The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Volume 2.
Sir Walter Scott

Part 7 out of 7







/Erected October 1831./


The ancient Tolbooth of Edinburgh, Situated as described in this chapter,
was built by the citizens in 1561, and destined for the accommodation of
Parliament, as well as of the High Courts of Justice;* and at the same
time for the confinement of prisoners for debt, or on criminal charges.
Since the year 1640, when the present Parliament House was erected, the
Tolbooth was occupied as a prison only.

* [This is not so certain. Few persons now living are likely to remember
the interior of the old Tolbooth, with narrow staircase, thick walls,
and small apartments, nor to imagine that it could ever have been used
for these purposes. Robert Chambers, in his /Minor Antiquities/ of
Edinburgh, has preserved ground-plans or sections, which clearly show
this,--the largest hall was on the second floor, and measuring 27 feet
by 20, and 12 feet high. It may have been intended for the meetings of
Town Council, while the Parliament assembled, after 1560, in what was
called the Upper Tolbooth, that is the south-west portion of the
Collegiate Church of St. Giles, until the year 1640, when the present
Parliament House was completed. Being no longer required for such a
purpose, it was set apart by the Town Council on the 24th December 1641
as a distinct church, with the name of the Tolbooth parish, and
therefore could not have derived the name from its vicinity to the
Tolbooth, as usually stated.]

Gloomy and dismal as it was, the situation in the centre of the High
Street rendered it so particularly well-aired, that when the plague laid
waste the city in 1645, it affected none within these melancholy
precincts. The Tolbooth was removed, with the mass of buildings in which
it was incorporated, in the autumn of the year 1817. At that time the
kindness of his old schoolfellow and friend, Robert Johnstone, Esquire,
then Dean of Guild of the city, with the liberal acquiescence of the
persons who had contracted for the work, procured for the Author of
Waverley the stones which composed the gateway, together with the door,
and its ponderous fastenings, which he employed in decorating the
entrance of his kitchen-court at Abbotsford. "To such base offices may we
return." The application of these relies of the Heart of Mid-Lothian to
serve as the postern-gate to a court of modern offices, may be justly
ridiculed as whimsical; but yet it is not without interest, that we see
the gateway through which so much of the stormy politics of a rude age,
and the vice and misery of later times, had found their passage, now
occupied in the service of rural economy. Last year, to complete the
change, a tomtit was pleased to build her nest within the lock of the
Tolbooth,--a strong temptation to have committed a sonnet, had the
Author, like Tony Lumpkin, been in a concatenation accordingly.

It is worth mentioning, that an act of beneficence celebrated the
demolition of the Heart of Mid-Lothian. A subscription, raised and
applied by the worthy Magistrate above mentioned, procured the
manumission of most of the unfortunate debtors confined in the old jail,
so that there were few or none transferred to the new place of

[The figure of a Heart upon the pavement between St. Giles's Church and
the Edinburgh County Hall, now marks the site of the Old Tolbooth.]


The following interesting and authentic account of the inquiries made by
Crown Counsel into the affair of the Porteous Mob, seems to have been
drawn up by the Solicitor-General. The office was held in 1737 by Charles
Erskine, Esq.

I owe this curious illustration to the kindness of a professional friend.
It throws, indeed, little light on the origin of the tumult; but shows
how profound the darkness must have been, which so much investigation
could not dispel.

"Upon the 7th of September last, when the unhappy wicked murder of
Captain Porteus was committed, His Majesty's Advocate and Solicitor were
out of town; the first beyond Inverness, and the other in Annandale, not
far from Carlyle; neither of them knew anything of the reprieve, nor did
they in the least suspect that any disorder was to happen.

"When the disorder happened, the magistrates and other persons concerned
in the management of the town, seemed to be all struck of a heap; and
whether, from the great terror that had seized all the inhabitants, they
thought ane immediate enquiry would be fruitless, or whether, being a
direct insult upon the prerogative of the crown, they did not care rashly
to intermeddle; but no proceedings was had by them. Only, soon after, ane
express was sent to his Majestie's Solicitor, who came to town as soon as
was possible for him; but, in the meantime, the persons who had been most
guilty, had either ran off, or, at least, kept themselves upon the wing
until they should see what steps were taken by the Government.

"When the Solicitor arrived, he perceived the whole inhabitants under a
consternation. He had no materials furnished him; nay, the inhabitants
were so much afraid of being reputed informers, that very few people had
so much as the courage to speak with him on the streets. However, having
received her Majestie's orders, by a letter from the Duke of New castle,
he resolved to sett about the matter in earnest, and entered upon ane
enquiry, gropeing in the dark. He had no assistance from the magistrates
worth mentioning, but called witness after witness in the privatest
manner, before himself in his own house, and for six weeks time, from
morning to evening, went on in the enquiry without taking the least
diversion, or turning his thoughts to any other business.

"He tried at first what he could do by declarations, by engaging secresy,
so that those who told the truth should never be discovered; made use of
no clerk, but wrote all the declarations with his own hand, to encourage
them to speak out. After all, for some time, he could get nothing but
ends of stories which, when pursued, broke off; and those who appeared
and knew anything of the matter, were under the utmost terror, lest it
should take air that they had mentioned any one man as guilty.

"During the course of the enquiry, the run of the town, which was strong
for the villanous actors, begun to alter a little, and when they saw the
King's servants in earnest to do their best, the generality, who before
had spoke very warmly in defence of the wickedness, began to be silent,
and at that period more of the criminals began to abscond.

"At length the enquiry began to open a little, and the Sollicitor was
under some difficulty how to proceed. He very well saw that the first
warrand that was issued out would start the whole gang; and as he had not
come at any of the most notorious offenders, he was unwilling, upon the
slight evidence he had, to begin. However, upon notice given him by
Generall Moyle, that one King, a butcher in the Canongate, had boasted,
in presence of Bridget Knell, a soldier's wife, the morning after Captain
Porteus was hanged, that he had a very active hand in the mob, a warrand
was issued out, and King was apprehended, and imprisoned in the Canongate

"This obliged the Sollicitor immediately to take up those against whom he
had any information. By a signed declaration, William Stirling,
apprentice to James Stirling, merchant in Edinburgh, was charged as
haveing been at the Nether-Bow, after the gates were shutt, with a
Lochaber-ax or halbert in his hand, and haveing begun a huzza, marched
upon the head of the mob towards the Guard.

"James Braidwood, son to a candlemaker in town, was, by a signed
declaration, charged as haveing been at the Tolbooth door, giveing
directions to the mob about setting fire to the door, and that the mob
named him by his name, and asked his advice.

"By another declaration, one Stoddart, a journeyman smith, was charged of
having boasted publickly, in a smith's shop at Leith, that he had
assisted in breaking open the Tolbooth door.

"Peter Traill, a journeyman wright, (by one of the declarations) was also
accused of haveing lockt the Nether-Bow Port, when it was shutt by the

"His Majestie's Sollicitor having these informations, implored privately
such persons as he could best rely on, and the truth was, there were very
few in whom he could repose confidence. But he was, indeed, faithfully
served by one Webster, a soldier in the Welsh fuzileers, recommended him
by Lieutenant Alshton, who, with very great address, informed himself,
and really run some risque in getting his information, concerning the
places where the persons informed against used to haunt, and how they
might be seized. In consequence of which, a party of the Guard from the
Canongate was agreed on to march up at a certain hour, when a message
should be sent. The Sollicitor wrote a letter and gave it to one of the
town officers, ordered to attend Captain Maitland, one of the town
Captains, promoted to that command since the unhappy accident, who,
indeed, was extremely diligent and active throughout the whole; and
haveing got Stirling and Braidwood apprehended, dispatched the officer
with the letter to the military in the Canongate, who immediately begun
their march, and by the time the Sollicitor had half examined the said
two persons in the Burrow-room, where the Magistrates were present, a
party of fifty men, drums beating, marched into the Parliament close, and
drew up, which was the first thing that struck a terror, and from that
time forward, the insolence was succeeded by fear.

"Stirling and Braidwood were immediately sent to the Castle and
imprisoned. That same night, Stoddart, the smith, was seized, and he was
committed to the Castle also; as was likewise Traill, the journeyman
wright, who were all severally examined, and denyed the least accession.

"In the meantime, the enquiry was going on, and it haveing cast up in one
of the declarations, that a hump'd backed creature marched with a gun as
one of the guards to Porteus when he went up to the Lawn Markett, the
person who emitted this declaration was employed to walk the streets to
see if he could find him out; at last he came to the Sollicitor and told
him he had found him, and that he was in a certain house. Whereupon a
warrand was issued out against him, and he was apprehended and sent to
the Castle, and he proved to be one Birnie, a helper to the Countess of
Weemys's coachman.

"Thereafter, ane information was given in against William M'Lauchlan,
ffootman to the said Countess, he haveing been very active in the mob;
ffor sometime he kept himself out of the way, but at last he was
apprehended and likewise committed to the Castle.

"And these were all the prisoners who were putt under confinement in that

"There were other persons imprisoned in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and
severalls against whom warrands were issued, but could not be
apprehended, whose names and cases shall afterwards be more particularly
taken notice of.

"The ffriends of Stirling made an application to the Earl of Islay, Lord
Justice-Generall, setting furth, that he was seized with a bloody fflux;
that his life was in danger; and that upon ane examination of witnesses
whose names were given in, it would appear to conviction, that he had not
the least access to any of the riotous proceedings of that wicked mob.

"This petition was by his Lordship putt in the hands of his Majestie's
Sollicitor, who examined the witnesses; and by their testimonies it
appeared, that the young man, who was not above eighteen years of age,
was that night in company with about half a dozen companions, in a public
house in Stephen Law's closs, near the back of the Guard, where they all
remained untill the noise came to the house, that the mob had shut the
gates and seized the Guard, upon which the company broke up, and he, and
one of his companions, went towards his master's house; and, in the
course of the after examination, there was a witness who declared, nay,
indeed swore (for the Sollicitor, by this time, saw it necessary to put
those he examined upon oath), that he met him [Stirling] after he entered
into the alley where his master lives, going towards his house; and
another witness, fellow-prentice with Stirling, declares, that after the
mob had seized the Guard, he went home, where he found Stirling before
him; and, that his master lockt the door, and kept them both at home till
after twelve at night: upon weighing of which testimonies, and upon
consideration had, That he was charged by the declaration only of one
person, who really did not appear to be a witness of the greatest weight,
and that his life was in danger from the imprisonment, he was admitted to
baill by the Lord Justice-Generall, by whose warrand he was committed.

"Braidwood's friends applyed in the same manner; but as he stood charged
by more than one witness, he was not released--tho', indeed, the
witnesses adduced for him say somewhat in his exculpation--that he does
not seem to have been upon any original concert; and one of the witnesses
says he was along with him at the Tolbooth door, and refuses what is said
against him, with regard to his having advised the burning of the
Tolbooth door. But he remains still in prison.

"As to Traill, the journeyman wright, he is charged by the same witness
who declared against Stirling, and there is none concurrs with him and,
to say the truth concerning him, he seemed to be the most ingenuous of
any of them whom the Solicitor examined, and pointed out a witness by
whom one of the first accomplices was discovered, and who escaped when
the warrand was to be putt in execution against them. He positively denys
his having shutt the gate, and 'tis thought Traill ought to be admitted
to baill.

"As to Birnie, he is charged only by one witness, who had never seen him
before, nor knew his name; so, tho' I dare say the witness honestly
mentioned him, 'tis possible he may be mistaken; and in the examination
of above 200 witnesses there is no body concurrs with him, and he is ane
insignificant little creature.

"With regard to M'Lauchlan, the proof is strong against him by one
witness, that he acted as a serjeant, or sort of commander, for some
time, of a Guard, that stood cross between the upper end of the
Luckenbooths and the north side of the street, to stop all but friends
from going towards the Tolbooth; and by other witnesses, that he was at
the Tolbooth door with a link in his hand, while the operation of beating
and burning it was going on; that he went along with the mob with a
halbert in his hand, untill he came to the gallows stone in the
Grassmarket, and that he stuck the halbert into the hole of the gallows
stone: that afterwards he went in amongst the mob when Captain Porteus
was carried to the dyer's tree; so that the proof seems very heavy
against him.

"To sum up this matter with regard to the prisoners in the Castle, 'tis
believed there is strong proof against M'Lauchlan; there is also proof
against Braidwood. But, as it consists only in emission of words said to
have been had by him while at the Tolbooth door, and that he is ane
insignificant pitifull creature, and will find people to swear heartily
in his favours, 'tis at best doubtfull whether a jury will be got to
condemn him.

"As to those in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, John Crawford, who had for
some time been employed to ring the bells in the steeple of the New
Church of Edinburgh, being in company with a soldier accidentally, the
discourse falling in concerning the Captain Porteus and his murder, as he
appears to be a light-headed fellow, he said, that he knew people that
were more guilty than any that were putt in prison. Upon this
information, Crawford was seized, and being examined, it appeared, that
when the mob begun, as he was comeing down from the steeple, the mob took
the keys from him; that he was that night in several corners, and did
indeed delate severall persons whom he saw there, and immediately
warrands were despatched, and it was found they had absconded and fled.
But there was no evidence against him of any kind. Nay, on the contrary,
it appeared, that he had been with the Magistrates in Clerk's, the
vintner's, relating to them what he had seen in the streets. Therefore,
after haveing detained him in prison ffor a very considerable time, his
Majestie's Advocate and Sollicitor signed a warrand for his liberation.

"There was also one James Wilson incarcerated in the said Tolbooth, upon
the declaration of one witness, who said he saw him on the streets with a
gun; and there he remained for some time, in order to try if a concurring
witness could be found, or that he acted any part in the tragedy and
wickedness. But nothing farther appeared against him; and being seized
with a severe sickness, he is, by a warrand signed by his Majestie's
Advocate and Sollicitor, liberated upon giveing sufficient baill.

"As to King, enquiry was made, and the ffact comes out beyond all
exception, that he was in the lodge at the Nether-Bow with Lindsay the
waiter, and several other people, not at all concerned in the mob. But
after the affair was over, he went up towards the guard, and having met
with Sandie the Turk and his wife, who escaped out of prison, they
returned to his house at the Abbey, and then 'tis very possible he may
have thought fitt in his beer to boast of villany, in which he could not
possibly have any share for that reason; he was desired to find baill and
he should be set at liberty. But he is a stranger and a fellow of very
indifferent character, and 'tis believed it won't be easy for him to find
baill. Wherefore, it's thought he must be sett at liberty without it.
Because he is a burden upon the Government while kept in confinement, not
being able to maintain himself.

"What is above is all that relates to persons in custody. But there are
warrands out against a great many other persons who had fled,
particularly against one William White, a journeyman baxter, who, by the
evidence, appears to have been at the beginning of the mob, and to have
gone along with the drum, from the West-Port to the Nether-Bow, and is
said to have been one of those who attacked the guard, and probably was
as deep as any one there.

"Information was given that he was lurking at Falkirk, where he was born.
Whereupon directions were sent to the Sheriff of the County, and a
warrand from his Excellency Generall Wade, to the commanding officers at
Stirling and Linlithgow, to assist, and all possible endeavours were used
to catch hold of him, and 'tis said he escaped very narrowly, having been
concealed in some outhouse; and the misfortune was, that those who were
employed in the search did not know him personally. Nor, indeed, was it
easy to trust any of the acquaintances of so low, obscure a fellow with
the secret of the warrand to be putt in execution.

"There was also strong evidence found against Robert Taylor, servant to
William and Charles Thomsons, periwig-makers, that he acted as ane
officer among the mob, and he was traced from the guard to the well at
the head of Forester's Wynd, where he stood and had the appellation of
Captain from the mob, and from that walking down the Bow before Captain
Porteus, with his Lochaber axe; and, by the description given of one who
hawl'd the rope by which Captain Porteus was pulled up, 'tis believed
Taylor was the person; and 'tis farther probable, that the witness who
debated Stirling had mistaken Taylor for him, their stature and age (so
far as can be gathered from the description) being the same.

"A great deal of pains were taken, and no charge was saved, in order to
have catched hold of this Taylor, and warrands were sent to the country
where he was born; but it appears he had shipt himself off for Holland,
where it is said he now is.

"There is strong evidence also against Thomas Burns, butcher, that he was
ane active person from the beginning of the mob to the end of it. He
lurkt for some time amongst those of his trade; and artfully enough a
train was laid to catch him, under pretence of a message that had come
from his father in Ireland, so that he came to a blind alehouse in the
Flesh-market close, and, a party being ready, was, by Webster the
soldier, who was upon this exploit, advertised to come down. However,
Burns escaped out at a back-window, and hid himself in some of the houses
which are heaped together upon one another in that place, so that it was
not possible to catch him. 'Tis now said he is gone to Ireland to his
father who lives there.

"There is evidence also against one Robert Anderson, journeyman and
servant to Colin Alison, wright; and against Thomas Linnen and James
Maxwell, both servants also to the said Colin Alison, who all seem to
have been deeply concerned in the matter. Anderson is one of those who
putt the rope upon Captain Porteus's neck. Linnen seems also to have been
very active; and Maxwell (which is pretty remarkable) is proven to have
come to a shop upon the Friday before, and charged the journeymen and
prentices there to attend in the Parliament close on Tuesday night, to
assist to hang Captain Porteus. These three did early abscond, and,
though warrands had been issued out against them, and all endeavours used
to apprehend them, could not be found.

"One Waldie, a servant to George Campbell, wright, has also absconded,
and many others, and 'tis informed that numbers of them have shipt
themselves off ffor the Plantations; and upon an information that a ship
was going off ffrom Glasgow, in which severall of the rogues were to
transport themselves beyond seas, proper warrands were obtained, and
persons despatched to search the said ship, and seize any that can be

"The like warrands had been issued with regard to ships from Leith. But
whether they had been scard, or whether the information had been
groundless, they had no effect.

"This is a summary of the enquiry, ffrom which it appears there is no
prooff on which one can rely, but against M'Lauchlan. There is a prooff
also against Braidwood, but more exceptionable. His Majestie's Advocate,
since he came to town, has join'd with the Sollicitor, and has done his
utmost to gett at the bottom of this matter, but hitherto it stands as is
above represented. They are resolved to have their eyes and their ears
open, and to do what they can. But they laboured exceedingly against the
stream; and it may truly be said, that nothing was wanting on their part.
Nor have they declined any labour to answer the commands laid upon them
to search the matter to the bottom."


In the preceding chapters (I. to VI.) the circumstances of that
extraordinary riot and conspiracy, called the Porteous Mob, are given
with as much accuracy as the author was able to collect them. The order,
regularity, and determined resolution with which such a violent action
was devised and executed, were only equalled by the secrecy which was
observed concerning the principal actors.

Although the fact was performed by torch-light, and in presence of a
great multitude, to some of whom, at least, the individual actors must
have been known, yet no discovery was ever made concerning any of the
perpetrators of the slaughter.

Two men only were brought to trial for an offence which the Government
were so anxious to detect and punish. William M'Lauchlan, footman to the
Countess of Wemyss, who is mentioned in the report of the
Solicitor-General, against whom strong evidence had been obtained, was
brought to trial in March 1737, charged as having been accessory to the
riot, armed with a Lochaber axe. But this man (who was at all times a
silly creature) proved, that he was in a state of mortal intoxication
during the time he was present with the rabble, incapable of giving them
either advice or assistance, or, indeed, of knowing what he or they were
doing. He was also able to prove, that he was forced into the riot, and
upheld while there by two bakers, who put a Lochaber axe into his hand.
The jury, wisely judging this poor creature could be no proper subject of
punishment, found the panel Not Guilty. The same verdict was given in the
case of Thomas Linning, also mentioned in the Solicitor's memorial, who
was tried in 1738. In short, neither then, nor for a long period
afterwards, was anything discovered relating to the organisation of the
Porteous Plot.

The imagination of the people of Edinburgh was long irritated, and their
curiosity kept awake, by the mystery attending this extraordinary
conspiracy. It was generally reported of such natives of Edinburgh as,
having left the city in youth, returned with a fortune amassed in foreign
countries, that they had originally fled on account of their share in the
Porteous Mob. But little credit can be attached to these surmises, as in
most of the cases they are contradicted by dates, and in none supported
by anything but vague rumours, grounded on the ordinary wish of the
vulgar, to impute the success of prosperous men to some unpleasant
source. The secret history of the Porteous Mob has been till this day
unravelled; and it has always been quoted as a close, daring, and
calculated act of violence, of a nature peculiarly characteristic of the
Scottish people.

Nevertheless, the author, for a considerable time, nourished hopes to
have found himself enabled to throw some light on this mysterious story.
An old man, who died about twenty years ago, at the advanced age of
ninety-three, was said to have made a communication to the clergyman who
attended upon his death-bed, respecting the origin of the Porteous Mob.
This person followed the trade of a carpenter, and had been employed as
such on the estate of a family of opulence and condition. His character
in his line of life and amongst his neighbours, was excellent, and never
underwent the slightest suspicion. His confession was said to have been
to the following purpose: That he was one of twelve young men belonging
to the village of Pathhead, whose animosity against Porteous, on account
of the execution of Wilson, was so extreme, that they resolved to execute
vengeance on him with their own hands, rather than he should escape
punishment. With this resolution they crossed the Forth at different
ferries, and rendezvoused at the suburb called Portsburgh, where their
appearance in a body soon called numbers around them. The public mind was
in such a state of irritation, that it only wanted a single spark to
create an explosion; and this was afforded by the exertions of the small
and determined band of associates. The appearance of premeditation and
order which distinguished the riot, according to his account, had its
origin, not in any previous plan or conspiracy, but in the character of
those who were engaged in it. The story also serves to show why nothing
of the origin of the riot has ever been discovered, since though in
itself a great conflagration, its source, according to this account, was
from an obscure and apparently inadequate cause.

I have been disappointed, however, in obtaining the evidence on which
this story rests. The present proprietor of the estate on which the old
man died (a particular friend of the author) undertook to question the
son of the deceased on the subject. This person follows his father's
trade, and holds the employment of carpenter to the same family. He
admits that his father's going abroad at the time of the Porteous Mob was
popularly attributed to his having been concerned in that affair; but
adds that, so far as is known to him, the old man had never made any
confession to that effect; and, on the contrary, had uniformly denied
being present. My kind friend, therefore, had recourse to a person from
whom he had formerly heard the story; but who, either from respect to an
old friend's memory, or from failure of his own, happened to have
forgotten that ever such a communication was made. So my obliging
correspondent (who is a fox-hunter) wrote to me that he was completely
/planted;/ and all that can be said with respect to the tradition is,
that it certainly once existed, and was generally believed.

[/N.B./--The Rev. Dr. Carlyle, minister of Inveresk, in his
/Autobiography,/ gives some interesting particulars relating to the
Porteous Mob, from personal recollections. He happened to be present in
the Tolbooth Church when Robertson made his escape, and also at the
execution of Wilson in the Grassmarket, when Captain Porteous fired upon
the mob, and several persons were killed. Edinburgh 1860, 8vo, pp.


John Semple, called Carspharn John, because minister of the parish in
Galloway so called, was a Presbyterian clergyman of singular piety and
great zeal, of whom Patrick Walker records the following passage: "That
night after his wife died, he spent the whole ensuing night in prayer and
meditation in his garden. The next morning, one of his elders coming to
see him, and lamenting his great loss and want of rest, he replied,--'I
declare I have not, all night, had one thought of the death of my wife, I
have been so taken up in meditating on heavenly things. I have been this
night on the banks of Ulai, plucking an apple here and there.' "--
/Walker's Remarkable Passages of the Life and Death of Mr. John Semple./


This personage, whom it would be base ingratitude in the author to pass
over without some notice, was by far the most zealous and faithful
collector and recorder of the actions and opinions of the Cameronians. He
resided, while stationary, at the Bristo Port of Edinburgh, but was by
trade an itinerant merchant, or pedlar, which profession he seems to have
exercised in Ireland as well as Britain. He composed biographical notices
of Alexander Peden, John Semple, John Welwood, and Richard Cameron, all
ministers of the Cameronian persuasion, to which the last mentioned
member gave the name.

It is from such tracts as these, written in the sense, feeling, and
spirit of the sect, and not from the sophisticated narratives of a later
period, that the real character of the persecuted class is to be
gathered. Walker writes with a simplicity which sometimes slides into the
burlesque, and sometimes attains a tone of simple pathos, but always
expressing the most daring confidence in his own correctness of creed and
sentiments, sometimes with narrow-minded and disgusting bigotry. His turn
for the marvellous was that of his time and sect; but there is little
room to doubt his veracity concerning whatever he quotes on his own
knowledge. His small tracts now bring a very high price, especially the
earlier and authentic editions. The tirade against dancing, pronounced by
David Deans, is, as intimated in the text, partly borrowed from Peter
Walker. He notices, as a foul reproach upon the name of Richard Cameron,
that his memory was vituperated, "by pipers and fiddlers playing the
Cameronian march--carnal vain springs, which too many professors of
religion dance to; a practice unbecoming the professors of Christianity
to dance to any spring, but somewhat more to this. Whatever," he
proceeds, "be the many foul blots recorded of the saints in Scripture,
none of them is charged with this regular fit of distraction. We find it
has been practised by the wicked and profane, as the dancing at that
brutish, base action of the calf-making; and it had been good for that
unhappy lass, who danced off the head of John the Baptist, that she had
been born a cripple, and never drawn a limb to her. Historians say, that
her sin was written upon her judgment, who some time thereafter was
dancing upon the ice, and it broke, and snapt the head off her; her head
danced above, and her feet beneath. There is ground to think and
conclude, that when the world's wickedness was great, dancing at their
marriages was practised; but when the heavens above, and the earth
beneath, were let loose upon them with that overflowing flood, their
mirth was soon staid; and when the Lord in holy justice rained fire and
brimstone from heaven upon that wicked people and city Sodom, enjoying
fulness of bread and idleness, their fiddle-strings and hands went all in
a flame; and the whole people in thirty miles of length, and ten of
breadth, as historians say, were all made to fry in their skins and at
the end, whoever are giving in marriages and dancing when all will go in
a flame, they will quickly change their note.

"I have often wondered thorow my life, how any that ever knew what it was
to bow a knee in earnest to pray, durst crook a hough to fyke and fling
at a piper's and fiddler's springs. I bless the Lord that ordered my lot
so in my dancing days, that made the fear of the bloody rope and bullets
to my neck and head, the pain of boots, thumikens, and irons, cold and
hunger, wetness and weariness, to stop the lightness of my head, and the
wantonness of my feet. What the never-to-be-forgotten Man of God, John
Knox, said to Queen Mary, when she gave him that sharp challenge, which
would strike our mean-spirited, tongue-tacked ministers dumb, for his
giving public faithful warning of the danger of the church and nation,
through her marrying the Dauphine of France, when he left her bubbling
and greeting, and came to an outer court, where her Lady Maries were
fyking and dancing, he said, 'O brave ladies, a brave world, if it would
last, and heaven at the hinder end! But fye upon the knave Death, that
will seize upon those bodies of yours; and where will all your fiddling
and flinging be then?' Dancing being such a common evil, especially
amongst young professors, that all the lovers of the Lord should hate,
has caused me to insist the more upon it, especially that foolish spring
the Cameronian march!"--/Life and Death of Three Famous Worthies,/ etc.,
collected and printed for Patrick Walker, Edin. 1727, 12mo, p. 59.

It may be here observed, that some of the milder class of Cameronians
made a distinction between the two sexes dancing separately, and allowed
of it as a healthy and not unlawful exercise; but when men and women
mingled in sport, it was then called /promiscuous dancing,/ and
considered as a scandalous enormity.


Nichol Muschat, a debauched and profligate wretch, having conceived a
hatred against his wife, entered into a conspiracy with another brutal
libertine and gambler, named Campbell of Burnbank (repeatedly mentioned
in Pennycuick's satirical poems of the time), by which Campbell undertook
to destroy the woman's character, so as to enable Muschat, on false
pretences to obtain a divorce from her. The brutal devices to which these
worthy accomplices resorted for that purpose having failed, they
endeavoured to destroy her by administering medicine of a dangerous kind,
and in extraordinary quantities.

This purpose also failing, Nichol Muschat, or Muschet, did finally, on
the 17th October 1720, carry his wife under cloud of night to the King's
Park, adjacent to what is called the Duke's Walk, near Holyrood Palace,
and there took her life by cutting her throat almost quite through, and
inflicting other wounds. He pleaded guilty to the indictment, for which
he suffered death. His associate, Campbell, was sentenced to
transportation, for his share in the previous conspiracy. See
/MacLaurin's Criminal Cases,/pp. 64 and 738.

In memory, and at the same time execration, of the deed, a /cairn,/ or
pile of stones, long marked the spot. It is now almost totally removed,
in consequence of an alteration on the road in that place.


/Lockman,/ so called from the small quantity of meal (Scottice, /lock/)
which he was entitled to take out of every boll exposed to market in the
city. In Edinburgh, the duty has been very long commuted; but in
Dumfries, the finisher of the law still exercises, or did lately
exercise, his privilege, the quantity taken being regulated by a small
iron ladle, which he uses as the measure of his perquisite. The
expression /lock,/ for a small quantity of any readily divisible dry
substance, as corn, meal, flax, or the like, is still preserved, not only
popularly, but in a legal description, as the /lock/ and /gowpen,/ or
small quantity and handful, payable in thirlage cases, as in town


This legend was in former editions inaccurately said to exist in Baxter's
"World of Spirits;" but is, in fact, to be found, in "Pandaemonium, or
the Devil's Cloyster; being a further blow to Modern Sadduceism," by
Richard Bovet, Gentleman, 12mo, 1684. The work is inscribed to Dr. Henry
More. The story is entitled, "A remarkable passage of one named the Fairy
Boy of Leith, in Scotland, given me by my worthy friend, Captain George
Burton, and attested under his hand;" and is as follows:--

"About fifteen years since, having business that detained me for some
time in Leith, which is near Edenborough, in the kingdom of Scotland, I
often met some of my acquaintance at a certain house there, where we used
to drink a glass of wine for our refection. The woman which kept the
house was of honest reputation amongst the neighbours, which made me
givethe more attention to what she told me one day about a Fairy Boy (as
they called him) who lived about that town. She had given me so strange
an account of him, that I desired her I might see him the first
opportunity, which she promised; and not long after, passing that way,
she told me there was the Fairy Boy but a little before I came by; and
casting her eye into the street, said, 'Look you, sir, yonder he is at
play with those other boys,' and designing him to me. I went, and by
smooth words, and a piece of money, got him to come into the house with
me; where, in the presence of divers people, I demanded of him several
astrological questions, which he answered with great subtility, and
through all his discourse carried it with a cunning much beyond his
years, which seemed not to exceed ten or eleven. He seemed to make a
motion like drumming upon the table with his fingers, upon which I asked
him, whether he could beat a drum, to which he replied, 'Yes, sir, as
well as any man in Scotland; for every Thursday night I beat all points
to a sort of people that use to meet under yon hill" (pointing to the
great hill between Edenborough and Leith). 'How, boy,' quoth I; 'what
company have you there?'--'There are, sir,' said he, 'a great company
both of men and women, and they are entertained with many sorts of music
besides my drum; they have, besides, plenty variety of meats and wine;
and many times we are carried into France or Holland in a night, and
return again; and whilst we are there, we enjoy all the pleasures the
country doth afford.' I demanded of him, how they got under that hill?
To which he replied, 'that there were a great pair of gates that opened
to them, though they were invisible to others, and that within there were
brave large rooms, as well accommodated as most in Scotland.' I then
asked him, how I should know what he said to be true? upon which he told
me he would read my fortune, saying I should have two wives, and that he
saw the forms of them sitting on my shoulders; that both would be very
handsome women.

"As he was thus speaking, a woman of the neighbourhood, coming into the
room, demanded of him what her fortune should be? He told her that she
had two bastards before she was married; which put her in such a rage,
that she desired not to hear the rest. The woman of the house told me
that all the people in Scotland could not keep him from the rendezvous on
Thursday night; upon which, by promising him some more money, I got a
promise of him to meet me at the same place, in the afternoon of the
Thursday following, and so dismissed him at that time. The boy came again
at the place and time appointed, and I had prevailed with some friends to
continue with me, if possible, to prevent his moving that night; he was
placed between us, and answered many questions, without offering to go
from us, until about eleven of the clock, he was got away unperceived of
the company; but I suddenly missing him, hasted to the door, and took
hold of him, and so returned him into the same room; we all watched him,
and on a sudden he was again out of the doors. I followed him close, and
he made a noise in the street as if he had been set upon; but from that
time I could never see him.

[A copy of this rare little volume is in the library at Abbotsford.)


The gloomy, dangerous, and constant wanderings of the persecuted sect of
Cameronians, naturally led to their entertaining with peculiar credulity
the belief that they were sometimes persecuted, not only by the wrath of
men, but by the secret wiles and open terrors of Satan. In fact, a flood
could not happen, a horse cast a shoe, or any other the most ordinary
interruption thwart a minister's wish to perform service at a particular
spot, than the accident was imputed to the immediate agency of fiends.
The encounter of Alexander Peden with the Devil in the cave, and that of
John Sample with the demon in the ford, are given by Peter Walker almost
in the language of the text.


The Scottish Statute Book, anno 1690, chapter 21, in consequence of the
great increase of the crime of child-murder, both from the temptations to
commit the offence and the difficulty of discovery enacted a certain set
of presumptions, which, in the absence of direct proof, the jury were
directed to receive as evidence of the crime having actually been
committed. The circumstances selected for this purpose were, that the
woman should have concealed her situation during the whole period of
pregnancy; that she should not have called for help at her delivery; and
that, combined with these grounds of suspicion, the child should be
either found dead or be altogether missing. Many persons suffered death
during the last century under this severe act. But during the author's
memory a more lenient course was followed, and the female accused under
the act, and conscious of no competent defence, usually lodged a petition
to the Court of Justiciary, denying, for form's sake, the tenor of the
indictment, but stating, that as her good name had been destroyed by the
charge, she was willing to submit to sentence of banishment, to which the
crown counsel usually consented. This lenity in practice, and the
comparative infrequency of the crime since the doom of public
ecclesiastical penance has been generally dispensed with, have led to the
abolition of the Statute of William, and Mary, which is now replaced by
another, imposing banishment in those circumstances in which the crime
was formerly capital. This alteration took place in 1803.


The journal of Graves, a Bow Street officer, despatched to Holland to
obtain the surrender of the unfortunate William Brodie, bears a
reflection on the ladies somewhat like that put in the mouth of the
police-officer Sharpitlaw. It had been found difficult to identify the
unhappy criminal; and when a Scotch gentleman of respectability had
seemed disposed to give evidence on the point required, his son-in-law, a
clergyman in Amsterdam, and his daughter, were suspected by Graves to
have used arguments with the witness to dissuade him from giving his
testimony. On which subject the journal of the Bow Street officer
proceeds thus:--

"Saw then a manifest reluctance in Mr. -------, and had no doubt the
daughter and parson would endeavour to persuade him to decline troubling
himself in the matter, but judged he could not go back from what he had
said to Mr. Rich.--Nota Bene. /No mischief but a woman or a priest in
it/--here both."

NOTE M.--Sir William Dick of Braid.

This gentleman formed a striking example of the instability of human
prosperity. He was once the wealthiest man of his time in Scotland, a
merchant in an extensive line of commerce, and a farmer of the public
revenue; insomuch that, about 1640, he estimated his fortune at two
hundred thousand pounds sterling. Sir William Dick was a zealous
Covenanter; and in the memorable year 1641, he lent the Scottish
Convention of Estates one hundred thousand merks at once, and thereby
enabled them to support and pay their army, which must otherwise have
broken to pieces. He afterwards advanced L20,000 for the service of King
Charles, during the usurpation; and having, by owning the royal cause,
provoked the displeasure of the ruling party, he was fleeced of more
money, amounting in all to L65,000 sterling.

Being in this manner reduced to indigence, he went to London to try to
recover some part of the sums which had been lent on Government security.
Instead of receiving any satisfaction, the Scottish Croesus was thrown
into prison, in which he died, 19th December 1655. It is said his death
was hastened by the want of common necessaries. But this statement is
somewhat exaggerated, if it be true, as is commonly said, that though he
was not supplied with bread, he had plenty of pie-crust, thence called
"Sir William Dick's Necessity."

The changes of fortune are commemorated in a folio pamphlet, entitled,
"The Lamentable Estate and distressed Case of Sir William Dick" [Lond.
1656]. It contains three copper-plates, one representing Sir William on
horseback, and attended with guards as Lord Provost of Edinburgh,
superintending the unloading of one of his rich argosies. A second
exhibiting him as arrested, and in the hands of the bailiffs. A third
presents him dead in prison. The tract is esteemed highly valuable by
collectors of prints. The only copy I ever saw upon sale, was rated at
L30. (In London sales, copies have varied in price from L15 to L52: 10s.)

NOTE N.--Doomster, or Dempster, of Court.

The name of this officer is equivalent to the pronouncer of doom or
sentence. In this comprehensive sense, the Judges of the Isle of Man were
called Dempsters. But in Scotland the word was long restricted to the
designation of an official person, whose duty it was to recite the
sentence after it had been pronounced by the Court, and recorded by the
clerk; on which occasion the Dempster legalised it by the words of form,
"/And this I pronounce for doom./" For a length of years, the office, as
mentioned in the text, was held in commendam with that of the
executioner; for when this odious but necessary officer of justice
received his appointment, he petitioned the Court of Justiciary to be
received as their Dempster, which was granted as a matter of course.

The production of the executioner in open court, and in presence of the
wretched criminal, had something in it hideous and disgusting to the more
refined feelings of later times. But if an old tradition of the
Parliament House of Edinburgh may be trusted, it was the following
anecdote which occasioned the disuse of the Dempster's office.

It chanced at one time that the office of public executioner was vacant.
There was occasion for some one to act as Dempster, and, considering the
party who generally held the office, it is not wonderful that a locum
tenens was hard to be found. At length, one Hume, who had been sentenced
to transportation, for an attempt to burn his own house, was induced to
consent that he would pronounce the doom on this occasion. But when
brought forth to officiate, instead of repeating the doom to the
criminal, Mr. Hume addressed himself to their lordships in a bitter
complaint of the injustice of his own sentence. It was in vain that he
was interrupted, and reminded of the purpose for which he had come
hither; "I ken what ye want of me weel eneugh," said the fellow, "ye want
me to be your Dempster; but I am come to be none of your Dempster, I am
come to summon you, Lord T, and you, Lord E, to answer at the bar of
another world for the injustice you have done me in this." In short, Hume
had only made a pretext of complying with the proposal, in order to have
an opportunity of reviling the Judges to their faces, or giving them, in
the phrase of his country, "a sloan." He was hurried off amid the
laughter of the audience, but the indecorous scene which had taken place
contributed to the abolition of the office of Dempster. The sentence is
now read over by the clerk of court, and the formality of pronouncing
doom is altogether omitted.

[The usage of calling the Dempster into court by the ringing of a
hand-bell, to repeat the sentence on a criminal, is said to have been
abrogated in March 1773.]

NOTE O.--John Duke of Argyle and Greenwich.

This nobleman was very dear to his countrymen, who were justly proud of
his military and political talents, and grateful for the ready zeal with
which he asserted the rights of his native country. This was never more
conspicuous than in the matter of the Porteous Mob, when the ministers
brought in a violent and vindictive bill, for declaring the Lord Provost
of Edinburgh incapable of bearing any public office in future, for not
foreseeing a disorder which no one foresaw, or interrupting the course of
a riot too formidable to endure opposition. The same bill made provision
for pulling down the city gates, and abolishing the city guard,--rather a
Hibernian mode of enabling their better to keep the peace within burgh in

The Duke of Argyle opposed this bill as a cruel, unjust, and fanatical
proceeding, and an encroachment upon the privileges of the royal burghs
of Scotland, secured to them by the treaty of Union. "In all the
proceedings of that time," said his Grace, "the nation of Scotland
treated with the English as a free and independent people; and as that
treaty, my Lords, had no other guarantee for the due performance of its
articles, but the faith and honour of a British Parliament, it would be
both unjust and ungenerous, should this House agree to any proceedings
that have a tendency to injure it."

Lord Hardwicke, in reply to the Duke of Argyle, seemed to insinuate, that
his Grace had taken up the affair in a party point of view, to which the
nobleman replied in the spirited language quoted in the text. Lord
Hardwicke apologised. The bill was much modified, and the clauses
concerning the dismantling the city, and disbanding the guard, were
departed from. A fine of L2000 was imposed on the city for the benefit of
Porteous's widow. She was contented to accept three-fourths of the sum,
the payment of which closed the transaction. It is remarkable, that, in
our day, the Magistrates of Edinburgh have had recourse to both those
measures, hold in such horror by their predecessors, as necessary steps
for the improvement of the city.

It may be here noticed, in explanation of another circumstance mentioned
in the text, that there is a tradition in Scotland, that George II.,
whose irascible temper is said sometimes to have hurried him into
expressing his displeasure /par voie du fait,/ offered to the Duke of
Argyle in angry audience, some menace of this nature, on which he left
the presence in high disdain, and with little ceremony. Sir Robert
Walpole, having met the Duke as he retired, and learning the cause of his
resentment and discomposure, endeavoured to reconcile him to what had
happened by saying, "Such was his Majesty's way, and that he often took
such liberties with himself without meaning any harm." This did not mend
matters in MacCallummore's eyes, who replied, in great disdain, "You will
please to remember, Sir Robert, the infinite distance there is betwixt
you and me." Another frequent expression of passion on the part of the
same monarch, is alluded to in the old Jacobite song--

The fire shall get both hat and wig,
As oft-times they've got a' that.

NOTE P.--Expulsion of the Bishops from the Scottish Convention.

For some time after the Scottish Convention had commenced its sittings,
the Scottish prelates retained their seats, and said prayers by rotation
to the meeting, until the character of the Convention became, through the
secession of Dundee, decidedly Presbyterian. Occasion was then taken on
the Bishop of Ross mentioning King James in his prayer, as him for whom
they watered their couch with tears. On this the Convention exclaimed,
they had no occasion for spiritual Lords, and commanded the Bishops to
depart and return no more, Montgomery of Skelmorley breaking at the same
time a coarse jest upon the scriptural expression used by the prelate.
Davie Deans's oracle, Patrick Walker, gives this account of their

"When they came out, some of the Convention said they wished the honest
lads knew they were put out, for then they would not get away with haill
(whole) gowns. All the fourteen gathered together with pale faces, and
stood in a cloud in the Parliament Close; James Wilson, Robert Neilson,
Francis Hislop, and myself, were standing close by them; Francis Hislop
with force thrust Robert Neilson upon them, their heads went hard on one
another. But there being so many enemies in the city fretting and
gnashing the teeth, waiting for an occasion to raise a mob, when
undoubtedly blood would have been shed, and having laid down conclusions
amongst ourselves to avoid giving the least occasion to all mobs, kept us
from tearing off their gowns.

"Their graceless Graces went quickly off, and there was neither bishop
nor curate seen in the street--this was a surprising sudden change not to
be forgotten. Some of us would have rejoiced near them in large sums to
have seen these Bishops sent legally down the Bow that they might have
found the weight of their tails in a tow to dry their tow-soles; that
they might know what hanging was, they having been active for themselves
and the main instigators to all the mischiefs, cruelties, and bloodshed
of that time, wherein the streets of Edinburgh and other places of the
land did run with the innocent precious dear blood of the Lord's
people."--/Life and Death of three famous Worthies/ (Semple, etc.), by
Patrick Walker. Edin. 1727, pp. 72, 73.

NOTE Q.--Half-hanged Maggie Dickson.

[In the Statistical Account of the Parish of Inveresk (vol. xvi. p. 34),
Dr. Carlyle says, "No person has been convicted of a capital felony since
the year 1728, when the famous Maggy Dickson was condemned and executed
for child-murder in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh, and was restored to
life in a cart on her way to Musselburgh to be buried . . . . . She kept
an ale-house in a neighbouring parish for many years after she came to
life again, which was much resorted to from curiosity." After the body
was cut down and handed over to her relatives, her revival is attributed
to the jolting of the cart, and according to Robert Chambers,--taking a
retired road to Musselburgh, "they stopped near Peffer-mill to get a
dram; and when they came out from the house to resume their journey,
Maggie was sitting up in the cart." Among the poems of Alexander
Pennecuick (who died in 1730), is one entitled "The Merry Wives of
Musselburgh's Welcome to Meg Dickson;" while another broadside, without
any date or author's name, is called "Margaret Dickson's Penitential
Confession," containing these lines referring to her conviction:--

"Who found me guilty of that barbarous crime,
And did, by law, end this wretched life of mine;
But God . . . . did me preserve," etc.

In another of these ephemeral productions hawked about the streets,
called, "A Ballad by J--n B--s," are the following lines:--

"Please peruse the speech
Of ill-hanged Maggy Dickson.
Ere she was strung, the wicked wife
Was sainted by the Flamen (priest),
But now, since she's retum'd to life,
Some say she's the old samen."

In his reference to Maggie's calling salt after her recovery, the Author
would appear to be alluding to another character who went by the name of
"saut /Maggie,/" and is represented in one or more old etchings about

NOTE R.--Madge Wildfire.

In taking leave of the poor maniac, the Author may here observe that the
first conception of the character, though afterwards greatly altered, was
taken from that of a person calling herself, and called by others,
Feckless Fannie (weak or feeble Fannie), who always travelled with a
small flock of sheep. The following account, furnished by the persevering
kindness of Mr. Train, contains, probably, all that can now be known of
her history, though many, among whom is the Author, may remember having
heard of Feckless Fannie in the days of their youth.

"My leisure hours," says Mr. Train, "for some time past have been mostly
spent in searching for particulars relating to the maniac called Feckless
Fannie, who travelled over all Scotland and England, between the years
1767 and 1775, and whose history is altogether so like a romance, that I
have been at all possible pains to collect every particular that can be
found relative to her in Galloway, or in Ayrshire.

"When Feckless Fannie appeared in Ayrshire, for the first time, in the
summer of 1769, she attracted much notice, from being attended by twelve
or thirteen sheep, who seemed all endued with faculties so much superior
to the ordinary race of animals of the same species, as to excite
universal astonishment. She had for each a different name, to which it
answered when called by its mistress, and would likewise obey in the most
surprising manner any command she thought proper to give. When
travelling, she always walked in front of her flock, and they followed
her closely behind. When she lay down at night in the fields, for she
would never enter into a house, they always disputed who should lie next
to her, by which means she was kept warm, while she lay in the midst of
them; when she attempted to rise from the ground, an old ram, whose name
was Charlie, always claimed the sole right of assisting her; pushing any
that stood in his way aside, until he arrived right before his mistress;
he then bowed his head nearly to the ground that she might lay her hands
on his horns, which were very large; he then lifted her gently from the
ground by raising his head. If she chanced to leave her flock feeding, as
soon as they discovered she was gone, they all began to bleat most
piteously, and would continue to do so till she returned; they would then
testify their joy by rubbing their sides against her petticoat and
frisking about.

"Feckless Fannie was not, like most other demented creatures, fond of
fine dress; on her head she wore an old slouched hat, over her shoulders
an old plaid, and carried always in her hand a shepherd's crook; with any
of these articles she invariably declared she would not part for any
consideration whatever. When she was interrogated why she set so much
value on things seemingly so insignificant, she would sometimes relate
the history of her misfortune, which was briefly as follows:--

"'I am the only daughter of a wealthy squire in the north of England, but
I loved my father's shepherd, and that has been my ruin; for my father,
fearing his family would be disgraced by such an alliance, in a passion
mortally wounded my lover with a shot from a pistol. I arrived just in
time to receive the last blessing of the dying man, and to close his eyes
in death. He bequeathed me his little all, but I only accepted these
sheep, to be my sole companions through life, and this hat, this plaid,
and this crook, all of which I will carry until I descend into the

"This is the substance of a ballad, eighty-four lines of which I copied
down lately from the recitation of an old woman in this place, who says
she has seen it in print, with a plate on the title-page, representing
Fannie with her sheep behind her. As this ballad is said to have been
written by Lowe, the author of /Mary's Dream,/ I am surprised that it has
not been noticed by Cromek in his /Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway
Song;/ but he perhaps thought it unworthy of a place in his collection,
as there is very little merit in the composition; which want of room
prevents me from transcribing at present. But if I thought you had never
seen it, I would take an early opportunity of doing so.

"After having made the tour of Galloway in 1769, as Fannie was wandering
in the neighbourhood of Moffat, on her way to Edinburgh, where, I am
informed, she was likewise well known, Old Charlie, her favourite ram,
chanced to break into a kale-yard, which the proprietor observing, let
loose a mastiff, that hunted the poor sheep to death. This was a sad
misfortune; it seemed to renew all the pangs which she formerly felt on
the death of her lover. She would not part from the side of her old
friend for several days, and it was with much difficulty she consented to
allow him to be buried; but still wishing to pay a tribute to his memory,
she covered his grave with moss, and fenced it round with osiers, and
annually returned to the same spot, and pulled the weeds from the grave
and repaired the fence. This is altogether like a romance; but I believe
it is really true that she did so. The grave of Charlie is still held
sacred even by the school-boys of the present day in that quarter. It is
now, perhaps, the only instance of the law of Kenneth being attended to,
which says, 'The grave where anie that is slaine lieth buried, leave
untilled for seven years. Repute every grave holie so as thou be well
advised, that in no wise with thy feet thou tread upon it.'

"Through the storms of winter, as well as in the milder seasons of the
year, she continued her wandering course, nor could she be prevented from
doing so, either by entreaty or promise of reward. The late Dr. Fullarton
of Rosemount, in the neighbourhood of Ayr, being well acquainted with her
father when in England, endeavoured, in a severe season, by every means
in his power, to detain her at Rosemount for a few days until the weather
should become more mild; but when she found herself rested a little, and
saw her sheep fed, she raised her crook, which was the signal she always
gave for the sheep to follow her, and off they all marched together.

"But the hour of poor Fannie's dissolution was now at hand, and she
seemed anxious to arrive at the spot where she was to terminate her
mortal career. She proceeded to Glasgow, and while passing through that
city a crowd of idle boys, attracted by her singular appearance, together
with the novelty of seeing so many sheep obeying her command, began to
ferment her with their pranks, till she became so irritated that she
pelted them with bricks and stones, which they returned in such a manner,
that she was actually stoned to death between Glasgow and Anderston.

"To the real history of this singular individual credulity has attached
several superstitious appendages. It is said that the farmer who was the
cause of Charlie's death shortly afterwards drowned himself in a
peat-hag; and that the hand with which a butcher in Kilinarnock struck
one of the other sheep became powerless, and withered to the very bone.
In the summer of 1769, when she was passing by New Cumnock, a young man,
whose name was William Forsyth, son of a farmer in the same parish,
plagued her so much that she wished he might never see the morn; upon
which he went home and hanged himself in his father's barn. And I doubt
not that many such stories may yet be remembered in other parts where she
had been."

So far Mr. Train. The Author can only add to this narrative that Feckless
Fannie and her little flock were well known in the pastoral districts. In
attempting to introduce such a character into fiction, the Author felt
the risk of encountering a comparison with the Maria of Sterne; and,
besides, the mechanism of the story would have been as much retarded by
Feckless Fannie's flock as the night march of Don Quixote was delayed by
Sancho's tale of the sheep that were ferried over the river.

The Author has only to add, that notwithstanding the preciseness of his
friend Mr. Train's statement, there may be some hopes that the outrage on
Feckless Fannie and her little flock was not carried to extremity. There
is no mention of any trial on account of it, which, had it occurred in
the manner stated, would have certainly taken place; and the Author has
understood that it was on the Border she was last seen, about the skirts
of the Cheviot hills, but without her little flock.

NOTE S.--Death of Francis Gordon.

This exploit seems to have been one in which Patrick Walker prided
himself not a little; and there is reason to fear, that that excellent
person would have highly resented the attempt to associate another with
him in the slaughter of a King's Life-Guardsman. Indeed, he would have
had the more right to be offended at losing any share of the glory, since
the party against Gordon was already three to one, besides having the
advantage of firearms. The manner in which he vindicates his claim to the
exploit, without committing himself by a direct statement of it, is not a
little amusing. It is as follows:--

"I shall give a brief and true account of that man's death, which I did
not design to do while I was upon the stage; I resolve, indeed (if it be
the Lord's will), to leave a more full account of that and many other
remarkable steps of the Lord's dispensations towards me through my life.
It was then commonly said, that Francis Gordon was a volunteer out of
wickedness of principles, and could not stay with the troop, but was
still raging and ranging to catch hiding suffering people. Meldrum and
Airly's troops, lying at Lanark upon the first day of March 1682, Mr.
Gordon and another wicked comrade, with their two servants and four
horses, came to Kilcaigow, two miles from Lanark, searching for William
Caigow and others, under hiding.

"Mr. Gordon, rambling throw the town, offered to abuse the women. At
night, they came a mile further to the Easter-Seat, to Robert Muir's, he
being also under hiding. Gordon's comrade and the two servants went to
bed, but he could sleep none, roaring all night for women. When day came,
he took only his sword in his hand, and came to Moss-platt, and some new
men (who had been in the fields all night) seeing him, they fled, and he
pursued. James Wilson, Thomas Young, and myself, having been in a meeting
all night, were lying down in the morning. We were alarmed, thinking
there were many more than one; he pursued hard, and overtook us. Thomas
Young said, 'Sir, what do ye pursue us for?' He said, 'he was come to
send us to hell.' James Wilson said, 'that shall not be, for we will
defend ourselves.' He said, 'that either he or we should go to it now.'
He run his sword furiously throw James Wilson's coat. James fired upon
him, but missed him. All this time he cried, 'Damn his soul!' He got a
shot in his head out of a pocket-pistol, rather fit for diverting a boy
than killing such a furious, mad, brisk man, which, notwithstanding,
killed him dead. The foresaid William Caigow and Robert Muir came to us.
We searched him for papers, and found a long scroll of sufferers' names,
either to kill or take. I tore it all in pieces. He had also some Popish
books and bonds of money, with one dollar, which a poor man took off the
ground; all which we put in his pocket again. Thus, he was four miles
from Lanark, and near a mile from his comrade, seeking his own death and
got it. And for as much as we have been condemned for this, I could never
see how any one could condemn us that allows of self-defence, which the
laws both of God and nature allow to every creature. For my own part, my
heart never smote me for this. When I saw his blood run, I wished that
all the blood of the Lord's stated and avowed enemies in Scotland had
been in his veins. Having such a clear call and opportunity, I would have
rejoiced to have seen it all gone out with a gush. I have many times
wondered at the greater part of the indulged, lukewarm ministers and
professors in that time, who made more noise of murder, when one of these
enemies had been killed even in our own defence, than of twenty of us
being murdered by them. None of these men present was challenged for this
but myself. Thomas Young thereafter suffered at Mauchline, but was not
challenged for this; Robert Muir was banished; James Wilson outlived the
persecution; Williarn Caigow died in the Canongate Tolbooth, in the
beginning of 1685. Mr. Wodrow is misinformed, who says that he suffered
unto death."

NOTE T.--Tolling to Service in Scotland.

In the old days of Scotland, when persons of property (unless they
happened to be non-jurors) were as regular as their inferiors in
attendance on parochial worship, there was a kind of etiquette, in
waiting till the patron or acknowledged great man of the parish should
make his appearance. This ceremonial was so sacred in the eyes of a
parish beadle in the Isle of Bute, that the kirk bell being out of order,
he is said to have mounted the steeple every Sunday, to imitate with his
voice the successive summonses which its mouth of metal used to send
forth. The first part of this imitative harmony was simply the repetition
of the words /Bell bell, bell bell,/ two or three times in a manner as
much resembling the sound as throat of flesh could imitate throat of
iron. /Bellu'm! bellu'm!/ was sounded forth in a more urgent manner; but
he never sent forth the third and conclusive peal, the varied tone of
which is called in Scotland the ringing-in, until the two principal
heritors of the parish approached, when the chime ran thus:--

Bellu'm Belle'llum,
Bernera and Knockdow's coming!
Bellu'm Belle'llum,
Bernera and Knockdow's coming!

Thereby intimating that service was instantly to proceed.

[Mr. Mackinlay of Borrowstounness, a native of Bute, states that Sir
Walter Scott had this story from Sir Adam Ferguson; but that the gallant
knight had not given the lairds' titles correctly--the bellman's great
men being "Craich, Drumbuie, and Barnernie!"--1842.]


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