MR. William Hamilton, a Man for the Integrity of his Life, Purity of his Doctrine, Knowledge and Gift of Preaching beyond Exception, was first Minister at Pemicooke in Midhotham, where he served in the Ministry for several years with great Reputation: In the Year 1681. the Clergy being required to take the Test, he was one of these Ministers who scrupled to take it, and so was laid aside, he lived privately and peaceably, following his Studies, till he had again access to the free Exercise of his Ministry, which was first at the Town of Irwin in Cunningham in the West; the People there are for the most part Presbyterians. The Exemplariness of the Mans Life. The first Character I have given of the Man already, one would have thought must have conciliate all Respect and Kindness to him amongst his Neighbours, he treated them with all Discretion and Civility, upon all Occasions, yea, at such Occasions as he was not to preach at himself, he went to hear him who preached in the next Meeting-house, and went frequently to visit him, but all this prevailed not; for about the end of Jan. 1688/9. these People attacqued him, some of them came in the morning, and kept him Prisoner all the Forenoon, till their Accomplices met, to the number of about Fifty or Sixty, when they were all convened, five or six of them seized him, and carried him through the Town to the Cross, making a Show of him, and here were none of all these People of his own Parish, but only two, but almost the whole Inhabitants were looking on, and saw their Minister, who deserved so very well of them, thus rudely treated, without rescuing him. When he was brought to the Cross, they tore his Gown over his Head, and told him, That that was their Testimony against Episcopacy; they took upon them to discharge him to preach there again, and to command him to depart from the Manse and Glebe, which he the more readily promised to do, because he was weary of living amongst them, and had an Invitation to a Charge where he expected more Comfort and Success in his Ministry, tho less Stipend. From Irwin he came to Kirknewton seven Miles from Edinburg in the Presbytery of Edinburg: About the end of February he exercised his Ministry there peaceably until the 18th of April, at which time a company of armed Men came to his House, about Nine of the Clock at Night (none of them were his own Parishoners) and commanded him in King William's Name to preach there no more. He had complied with the first, to the present Government in all things required of him, he made his Application to the Committee of Estates then Sitting, who granted him an Order to preach at Kirknewton, forbidding any Person to disturb him, or wrong him in his Person or Goods. But notwithstanding this, in Iune another armed Company came about six of the Clock one Night to his House when he was absent, and ejected his Wife and six small Children, one of them very Sick; at this time the Act of the Meeting of Estates in the Ministers Favour was produced to these People, they read it, and dropt and trampled on it, and said, they valued it not, tho it had been under King William's own Hand, this being again represented to the Committee of Estates, they sent out Sir John Maitland, one of the said Committee, to enquire about such unsufferable Insolencies, who came to the place, bespoke some he heard were most accessory, and took a List of their Names: Notwithstanding of this, not long after five Women assaulted the Minister, who had been reponed and preached again.
His Servant and Horse coming from the Coal-pit, and the Servant-man's Daughter coming out to her Father's defence, was ill hurt by them, she fell in a Swound at this and at the sight of a Fellow who came with a drawn Sword to assist these Assassins.
July 19. Yet again came a company of armed Men at nine at Night, the Minister being occasionally absent, and were yet more Outragious, and again cast out of the House his Wife, Children and Servants; at this time also they cast out his Furniture, broke much of it, took away several Books and other things he could ill spare. Mr. Hamilton, at his return, finding his Wife in a Coal-house, and being informed how badly his Family had been used, concluded it needless to struggle any longer with the Humour, and did not attempt to preach. His Sick Child died before the last Assault. He afterward finding it needful for him to take Physick, and having no conveniency for that in the Coal-house, on the first of October he entered the empty Manse, and set up a single Bed, caused carry into it one Chair and Candlestick; on the fifth of October that Rabble returned and broke the Bed all in pieces, so that afterward he burnt it for fewel, it being rendered otherwise useless; they cast out the Cloaths into the Puddle; spared not the Chamber-pot, but beat out the bottom of it with Halbards, left not his walking Cain unbroken. They not finding himself in the Manse, they went to search for him in the Coal-house; so narrow was the search they made, that they left not Feather-beds and Bolsters and Chests unpierced with their Swords, crying, Come out Dog, (so they called the Minister) two and twenty of them, all known Persons, after they had left the Cottage in which the Minister then lived, met his Servant with two Horses coming loaded with Coals to his House, they carried them back two Miles after they had come six, and compelled the Ministers own Servant to bring forth kindling to make a Bonefire of the Coals, which was done just before my Lord Torphican's Windows who lived in that place. The Minister happened at the time to be in a House in the Town in which one of the Heretors of the Parish lived, with a Friend, about his business. These People who had so abused his House and his Servant, got notice of his being there, and came to the House and would needs see him. The Master of the House and his Wife, being his good Friends, and stout-hearted People, hindered these People from breaking open the door, which they attempted to do. They threatned to shoot a pair of Balls through the door upon the Minister; at length they promised to do him no harm if he would come forth to them. Upon this he came out, and when they saw him they had little to say to him, but that he had no right to go to the Manse, it belonging to the Kirk, and he had no right to that: He said he had returned thither not to dwell, but only for a day or two to take Physick, he having no conveniency for that in the Coal-house he then lived in, he behaved himself with that Caution and Moderation, that they could not find the least colour to do him further Injury, they only vented some foolish and impertinent Words against him. All this I can prove by the Attestation and Oaths of Famous Witnesses.
Instruments in favour of the Heritors and Ministers in Colingtown, who gave all Obedience to the Conventions Commands.
At Colingtown the Eighth day of September.
THE which day in presence of me Notar Publick, and Witness under subscribing, compeired personally Patrick Porterfeild of Comistown, and pass'd with me and several others to the Kirk of Hailes, where we were resolved to hear a Sermon (the Minister being at home intending to preach, but waiting till the Bells should ring) where we were no sooner come, but there appeared several armed Men within the Kirk-yard, at whom the said Patrick Porterfeild for himself and in name and behalf of the rest of the Heritors of that Parochine, and of Mr. Samuel Nimmo present Minister there, asked from whence they were come, and to whom they belonged, and if they were come to that place of design to interrupt the Minister to preach: Who answered, That they belonged to the Earl of Angus his Regiment, and were come there designedly to hinder him to preach, and that he should not preach there take his part who would. To which it was answered by the said Patrick Porterfeild, That King William and Queen Mary and their Council had taken his part, and authorized him to preach; and that accordingly he was ready to preach and to read the Proclamation for the Fast if they would not hinder him. To which they replied, That they disowned all such Authority, and that the Minister should not preach there. Whereupon the said Patrick Porterfeild took instruments in the Hands of me Notar Publick undersubscribing. This was done within the said Kirk-yard betwixt the hours of Nine and Ten in the Forenoon, Day Month and Year of God abovementioned, In presence of Mr. Hugh Durie Writer in Edinburg, and William Bole Taylor there, with saveral other Witnesses to the Premises desired and required.
Ita esse ut praemittitur ego Joannes Gourlay Notarius Publicus in praemissis requisitus assero testantibus his meis manu & Signo.
Mr. William Selkrig's Treatment.
MR. William Selkrig Minister at Glenhome in Twiddale, read the Proclamation and prayed for King William and Queen Mary Nominatim, with the very first, and continued in the Exercise of his Ministry till the middle of Iune, at which time twenty of the Rabble, Shepherds and Cowherds and such like, came from Crawford Moor and Tweedmore to his House, and threatned to cast his Wife and Children and Plenishing out of Doors, if he would not engage to surcease from the Exercise of his Ministry and remove from the Manse: This he refusing to do, they cast out all, the Minister assuring them he would complain to Authority: They answered him, They cared not for Authority, and they would be doing: Upon which he desired they would allow him a Fortnight to remove; and with great difficulty he obtained that: His Parishoners did not appear against him but owned him. Upon a Proclamation of the sixth of August went back, made offer to return to his Ministry and conform to the Proclamation. Two Fellows, one whereof had kept the Church till he had given satisfaction for a Scandal, the other never kept the Church: These two had put on another Lock on the Church door by their own Authority. Upon which Mr. Selkrig went to the Sheriff Depute with another Brother to crave his assistance conform to the Proclamation to make the Church open, he promised to cause the Church door he made patent against a day they agreed on. The Minister came on that Saturday and found it not done, but received from the Deputy a Letter of excuse, That he would understand what had been done in other Shires. Mr. Selkrig then went to the two Fellows with a Notar, and required the Key of the Church-door according to the Proclamation, that he might return to his Ministry. They acknowledged that they were accessory to the putting on the Lock but that they had not the Key: He replied, That either they had it, or knew where it was; and upon their refusal to make the Church-door patent, took Instruments of his willingness and their refusal to deliver the Key, protesting for reparation of Cost, Skaith and Damage, as the Instrument at length bears; and upon this returned to Edinburg where he and his Family live still. The instrument and account of this, was produced by the Minister under the hands of the publick Notary and several Witnesses, to persons in Authority, but no redress was made.
The Persecution of Mr. Burges a Complier.
IT's like you are desire us to be informed how Affairs go with me; I am one of these who have given Obedience to the Meeting of Estates, but I met with no Protection from them: Upon the Lords day, immediately after the rising of this Current Parliament, Tumultuously, tho without Ar,s, the Rabble came and possessed then selves of the Church, being sent from one Mr. Walker who preaches in the Meeting-house by the connivance of Mr. Monat (whom I suppose you know) who sometime was Minister there, but is now Old and therefore unable (as they say) for which they have cast him off; all this time they came not near me, nor required after me; and I no wise doubted (in the mean while) but that Act of Parliament, anent their Establishment, had passed unto a Law, so moved not abroad from my House that day; the next I preached as formerly, without any Interruption, the Reason was (as I knew afterward) that the Heritors and the old Presbyterian Ministers were offended that the young Man should have invaded upon Mr. Monat's Right; whereupon my officious Helper has ever since retired himself and discontented with his former Conventicle: However they are resolved, I mean the Rabble, that I shall no longer enjoy peaceable possession, notwithstanding my Compliance: In order to this, there comes in a considerable number of Fellows with Arms and beating of Drums to my House, and asked for me upon the Tuesday following, I was not at home, but they challenged my Wife how I dar'd to preach after they had possessed the Church: She told them, What I did was by the Authority of King William: To which they replied, King William, we care not for that Authority: At which she smiled, and thanked them for their Discretion. Some of them threatned very rudely, that if I preached any more there, it should cost me my Life; others spoke more discreetly, and only advised I should not do it, lest I brought my self to more trouble. However, when I came home, I prepared for preaching, but upon Sunday morning there assembled in my Church-yard, and about my Gates, two hundred Fellows with Guns Staves and Swords; when I judged it near the ordinary time of going for Church, I sent forth my Reader to know from them, why they were assembled at so unseasonable a time, since they came not to hear Sermon from me; and withal, That they would by some few of their number, let me understand the same. Accordingly they commissionated four to speak with me, who told me flatly, Our Will is, you preach no more here, and you shall preach no more. I was indeed a little startled to hear Cowards speak in such a Sovereign Stile, and opposed the Authority of King William to Counterballance theirs, but to no purpose, for they told me they cared not a Rush for that, they would do as they pleased. I have not preached there since, save in my own House. They guarded the Church for four or five Sabbaths, and this is all I have to trouble you with, only I intreat your Prayers in behalf of
Your Brother and Servant I. B.
The Persecution of Mr. David Spence.
ABout the beginning of January 1689. between fifty and sixty Men, all Strangers to me, came in an hostile manner to my House, and searched every part of it for me, with drawn Swords in their hands, and not finding me, appointed my Wife to tell me, that they discharged me to preach any more there, or require any more Stipend, under the highest pains; and thus notwithstanding more than a whole years Stipend was unpaid to me; but I continued in the Exercise of my Ministry until the Twentieth day of April, at that time a great number, some Strangers, some my own Parishoners, came to my House armed with Muskets and Swords, that was the day on which I was appointed to have read the Proclamation of the 23d of April, and the cause of their coming then was, they feared I might comply; they resolved to prevent that, and took away the Keys of the Kirk-door, and also the Mortcloth (tho part of its price was unpaid to me) thus I was incapacitated to obey the Order of the Meeting of the Estates: Upon this I applied my self to the Committee of Estates then Sitting, shewing, that whereas I was willing to give Obedience to the Law, yet I could not have Liberty for the Rabble which excluded me from the Church; the Committee gave me a Protection and Warrand, and required the Heretors to put and keep me in the peaceable exercise of my Ministry, and secure such Persons as should disturb me in my Ministry. I shewed the Protection to all the Heretors, but Kirkurd, one of them, and who was most concerned, said it was not in their power to protect me, tho they were chiefly his Tenants that opposed me. Afterwards in September they cited me before the Privy-Council, which deprived me and declared my Church vacant, only because I did not read the Proclamation in my own House, which the Law did not require: They considered not the Protection I had from the Committee, nor my willingness to obey if allowed, but treated me as if my Non Obedience had been the most free choice in the World; which I can prove by Witnesses. This, Sir, is a true account of my Case. I am
Your most obliged humble Servant
The Persecution of the Presbytery of Stranrare who complied.
YOU are desirous to have an account how the Ministers of the Presbytery of Stranrare were treated by the Rabble. In the first place you must know, that all of them had read the Proclamation, and prayed for King William and Queen Mary, except one who was in Edinburg at the time; notwithstanding of this they were not secure from the Rabble, but on the contrary their greatest Troubles then began, most of them continued preaching till Whitsunday, at which time small Parties of these People who came over from Ireland for shelter, were imployed and conduced to go to several Ministers Houses to discharge them to preach any longer, adding Threatnings if they continued in the Exercise of their Ministry there; they put on new Locks which they brought with them on the Church-doors, and kept Guards there and in the Church-yards, to hinder the Ministers from entering. All the Ministers of this Presbytery were ejected out of their Manses. Mr. Ramsay one of them, dwelt in an hired House which did not belong to the Church, but he was not spared more than the rest, these People came and drowned out his Fire, cast out his Goods and otherwise badly intreated his Family, frighted his poor Wife and Children, he was forced to flee to Ireland for shelter, from whence these People had come. These People, when demanded by the Ministers why they who pretended to flee from Persecution themselves, and were Protestants, should at such rate persecute Protestant Ministers, who obeyed the Law, and expected rather Protection, but on the contrary had shewed Hospitality towards them, according to their Ability. Some of them being confounded at this, said, That they were pressed, yea, hired to what they had done; yea, some of them vowed they should never go such an Errand again. I believe Necessity had moved these poor People for a little Money to do that which otherwise they abhorred, but when some would not go they found others. The Ministers, after they were cast out of their Manses, they lived in the Barns of the Manses for some time, but they were not suffered to continue long there but were ejected; then they took shelter in the Barns and Stables of Country-men who favoured them always, till they themselves were menaced and threatned for receiving them. One of them, Mr. James Cameron, a very worthy Man, was forced, with the Man who reset him, to betake themselves to the Fields, to save themselves in the Night-time from the Rabble who were come to assault them. This came upon the honest Country man, meerly because he sheltered his Minister whom he loved. These Furious People meeting with the Ministers Servant, did beat him so till he fell to the Ground deprived of all signs of Life. The Rabble came to a Ministers Wife of Glenluce when her Husband was absent, and enquired for him, and when they found him not, they began to cast out his Goods into the Closs, and the Ministers Wife had caused put on a Pan on the Fire for to make some Breakfast for a Sucking Child, but their Fury could not allow them to forbear drowning out the Fire till the Childs Meat should first been made. This is all the abrupt Information that now in haste can be given, but you may have a further account afterwards.
Mr. John Maubray Minister at Vphall did comply with all that was required of him by the Council, yet the Rabble came upon him, did cast out his Plenishing, tore his Gown, affrighted his Wife so that she died shortly after. Being thus violently thrust from his Wife, he came to his Patron Lord Cardrose, one of the present Privy-Council, and desired that his Lordship would allow him but to shelter himself in some Chamber of his Lordships House of Kirkhill, till he provided himself of some other place; but my Lord denied his request: He then adventured again to lodge in the Manse to preach to his People, but the Lord Cardrose commanded him to forbear, and when he would not promise to abstain, his Lordship did take from the said Mr. John the Keys of the Church-doors, so that he has excluded him the Kirk. This can be proved by many famous Witnesses, as is now attested by
The Persecution of Mr. Francis Scot.
MR. Francis Scot Minister of the Gospel at Tweedmore, was ejected by the Rabble, and his whole Family turned out of doors, (his Wife having been delivered of a Child four days before) tho he complied in all Points.
Mr. William Alison Minister of the Gospel at Kilbocho was ejected about the same time by the Rabble, to wit, the middle of Summer, they holding Pistols to his Breast, having given all Obedience to the Laws, yet was cited by his Parochioners before the Council, and was absolved and warranded to return to his Charge; after a number of Women in his own Parochie, rose up and went to his Manse, wherein he had some plenishing standing, and threw it out and broke it all in pieces, and drove away his Cows that was pasturing in his own Glebe, and destroyed all his Corn; and now a Meeting-house Preacher possesseth his Church, preaching in it daily, albeit he be authorized himself by Authority, and after all this no care is taken to repossess him. Witness our Hands
A Letter to the Lord E----ne.
Airth Octob. 14. 1689
May it please your Lordship,
WE your whole Neighhour Heretors concern'd in the Parish of Airth, considering the Vacancy of our Church through the removal of Mr. Paul Gellie our Minister, by the rash Depositions of two or three insignificant Persons, and the great Insolencies of the Rabble thereupon, without Law or Order, in abusing and violently possessing the Church; conceived our selves obliged to intreat your Lordship to see what may be done for the Redress and Satisfaction of orderly People. And seeing we have nothing to object against the Life or Doctrine of our Minister, who is well beloved by the whole Body of the Parish, whose Loyalty and Painfulness in the Ministry, your Lordship knows: It is our earnest desire, that you interpose your endeavour to get him repossess'd again in this Church, if possible, in doing of which, you may be instrumental for promoting the good of this place, and not only oblige the whole Body of the Parish, but particularly us who are
Your Lordships humble Servants,
Ja. Bruce of Powfouls.
Jonas Bruce of Letham.
Al. Elphinstone as Tutor of Stone-house.
Rob. Rolles of Panhouse.
J. Wright of Kersie.
J. Forssithe of Polmais Taillertowne.
A Letter to the Right Honourable the Lord E----ne at London.
Barnton Octob. 17. 1689.
My Dear Lord,
YOUR Lordship knows how Mr. Paul Gellie, your Minister, has deported himself in his Ministry at Airth, and has gained the Affections of all the Parish, except three or four of the very worst of them, and how he was removed from his Charge upon the Depositions of two flagitious Fellows, who had resolved to Damn themselves to get him out of his Ministry. If your Lordship can get his Case fairly represented, and him reponed to his Charge; I hear that the Hail Heretors, and the most substantious Tenents, will take it as a singular Favour: And albeit I have no Interest, but as a Tutor to Airth, I will esteem it for a singular Kindness. My most humble Service to my Lady, and I am,
Your Lordships most humble and faithful Servant,
A Letter to the Lord E--ne in London.
Edin. Nov. 19. 1689.
I Have sent the Testimony of the Heretors of your Lordships Parish, with Barnton's in my Favours, hoping your Lordship on their Testificat, with your own Knowledge, may procure an Order of Reinstallment from His Majesty to me, especially considering, that to your certain knowledge I have given full Obedience to the Government, and have in my Custody the Testimonies of an hundred and fifty Heads of Families subscribed by them, ready to depone the truth of my Obedience, and Innocency of what these two infamous Persons witnessed against me: Yea, I have a subscribed Testimony of honest Men, offering to prove these two Witnesses (by whom I was deposed) really perjured, and before credible famous Witnesses one of them has confessed his Perjury. And if His Majesty be informed of the manifest Injury done me by two perjured Persons, contrary to the Testimony of the whole Parish, I doubt not of an Order of Reinstallment; and truly the Falsehood, Malice and Cruelty of that Party in your Lordships Parish, is so known to the Presbyterian Ministers themselves, that scarcely any one will come and preach to them; for tho they violently possess the Church, which they have greatly abused, they had not a Sermon these divers Sabbaths: So that our People not only want the preaching of the Gospel, but likewise the Ordinances of the Lords Supper and Baptism. If I were present I am assured to prevail, and if you judge it expedient, send me word by a Line, and with the help of God I shall come on my own Horse by Land, for I am afraid to venture by Sea. I would have sent the Testificat of the whole Parish contrary to these two false Depositions against me, but I am afraid they may be miscarried, and it would be hard for me to recover them again at this juncture of time, but I think your Lordships own Testimony will be sufficient with what I have done. My Lord, I need not use motives to perswade your Lordship to move herein, all are confident you both may and will prevail for an Order from His Majesty for my Reinstallment, which will be for your Lordships Honour, who is Patron, and for His Majesties Interest, as well as my Advantage. I shall add no more, but pray for the Blessing of God on your Lordship, Lady, and the whole Children, which shall ever be continued by,
Your Lordships most faithful and Obedient Servant,