great, ns ia this case of whole countries. Wherefore I havo taken anolher course here." \
* Napier, 122.
t Ibid. 130.