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Title: The Waverley Anecdotes, Vol I

Date of first publication: 1833

Author: anonymous

Date first posted: Nov. 6, 2018

Date last updated: Nov. 6, 2018

Faded Page eBook #20181105

This ebook was produced by: Iona Vaughan, Mark Akrigg, Howard Ross & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

Worthington, sc.






London, Published by James Cochrane & John Mc Crone.




































(Vol. I.)

Domestic Manners, Costume, &c., of the Ancient Scots.1
—Dress. Costume.4
—Crimes, Superstitions, Credulity.7
—Domestic Manners.10
—Language, English and Scots.11
—Diet, and Cookery.13
—Field sports, Games and Diversions.14
Anno Domini 1400 AD A.D. 1548.17
An Estimate of the Morals, Manners, &c., of the Scots and English.24
—The Hamilton Faction.26
—Manners of the Age.28
Field of Stirling.—Death of James III.30
Notes of Scottish Affairs, From the Year 1680 to 1701.40
——Paterson, Bishop of Edinburgh.41
——Royal Injunction.43
——Costly Coronation of Queen Mary.43
——Political State of Scotland.44
——A Parson fined for getting drunk.44
—Torture of the Boots and Thumbiken.44
Execution of Rumbold, the Projector of the Rye-house Plot.56
——Punishment for 'Mincing' the King's Authority.57
——Execution of a Drummer and a Fencing Master.58
The Highland Fire-Cross.59
The Covenanters.—Transactions During the Civil Wars.—Curious Entries.62
State of the Scottish Army under General Alexander Leslie, in the Year 1641.73
—His Majesties Passing Through the Scots Armie.75
——The Manner of the Scot's Departure.77
Battle of Tippermuir.78
—Reasons for the Surrender of Perth.82
Waverley Novels.——Characters and Incidents, &c.90
—Waverley Plot93
—Sketches of Characters99
Peveril of the Peak.107
—Story of Fenella.115
—Jeffery Hudson.118
—Davie Gellatley.121
—Paul Pleydell.133
—Driver's Shadow.143
—Dominie Sampson.148
—Dandie Dinmont.152
—Meg Merrilies.154
Rob Roy Macgregor.159
The Antiquary.179
—Andrew Gemmels.180
—Elopement of the Countess of Cassilis with Johnnie Faa, the Gipsey Chief.189
—The Bohemian.202
Gipsey Colony.209
Quentin Durward.218
—The Revellers.235
—The Flight.236
—The Unbidden Guest.237
—The Sally.238
The Borders.244
—The English Border.250
Present State of the Borders, and the Character of the Inhabitants.257
Cottages and Modes of Living of the Scottish Peasantry.259
The Monastery.263
—Visit to Melrose.—The Original Dominie Sampson.266
—The Weird Hill, &c.278
—Valley of Glendearg.279
—The Fairey or Nameless Dean.281
—Hislop Tower.282
—Smailholm Tower.284
—Ravenswood Castle.290
—Fairies Fagaries.312
—Fairy Fragments.314
—The Witches of Pittenween, in Fifeshire.325
—Minutes of the committee of the privy counsel.337
—Murder of a Reputed Witch.338
—Approbation of the Report of the Committee.341
—Report of Committee to Inquire Into the Murder.342
Peveril's Castle of the Peak.345
Kenilworth Castle.348
Tales of the Crusaders.368
—The Pride and Pleasure of a Lawsuit.372
Errata to Vol. I.end of book


In no other part of the civilized world are the multiplicity of objects so calculated to invite poetic, romantic, or picturesque description, as the

"Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,

Land of the mountain and the flood!"

and, although these have met with their share of attention, local and general manners have been too frequently neglected or commingled with the caricature of romance itself, to convey adequate impressions of their real existence, either of the past, or during the present period. Had we a particular account of the manners of Scotland, and the changes that have taken place, from time to time, since the era of William the Conqueror, no history could be more entertaining. But those changes have been so little marked, that what knowledge we have of them, until the recent appearance of that great northern constellation in the hemisphere of romance, we owe more to the essay writers in Queen Anne's time, than to any other of the Scottish historians. Addison, Pope, and Swift, give us some ideas of the manners of the times they wrote in; since that period, the information we have had from our parents, and our own observation, only can instruct us.

It has long been a desideratum that some efficient writer would make his observations on this subject, during his own life, which, if carried down by others, would contain both useful and entertaining knowledge; and, in this respect, the tendency so lately manifested to depict the peculiarities of Scottish manners, have gone a great way in filling up a chasm in the literature of the country.

It is observable, that the spirit of a nation is subject to frequent and sudden vicissitudes; and that it passes from the extreme of religious phrenzy, or civil discord, to a state of inactive or cold indifference. Such, it must be acknowledged, has, at various periods, been the actual condition of the people of Scotland; though now they rank on the first scale of civilization, property, and independence. But even the love of liberty itself, may become the disease of a state, and the people may be enslaved the worst way by their own passions.

In Scotland, the methods of instruction have been on the increase since the rebellion, in the year 1745; and it has been started as a question, whether that lettered education, for which the Scots were noted by the neighbouring nations, was not of prejudice to their country, while it was of the utmost service to many of its natives. Their literature, however slight, rendered them acceptable and agreeable among foreigners; but, at the same time, it drained their nation of that order of men, who are the best fitted for forming and executing the great plans of commerce and agriculture, for the public emolument. The advances in Scottish literature keep pace, at least, with their corresponding attainments in the arts and sciences. Metaphysical speculation begins, perceptibly, to yield to the more seductive fascinations of national romance. At one period, however, and that too, in what has been called the golden age of British literature, the early part of the last century, our novels contained only the most depraved pictures of human life, and our romances were generally too wild or too amatory, to be read without imminent danger. To this style of writing succeeded another, whose distinguishing characteristic was monotonous simplicity; lives and adventures of lovesick ladies, or, what were still more tiresome and uninteresting, historical tales and rural stories. Such, however, was the taste of the age; and if, perchance, an historical novel or romance did appear, as soon it was eclipsed under the influence of some more amatory and feminine effusion. Yet all this time the fault lay rather with bad imitators of the style used by our best authors, whose merits had rendered it fashionable, than with the original inventors of it. Their peculiar mode of writing required the same ideas and feelings which they possessed, to soften their broad sketches of humanity, and to keep all parts of the picture in unison.

It was not then enough, any more than now, for novelists to imagine new Gullivers and Grandisons, but they must also place them in natural yet varied circumstances, to bring out their characters, and to show that their claims to eminence did not lay only in the similarity of a name, or in mere imitations of their predecessors; but that they also had looked into life for the materials of which their fictions were composed. The success of a few Gothic stories, as they were denominated, brought forward a whole host of others, written upon the same plan; and the metropolis was inundated with Lionels and De Montagues, and Red cross knights, and Seneschals, and pilgrims and warders, and a thousand other ancient fragments, all huddled together without order or arrangement.

This age of novel-writing fretted its hour and vanished, and we reached a new era in composition, for which, indeed, it would be difficult to find an appropriate term; the cacoethes scribendi raged like an epidemic, infecting all who inhaled its contagious influence. Some good works occasionally appeared, but those were like wandering stars which ran their erratic course in the sky, with those around, which could either follow the new tract, or quit the old one. The greatest darkness is before the dawning; in the midst of their literary gloom burst forth Waverley, and the astonishment awakened by that powerful production was kept in constant exercise by its no less celebrated successors. The latter of these were evidently founded on a broad historical basis, and while reading their pages, it seems as if the times they recorded had returned again, and we became actual spectators of the scenes they displayed. But, notwithstanding the admiration which these works excited, it was thought by many rather a daring, if not an improper, act, thus to bring forward the real actors of history, and to place them in the same scenes with fictitious personages; alleging against this system, that it would confuse such as were unacquainted with the true circumstances, by causing them to blend romance with history. This danger is now too old to excite alarm, any more than the apprehension that the works of Esop or Gay should cause the rising generation to believe that the inanimate subjects, without the aid of prosopopæia, can talk and reason, and hold "colloquy sublime," like an M.P. or a blue stocking. There is indeed not only no real danger attending these historical novels and romances, but if properly conducted, they produce actual good,—for such has been the care bestowed upon the Scottish series, that in many instances their composition must have required little less reading and research than that of a true history. Hence, as in the following pages, is induced a taste for biography and antiquities, and the consequent investigation of our ancient chronicles; for many would be led to turn to such scenes in order to learn more of the characters which had already interested them.

At a period, therefore, when the literary fame of Scotland has been raised to the highest pitch, when the verse of her poets, and the valour of her soldiers have equally astonished the world; and considering how great a mass of the population of this overwhelming metropolis alone is composed of natives of Scotland and their descendants, exclusive of the extended and general associations, abroad and at home, with those whose feeling and reminiscences are blended with the

"——Land, where the hardy green thistle,

The red blooming heath and the harebell abound;

Where oft o'er the mountains the shepherd's shrill whistle

Is heard in the gloaming so sweetly to sound.

——The land of the mountain and flood,

Where the pine of the forest for ages has stood;

Where the eagle comes forth on the wings of the storm,

And her young ones are rocked in the high cairn-gorm.

——Where the cold celtic wave

Encircles the hills, where its blue waters lave;

Where the virgins are pure as the germs of the sea,

And their spirits are light as their actions are free!"

*       *       *       *       *       *

These endearing reflections, combined with the spirit of inquiry and research by which the present enlightened age is so strongly marked, open a fair prospect, to the presumption at least, that an agreeable and instructive miscellany of materials purely Scottish, designed to illustrate and record the manners, genius, and peculiarities of the Scottish people from the earliest period of their history down to the present period, will meet with a fair reception among the sons of Caledonia, their offspring, and the admirers of their talents and worth, either in public or private life, and of "A country," to adopt the words of an eloquent preacher, "where Providence seems to have repaid in moral advantages all that has been withheld in the indulgence of nature." Men (continues he) are ripened in these northern climes, and every country becomes tributary to that which by skill and industry knows how to draw from the stores of all. Strangers to luxury, undaunted by danger, unsubdued by danger, undismayed by hardships, your countrymen are found wherever arts, agriculture, and commerce extend; contributing to the improvement, and sharing in the prosperity of every civilized people under heaven. What country in the world scatters from a scanty population so numerous a train of hardy intrepid adventurers, who follow wherever gain or glory mark the way; braving all the extremities of climate, and every vicissitude of fortune? Nay, as if the accessible parts of the globe afforded too limited a sphere for enterprize, they embrace with eagerness every project for extending their boundaries. To the insatiable ardour and indefatigable perseverance of one of your countrymen, the Nile first disclosed its mysterious source; and who has yet forgotten, or remembers without the applauding or sympathetic sigh of deep regret, those who but lately went out from us, never to return—those who, in the ardour of unconquerable hope, promised not to return from Afric's burning and unfrequented wild, till they should have traced for us the pathless windings of that howling 'desert through which the Niger rolls its mighty and, at length, explored stream,' And even now, when hope seems to catch enthusiasm from danger, and many thoughts have been suspended on a perilous enterprise—when the torrid Zone darts its burning rays, and the northern blasts burst their icy fetters, unlock the bars of imprisoned seas, and break up the masses of its tremendous winter, the accumulation of centuries,—who have been, or are so ready as Scotsmen to dare the terrors of the equatorial summer, or the deadly blast of the nipping arctic winter, and impel their adventurous prows among the scorching and pestilential tropical heats, and betwixt the floating fields and frost-reared precipices that guard the secrets of the Pole?

The scientific spirit thus eulogized, characterises the Lowlander especially. The military spirit is common to him and the Highlander; if, indeed, it do not distinguish the latter in a full higher degree. The blended race of the Saxon and the Gael unites all the manly virtues. They are, truly, in the words of one of their own poets,

"A nation fam'd for song and beauty's charms;

Zealous, yet modest; innocent, though free;

Patient of toil; serene amidst alarms;

Inflexible in faith; invincible in arms."


The verse and valour of Scotsmen have also drawn from an English poet the following admirable eulogy:

"——And last, to fix thy faith and seal thy doom,

Her bugle note shall Scotia stern resume,

Shall grasp her highland brand, her plaided bonnet plume:

From hill and dale, from hamlet, heath, and wood,

She pours her dark, resistless battle flood.

Breathe there a race that from the approving hand

Of nature, more deserve or less demand?

So skill'd to wake the lyre or wield the sword;

To achieve great actions, or achiev'd record;

Victorious in the conflict as the truce—

Triumphant in a Burns as in a Bruce.

Where'er the bay, where'er the laurel grows,

Their wild notes warble, and their life-blood flows!

There truth courts access, and would all engage,

Lavish as youth, experienced as age;

Proud science there, with purest nature twin'd,

In firmest thraldom holds the freest mind,

While courage rears his limbs of giant form,

Mock'd by the blast and strengthen'd by the storm!

Rome felt: and freedom to their craggy glen

Transferr'd that title proud—the nurse of men

By deeds of hazard high and bold emprize,

Trained like their native eagle for the skies.

Untam'd by toil, unconquer'd till they're slain,

Walls in the trenches—whirlwinds on the plain.

This meed accept from Albion's grateful breath,

Brothers in arms! in victory! and death![1]"

Scotland, of whose learning the fame is spread over every region of Europe—which forms in truth, the most enlightened empire, has, with the garb, had the courage of Romans transmitted to its soldiers. The Greeks excepted, no people on the earth perhaps, ever so eminently possessed at once the genius of learning[2] and of war. None ever excelled them in love of country and chivalrous obedience—that generous loyalty which once shook the empire from its verge to its centre, and now constitutes its noblest defence. They are destitute of no quality which fits men for the cold camp or sanguinary battle; nor does external aspect deny their capabilities of body or of mind. Their muscular forms denote their strength; their embrowned complexion, a disregard of storms and tempests; their bonnet, plaid and philibeg, the hardy mountaineer, whose welcome bed may be the heath, whose canopy the azure vault of heaven. What native of Caledonia has seen these martial bands in other countries, whose heart has not expanded to hail them; whose tears, in vain restrained, have not expressed his joy; whose soul has not risen in pride, that these men, his countrymen in any sense were his! It is these corporeal powers, these magical attractions, which render them invincible. From these in ancient times, the legions of Rome dared not attempt their mountains: by these in succession, have they driven the Gaul in succession over the boundless plains of Egypt, the wilds of Calabria, the rugged hills of Portugal and Spain, and the vine covered fields of France. Bound to them by every association, what native of northern Albion feels not united with these bands—the comrades of Abercrombie, of Moore, of Graham, all the invincibles of despotism would in an instant wither before them.

  "'Twas there the son of Fingall towr'd along,

And midst his mountains roll'd the flood of song;

'Twas there the heroes of that song arose,

And Roman eagles found unvanquish'd foes;

The rugged cliff, the barren desert smil'd,

For I,[3] and loose rob'd freedom, walk'd the wild.


  But now beneath a milder planet's reign,

No steely phalanx desolates the plain;

The gentler acts that polish human kind

Tread the soft lawn, and leave it bless'd behind;

Commerce and peace unlock their stores around

And choral muses sing on classic ground."

Never was the military character of Scotland better pourtrayed than in the following lines by Scott—

  "And, oh! lov'd warriors of the ministrel land;

Yonder your bonnets nod, your tartans wave!

The ragged form may mark the mountain band,

And harsher features and a mien more grave,

But ne'er in battled field throbbed heart more brave

As that which beats beneath a Scottish plaid;

And when the pibroch bids the battle rave,

And level for the charge, your arms are laid,

Where lives the desperate foe, that for such onset staid?"

The antiquities of a country must be highly valuable to every one who would possess an intimate acquaintance with the ancient manners and customs of its inhabitants. The popular prejudices and superstitions enter no less forcibly than useful into the general delineation. The terrors of man in that rude state of society in which science had not yet begun to trace efforts towards their causes in the established laws of nature, seem every where to have laid the foundation of a multiplicity of popular creeds, of which the object is to connect man with mysterious beings of greater power and intelligence than himself. The light of Christianity and the progress of knowledge, which have done so much to rectify the judgment, as well as to purify the heart, by displaying the wisdom and goodness of the Supreme Being, have not yet altogether dispelled the illusions which had possessed the imagination during the infancy and helplessness of rational being.—These incidents, though of no great value in themselves, in conjunction with some general observations drawn from authentic historical sources, may not prove uninteresting to those who are curious to trace the history of national manners and popular superstitions of our own times; and, since it is as representations of Scottish manners, superstitions blended with historical incidents and characteristic traits, interspersed with scenery of the most romantic and picturesque hue, that the descriptions of the Waverley Novels are primarily intended, under which point of view, we apprehend that they ought to be chiefly considered by the judicious critic, our materials have been directed into the same, as well as other collateral channels as those of our great prototype, but without the smallest pretensions to a particle of his originality, manifestation or method. Principally but "a gatherer," in collating and arranging the following subjects without any arrangement at all, the object aimed at, founded on historical data, could not we conceive, have been better represented than under the attractive head of Anecdotes, to which the cognomen of "Waverley" is most deservedly promised for the great obligations we owe to that popular quarter; and, had it been the fortune of our labours to have fallen into the mighty and magnanimous hands of the author of Waverley himself, the case, we may suppose, to borrow a comparison, would nearly have resembled the reaper of Brobdignad, who lifted up between his finger and thumb the diminutive Gulliver, in order to examine near his eye the pigmy proportions of the creature, whom he found attempting to climb over the mountain of his shoe. Considering, however, the general intentions of our labours, we have perhaps not, on the whole so much to fear; since it is not our intention to depart from the author of Waverley, but to revive him if possible in the memory of a grateful public, by designing the "Waverley Anecdotes," as merely another stone added to the cairn, the mountain cairn of his literary honours.

Other writers, indeed, suppose some prevailing sentiment to influence their heroes, and every action they perform, and even every word which they utter, seems to be dictated by the ruling passion, and by that only. It is not thus, however, that human characters, even when under the influence of the strongest emotions, are actually displayed on the great theatre of life; and it is not thus, accordingly, that our great master of description has pourtrayed the characters which he employs. So much interest, in fact, has this excellency of our author's been thrown around them, that, if we rightly interpret the feelings of the generality of readers, from those manifested in some of our most popular periodicals, it has long been seriously believed and ultimately confirmed, that many of the portraits in novels have been copied from individuals, who either had lived, or were living at the time of their conception. This, no doubt, is a proud triumph of the author's genius, and nothing surely could have been more flattering to him, however much it may have amused him in another point of view, than to find himself so completely master of the imaginations of his reader, as to have invested with a living interest, whatever scenes he has chosen to fix upon, and to elevate into a gay resemblance of actual life the vivid creations of his own fancy. A little reflection, however, will at once evince what is the true secret of all this interest; and while there is a little doubt that the author has interwoven with his narratives whatever remarkable characters, or incidents or scenes, his keen observation of life may have pointed out to him as proper for this purpose, it must always be believed that the living likeness of his characters, has, in the generality of instances at least, been derived, not from their invaluable accordance with any substantial originals, but from that elasticity of talent which has enabled the author to enter into the very soul, and to speak with the very tone and meaning of every individual actor, whom he has thought proper to introduce.


"Conflagration of Moscow," by the Rev. C. Colton.

The following question has elicited some controversy as well as classical speculation. "Utrum apud Græcos an Scotos magis exalta fuerit civilis scientia?" Whether amongst the Greeks or Scots has civil science been most cultivated?

The genius of Scotland.




To enable the reader, on whatever side of the Tweed he may reside, to appreciate more sensibly many of the characters, incidents, and scenes, original and select, introduced into the following pages, from many popular and well authenticated sources, it is presumed that some brief historical notices, by way of prelude, of the state of society among the ancient Scots, at peculiar periods of their history, may not be unacceptable.

Among civilized people, hospitality has always been held in the highest estimation. It was, indeed believed, that the Gods sometimes vouchsafed to visit this terrestrial speck in the creation, in the disguise of distressed travellers, to observe the actions of man. The apprehension, therefore, of despising some deity instead of a traveller, induced people to receive strangers with respect, and thence the rights of hospitality were most sacredly and inviolably maintained. According to Macpherson[1] no nation in the world carried their hospitality to a greater extent than the ancient Scots. It was ever deemed infamous for many ages, in a man of condition to have the door of his house shut at all, lest, as the bards express it, "the stranger should come and behold his contracted soul." Some of the chiefs were possessed of this hospitable disposition to an extraordinary degree, and the bards, perhaps, upon a private account, have never failed to recommend it in their Eulogia.

The English noblemen and gentlemen who accompanied James I and his Queen to Scotland, introduced, it is said, a more luxurious mode of living into that kingdom than had been formerly known; and in consequence of an harangue against this, by a Bishop of St. Andrew, in 1433, an act passed, regulating the manner in which all orders of persons should live, and in particular prohibiting the use of pies and other baked meats (then first known in Scotland) to all under the rank of barons. It was the custom of great families to have four meals a day—namely, breakfast, dinner, supper, and livery, which was a kind of collation in their bed-chambers, immediately before they went to rest. They breakfasted at seven, dined at ten in the forenoon, supped at four, had their liveries between eight and nine, and soon after went to bed.

The barons not only kept numerous households, but very frequently entertained still greater numbers of their friends, retainers, and vassals. These entertainments were conducted with much formal pomp, but not with equal delicacy and cleanliness. The lord of the mansion sat in state, in his great chamber, at the head of his long clumsy oaken board; and his guests were seated on each side on long hard benches or forms, exactly according to their stations; and happy was the man whose rank entitled him to be placed above the great family silver salt in the middle. The table was loaded with great capacious pewter dishes, filled with salted beef, mutton, and butcher's meat of all kinds, with venison, poultry, sea-fowl, game, fish, and other materials, dressed in different ways, according to the fashion of the times. The side-boards were plentifully furnished with ale, beer, and wines, which were handed to the company when called for, in pewter and wooden cups, by the mareshals, grooms, yeomen, and waiters of the chamber, ranged in particular order. But with all this pomp and plenty, there was little elegance. The guests were obliged to use their fingers instead of forks, which were not yet invented. They sat down at table at ten in the morning, and did not rise from it till two in the afternoon.

The diversions of the people continued much the same; as tilts, tournaments, hunting among people of rank; boxing, quoit-throwing, pitching the stone, wrestling, constituted those of the common people. Such were among the early manners of the Scottish people, and which the author of Waverley has not failed to embody in a variety of shapes in the interesting series of novels from his distinguished pen.

Vide Ossian, Vol. II. p. 9. Edit. 1796.


The dress of the Scots and English nobility during the reigns of Richard and Henry VII was grotesque and fantastical, such as renders it difficult at first to distinguish the sex.[1] Over the breeches was worn a petticoat; the doublet was laced like the stays of a pregnant woman, across a stomacher, and a gown or mantle with wide sleeves descended over the doublet and petticoat down to the ankles. Commoners were satisfied, instead of a gown, with a frock or tunic shaped like a shirt, gathered at the middle, and fastened round the loins by a girdle, from which a short dagger was generally suspended. But the petticoat was rejected after the accession of Henry VIII, when the trowsers or light breeches, that displayed the minute symmetry of the limbs, was revived, and the length of the doublet and mantle diminished.

The fashions which the great have discarded, are often retained by the lower orders, and the form of the tunic, a Saxon garment, may still be discovered in the waggoner's frock; of the trouse, and perhaps of the petticoat, in the different trowsers worn by smugglers and fishermen.

These habits were again diversified by minute decorations and changes of fashion: from an opinion that corpulence contributes to dignity, the doublet was puckered, stuffed, and distended round the body; the sleeves were swelled into large ruffs; and the breeches bolstered about the hips; but how are we to describe an artificial protuberance, gross and indecent in this age, if we may judge from the portrait of Henry VIII and others, a familiar appendage to the dress of the Sovereign, the knight and mechanic, at a future period retained in comedy as a favourite theme of licentious merriment? The doublet and breeches were sometimes slashed, and with the addition of a short cloak, to which a stiffened cap was peculiar, resembled the national dress of the Spaniards. The doublet is now transformed into a waistcoat, and the cloak or mantle, to which the sleeves of the doublet were transferred, has been converted gradually into a modern coat; but the dress of the age was justly censured as inconvenient and clumsy. "Men's servants," to whom the fashions had descended with the clothes of their masters, "have," says Fitzherbert, "such pleytes upon theyr brestes, and ruffles uppon theyr sleves, above theyr elbowes, that yf theyr mayster, or theymselfe, hadde never so greatte neede, they coulde not shoote one shote to hurte theyr ennemyes, till they had caste off theyr coats, or cut off theyr sleves."

The dress of the peasantry was similar, but more convenient, consisting generally of trunk hose, and a doublet of coarse and durable fustian.

The materials employed in dress were rich and expensive; cloth of gold, furs, silks, and velvets profusely embroidered. The habits of Henry VIII and his queen, on their procession to the Tower previous to their coronation, are described by Hall, an historian delighting in shows and spectacles. "His grace wared in his uppermost apparell a robe of crimsyn velvet, furred with armyns; his jacket or cote of raised gold; the placard embroidered with diamonds, rubies, emeraudes, greate pearles, and other riche stones; a greate banderike about his necke, of large bolasses. The quene was apparelled in white satyn embroidered, her hair hangying down to her backe, of a very greate lengthe, beweteful and goodly to behold, and on her hedde a coronall, set with many riche orient stones."

The attire of females was becoming and decent, similar in its fashion to their present dress, but less subject to change and caprice. The large and fantastic head-dresses of the former age were superseded by coifs and velvet bonnets, beneath which the matron gathered her locks into tuffs and tussocks; but the virgin's head was uncovered, and her hair braided and fastened with ribbons. Among gentlemen, long hair was fashionable throughout Europe, till the Emperor Charles, during a voyage, devoted his locks for his health or safety; and in England, Henry, a tyrant even in taste, gave efficacy to the fashion by a peremptory order for his attendants and courtiers to poll their heads. The same spirit, probably, induced him, by sumptuary laws, to regulate the dress of his subjects. Cloth of gold or tissue was reserved for the Dukes and Marquesses; if of a purple colour, for the royal family. Silks and velvets were restricted to commoners of wealth or distinction; but embroidery was interdicted from all beneath the degree of an Earl. Cuffs for the sleeves, and bands and ruffs for the neck, were the invention of this period; but felt hats[2] were of earlier origin, and were still coarser and cheaper than caps or bonnets. Pockets, a convenience known to the ancients, are perhaps, the latest real improvement in dress; but instead of pockets, a loose pouch seems to have been sometimes suspended from the girdle.

The Scottish was apparently the same with the English dress, at this period, the bonnet excepted, peculiar both in its colour and form. The masks and trains, and superfluous finery of female apparel, had been uniformly prohibited; but fashion is superior to human laws, need we learn from the satirical invectives of poets, that the ladies still persisted in retaining their finery and muzzling their faces.

In 1571, it appears felt hats were not made in England, as a statute was then enacted, which ordered an English woollen cap to be worn in preference, by every person above the age of seven, on pain of forfeiting three shillings and four-pence; ladies, lords, and gentlewomen excepted. This restriction, however, we are told, had very little effect.


Murders and assassinations are frequent in Scottish history about this period, for the people were cruel, fierce, and ungovernable; and to judge from the desperate crimes of the nobility, their manners were neither more softened, nor their passions better controlled and regulated. But whatever be the crimes of a people, there is in human nature a reforming principle, that ultimately corrects and amends its degeneracy; and history furnishes repeated examples of nations passing from even a mean effeminacy, to an enthusiasm that regenerates every virtue. Such a change was effected in a partial degree by the reformation; which, recalling its proselytes from the errors and abuses of the Romish superstition, taught them to renounce the dissipation and vices of the age, to assume the badge of superior sanctity and more rigid virtue, to suffer in adversity with patience, and to encounter persecution and death with fortitude. Sectaries, from the constant circumspection requisite in their conduct, contract an habitual and gloomy severity; and foreigners ever more observant than natives, discovered in the present period, symptoms of that puritanical spirit, which, at the distance of a century, was destined to give liberty to England, and law to kings.

The reformation might reflect discredit on recent miracles; but the period is still distinguished by excessive credulity. An Egyptian experiment, repeated by James IV exhibits the superstitious credulity of the Scots at this period: either to discover the primitive language of the human race, or to ascertain the first formation of speech, he enclosed two children, with a dumb attendant, in Inchkeith, an uninhabited Island of the Forth; and it was believed that the children, on arriving at maturity, communicated their ideas in pure Hebrew, the language of Paradise.

As another instance of credulity, we would mention the belief of a monstrous production of the human species, but the concurrence of grave historians attests and renders the fact indisputable. This monster was born in Scotland, and its appearance suggested the idea of twins fortuitously conjoined in the womb, united at the navel into a common trunk, and terminating below in the limbs of a male, but disparted above into two bodies; distinct and perfect in all their parts, each endued with separate members, and animated each by a separate intelligence. Their sensations were common when excited in the loins or inferior extremities; peculiar to one and unfelt by the other, when produced on the particular body of either. Their perceptions were different, their mental affections unconnected, their wills independent; at times discordant, and again adjusted by mutual concession. They received, by the direction of James IV, such liberal education as the times afforded, attained in music to a considerable proficiency, and acquired a competent knowledge of various languages. Their death was miserable; at the age of twenty-eight, the one expired, and his body corrupting, tainted and putrified his living brother.[1]

Examples of these monstrosities, as they are called, are nevertheless not so rare as might be supposed. The public curiosity of Paris was recently excited by the arrival of a biciphalous child, (Christina-Ritta), the destiny of which has been as unhappy as its birth was extraordinary. The Siamese boys a short time ago imported, were no less objects of attraction with the Londoners. How many monsters, indeed, have passed unremarked, in consequence of the negligence of midwives, or of the ignorance of nurses, or of the repugnance of families to call attention to those mal-formed births, which an absurd prejudice urges them to bury in the most profound oblivion? In 1665, the Journal des Savans states, that there had been sent to Oxford, in 1664, a child, who had two heads, diametrically opposite, four perfect arms, a single abdomen, and two lower extremities. In 1724, the Journal de Trevou relates the history of a girl, born at Domremy-la-Pucelle, who was equally double from the upper extremities to the navel, and who only presented, towards the left hip, something like the stump of a third thigh. This being lived for some time. Christina-Ritta was double from the head to the pelvis. The two vertebral columns were distinct to their lower extremity, that is, to the os coccygis. Before the pelvis it was simple. Thus there were two heads resting on two necks, the corresponding chests being so disposed, that the left arm belonging to the one (Ritta) naturally placed itself in the neck of the other (Christina), whose right arm placed itself in the same manner on the neck of its associate. The Siamese boys are perfect, being united, respectively at the ensiform cartilage of the sternum, by an intervening substance.


The domestic manners of the Scots have seldom attracted historical notice, and their advances in refinement are to be collected or conjectured from their peculiar customs, their progress in the arts, and their improvement in the various comforts of life. Their morals, contrasted with those of their ancestors, are arraigned as degenerate, by the historian Bœthius, who accuses their intemperance, censures their luxury, and laments their departure from the frugal moderation and rugged virtues of the ancient Scots. His description, however, of these premature obdurate virtues is far from attractive: and what he denominates vicious intemperance, and excessive luxury, may be fairly interpreted an increasing refinement, and superior elegance of social life. The nobles, who resorted seldom to the cities, preserved in their castles their former rude, but hospitable magnificence, which increased their retainers, and strengthened their power, secured their safety, or enabled them to prosecute their deadly feuds. The people were divided into factions by those lords to whom they attached themselves, whose interest they espoused, and whose quarrels they adopted, and the clans peculiar at present to the Highlands were probably once universal in Scotland.

In the Highlands and on the borders clans were perpetuated by a constant warfare, that inured the people to the fierceness and rapine of a predatory life. As thieves and plunderers, their characters were proverbial; yet their depredations, committed generally on hostile tribes, assume an appearance of military virtue; and their mutual fidelity, their observance of promises, and in the Highlands, their inviolable attachments to their chieftains, are circumstances sufficient almost to redeem their character. The Clattan clan, during the minority of James V, had made a destructive incursion into Murray, but after their return were assailed and oppressed by superior forces; and two hundred of the tribe rather than betray their chieftain, or disclose his retreat, preferred and suffered an ignominious death.[1]

See Characteristic traits of the Ancient Scots Highlanders.—Passim.


The mutability of language to the learned, whose fame depends on its duration, an incessant topic of serious regret, seems to be counteracted by the art of printing, which, in proportion as it disseminates a taste for letters, re-acts as a model on colloquial speech, and operates, if not entirely to repress innovation, at least to preserve the stability and perpetuate the radical structure of language. Such stability the English language has acquired from printing, and at the distance of three centuries, still exhibits the same phraseology and syntactical form varied only by those alterations essential to the progressive refinement of speech. The language of this period, if necessary to discriminate its peculiar style, was unpolished and oral; its character is rude simplicity, neither aspiring to elegance nor solutions of ease, but written as it was spoken, without regard to selection or arrangement; reduced to modern orthography, it is only distinguishable from the common colloquial discourse of the present period by a certain rust of antiquity, by phrases that are abrogated, or words that are either effaced or altered. These, however, are not numerous; and we may conclude from the composition of the learned, that the language of the people differed little from the present unless in pronunciation, which, to judge from orthography, was harsh, and such as would now be denominated provincial or vulgar. Whatever has since been superadded, either by a skilful arrangement, or the incorporation of foreign or classical words and idioms, is more the province of critical disquisition than historical research; yet it merits observation, that the first attempts at elegance in the English language are ascribable in poetry to Surry; in prose, perhaps to Sir Thomas More, whose English style, as it was modelled on his Latin, is constructed with art, and replete with invasions approaching to that which, in contra-distinction to the vulgar, may justly be denominated a learned diction.

Thus history has already furnished sufficient specimens both of the Scottish and English languages which descended from the same Gothic original, and nearly similar in former periods, divaricated considerably during the present. This is to be attributed to the alteration and improvement of the English, for the Scottish were more stationary; nor is there in the language a material difference between the compositions of James I, and those of Bellenden, Dunbar, and Douglas, each of whom by the liberal adaption of Latin words enriched and polished his vernacular idiom. But for the union of the crowns, which in literature rendered the English the prevalent language, the Scottish might have risen to the merit of a civil dialect, different rather in pronunciation than in structure; not so solemn, but more energetic, nor less susceptible of literary culture.


The diet of the Scots was worse and more penurious at this time than that of the English. The peasants subsisted chiefly on oatmeal and cabbages, for animal food was sparingly used even at the tables of substantial gentlemen.

An English traveller who experienced the hospitality of a Scottish knight, describes the table as furnished with large platters of porridge, in each of which was a small piece of sodden beef; and remarks that the servants entered in their blue caps without uncovering, and instead of attending, seated themselves with their master at table. His mess, however, was better; it consisted of a boiled pullet with prunes in the broth; but his guest observed, "no art of cookery," or furniture of household stuff, but rather a rude neglect of both.

Forks are a recent invention, and in England, the table was only supplied with knives; but in Scotland, every gentleman produced from his girdle a knife, and cut the meat into morsels, for himself and the women, a practice that first intermixed the ladies and gentlemen alternately at table. The use of the fingers in eating required a scrupulous attention to cleanliness, and ablution was customary, at least at court, both before and after meals. But the court and nobility emulated the French in their manners, and adopted probably their refinements in diet. The Scottish reader will observe that the knight's dinner was composed of two coarse dishes peculiar to Scotland; but others of an exquisite delicacy were probably derived from the French, and retained with little alteration by a nation otherwise ignorant of the culinary arts. The Scots, though assimilating fast with the English, still resemble the French in their mess tables. The English at this period were reckoned sober: the Scots intemperate; they are accused at least, by their own historians, of excessive drinking, an imputation long attached to their national character.


The sports of the field are in different ages pursued with an uniformity almost permanent. Hunting has ever been a favorite diversion both with the English and Scots, and hawking has only been superseded by the gun; but it was still practised with unabating ardour, and cultivated scientifically as a liberal art. Treatises were composed on the diet and discipline of the falcon; the genus was discriminated like social life, and a species appropriated to every intermediate rank, from an emperor down to a knave or a peasant; nor were gentlemen more distinguished by the blazoning of heraldry, than by particular hawks they were entitled to carry. The long-bow was also employed in fowling, a sport in which dexterity was requisite; but archery was a female amusement; and it is recorded that Margaret, on her journey to Scotland, killed a buck with an arrow in Alnwick park.

The preservation of the feathered game was enforced in the present age by a statute, the first that was enacted of those laws which have since accumulated into a code of oppression.

The Scottish monarchs hunted in the Highlands, sometimes in a style of eastern magnificence. For the reception of James V, the queen his mother, and the pope's ambassador, the Earl of Athol constructed a palace, or bower of green timber, interwoven with boughs, moated round, and provided with turrets, portcullis, and drawbridge, and furnished within with whatever was suitable for a royal abode. The hunting continued for three days, during which, independent of roes, wolves, and foxes, six hundred deer were captured; an incredible number, unless that we suppose that a large district was surrounded, and the game driven into a narrow circle to be slain, without fatigue, by the king and his retinue. On their departure, the earl set fire to the palace, an honour that excited the ambassador's surprise; but the king informed him it was customary with Highlanders to burn those habitations they deserted. The earl's hospitality was estimated at the daily expense of a thousand pounds sterling.

During the present period, several games were invented or practised to difuse archery, for the promotion of which, bowls, quoits, cayles, tennis, cards and dice, were prohibited by legislature as unlawful games. Tennis, however, was a royal pastime in which Henry VIII, in his youth, delighted much; but the favourite court amusements, next to tournaments, were masques and pageants: the one an Italian diversion subservient to gallantly, the other a vehicle of gross adulation.

The diversions of people of rank continued much the same for about five centuries after the Norman conquest. But in the course of this period card playing[1] was first introduced into Britain.

Playing cards were made, and probably first invented about the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century, by Jaquemain Gregonneur, a painter, in Paris, for the amusement in his lucid moments, of that unhappy prince, Charles VI as is evident from the following article in his treasurer's account: "Paid fifty shillings of Paris, to J. Gregonneur, the painter, for three packs of cards, gilded with gold, and painted with diverse colours and devices, to be carried to the king for his amusement." From this it appeared that playing cards were very different in appearance and price from what they are at present. They were gilded, and the figures painted or illuminated, which required no small genius, skill, and labour. The price as above for three packs, was a considerable sum in those times; a circumstance which perhaps prevented playing cards from being much known or used many years after they were invented. By degrees, however, cards became cheaper and more common; and we have the evidence of an act of parliament, that both card playing and card making were known and practised in England before the end of this period. On an application of the card-makers of London to parliament, A.D. 1463, an act was made against the importation of playing cards. But if the progress of card playing was slow at first, it has since become sufficiently rapid and extensive, to the ruin of many who have spent too much of their time in that infatuating amusement.


ANNO DOMINI 1400 AD A.D. 1548.

Civilization indeed had not hitherto made such progress in England as entirely to abolish slavery. Yet few land-owners or renters were to be found who did not prefer the labour of free-men[1] to that of slaves. This circumstance diminished their number, and the perpetual civil contests enfranchised many, by putting arms in their hands. Within a few years after the accession of the Tudors, slaves were heard of no more[2]. Scotland was not so happy. The unfortunate death of the Norwegian Margate, had involved the realm in a long and bloody contest with its powerful neighbour; and, although the gallant and free spirits of the Scots had preserved the independence of their country, notwithstanding their inferiority in numbers, wealth, and discipline, it could not prevent the preponderance of a most odious and tyrannic aristocracy. Perpetual domestic war loosened every tie of constitutional government; and a Douglas[3], a Crichton[4], or a Donald of the Isles[5], by turns, exercised such despotism and inhumanity, as no monarch in the fifteenth century would have dared to practice.

The value of free-men who would labour in agriculture was so well known, that statutes were passed to prevent any person who had not twenty shillings a-year (equal to ten pounds sterling, modern money) from breeding up his children to any other occupation than that of husbandry. Nor could any one, who had been employed in such work until twelve years of age, be permitted to turn himself to any other vocation. Public Acts—The condition of the slaves in England was as completely wretched as the despot, who owned them, might please to make. His goods were his master's, and on that account were free from taxation; and whatever injuries he might sustain, he had no power to sue that master in any court of justice.

A reflection made at the close of the 15th century is the more remarkable (by Philip de Comines) as it was given voluntarily, at the close of the longest and most bloody civil war with which the English annals can be charged. "In my opinion," (says the judicious observer quoted) "in all the countries in Europe where I was even acquainted, the government is no where so well managed, the people no where less obnoxious to violence and oppression, nor their houses less liable to the desolations of war, than in England; for there the calamities fall only upon the authors."

Oppression, ravishing of women, theft, sacrilege, and all other kinds of mischief, were but dalliance. So that it was thought less on in a depender on a Douglas to slay or murder; for so fearful was their name, and so terrible to every innocent man, that when a mischevous limmer was apprehended, if he alleged that he murdered, and slew at a Douglas's command, no man durst present him to justice. Lindsay of Pettscotie.

In consequence of James I opposition to the aristocracy he was induced to silence his ministers, officers, and counsellors, not from haughty nobles who rivalled his power, but among the lower class of barons or private gentlemen. From these James selected accordingly several individuals of talent, application, and knowledge of business, and employed their counsels and abilities in the service of the state without regard to the displeasure of the great nobles, who considered every office near the king's person as their own peculiar and patrimonial right, and who had in many instances converted such employments into subjects of hereditary transmission. Among the able men whom James thus called from comparative obscurity, the names of two statesmen appear, whom he had selected from the ranks of the gentry, and raised to a high place in his councils; these were Sir William Crichton the Chancellor, and Sir Alexander Livingston of Calender; both men of ancient family, though descended from Saxon ancestors; they did not number among the greater nobles who claimed descent from Norman blood. Both, and more especially Crichton possessed talents of the first order, and were well calculated to serve the state. Unhappily these two statesmen, on whom the power of a joint reigning devolved, were enemies to each other, probably from ancient rivalry; and it was still more unfortunate that their talents were not united with corresponding virtues; for they both appear to have been alike ambitious, cruel, and unscrupulous politicians. It is said by the Scots' Chronicles that, after the murder of the king, the parliament assigned to Crichton the chancellor, the administration of the kingdom, and to Livingston the care of the person of the young king.

The Lords of the Isles, during the utter confusion which extended through Scotland during the regency, had found it easy to reassume the independence of which they had been deprived during the vigorous reign of Robert Bruce. They possessed a fleet with which they harrassed the main land at pleasure; and Donald who now held that insular lordship, ranked himself among the allies of England, and made peace and war as an independent sovereign. The Regent had taken no steps to reduce that kinglet to obedience, and would probably have avoided embarking in so arduous a task, had not Donald insisted upon pretentions to the Earldom of Ross, occupying a great extent in the north-west of Scotland, including the large isle of Sky, and laying adjacent to, and connected with his own insular domains. The regent Albany, however, after the battle of Marlow, compelled him to submit himself to the allegiance of Scotland, and to give hostages for his future obedience. "Donald," says Lindsay, "gathered a company of mischievous cursed limmers, and invaded the king in every airth, whenever he came, with great cruelty; neither sparing old nor young; without regard to wives, or feeble or decrepit women; or young infants in the cradle, which would have moved a heart of stone to commiseration; and burned villages, towns, and corn!"



The endeavours of the First and Second James were turned towards improving the jurisprudence of the country, by engrafting on it the best parts of the English system; but the suddenness of their deaths and the weak reign of their successor James III, prevented these people from receiving much benefit from such laudable designs.

The parliament of Scotland at this period, had nearly monopolized all judicial authority. Three committees were formed from the house (for there was only one) soon after the members met. The first like the 'Friers' in England, examined, approved, or disapproved of petitions to the senate; the second constituted the highest court in all criminal prosecutions, as did the third in civil ones. And as every lord of parliament, who chose it, might claim his place in each of these committees, almost the whole administration of law, civil as well as military, resided in the breast of the Scottish nobility. There was another court, that of session, of which the members and the duration were appointed by parliament.

The justiciary (an office discontinued in England as too potent) was still nominally at the head of the Scottish law, and held courts which were styled 'justiciares,' as did the chamberlain, 'chamberlainaires:' from the courts there was allowed an appeal to a jurisdiction of great antiquity, styled, 'the four Bourroughs' Court. This was formed of burgesses from Edinburgh, and three other towns, who met at Haddington, to judge on such appeals.[1]

There was one abuse, however, which rendered every court of justice nugatory! It had become a custom for the Scottish monarchs to bestow on their favourites not only estates, but powers and privileges equal to their own. These were styled "Lords of Regalities:" they formed courts around them, had numerous officers of state, and tried, executed, or pardoned the greatest criminals. The good sense of James II prompted him to propose a remedy for this inordinate evil; but two admirable laws which he brought forward (the one against granting 'regalities,' without consent of parliament; the other to prohibit the bestowing of hereditary dignities) were after his decease neglected; and Scotland continued two centuries longer a prey to the jarring interests of turbulent, traitorous noblemen.

Although every obstruction had occurred which ruinous foreign wars, and still more detestable civil contentions, could cause, some advantage in the interim had been gained to the cause of general security. About the middle of the 16th century, the parliament appointed justices and sheriffs, in Ross, Caithness, the Orkneys, and the Western Isles, where none had been before, and appointed courts to be holden from time to time, in very remote districts. There was need of this attention if the preamble to the acts is to be credited, "Through lack of justiciaries, justices, and sheriffs, by which the people are become wild[2]."—Public acts, James VI.

James V, who could sometimes exert a just and people spirit, sailed in 1535 from Leith, and examined in person how far those wholesome regulations had been put in practice. He seized and brought away some of the most turbulent chieftains, and inspired the most ungovernable of his subjects with a decent respect for the laws.[3]

The parliaments were frequently and regularly called, particularly by James IV and V. Every thing which the nation could afford was granted by the house (for it was but single, the scheme which James I had planned, of forming two chambers, having unhappily miscarried) and all possible care was there taken, that the king should not alienate the demesnes of the crown. In some instances this branch of the legislative appears to have trenched upon the royal prerogative,[4] and even to have assumed the executive power.

It is certain (as has been remarked by a well informed historian) that this mixture of liberality and of caution in the Scottish representatives, at the same time that it maintained their kings in decent magnificence by the revenues of the crown lands, "prevented the subjects from being harrassed by loans, benevolences, and other oppressive acts, which were so often employed by the powers of Europe, their contemporaries." Yet as the government had very seldom sufficient strength to guard the unarmed members of society from assassination and pillage, arrayed under the banners of a factious nobleman, it may be doubted, whether the extortion and despotism of a Seventh or Eighth Henry, might not be more tolerable than the domestic tyranny[5] and murderous ravages committed by the satellites of a Douglas, a Home,[6] a Sinclair, or of a Hamilton.

Public Acts.

"Justice," says Pennant, "was administered with great expedition, and too often with vindictive severity. Originally the time of trial and execution was to be within 'three suns.' About the latter end of the seventeenth century, the period was extended to nine days after the sentence; but since a rapid and unjust execution in a petty Scottish town in 1720, the execution has been ordered to be deferred for forty days on the south, and sixty on the north side of the Tay, that time may be allowed for an application for mercy."


As in 1503, when an act was passed for prohibiting the king from pardoning those convicted of wilful and premeditated murder; but this appears to have been done at the monarch's own request, and was liable to be rescinded at his pleasure. James IV, Act. 97.

It appears that each great man had his courts, held by power delegated from the crown, with a soc sac, (a pit for drowning some offenders, particularly women) pit, and gallows, toill and paine, in-fang thief; 'he had power to hold courts for slaughter and doe upon ane man that is seized therewith in hand havand, or in back bearand.'

The Homes were intrepid border chiefs; and their affrays were often taunted with that prevalent species of ferocity which characterised the times. Anthony d'Arcy, Seigneur de la Bastie, a French knight of great courage and fame, had been left by the regent (Albany) in the important situation of warden of the eastern marshes, and had taken up the duties of the office with a strict hand. But Home of Wedderburn, a powerful chief of the name, could not brook that an office usually held by the head of his house, should be lodged in the hands of a foreigner dependent on the regent, by whom Lord Home had been put to death. Eager for revenge, the border chieftain way-laid the new warden with an ambuscade of armed men. Seeing himself beset, the unfortunate d'Arcy endeavoured to gain the castle of Dunbar; but having run his horse into a morass, near Dunse, he was overtaken and slain. Home knitted the head of his victim to his saddle-bow by the long locks, which had been so much admired in courtly assemblies, and placed it on the ramparts of Home castle, as a pledge of the vengeance exacted for the death of the late lord of that fortress.



As regards moral habits, the English generally were still brave, humane, and (at least among each other) hospitable. That their priests and monks[1] were luxurious and gluttonous, is known from their own prelates; and that their profligacy exceeded the usual natural bounds of licentiousness, we are but too well assured by the report of the visitation under Cromwell: but the faults of a singularly depraved and pampered race ought not to be laid to the door of a whole nation. The lower orders of the community were exceedingly ignorant; and as little attention was shewn to instruct them in the religious duties of life, they repaid the neglect by plundering their superiors. But although twenty-two thousand persons are said to have been executed chiefly for theft, in the time of Henry VIII, yet was murder almost entirely unknown, and England might, in the 16th century, proudly vaunt, that the taking away life in cold blood, at least without some legal colour of justice, was a practice almost unknown within her limits.

An unhappy species of political rivalry wherein each head of a party found it necessary to support its adherents in rapine and murder, lest he should be deserted by all, prevents the eulogy from being extended at this period to Scotland, wherein the example of the Douglas family, of the house of Hamilton, and many gallant but ferocious warriors, too plainly shewed that it was possible to unite in the same person intrepid bravery against the foreign foe and inexorable cruelty of the defenceless neighbour.

The monks in rich monasteries lived more luxuriously than any order of men in the kingdom. The office of chief cook was one of the greatest offices in these monasteries, and was conferred with great impartiality, on that brother who had studied the art of cookery with most success. The historian of Croyland Abbey speaks highly in praise of brother Lawrence Charteres, the cook of that monastery, who, prompted by the love of God, and zeal of religion, had given £40 (a sum equivalent to £400 now) "for the recreation of the convent with the milk of almonds on fast days." He also gives us a long statute that was made for the equitable distribution of this almond milk, with the finest bread and best honey. Nor were the secular clergy more hostile to the pleasures of the table; and some of them contrived to convert gluttony and drunkenness into religious ceremonies by the celebration of glutton-masses, as they very properly called them. These were celebrated five times a year, in honour of the Virgin Mary; and the bone of contention was who should devour the greatest quantities of meat and drink to her honour.


The peace of the kingdom at this period was disturbed by the constant dissension kept up betwixt the parties of Hamilton and Douglas; that is, between the Earls of Angus and Arran. They used arms against each other without hesitation. At length (Jan. 1520) a parliament being called at Edinburgh, the Earl of Angus appeared with four hundred of his followers armed with spears. The Hamiltons not less eager and similarly prepared for strife, repaired to the capital in equal or superior numbers. They assembled in the house of the Chancellor Beaton, the ambitious Archbishop of Glasgow, who was bound to the faction of Arran by that nobleman having married the niece of the prelate. Gawin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, a son of Earl Bell-the-cat, and the celebrated translator of Virgil, laboured to prevent the factions from coming to blows. He applied to Beaton himself, as official conservator of the laws and peace of the realm. Beaton laying his hand on his heart, protested upon his conscience he could not help the affray which was about to take place. "Ah! my lord," exclaimed the advocate for peace, who heard a shirt of mail rattle under the bishop's rochet, "methinks your conscience clatters." The Bishop of Dunkeld then had recourse to Sir Patrick Hamilton, brother to the Earl of Arran, who willingly attempted to exhort his kinsman to keep the peace until he was rudely upbraided with reluctance to fight by Sir James Hamilton, natural son to his brother, and a man for peace and sanguinary disposition. "False bastard!" exclaimed Sir Patrick, in a rage, "I will fight to-day where thou darest not be seen." All thoughts of peace had now vanished; and the Hamiltons with their friends and adherents rushed furiously up the lanes which lead from the Cow-gate, where the bishop's palace was situated, with the view of taking possession of the High street. But the Douglas party had been beforehand with them, and already occupied the principal street, with the advantage of attacking their enemies as they issued in disorder from the narrow lanes. Those of Angus's followers who were not armed were supplied with lances by the favour of the citizens of Edinburgh, who handed them through their windows. These long weapons considerably added to the advantages of the Douglases over their enemies; and rendered it easy to bear them down, as they struggled breathless and disordered out of the heads of the lanes. This was not the only piece of good fortune which attended Angus on the occasion; for Home of Wedderburn, also a great adherent of the Douglases, arrived on the spot while the conflict was yet raging, and, darting through the Netherbow gate at the head of his formidable borderers, appeared in the street in a decisive moment. The Hamiltons took to flight, leaving seventy killed behind them, one of whom was Sir Patrick Hamilton, the peace-maker, who had vainly attempted to prevent this sanguinary and disgraceful rencontre.

The Earl of Arran and his natural son were in such imminent danger that, in their flight, meeting a collier's horse, they were glad to throw off its burthen, and both mounting the same steed, they escaped through a ford in the lock which then defended the northern side of the city. The consequences of this skirmish which, according to the humour of the age, was long remembered, under the name of cleanse the causeway, raised Angus in a little time to the head of affairs.


Towards the 16th century the manners of the English became more humane than those of their ancestors had been, whom continual warfare, and an eager thirst for conquest and spoil had united to render ungentle and tremendous. Their exercises, sports and passion for feasting we have mentioned in another place. Dancing round the maypole, and riding the hobby-horse, were favourite country sports: but these suffered a severe check at the reformation, as did the humorous pageant of Christmas personified by an old man hung round with savoury dainties.

There is reason to think that gaming was the favourite amusement of the Scots in the sixteenth century. Sir David Lindsay, in a tragedy, makes Cardinal Beaton declare, that he had played with the king for 3,000 crowns of gold in one night, "at cards and dice;" and an anonymous bard (cited by the historian of English poetry) avers, that

'Halking, hunting, and swift horse rynning

Are changit in all his wrangus wynnin;

There is no play bot 'cartes and dice.'

As to the tables of the Scots, no particular remark occurs, unless it be that two national dishes (still cherished at the plentiful tables in the north) made in the sixteenth century, a part of the usual meal. Hospitality from one end of the island, seems to have been especially harboured at religious houses; and if the monk or 'holy friar' was to a proverb, fond of good living, jollity and conviviality of all, he was not backward in imparting a share of his dainties to the benighted or wandering stranger. The Scots afford, at this period, no materials for any particular observation on their dress. The ladies, in spite of a legal ordinance, 'that no woman cum to the kirk nor meriat with her face muffalit,' appear by the declamations of their contemporary poets to have continued to use the fashion which they thought most becoming.



Never was any race of monarchs more unfortunate than the Scottish; their reigns were generally turbulent and disastrous, and their own end often tragical. According to fabulous authors, more than one hundred had reigned before James VI, the half of whom died by violence; and of six successive princes, the immediate predecessors of that monarch, not one died a natural death. James III came to an untimely end in Stirlingshire.

A misunderstanding subsisted between this prince and several of the chief nobility, during a great part of his reign; a minute investigation of the various causes of which, would be foreign to our purpose. James did not possess those talents for government which had distinguished several of his predecessors; for, though some wise and useful regulators were established in his reign, and his errors have no doubt been much exaggerated by faction; yet it cannot be denied that marks of an imprudent and feeble mind are visible in the general turn of his conduct.

A natural timidity of temper, together with a foolish attention to astrology, filled his mind with perpetual jealousy and suspicion; a fondness for architecture, music, and other studies and amusements, which though innocent and useful, were too trifling to engage the whole care and time of one who held a sceptre over a fierce and turbulent people, rendered him averse to public business. Indolence and want of penetration led him to make choice of ministers and favourites who were not always the best qualified for the trust committed to them. The ministers of state had usually been chosen from amongst the nobility; but in the reign of James, the nobles, either from fear or hatred of them, or from a consciousness of his own inability to maintain his dignity among them, were seldom consulted in affairs of government, and often denied access to the royal presence.

This could not fail to excite the displeasure of the Scottish barons, who were naturally haughty, and who, in former reigns, had not only been regarded as the companions and counsellors of their sovereigns, but had possessed all the great offices of power and trust. Their displeasure arose to indignation when they beheld every mark of the royal confidence and favour conferred upon persons of mean rank, such as, Cochran, a mason; Hemonel, a tailor; Leonard, a smith; Rogers, a musician; and Torfifan, a fencing-master, whom James always kept about him, caressed with the fondest affection, and endeavoured to enrich with an imprudent liberality.

To redress this grievance the barons had recourse to a method altogether characteristic of that ferocity which had always distinguished them. Unacquainted with the slow and regular method adopted in modern times, of proceeding against royal favourites and evil counsellors, by impeachment, they seized upon those of James by violence, tore them from his presence, and, without any form of trial, executed them with a military despatch and rigor. So gross an insult could not but excite some degree of resentment, even in the most calm and gentle breast; but true policy would have suggested to a wise prince, as soon as the first impulse of passion was over, the necessity of relinquishing a behaviour which had given so great offence to subjects so powerful as the Scottish barons were at that time; for their power was become so predominant by a concurrence of other causes, beside the nature of the feudal constitution, that the combination of a few of them was able to shake the throne. The attachment of James to favourites was, notwithstanding, so immoderate, that he soon made choice of new ones, who became more assuming than the former, and consequently objects of greater detestation to many of the barons, especially those who, by their near residence to the court, had frequent opportunities of beholding their ostentation and insolence.

At length matters came to an open rupture; a party of the nobility, after a series of combinations amongst themselves, took to arms; and, having either by persuasion or force, prevailed upon the Duke of Rothesay, the king's eldest son, a youth of fifteen to join them, they, in his name, erected their standard against their sovereign, who, roused by the intelligence of such operations, quitted his retirement and also took the field. An accommodation at first took place; but upon what terms is not known. The transactions of the latter part are variously stated by historians, and but darkly by the best. Those who lived nearest the time and had opportunities of information, probably found that they could not be explicit without being obliged to throw reflexions upon either the father or the son; and, therefore, saw it prudent to be upon the reserve. Some affirm that the malcontents proposed, that James should resign his crown on behalf of his son; but this accommodation, whatever the articles were, as it appears to have been attended with no mutual confidence, was of very short duration. New occasions of discord soon arose: the malcontents asserted that James had not fulfilled his part of the treaty; but ignorance of the articles thereof, renders us unable to form any other opinion concerning the truth of this change. It is certain, however, that the confederacy began now to spread wider than ever, so as to comprehend almost all the barons, and consequently all their military tenants and retainers upon the south side of the Grampian mountains.

Hostilities were first commenced by the malcontents, who seized upon the castle of Dunbar and applied to their own use the arms and ammunition that were found in it. James was at that time in the castle of Edinburgh, in which, as a place of safety, he had shut himself up, till, by the arrival of his northern subjects whom he had summoned to his assistance, he should be in a condition to take the field; but as Stirling was more convenient for the rendezvous of the northern clans, he was advised to go thither. Upon his arrival he was denied access into the castle by James Shaw, the governor, who favoured the other party: and while he was deliberating which step to take upon this unexpected incident, intelligence was brought that the disaffected lords, at the head of a considerable army, had advanced to the Torwood within a few miles of him. The only alternative was, either to make his escape by going aboard Admiral Wood's fleet, which was stationed in the river Forth, near Alloa, or to engage the enemy with what forces he had. Though not distinguished for courage he resolved upon the latter, and prepared for battle.

The two armies met on a tract of ground which goes by the name of the little Canglar, upon the east side of a small brook called Sauchieburn, about three miles southward from Stirling, and one mile from the famous field of Bannockburn. The royal army was drawn up in three lines; but historians differ as to their number, and the leaders under whom they were arranged; some, beyond all probability, making them amount to thirty thousand. Nor is it agreed in what part the king had his station; only we are told that he was armed cap-à-pée, and mounted on a stately horse, which had been presented to him by David Lindsay, of Byres, who informed his majesty that he might, at any time, trust his life to his agility and surefootedness. The army of the malcontents was likewise ranged in three divisions: the first which was composed of East Lothian and Merse men, was commanded by the Lords Hume and Hailes, whose discontentment arose from the king's annexing to his royal chapel, at Stirling, the revenues of the priory of Coldingham, to the disposal of which they pretended a right; the second line, which was made up of the inhabitants of Galloway and the shires upon the borders was led by Lord Gray; the prince had the name of commanding what was called the main body; but was entirely under the direction of the lords about him. Showers of arrows from both sides began the action, but they soon came to a closer engagement with lances and swords. The royalists at first gained an advantage and drove the first line of the enemy; but these, being soon supported by the borderers, who composed the second line, not only recovered their ground, but pushed the first and second lines of the royalists back to the third.

The small courage James possessed forsaking him at the first onset, he put spurs to his horse, and galloped off with a view to get aboard Wood's ship, which lay in sight at the distance of five miles; at least from the route he took, this is supposed to have been his intention. As he was crossing the brook of Bannockburn, at the small village of Meltown about a mile to the east of the field of battle, a woman was drawing water at the brook; observing a man in armour, gallopping full speed towards her, she left her pitcher and ran off, afraid of being rode down. The horse starting at the sight of the pitcher, threw the king, who was so bruised with the fall and the weight of his armour, that he fainted away. This disaster happening within a few yards of a mill, from which the village derives its name, the miller and his wife carried him into the mill, and, though ignorant of his name and station, treated him with great humanity, administering to him such cordials as their house could afford.

When the king had recovered a little he called for a priest, to whom, as a dying man, he might make a confession; and those about him demanding who he was, he replied, I was your king this morning. By this time some of the malcontents who, having observed the king's flight, had left the battle to pursue him, were come up to the place; and, as they were passing, the miller's wife clapping her hands with astonishment and grief called out, that if there was any priest among them he would instantly stop and confess the king. I am a priest, said one of them, lead me to his majesty. This person being brought in, he found the king lying in the corner of a mill covered with a coarse cloth, and approaching him upon his knees, under pretence of respect, while treachery filled his heart, asked him if he thought he could recover if he had the proper help of physicians? James answering in the affirmative, the ruffian pulled out a dagger and stabbed him several times through the heart.

The name of the person who committed this atrocious deed is certainly not known; nor would the discovery add much to the stock of historical knowledge. The place where it was committed is well known, in that neighbourhood, by the name of Beaton's mill, said to be so called from the person who at that time possessed it. It is yet standing, though now converted into a dwelling house, new and more commodious mills having been erected near. The lower part of its walls are still the same which received the unfortunate James; the upper part of them have been renewed; and the reparation which it seems to have undergone appears to have had no other design than to perpetuate the memory of this tragical event, the circumstances of which have been so carefully handed down by tradition, that they are still related by the elderly inhabitants of the village, and perfectly correspond to the accounts which we meet with in the best historians.

After the king's flight his troops continued to fight with great bravery; but an uncertain rumour of his death being brought, they began to retreat towards Stirling. They were not however, pursued, for all hostilities immediately ceased. The army of the confederates lay that night upon the field, and next day marched back to Linlithgow. The number of the slain upon both sides is uncertain, though it must have been considerable; for the action lasted a good space, and was well maintained by the combattants on each side; several of high rank fell upon the side of the royalists, among whom were the Earl of Glencairn, the Lords Temple, Erskine, and Ruthven[1].

When the prince, who before the battle had given a strict charge about the safety of his father's person, heard the rumour of his death, he was deeply affected. It was not, however, till some days after the battle that he obtained the certainty of his father's death; for, if any of the confederate Lords were in the secret, they kept it carefully from the Prince; and from the rest a report was spread, that the king had gone aboard Wood's fleet, and was still alive; but the admiral being called before the young king and the council, declared that he knew nothing of his late master. So little had the Prince been accustomed to his father's company, that he was almost a stranger to his person, for, when Wood appeared before him, struck with his stately appearance, or perhaps with some resemblance he bore to the late king, he serenely asked him, Sir, are you my father? to which the admiral, bursting into tears, replied, I am not your father, but I was your father's true servant.

At last the body of the king was discovered, and carried to the palace in Stirling castle, where it lay till it was interred with all due honour in the burial place of Cambus-kenneth near to that of his queen, who had died not long before. The inhabitants of that place still pretend to show a spot in which a king and a queen are buried; but no monument is to be seen. The battle was fought on the 11th of June, 1488, and was called the field of Stirling.

The confederate lords endeavoured to atone for their treatment of their late sovereign, by their loyalty and duty towards the son, whom they placed instantly upon the throne, and the whole kingdom soon united in acknowledging his authority. As a penance, for the unnatural part he had acted towards his father, the monarch, according to the superstitious notions of those times ever after wore an iron girdle upon his body, to which a link was added every year, till it became very ponderous.

The party who had taken arms against their late sovereign deemed it also requisite, for their future security, to have a parliamentary indemnity for these proceedings. Accordingly in a parliament that met soon after, they obtained a vote, by which all that had been done in the field of Stirling was justified and declared to have been lawful, on account of the necessity they lay under of employing force against the king's evil counsellors, the enemies of the kingdom. This vote, in law books, is called the proposition of the debate of the field of Stirling.

The ancient house of Ruthven, once the seat of the unfortunate Gowries, consists of two square towers, built at different times, and distinct from each other; but now joined by buildings of later date. The top of one of the towers is called Maiden's leap, receiving its name on the following occasion: a daughter of the first Earl of Gowrie was addressed by a young gentleman of inferior rank in the neighbourhood, a frequent visitor of the family, who would never give the least countenance to his passion. His lodging was in the tower, separate from that of his mistress—

Sed vetuere patres quod non potuere vetare.

The lady, before the doors were shut, conveyed herself into her lover's apartment; but some prying duenna acquainted the Countess with it: who cutting off, as she thought, all possibility of retreat, hastened to surprise them. The young lady's ears were quick; she heard the footsteps of the old Countess, ran to the top of the leads, and took the desperate leap of nine feet four inches over a chasm of sixty feet, and luckily lighting on the battlements of the other tower, crept into her own bed, where her astonished mother found her, and of course apologised for the unjust suspicion. The fair daughter did not choose to repeat the leap; but the next night eloped and was married.



The following memoranda, which tend to connect our subjects, may serve for notes to the history of a period as well known as any in the annals of Britain—or as characteristic facts of the manners of the age, are extracted from Lord Fountainhall's diary, a very limited edition (120 copies) of which was only printed. The original manuscript of the volume is preserved in the Advocate's Library at Edinburgh. It is merely necessary to observe, that the author (Sir John Lander, a distinguished judge in the court of session, called in courtesy to that station Lord Fountainhall) was a constant, close, and singularly impartial observer of the remarkable events of his time; and while his rank and character gave him access to the best information, he displayed much shrewdness in digesting it and appears "to have had the habit of committing most remarkable particulars to writing.

"The Duke of York took leave of his brother, King Charles II, the 20th of October, 1680, at Woolwich on the Thames, and after a great storm landed at Kirkaldie the 26th ditto with his Duchess. There, after he went to Leslie till the 29th ditto frae thence to Holyrood House, thence went and saw Edinburgh Castle, where the great canon called Monns Meg being charged, burst in her off going, which was taken as a bad omen.

"A Mr. William Wishart, minister at Wells in Annan, turned papist.

"It is observed in England, that in the space of twenty years, the English changed oftener their religion than all Christendom had for 150 years; for they made four mutations from 1540 to 1560. King Henry the Eighth abolished the Pope's supremacy, suppressed abbeys, but retained the bulk of the Popish religion; his son, King Edward, brings in the protestant religion; Queen Mary throws it out; but Queen Elizabeth brings it in again."

Paterson, Bishop of Edinburgh.—"The presbyterian lampoons upbraided him as a profligate and loose liver. See the answer to presbyterian eloquence, where there is much ribaldry on this subject. He is said to have kissed the band strings in the pulpit, in the midst of an eloquent discourse, which was the signal agreed upon betwixt him and a lady to whom he was a suitor, to shew he could think upon her charms even whilst engaged in the most solemn duties of his profession. Hence he was nick-named Bishop Bandstrings."

The death of King Charles is described in the following concise but simple and affecting manner:

"King Charles II died peaceable on Friday, at twelve o'clock of the day, 6th of February 1685, having taken the sacrament before from Dr. Kenn, Bishop of Bath and Wells. On the second of February he had a strong fit of convulsions, but afterwards, being recovered a little, he called his brother and craved him pardon, if ever he had offended him, and recommended him the care of his queen and children, and delyvered him some papers, and entreated him to maintain the protestant religion. The queen being unwell, was unable to attend him; but sent to ask his pardon wherein she had ever offended him; he said, Ah! poor Kate, many a time have I wronged her, but she never did me any. He dyed most composedlie, regretting the trouble his friends had been at in attending him. He was certainly a prince (whose only weak side was to be carried away with women, which had wasted his bodie, being only fifty-five years old when he dyed) endued with many royal qualities, of whom the divine providence had taken especial care; witness his miraculous escape at Worcester battle; his treatment in royal oak, when thousands were rummaging the fields in quest of him; his restoration being without one drop of blood, so that the Turkish Emperor said, if he were to change his religion, he would only do it for that of the King of Great Britain's God, who had done such wonderful things for him. His clemencie was admirable; witness his sparing two of Cromwell's sons, one of whom had usurped his throne. His firmness in religion was evident, for in his banishment, great offers were made to restore him, if he would turn Papist, which he altogether slighted. A star appeared at noon on his birth day. He was a great mathematician, chemist, and mechanick, and wrought often in the laboratorie himself; and he had one natural mildness and command over his anger, which never transported him beyond one innocent puff and spitting, and was soon over, and yet commanded more deference from his people than if he had expressed it more severely, so great respect had all persons to him. He was buried the 14th September 1685, privately in King Henry the Seventh, his chapell, Westminster, the Prince of Denmark being chief mourner, having desired to be buried privatelie."

Royal Injunction.—"King James ordered the Dutchess of Portsmouth [not] to leave England till she paid all her debts, because she was transporting £50,000 sterling in gold and jewels, which was seized by the collectors of the customs."

Costly Coronation of Queen Mary.—"Queen Mary, wife of King James the Seventh, was not crowned with the Imperial crown of England, but there was a new one of gold made on purpose for her, worth £300,000 sterling, and the jewels she had on her were reckoned to a million, which made her shine like an angel; and all the peeresses were richly attired with their coronets on their heads. The King and she were crowned 23rd April, 1685, being St. George's day."

Nota.—The crown of Scotland is not the ancient one, but was casten of new by King James the Fifth. There was a poem made on the coronation by Elkena Settle, formerly the poet of the whigs, wherein he mentions Gibby Burnett's reforming pupils, as Shaftsberre, Essex, and Russell, to be gnashing their teeth to hell at the news of King James's coronation.

Political State of Scotland.—"The state of parties in Scotland, the clashing of personal and political interests; the barbarous tortures; and the executions of their opponents as the different sides prevailed; the ramifications of the Rye-house plot in this country; the conflicts of episcopacy, presbyterianism and popery; besides private concerns, from many of the illustrative paragraphs of our miscellaneous record. For example, in 1684, we have

A Parson fined for getting drunk.—Mr. Hunter, second minister of Stirling, staged for drunkenness, in spewing after he had taken the sacrament. Kennedy, provost of Stirling, and Mr. Munro, the first minister, were his accusers, 6th of April 1684. He after turned a buckle-beggars, and was suspended if not deprived by the Bishop therefore; and married in his old age, a daughter of Anne Stevenson, a gardener at Habaye Hall."—Fount. Diary.


"Mr. William Spence, late servant to Argyle, is tortured by boots, to force him to reveal what he knows of the Earle's and other's accession to the late English fanatic, Platt, and a design of rebellion; and in regard that he refused to depose if he had the key whereby he could read some letters of the Earle's, produced by Major Holmes, in cypher; and seeing that he would not depose that he could not read them, and that they offered him a remission; it rendered him very obnoxious, and suspect of prevarication, so that after the torture he was put in General Dalyell's hands; and it was reported, that by a hair short and pricking (as the witches are used) he was five nights kept frae sleep, till turned half distracted; but he eat very little, on purpose that he might require less sleep; yet never discovered any thing." 26 July, et diebus sequentibus.

"Mr. Spence, Argyle's servant, is again tortured with the thumbikens, a new invention, and discovered by Generals Dalyell and Drummond, who saw them used in Muscovy; and when he heard they were to put him in boots again, being frightened therewith, desired time, and he would declare what he knew; whereupon they gave him some time, and sequestrat him in Edinburgh Castle, 6th August, 1684."—See plate.

"Mr. William Spence, to avoid further torture, desyphered Argyle's letters, and agrees with Holmes's declaration, that Argyle and Loudon, Dalrymple of Stains, Sir John Cochran, and others, had formed a design to raise rebellion in Scotland; and that there were three keys to the said letters, whereof Mr. Carstairs had two, and Holmes a third; and he approved of Gray of Crichie, after Lord Gray, his explanation of the said letters; and Campbell of Arkanlass was apprehended by the laird of M‘Naughten. Spence got the liberty of the castle, and recommended for a remission. And Gordon of Earlston was sent for from the Bass, to be tortured and confronted with Spence, and the council resolved not to admit of his madness for ane excuse (which they esteemed simulat), as Chancellor Gordon had done, August 22."

"Mr. William Carstairs, son of Mr. John Carstairs, minister of Glasgow, brought before the secret committee of council, and tortured with the thumbikins, whereon he confessed, there had been a current plot in Scotland for ten years, and that some were for rising in rebellion, others for associating with the English for keeping out [the] Duke of York, and to preserve [the] protestant religion."—Fount. Diary.


We here stop our extracts from the Fountainhall Diary, to make some observations relative to the introduction and the use made of the instrument of torture called the thumbikens.—Indeed, if history were not full of the enormities which man has perpetrated upon man, under the sanction of established systems of religion and law, it would be difficult, in an enlightened age, to believe that torture had ever been employed as an instrument of justice. We can enter into those mistaken feelings in regard to the nature and end of punishment which have sometimes prompted men to inflict cruel torments upon the convicted perpetrators of great crimes; but there seems to be no apology in any good feeling of our nature for the blind and brutal expedient of applying torture, in order to force the discovery of such crimes. In this case there is not only a flagrant violation of every principle of justice and humanity, by the infliction of torment previous to conviction, but guilt and innocence are made wholly to depend upon the physical strength or resolution of the sufferer. It is nevertheless true, however, that almost all countries have, at one time or other, had recourse to this barbarous expedient; insomuch, that it would require a volume of no small size to describe even the implements or instruments which have been employed in this savage mockery of judicial enquiry.

In Scotland, where torture continued to be employed long after it was abandoned in England, there were two modes chiefly in use: the torture of the boots, and that of the thumbikens above alluded to. The exquisite picture of the torturing of Macbriar, in the "Tales of my Landlord,"[1] has made every one acquainted with the cruel process employed in the torture of the boots. We have collected some few particulars regarding its origin and employment in this country.

The Thumbikens, as the name imports, was an instrument applied to the thumbs, in such a manner as to enable the executioner to squeeze them violently; and this was often done with so much force as to bruise the thumb-bones, and swell the arms of the sufferer up to his shoulders. The thumbikens used in torturing principal Carstares, was an iron instrument fastened to a table with a screw, the upper part of the instrument being squeezed down upon the thumbs by means of another screw, which the executioner pressed at the command of his employers.

The torture of the boots occurs at an earlier period of our history than that of the thumbikens; and is mentioned in conjunction with some other torturing instrument, of which we have not been able to find any description, in the writings of our antiquaries. Thus we read, that in 1596, the son and daughter of Aleson Balfour, who was accused of witchcraft were tortured before her to make her confess her crime in the manner following: "Her son was put in the buits where he suffered fifty seven strokes; and her daughter about seven years old, was put in the pilniewinks. In the same case, mention is made, besides pilniewinks[2], pinniewinks or pilliwinks, of caspitanos or caspicaws, and of tosots, as instruments of torture.[3] Lord Royston, in his manuscript notes upon Mackenzie's criminal law conjectures that these may have been only other names for the buits and thumbikens;[4] thus much seems certain, that in those times there was some torturing device applied to the fingers which bore the name of pilniewinks;[5] but it will immediately appear, that the most authentic accounts assign the introduction and use of the instrument known by the name of thumbikens to a much later period.

"It has been very generally asserted," says Dr. Jamieson, "that part of the cargo of the invincible Armada was a large assortment of thumbikens, which it was meant should be employed as powerful arguments for convincing the heretics."[6] The country of the inquisition was certainly a fit quarter from whence to derive so congenial an instrument; but other accounts, as we have said, and these apparently unquestionable, assign it a later introduction, and from a quarter and by means of agents very well fitted for the production and importation of such a commodity. In the torturing of Spence, Lord Fountainhall mentions the origin of the thumbikens, stating that this instrument "was a new invention used among the colliers upon transgressors, and discovered by Generals Dalyell and Drummond, they having seen them used in Muscovy."[7]

The account which Bishop Burnet gives of the torturing of Spence confirms the then recent use of the thumbikens. "Spence," says he, "was struck in the boots, and continued firm. Then a new species of torture was invented; he was kept from sleep eight or nine nights. They grew weary of managing this; so a third species was invented; little screws of steel were made use of, that screwed the thumbs with so exquisite a torture that he sunk under it." This point we think is put beyond all doubt by the following act of the privy council in 1684, quoted in Wodrow's invaluable history: "Whereas there is now a new invention and engine called the thumbikens, which will be very effectual to the intent and purpose aforesaid, (i. e. to expiscate matters relating to the government,) the Lords of his Majesty's Council do therefore ordain, that when any person shall by their order be put to the torture, that the boots and thumbikens both be applied to them, as it shall be found fit and convenient."[8]

Thus, then, it seems clear that the thumbikens, whether imported from abroad or invented at home, was a mode of torture which had been only recently introduced, at the frightful period at which we have just been referring; a period well fitted, either for the reception or the production of any new device calculated to extend the outrages of power over its unhappy victims. This being the case we see no good reason for not going a step farther, and taking the account of its introduction from Lord Fountainhall. It was upon the persecuted presbyterians that this species of torture was first inflicted; and who among all their persecutors was more likely to enhance their sufferings by any new device, than the ruthless commanders whom this judge, their contemporary, points out as its authors?

It was during this atrocious persecution, when every right and feeling of humanity were trampled under foot with a degree of wantonness and barbarity unparalleled in the annals of any other country, that the use of the torture reached its height. "To so great an extent," says Mr. Hume, in his Commentaries on the Criminal Law, "was this iniquity carried in those days, that confessions obtained in this way were made use of as an evidence in modum adminiculi, towards the conviction even of third parties; the confessor of William Carstares, for instance, against Baillie of Jerviswood."[9] Every one at all acquainted with Scottish history must know, that Mr. Carstares, afterwards principal[10] of the University of Edinburgh, was deeply concerned in those unfortunate transactions which brought Argyll to the scaffold in Scotland, and Russel and Sidney in England. He was seized in England, and being sent to Scotland was, on the 5th of September, 1684, tortured with the thumbikens before the secret Committee of the Privy Council, in order to force him to reveal the names of the associates. An hour and a half of this cruel operation, during which the sweat streamed from his face, and some cries of agony were extorted did not, however, render him subservient to the wishes of his inhuman tormentors among whom the Earl of Perth, true to the infamy and atrocity of his character, stood conspicuous; urging the executioner to press the screws, while the Duke of Hamilton[11] and the Earl of Queensbury left the room unable any longer to witness the revolting spectacle. It was this same miscreant Perth, who sometime before, at the trial of Sir Hugh Campbell accused of rebellion, endeavoured in his then capacity of Justice general, to urge on and lead a suborned witness who was unable to say any thing against the prisoner till he, the Justice general, was stopped by the jury; and this because he had obtained a promise of Sir Hugh's estate for his brother, provided Sir Hugh should be condemned. He was accustomed, as Burnet tells us, (vol. II, p. 249), the Duke of York when in Scotland had been, to behold the sufferings of those tortured before him, "with an moved indifference, and with an attention as if he had been to look on some curious experiment." Carstares, we have said, did not utter any confession when under the hands of the arch-inquisitor, though the passage quoted above from Mr. Hume's Commentaries might lead the reader to that conclusion; as could also the first notice of his case by Lord Fountainhall, (vol. I, p. 302). It appears he was afterwards prevailed upon to give some information respecting Baillie of Jerviswood and others, under an express stipulation that he should not be brought forward as a witness, and that no use should be made of his communications at their trial;[12] but no faith was kept with him in this respect; and his declaration so obtained was, as Mr. Hume states, admitted as an adminicle of evidence in the shameful trial and condemnation of Mr. Baillie.

It would appear from Lord Fountainhall that the new torture of the thumbikens was looked upon as extremely cruel; and he adds that the privy council would have "contracted some task" by the frequent use of it at this time, had they not succeeded in thereby extorting some confessions. He mentions, too, that in some of these successful cases it had proved its efficiency over the boots, because tried upon persons having small legs.[13]

After the revolution the privy council of Scotland presented Mr. Carstares with the identical thumbikens with which he had been tortured in 1684.[14] This curious relic is, we are informed, still preserved by Mr. Dunlop, Banker in Greenock, grand nephew of the same Mr. Carstares, through whose means we have been enabled to give the figure of it which accompanies the account, and which the engraver has contrived to exhibit in such a way as to represent a picture of the thumbikens in action.

There is an anecdote handed down among the descendants of Mr. Carstares, in regard to this instrument, which we shall copy here, as we find it narrated in the fifth volume of the Statistical account of Scotland. "I have heard Principal," said King William to him, when he waited on his majesty after the revolution, "that you were tortured with something they call thumbikens; pray what sort of instrument of torture is it?"—"I will shew it you," replied Carstares, "the next time I have the honour to wait on your majesty." The Principal was as good as his word.—"I must try them," said the king! "I must put in my thumbs here—now, Principal, turn the screw.—O not so gently—another turn—another.—Stop! Stop! no more, another turn I'm afraid, would make me confess anything."

What share of truth there may be in this story we know not; but whatever King William's personal opinion of the use of the torture may have been, thus much is certain, that there is one case recorded in the proceedings of the privy council of Scotland which shews that the thumbikens were employed under the sanction of his sign manual, in the year 1690. This was in the case of Neville Pain or Payne, the person to whom George, Duke of Buckingham addressed his essay upon Reason and Religion. He was accused of having gone to Scotland to promote a jacobite plot and was, in consequence of the king's warrant, already mentioned, "put to the torture of the thumbikens," but without making any disclosure.[15] This was, we believe, the last occasion on which this instrument was employed; but it was not till the year of the union that torture was expressly forbidden by the law in Scotland; the claim of right in 1689 having only declared, "that using torture without evidence or in ordinary crimes", was illegal.

We shall here close these notices of the thumbikens, an instrument of vulgar sound, but well calculated, as we have seen, for terrible purposes, with this reflexion,—that it is never useless to explore any piece of history which illustrates the state of manners and law,—which makes us acquainted with the heroic sufferings of our forefathers, and the evil doings of their rulers,—which is calculated to sharpen our moral feelings against the abuses of power, or to shew, what is more grateful, the solid advances made by our country in the acts of legislation and government.

The materials of this picture are evidently drawn from the account given by Wodrow of the torturing of Mitchel, in the first volume of his history.

The following notice of the pilniewinks is given by a correspondent in the Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany for 1817; "Some years ago the writer of this article was in a large, and rather a mixed company, in the neighbourhood of Fordoun in Mearns; on some of the younger members expressing their mirth in rather a boisterous manner, an old man, half seriously and half jocularly declared they should be put into the pilniewinks. As the word was a new one to me, I made enquiry as to its meaning, and was answered that it was 'pitting their finger in a box, and ca'ing a pin aside it.' (Putting the finger in a hole, and forcing a pin, or wedge, beside it, and in that respect similar to the buits, but applied to younger persons whose legs might have been broken by the latter operation.) The person I allude to is now 'gathered to his fathers,' or more particular enquiry would have been made. Should it meet your approbation, I may at a future period send you a drawing and description of the 'witches branks' which I have seen; an instrument calculated for preventing the unfortunate wretches, whom the folly and superstition of the time consigned to a horrid death, from expressing their suffering when the most painful tortures were applied to them."

Maclaurin's Criminal Cases, introduct., p. 35.

Quoted by Maclaurin, ibid, p. 36.

See News from Scotland, declaring the damnable Life of Dr. Fian, a noted sorcerer, who was burned at Edinburgh in January, 1591.

These implements have been wholly overlooked by lexicographers, though there is little doubt their use was as frequent on witches as the thumbikens on the persecuted presbyterians.

Decisions, vol. I. pp. 299, 300.

History of the sufferings of the church of Scotland, vol. II. p. 347.

See Hume's Commentaries, vol. II. c. 12. Nothing can more clearly shew the darkness of men's minds in those dire times, as to the plainest principles of justice and evidence, than the following passage of Lord Fountainhall: "Some doubted how far testimonies extorted per torturam could be probative against third parties, seeing witnesses should be so far voluntary and spontaneous, as to be under no terror of life and limb; but others judged them best to be credited then." Decisions, vol. I, p. 302.

Sometimes jocularly called Cardinal Carstares. The Magistrates after the revolution made him a present of the instrument with which he had been tortured.

"The Duke of Hamilton opposed torturings, alleging at this rate, they might without accusers or witnesses, take any person off the street and torture; and he retired and refused to be present, on this ground, that if the party should die in the torture, the judges were liable for murder, or at least severely answerable."—Fountainhall's Chronological Notes.

Fount. ibid, p. 326. M‘Cormick's Life of Carstares, and Burnet, vol. II, p. 256.

Vol. II. p. 303.

M‘Cormick's Life of Carstares.

Rose's observation on Mr. Fox's Historical work, p. 179-180.



Resuming our notices from Lord Fountainhall's diary, we have the following particulars, among others of the plot which takes its name from the house in which the conspirators used to assemble.

"Phisitians have given in their verdict, that Mr. Rumbold was in hazard of death by his wounds, the council ordained the justice court to sit on him, 25th June, 1685; and 26th he was tried, and charged with a design to murder the late king at Ryhous, in April 1683, which he positively denied thatt (was) sworn against him in England; yet the advocat part-frae that, lest it should have disparaged the credit of the English plot; and insisted on his associating with Argyle, and invading Scotland; and that he was with Campbell or Arkenlass, against the Athol men, where two or three of them were killed, which he confessed. And being asked if he was one of the masked executioners that were on the scaffold at the murder of King Charles the Ist, denyed it; but that he was one of Cromwell's regiment then, and was on horseback at Whitehall that day, as one of the guard about the scaffold. And that he was at Dunbar, Worcester, and Dundee, a lieutenant in Cromwell's army. He said Sir James Steuart, advocate, told them all would be ruined by Argyle's lingering in the Highlands, and not marching presently to Galloway. And being asked, if he owned his majesty's authority, he craved leave to be excused, seeing he heeded neither offend them nor grate his own conscience; for they had enough to take his life; beside, his rooted opinion was for a republic against a monarchie; to pull down which he thought it a duty, and no sin; and on the scaffold began to pray for that party, but was interrupted; and said, if every hair in his head were a man, he would venture them all in that quarrel; he otherwise behaved discreetly enough; and heard the ministers, but took none of them to the scaffold. He was drawn on a hurdle thereto, then hoysed up a little in the gallows by a pully, and hanghed a while, and let down not fullie dead, his breast ripped up, and his heart pulled out and thrown in the fire; then his head was strucke off, and his body cut in four quarters, and ordered to be affixed att Glasgow, Dumfries, New Galloway, and Jedburgh, and his head to be affixt on the west post of Edinburgh; but thereafter were, by order from the king, sent to England, to be affixt at London, where he was best known. The order came to Scotland 3rd August, 1685.—Nota, he was tryet 25th, and execute 26th June, 1685."

Punishment for 'mincing' the king's authority.—"Some of the common prisoners that came with Argyle, are given by the council to Scot of Pitlochie and others, for the plantations. But some of them was more perverse than others, in mincing the king's authority, to the number of forty, ordered to have a piece of their lugg (ear) cut off; and the women disowning the king to be burnt in the shoulder, that if any of them return, they might be known thereby, and hanged. 5th August 1685."

Execution of a drummer and a fencing master.—"A drummer was shot in Leith (for saying he could run his sword through all the Papists) by martial law; though he denied the words, yet declared he would not redeem his life by turning Papist, 23rd February 1686. Witnesses were Irvine of Bonshaw, &c. who falling out called one another perjured."

"A fencing-master, condemned to be hanged by criminal court, for uttering words approveing the late rabble. It was proven that he said, if the trades' lads would fall on the town guard, he should secure their captain, Patrick Grame, for his part; and for drinking the confusion of Papists, though at the same time he drank the king's health; yet the chancellor was inexorable, and beat his own son for pleading for him (and this was called to remembrance, when the chancellor was taken and maltreated by Captain Boswell, in Kirkaldie, who took him by sea when making his escape to France, after the usurpation in 1688), and so he was hanged on the 5th of March, 1686, and died piously. He was dealt with to accuse Queensberry with accession to the rabble, but refused."

"There being a band given into Mackenzie's chamber, to one Douglas, to registrat; and he having given up the principall to one Weddell, the granter, and given the pursuer an extract, they were both pillored, and had their luggs nailed to the Trone, 27th March 1685; and Weddell warded till he pay the debt."

"The Chancellor, Theasaurer, and Ross, Archbishop of St. Andrews, come from London to Edinburgh, 8th of April, 1685, having been only eight days by the way; and the council ordered the Shiles wherthrow the chancellor was to pass, to attend him."

"The late king's statue on horseback was set up in the parliament close, 16th April, 1685. It stood the town of Edinburgh more than £1,000 sterling."



"The fire-cross by order of council is sent through the west of Fife and Kinross, as nearest Stirling, that all betwixt sixteen and sixty might rise and oppose Argyle."

This is a remarkable instance, perhaps the latest of the fire-cross having been sent round by command of government. Patin in his account of Somerset's expedition, thus describes it: And thys is a cross (as I have hard sum say) of ii brandes ends caried a crosse upon spears point, with proclamation of the time and place when and whether they shall cum, with how much provision of vitail. Some others say it is a crosse, painted all red, and set for certayn days in the fields of that baronie, whereof they will have the people to cum: whearby all between sixty and sixten are peremptorely summoned; that if they come not with their vitayll according at the time and place then appointed, all the land thear is forfated straight to the kynges vse, and the Tariers taken for traitours and rebels.[1]

We find the following entries of Anderson's Pills, and a licensed mountebank.

"Thoma Weir got a signator for selling thereof (Anderson's Pills) and one Thomas Steell gives in a bill against him, as having the only secret thereof: but Weir having given Melfort talents, is preferred. 21st July, 1687."

"A mountebank having got a licence from the Privy Councill, and of Mr. Fountin, Master of the Revells, and of the Magistrate of Edinburgh, to erect a stage, he built it in Black-fryer-wind. The custome office being there, complained of it to the magistrates, whereupon the magistrates took it down; whereupon he cited them to the council, who alleadge that he should have first been examined by the Colledge of Physitianes; yet they offered him the grass mercate, for preventing servants and prentices withdrawing from their service; but he being Popish, the chancellor caused the magistrates to put his stage in the land mercate. He craved also damages. 14th July, 1688."

In the printed decisions[2] of Lord Fountainhall, occurs the following sly entry concerning this mountebank:

"Reid the mountebank, pursues Scot of Harden and his lady, for stealing away from him a little girl, called the tumbling-lassie, that danced upon his stage; and he claimed damages, and produced a contract whereby he bought her from her mother for £30 Scots. But we have no slaves in Scotland, and mothers cannot sell their bairns; and physitians attested the employment of tumbling would kill her; and her joints were now grown stiff, and she declined to return, though she was at least a prentice, and so could not run away from her master. Yet some cited Moses' law, that if a servant shelter himself with thee against his master's cruelty, thou shalt not deliver him up. The lords reintente assoilzied Harden."

The following account is given of his conversion, and of the importance attached to it by the silly bigotry of Perth, and the other courtiers and statesmen of James II.

"January 17, 1687. Reid the mountebank, is received into the Papist church, and one of his blackamores was persuaded to accept of baptism from the Popish priests, and to turn Christian Papist, which was a great trophy. He was called James after the king, and chancellor, and the Apostle James."

Vol. 1. p. 429.




Notwithstanding the great degree of interest attached to the history of the reformation in Scotland, it is only latterly that much attention has been paid to it, and many who had taken it for granted that the reformers were foolish, and violent, and detestable enthusiasts, have with some astonishment discovered that they displayed in their efforts to introduce the protestant faith an intrepidity, a zeal, and an elevation of principle which we cannot too highly venerate. The reformation in this country was, from its infancy, interwoven with political freedom. It was, at its commencement, strenuously opposed by the united energy of the monarch and the church; and it thus becomes necessary to gain the esteem and support of the people in order to counterbalance the resistance which threatened to render its accomplishment impossible. It was, through the prudence of those who conducted it, gradually disseminated; and it at length was so extensively embraced that it completed its triumph by obtaining the sanction of the legislature. Still, however, much ground was left for diversity of sentiment; and various causes united in producing a state of the public mind which gave rise to the most memorable events,—events which powerfully affected our civil condition, and the complexion of the national character.

From the connexion which Knox had with Calvin and the other illustrious divines of Geneva, he was led, as soon as the ascendancy of the reformation was secured, to give to the ecclesiastical polity which was to be introduced a popular form; his views were carried fully into effect, after his death, by Melvil, who succeeded in overthrowing the modified system of episcopacy which he found existing, and in establishing the presbyterian discipline. To this discipline James VI gave occasionally a cold and reluctant support; but he did not conceal the jealousy with which he regarded it; and although he did not, while he remained in Scotland, directly attempt its subversion, he exerted his influence in making such changes as by restraining the honest and manly independence of some of the most eminent ministers would, he trusted, render it subservient to the views and designs of the court. After he had ascended the throne of England and had been gratified with the obsequiousness of the bishops, who exhibited, to be sure, in this respect, a very marked, and to him a very delightful contrast, to the rugged plainness of the former ecclesiastics, he determined as the most effectual mode of strengthening the prerogative to introduce episcopacy into his native kingdom. To attain his object, he had recourse to means which alienated the affections of a vast proportion of his subjects, which still more endeared them to the principles to which they had been previously attached, and inspired them with the conviction that it was a duty which it would be impiety to neglect, to defend even against the sovereign himself, these principles.

His unfortunate and infatuated son, when he at length turned his attention to Scotland, resolved to go far beyond what his father had effected and to compel his countrymen to submit to a perfect uniformity of faith and polity with their southern neighbours. The rashness with which he made the attempt, his disregard of the plainest indications of aversion to his measures, the violence of the bishops whom he selected, and the disgust of the nobility excited by his marked partiality to the prelates and his conferring upon them some of the most splendid civil offices, soon formed a general resolution to oppose his innovations. The opposition was identified, in the public estimation, with religion itself, and by the most awful and striking oaths, administered with whatever could increase their efficacy, the enemies of episcopacy, bound themselves to exterminate prelacy, and to re-establish that form of polity which, from numberless associations, they regarded with the utmost reverence, and which they were prepared to defend with the most ardent zeal.

The limits to which we must necessarily here confine ourselves, render it impossible to give even a faint sketch of the part which they acted in the civil commotions that terminated in the execution of the king; but it may be evident, from what has been already stated, that the feelings of the people must have been strongly excited, and it cannot be a matter of wonder that, accustomed as they were to consider their cause as the cause of God, almost constantly employed in those exercises of devotion in which they implored his blessing upon it, and stimulated by the homely but energetic address of their beloved pastors, many of them yielded to the fervour of a heated imagination, and were influenced by what, when the causes which produced it have ceased to operate, must appear to be the wildness of enthusiasm. This was the unavoidable effect of the circumstances under which they were placed,—it was the excess into which the weakness of our nature, under these circumstances, could scarcely fail to be betrayed; but we must penetrate through it, to appreciate their character, and we shall find that the great body of them were actuated by the most heroic attachment to freedom, and by the firmest determination not to bow their necks to the crushing oppression of the most savage despotism.

During the period which elapsed between the death of Charles and the restoration of his son they split, as might have been anticipated, into parties, and there was certainly, amongst many of those who assumed the appellation of Protesters, a degree of fanatism which bewildered their understandings, and which, when aggravated, as it afterward was by the horrors of persecution, did lead to the most lamentable departure from duty and from humanity; but this under a gentle administration would have gradually yielded to the milder spirit of their brethren, while the activity and earnestness which distinguished their ministry might have remained.

Charles II, although he declared his purpose of supporting the religion supported by law in language, about the meaning of which no honest man could hesitate, and which, if it were intended to deceive, threw indelible infamy upon both the king and the men who advised him, soon directed against presbytery the fury of an iron government. He abolished his judicatories, and by virtue of his prerogative, forced episcopacy in a form much more obnoxious than it had previously assumed in Scotland upon a nation penetrated with the conviction, that submission to it was impiety, and little disposed to venerate authority which had not scrupled to contaminate itself by having recourse to the meanest dissimulation, and by forming an union with the basest apostacy. We must read the history of the dire persecutions, must read the shocking details which, in sad abundance, have been transmitted to us, and which are so authenticated that without prejudice, a scepticism must admit their reality to have an adequate conception of the profligacy, the cruelty, and the vile oppression which prevailed in Scotland; the heart sickens at the dismal narration, and we must hence extinguish every feeling of humanity and patriotism, if we do not sympathize with the unhappy presbyterians and covenanters[1], who were tortured because they would not abjure a cause implicated with the freedom of their country, and, as they were satisfied, with the eternal salvation of its inhabitants.

The following account of the state of the public mind as to the episcopacy, at the period of the restoration, we extract from a popular work, the nature of which it may convey some idea.[2]

"Episcopacy hade never been popular in Scotland, not in the dayes of ancient ignorance; but since the reformation, in regarde Scotland was reformed by a set of Missionaries from Geneva, bishops were always looked at with a frown. Indeed the people of Scotland (leaving the arguments from Scripture, and the testimonies of Jerome to scholars) used much to insist upon a sort of popular concrete arguments. The Bishops had almost all been both patrons of sin and patterns of profaneness; and if a man in repute turned bishop, it was observed he changed both frame and practice for the worse; and, as Beza has foretold, bishops would introduce epicurisme and atheism; so Scotland found godliness withered, and wickedness overspread the land first and last. They had a sting for no man but a puritan or a presbyterian; beside they knew well that the bishops, having perjured themselves most solemnly, would do as the fallen angels did,—endeavour to corrupt mankind by involving all Scotland in their own sin, that so their personal sin might be excusable, as being the sin of the times. They had also seen a curse attend almost all the bishops' persons and families, and all that were active to introduce them were plagued as these that rebuilt Jericho, and such as these they loved not. It was also found by experience, that as episcopacy is a branch of popery, so it led always to the root, and therefore bishops were looked at as the papists' harbingers. So the body of the people of Scotland were heart enemies to bishops; and even those of the ministry who pyned with bishops in their pretended synods and presbyteries, protested themselves enemies to episcopacy, protesting they believed what they did might well consist with the principles of a presbyterian, and they kept themselves in place only that they might be in condition to oppose the bishops' cause, which they alleadged the ministers turned out, could not so well doe."

We cannot close this brief history of the covenanters without a few words in relation to the "Tales of my Landlord," so much connected with the present subject, and to the deep interest excited by which we suspect that we owe the publication of the work above quoted and of the commentary so preposterously attached to it. The title of this fascinating work exempts the author of it from the obligation of accuracy, as to the history upon which his tale is founded, and we do not think that he is amenable at the bar of criticism for the colouring spread over the incidents so admirably interwoven in his story, provided no other charge can be brought against him. But all tales, whether historical or not, ought to have a salutary tendency; if they be calculated to mislead our moral judgment, they cannot be too severely censured. Upon this score we cannot acquit the author of the "Tales of my Landlord." He has certainly, and indeed admitted, both by friends and foes, sought to hold up to ridicule the whole body of the covenanters, and to invest their opponents with a gallantry and generosity of spirit which are very apt to captivate general readers. Now, as the covenanters, with all their faults did resist despotism, and their earthly persecutors did what lay in them to entail it upon their country, there is some danger that we associate the cause of the presbyterians with the men who supported it, as he had painted them, and may thus vastly undervalue the freedom which it is our duty and should be an happiness to revere. But we do not regret that the tales were published, because we are persuaded that the curiosity which they have excited, and which graver works would not have raised, graver works now alone will satisfy; and although, no doubt, many readers of the tales will, after getting a new novel, think no more of the covenanters, yet there are not a few who will seriously inquire what they actually were, and how they really conducted themselves. We anticipate from this inquiry the happiest results; for whilst the errors and crimes of some of the covenanters will be discovered, their merit upon the whole will be duly appreciated, and what is of much more consequence, their very opinion respecting them, the views of the misery and oppression to which they were subjected, will kindle that pure love of liberty to which we owe our invaluable constitution, and which we must cherish in the rising generation,—if that constitution is to be transmitted to our children.

There is extant in MS. an account of the transactions in Scotland, during some part of the civil wars in the reign of Charles I. The author, one Spalding, commissary of Aberdeen, his principles were those of a loyalist, but he writes with great appearance of impartiality and like an honest man. Some years ago there was a plan for printing of Spalding's memoirs; but at that time there was not the same curiosity for anecdotes as now. Whether or not these memoirs have been printed we cannot say: the following, however, are specimens transcribed from the MS. copy; and from which we may see the miseries of civil war, and how thankful we ought to be for the tranquillity we enjoy both in church and state.

P. 128. The covenanters wore blue ribbons.

P. 138. Men and women were urged to swear, that they did subscribe, and swear this covenant willingly, freely, and from their hearts, and not from any fear or dread.

P. 153. Marquis of Huntley's declaration to the covenanters. "For my own part, I am in your power, and resolve not to leave that foul title of traitor as an inheritance to my posterity; you may take my head from my shoulders, but not my heart from my sovereign."

P. 168. When the first army (Lord Burleigh's) came to Aberdeen, every captain and soldier had a blue ribbon about his neck; in despite and derision whereof, some women of Aberdeen, as was alledged, knit blue ribbons about their messous' (lap-dogs) craigs (necks), whereat the soldiers took offence, and killed all their dogs.

P. 390. Lord Ludovic Gordon left his father, (1642) and carried off a little cabinet, containing his jewels, and went to Holland.

P. 462. Upon a feast-day, Mr. Andrew Cant, (Minister of Aberdeen,) would not give the blessing after the forenoon's sermon, but after the afternoon's sermon, once for all.

P. 503. Lord Sinclair's soldiers (covenanters) did no good, but much evil, daily debauching in drinking, whoring, night-walking, combating, swearing, and brought sundry honest women's servants to great misery, whose bodies they had abused,—the regiment consisted of 260. Besides the women who went with them, information was lodged against 65 of their whores.

P. 967. Montrose, on his return to Aberdeenshire, burnt the village of Echt, and most of the corn and straw, and carried off the cattle, burnt the house of Pittordice and Dorlatham.

P. 980. The proprietors sought redress from the Committee of Estates. The Committee ordered them, for their indemnification, to take possession of the Estates of certain Roman Catholics in Aberdeenshire.

P. 971. About November, 1644, Ludovic Gordon married Mary, daughter of Sir John Grant, of Frenghie, her portion, 20,000 marks.

P. 1004. Montrose wasted the lands of the covenanters in Moray, he burnt the houses of Bandalloch, Grangehill, Brodie, Cubon, and Innes; plundered Burgie, Letham, and Duffus, destroyed salmon boats and nets.

P. 1005. Elgin plundered, especially by the laird of Grants' soldiers.

P. 1006. Lord Graham, a youth of 16, died at Bog, (Gordon Castle) "a proper youth, and of singular expectations."

P. 1007. Cullen house plundered, the Countess of Findlater by promise of a ransom of 20,000 marks, redeemed the house, and the rest of her husband's house from fire. Boyne burnt, Banff plundered, every man seen in the street was stripped naked.

P. 1010. The estate of Frendraught laid desolate.

P. 1015. Duric's and Fintrie's burnt and desolated.

P. 1016. Barns of Dunother burnt, and town of Stone-haven.

P. 1017. Cowie, Setteresso, Urie, Arbuthnot. "The people of Stone-haven and Cowie came out, men, women, and children at their foot, and children in their arms, crying, howling, weeping, praying the Earl (Qu. who?) for God's cause to save them from this fire how soon it was kindled; but the poor people got no answer, nor knew they were to go."

P. 1017. Brechin plundered, 60 houses burnt.

P. 1026. The troops of Harvie, at that time serving with the covenanters, plundered Newton and Haithill.

P. 1028. Montrose's troops burnt Coupar of Angus, and slew Mr. Robert Lindsay, at Coupar, and some others.

P. 1031. Lieut. General Baillie burnt Atholl, he commanded the covenanters.

P. 1034. The overthrow of the covenanters at Aldern, attributed to one Major Drummond, who wheeled about unskilfully through his own foot, and broke their ranks; he was condemned to be shot, and sentence was executed against him.

P. 1035. Campbell, of Lawers, Sir John Murray, and Sir Gideon Moor, killed at Inverlochie.

P. 1035. Montrose plundered the priory of Elgin. "But being church building, he would not burn the same;" much burning in Elgin.

P. 1031. Cullen burnt up, this means the Royal Borough, vulgarly called Cullen, properly Inver Cullen; in the same way Inver Bervie is called Bervie.

See Balfour of Burley. Passim.

The surest and true History of the church of Scotland, from the restoration to the year 1678. By the Rev. Mr. James Kirton.



In the summer of 1640, an army was suddenly collected in different parts of Scotland, in the view of repelling an expected invasion from England, and placed under the command of General Alexander Leslie, aided by various other officers who, like himself, had learned the military art, and acquired no small share of military fame, under Gustavus Adolphus. On the approach of the English forces under the Lord Conway, the Scottish army crossed the border, and on the 28th of August at Newburn, on the river Tyne, encountered and repulsed their opponents and obtained complete possession of Newcastle and the neighbouring county, as far as the borders of Yorkshire. In this situation they remained for more than a year; but during the period of inactivity, it is creditable to the talents of Leslie and his officers, that he not only maintained the most exact discipline among his troops, but that he was enabled to improve their skill in all the military exercises, to a degree that had till then been but little known in Great Britain.

Among these officers, one of the most eminent was Colonel, Sir Alexander Hamilton, general of the artillery, or master of the ordnance, a younger brother of Thomas first Earl of Haddington; and who, like the commander-in-chief, had been recalled by his countrymen from a distinguished station in foreign service, to take a share in that distracting and unhappy warfare with which his native kingdom was threatened. In a petition to the king and parliament of Scotland, Colonel Hamilton states it as "not unknown that his whole study has been in the art of military discipline, especially anent artillery, wherein he being employed in Germany upon honorable and good conditions, he was recalled therefrom to England, where his majesty was graciously pleased to grant him pensions and allowances eight hundred pounds sterling by year;" and in the history of the civil wars, his eminent services as a soldier more especially in his own department of the ordnance, are commemorated. It was unquestionably owing to his superior skill in the management of his artillery that the affair of Newburn had been terminated so advantageously and with such small loss to the Scottish army.

In the month of August 1641, King Charles I in course of his journey into Scotland, visited the army at Newcastle and was entertained by Leslie with a display of its exact discipline and soldier-like appearance, which probably was intended by the general for other purposes besides those of common military parade. Of this royal review, and of the conduct of the army and its commander, on their soon after returning from England, a most curious and not uninteresting account was published at the time in one of those small pamphlets which was then issuing daily from the press and of which we shall here present our readers with a reprint. It is of English composition, but will be found to do ample justice to the military character of the Scottish army and their able commanders, not omitting what was due to the warlike inventions of "that their famous engineer Sandy Hamilton," who will be readily recognized as the person of whom we have already given some account[1].

"His Majesties passing through the Scots armie; as also his entertainment by General Lesly. Together with the manner of the Scots marching out of Newcastle. Related by the best intelligence. Printed in the year 1641.

"His Majesties passing through the Scots' army.

"General Lesly being advertised of the time of his majesties coming to Newcastle, that he might as well appear in his own art and lustre, as in his dutie and loialty to his soverane, (having first made his choice of fit ground) hee drew out his whole forces, both horse and foot, with the artillerie: and the better to express the soldier's salute and welcome of their king he rallied his men into two divisions of equal number, ranging them in a great length, with an equal distance between them of about eight score, which rendered them the more conspicuous, and with the braver aspect to the beholders. Through these the king was to pass; whether being come the general alighting from his horse (which was presently taken by two of his footmen) hee prostrated himselfe and service before the king, upon his knees, his majestie a while privatelie talking to him, and at his rising gave him his hand to kiss, and commanded his horse to be given to him, whereon remounted, he ridd with the king through the armie.

"In the first place stood Highlanders, commonly called Redshanks, with their plaids cast over their shoulders, having every one his bow and arrows, with a broad slycing sword by his syde; these are so good markesmen that they will kill a deere in his speed; it being the cheepest part of their living, selling the skins by great quantities, and living on the flesh. Next were musketeers, interlaid with pikes, and here and there intermixt with those dangerous short gunners, invented by that their famous engineer Sandy Hamilton, and were for the sudden execution of horse, in case they should asaile; then again bowes, muskets, and pikes, for a good distance in both sides. In the midway, the artillery was placed by tiers, consisting of about 60 pieces of ordnance, the cannoniers standing in readiness with fired linstocks in their hands. The horsemen were here placed on both sides, which served as wings or flanks to the whole army, and so forward in the same order, but disposed into so goodly a presence and posture, and with such suitable equipage and militarie accommodations, that they appeared ready to give or take battle, or forthwith to have gone upon some notable designe. And as the king passed along, they gave such true fyre, as it is believed, since the invention of gunnes, never better was seen or heard: they discharged wondrous swift, but with as good a method and order as your skillfulest ringers observe with bels, not suffering the noise of the one to drowne the other. The king received such contentment, that whereas his dinner was appointed and provided at the maiors of Newcastle, hee yet went and honnored Generall Lesly with his presence at dinner, who hath not only gained a good report with his majestie to be a brave soldier, but also a singular esteem to be a most expert and able commander and generall, by such of our English officers as were then with his majestie.

"The manner of the Scot's departure, and marching out of Newcastle.—The Scots when they marched out of Newcastle, their artillerie being mounted upon their carriages, advanced first forth with the cannonniers and other officers thereto belonging, and some troops of horse; then most of the regiments of foot; after them their provision baggage and carriage; then followed the rest of the foot; and all the rest taking their leaves in a most brotherly and friendly manner. Being gone some four miles from the town, their general having directed them to march forwards, he returned to Newcastle, accompanied with some few of his officers, causing the toll-bell to be rung up and downe the towne, proclaiming that if any of the towne were not yet satisfied for any thing due to them from any of his officers or soldiers, let them bring in their tickets, and he would pay them, which he did accordingly, to the great content of the townsmen, and much applause of the general and the whole armie. And after a solemne taking of his levve, he followed the armie, going all the way along with them in the reere, as they marched, and not any thing taken from any man in all the ioumey, to their singular commendation, and gayning the good esteem of all that passed by."

The mechanical inventions of Sandy Hamilton had not been altogether confined to the art military. In 1624, he obtained a patent for the sole using of a new cart devised by him, for the space of 21 years. It sets forth "that our soverane Lord, understanding that Mr. Alexander Hamilton, brother to the Earl of Melrois, by his paines, industrie, and grette charges, hath devysed and found out the use of a new carte, wherein greater weight and burdenis may with far less force be drawne, and convenientle carried then hath been done with any other kind of carte hitherto known or heretofore used: and our said souverane Lord thinking it good reason that he should reap the fruits of his honest labouris in that kinde, and to encourage him and utheries to go on in finding out such laudable, engynes, therefore, &c. &c."



The extraordinary battle, or rather route, of Tippermuir, near Perth, took place on the 19th of May 1644, the Marquis of Montrose being general for the King and the Lord Elcho for the Covenant. Montrose's army consisted of 2000 foot and 500 horse, partly Irish and partly Highlanders, while the force under Elcho amounted to 5000 cavalry and infantry. The covenanters were disgracefully defeated in a single charge, 300 slain chiefly in the pursuit, and many taken prisoners;—"Quorum alii praestito sacramento militari, victoris arma sequuti sunt: sed mala fide, plerique enim omnes defecere. Reliquos data, solemni modo, fide, nunquam in posterum contra regem ejusve duces militaturos libertati restituit."[2] In the conflict Montrose had only two of his men wounded.

Spalding in his naïve manner, gives the following account of the Marquis's motions previous to the battle of Tippermuir and of the affair itself. It may be remarked, that he errs respecting the death of Lord Kilpont, who was not assassinated during the battle, but in a subsequent tumult of the Highlanders and Irish:

"Ye heard before of M‘Donald's taking service with Montrose, his landing and progress with the Irishes, and what order the estates took in setting forth proclamations. As M‘Donald marched in through Badenoch, M‘Donald of Keppach and his forces came willingly unto him, with divers others; the tutor of Struan, and his friends and followers, at his coming to Athol, came unto him; and here likewise James Marquis of Montrose trysted with this M‘Donald and his Irishes. He came secretly from England accompanied only with Crowner Hay and Crowner Sibbald, as was said; and clad in coat and trews, upon his foot he came to Athol, where divers gentlemen of that country met him, especially the Stuarts of Athol, and offered their service to him. The Lord Kilpont came there with some friends. This mighty Marquis of Montrose, clad now with the king's commission and authority, calling now to mind the manifold injuries and oppressions done to him by the estates, especially by Argyle, since the beginning of this covenant, and resolving to revenge the king's quarrel and his own both against the king's rebels and his mortal enemies, to the utmost of his power (which indeed he did after a miraculous manner in several battles as ye shall hear, to the great fear and terror of all Scotland) he marches from Athol above St. Johnston. The general committee of estates at Edinburgh, hearing of the Irish progress, hastily raises out of the shires of Fife, Perth, and Angus, an army of about 6000 foot and 800 horse, with expert officers and commanders, ammunition, powder, ball, and four field pieces, to go upon the Irishes. They were well in order both horse and foot; they march forward and upon Thursday the first of September both parties meet upon a muir four miles bewest St. Johnston, called Tibbermuir; but the Lieutenant foresaid, Montrose, routed and defeated their haill forces with great slaughter, killed 1300, some say 1500, of their men, and took 800 prisoners, whom they made to serve in their wars. They got plenty of arms, powder, ball, their canon, and some horse, bag, and baggage, with little loss for themselves. Lieutenant Montrose achieved the victory with few men, not exceeding 3000 foot, with few or no horsemen at all, and with loss of some but not many men, and with none of note except the Lord Kilpont, who was by one of his own men suddenly and unhappily slain, to the Lieutenant's grief. After this conflict, he upon the morn, being Monday the 2nd of September, takes in the burgh of St. Johnston, with little debate, and small blood. They plunder the town for goods, monies, arms, ammunition, and such of their men as they thought meet to serve in the wars, with all the horse they could get, whereof this lieutenant was scarce, as I have said.

The defeat of the covenanters by Montrose, was so complete and terrific, that, after a lapse of eighty years, the remembrance of it could still appal the courage of the presbyterian party. Upon the breaking out of the insurrection in the year 1715, the Earl of Rothes, sheriff and lord lieutenant of the county of Fife, issued an order "for all the fencible men in the countie, to meet him at a place called Cashmoor;" the gentlemen took no notice of his orders, nor did the commons, except those whom the ministers forced to go to the place of rendez-vous to the number of fifteen hundred men, being all that their utmost diligence would perform; but those of that countie having been taught by experience that it is not good meddling with edge tools, especially in the hands of Highlandmen, were very averse from taking arms. No sooner they reflected on the place of rendez-vous, Cashmoor, than Toppermuir was called to mind; a place not far from thence where Montrose had routed them, when under the command of my great grand uncle, the Earl of Wemyss, then generall of God's armie; in a word, the unlucky choice of a place called Moor, appeared ominous; and that with the flying report of the Highlandmen having made themselves master of Perth, made them throw down their arms and run, notwithstanding the trouble that Rothes and the ministers gave themselves to stop them."[3]

The surrender of Perth to the marquis of Montrose, was deemed by the great body of the covenanters, an act of cowardice or treachery, or both. The following apologetical paper, (which is without a date, and taken from the Wodrow collection of MSS. in the advocate's library of Edinburgh) was given in, either to the parliament or the committee of estates,[4] by Messrs. John Robertson and George Halyburton, ministers of Perth, the latter of whom, in spite of all the covenanting fervour displayed in this curious document, deserted his party at the restoration, and was consecrated Bishop of Dunkeld. He is thus characterized by Kirkton: "Mr. George Halyburton for Dunkeld, was a man of utterance, but who had made more changes than old Infamous Eccebolius, and was never thought severe in any, he seemed to be so ingenious, and never was: you may guess what savour was in that salt.[5]" We are told in the memoirs of the Reverend Thomas Halyburton, that the bishop "who proved a cruel persecutor of his former friends, was scarce well warm in his nest, when the Lord smote him with sore sickness, of which he died, and went to his place."

An original letter from the Minutes of Perth, respecting the surrender of that town to Montrose's army, in 1644.

Rer. Montisros. Cap. V.

MS. Memoirs of Lord St. Clair.

Or perhaps to the general assembly of the church, for no mention of it occurs in the books of the committee of estates, preserved in the register house.

Kirk. Hert. p. 136.


If Perth be blamed for anie thing, it must be either for that they did not render at all, or 2, because the termes of rendering were not honest and honourable, or 3 lie, because the carriage of the inhabitants were bad after the entrie of the enemie. As in the first we could not render but upon these grounds:

1. The strength of the toune was not in their iron walls, or inhabitants, but in the armie of friends that were in the fields, which being shamefullie bent and fully routed, did so exanimate and dishearten the poore inhabitants, that they could not exerce the verie naturall act of moving, let be of resolute reason. For that miserable flight was, for its suddanlie and unexpectedness, as the clap of judgment; and then, 2. A reason of great amazement. For they shall be confounded that trust in the arme of flesh. The trust of the inhabitants was as the trust of their friends, too great, yea the meane was more looked to than the principal efficient cause, which self trust God punished justilie, both in the one and the other. Secondlie, our men were verie few, not extending to sex score. For we had in the fields a companie of musqueteers (under Captain Grante who was there killed) which for the most part fled, suspecting that the toune should become a prey to the enemies' cruelties. Others of the toune, confident of the victorie, went out to the Moor Carleslie, and so, in the flight, by running, were made uselesse. A third part of the toune timoureslie fled at the first report of the enemies' victorie. Could the toune trust itself to the defence of so few disheartened men? Thirdlie, our friends in Fyfe and Strathern, that came unto us, they were either unwilling or unable to assist us. Their unwillingness kythed in this, that all, when they came in at the ports, either went to the boats or to houses, out of which no entreatie could draw them. The trueth of this is proven, for the provost of the toune, with a minister going along the streets, with a trumpet three tymes, could not of inhabitants and friends both, make up so many as to guard three ports, let be true, for by all the walls and posts of the toun. Whereas it is said or may be said, that the Fife men offered to assist us. Its trueth there were seen twelve or thereabout armlesse men, and some of them drunk, come to the provost in the porch of the kirk offering themselves to serve. But such a few number could not be trusted to, so many having feared the enemies' forces before and fled. They were unable who came in, for first they were all fore-fainted and bursted with running, insomuch that nine or ten dyed that night in toune without any wound. 3. An overwhelming fear did take them, that did absolutely disenable them from resistance of such a cruel enemie. Their fear kythed in this, that multitudes breaking up cellars, did cast themselves down there fearing the enemies' approach. The provost came into one house amongst many, where there were a number lying panting, and desired them to rise for their own defence. They answered their hearts were away, they would fight no more although they should be killed. And then although they had been both willing and stout, yet they were unable to resist, for they had casten all their armes from them by the way, and we in the toune had none to spare. 4. In toune we had no ammunition, for Dundee refused them; and that which was got out of Cowper, was for the most part had out in carts to the moor. 5. Our enemies that before the fight were naked, weaponless, ammunitionless, and cannonless men, and so unable to have laid siege to the toun, by the flight of our friends, were clothed, got abundance of armes, and great plenty of ammunition, with six pieces of cannon, so our friends disarming us, and arming our enemies, enabled them, and disabled us. 6. If our friends had not come and fled at our ports and forsaken us, we would, with the assistance of honest men about, defended ourselves. The master of Balmerino, and the laird of Moncrief can witness the toune's resolution the Friday before the fight, when we were alone, for then we would have expected helpe from Fyfe and Angus and Stratherne in four and twenty hours to have raised the siege. But after the fight and flight we were out of all hopes. For on the north, Athole was our enemie, on the east, Angus, on the report of the defeat, disbanded, or at least a few of them fled to Dundee. For Fyfe, they were so disbanded that there was little hopes of a sudden levie. For my lord Marquess of Argyle, we knew not if he was come from the Highlands or not. And so this proved, for the first friends that we saw was the eleventh day after the dismall fight. If so few faint hearted men without meat and drink (of which the toun was verie scarce) could have stood so long against so many cruell desperate enemies, let the reasonable judge. 7. The hounds of hell were drawn up before our port newlie deeplie bathed in blood, routed with hideous cryes for more, and in the mean time there abode not one gentleman in Fyfe to give us counsell, save one who is an uselesse member amongst themselves at home, and, consequently, could not be but useless to us. Neither a gentleman of the committee of our own shire, save Balhousie, so exanimated with fear, and destitute of counsell, we could not stand out.

After the signs and serious consideration of these reasons, and of the miserable consequences of outstanding, being as unable, as, namely, the razing of the citie, the losse of all our means, and the cruell masacreing of our own persons, we began to thinke upon a surrender of the citie, if in our terms we could have our consciences and our covenants preserved entire. If any wayes the enemie would meddle with these, the ministers gave counsell to lose life and all, which was accorded to by the town council, as may appear by the townes letter of answer to Montrose his demand.

So to the next point. Being by strength of reason, and extreame necessity, urged to render, wee thought on articles to propose, which, not being satisfied, wee all resolved to die before wee gave over. In the meane time, a letter came from Montrose, desiring us to join in service to his Majestie. We answered, if, by joining in service, he meant all that civill obedience that did tye our free subjects to be performed, we would join with all good subjects; but if, by joining, he meent to encroach upon our consciences, or to make us break any points of our covenants, wee would not joine without him nor anie, lest by so doing God should be highlier provoked, and moved to bring down a heavier judgment than he had done that day on us. The articles propounded with the answer were these five:—

1. That our towne and parish should not be urged with anie thing against their conscience, especially against the two covenants.

2. That the town should not be plundered or ruffled, neither the adjacent landward.

3. That in all things we should be used as free subjects, and so that none of our men should be pressed.

4. That no Irishe should get entire or passage through our town.

5. That all our good friends and neighbours in town should have a passe safelie to go to their own homes.

The honestie of their articles may he proven by the first article, the honorableness of them by the rest. Its honestie to adhere to our covenant, and honor (being not able to do otherwise,) to keep ourselves and friends, and neighbors in town free of skaith, and give our enemie no full entrie. Look what hath been called honest and honourable, capitulations in the like cases of rendring abroad, and even in their articles shall not be found far short of them.

As for the third point, the gesture and carriage of the town towards the enemie. If by the town be meaned the ministers, they are heere, let them be tried. If by the towne be meaned the magistrats, they did shew no countenance either welcoming them, eating or drinking with them. If by the town be meaned the bodie, welcomes were so farre, that we wish to God the voice of such joy be never heard in the streets of Edinburgh; we may boldly say, in the face of anie, will say the contrarie, that consider the number, and our weeping was as great as lamentings of Achor's valley. Wee will be bold to say, it was the saddest day that ever the town did see; and that enemie the saddest sight, nay, it was to them as the verie sight of the executioner on the scaffold. If by the town be meaned particular men, wee can not bee answerable for everie man's particular carriage. If anie be found, let these be tried and punished for being so unnaturall. The hearts of none we know, but the outward carriage of all our towne was humble, demisse, sadd, sorrowfull, verrie farre from the expressions of anie joy.

Two things are proposed to be considered: 1, Whether the rendring of the towne, or the field was most disgracefull and prejudiciall to the cause and countrie. The towne was rendred, not being able, for the former reasons, to stand out, upon honest and honourable capitulations.

The field was rendred having two to one, of which many horse, ane (and) good cannon, by a shameful groundless tergiversation. 2. The town's rendring, being unable to stand out, saved the effusion of much blood; for, being unable, and yet stand out, wee should have been accessarie to our owne massacree; but the fields' render was the cause of much blood, ten only being killed standing, and all the rest fleeing, so that being able to stand, and yet fled, they seeme to have been accessarie to much blood, they might have saved. 3. The town's rendring was the very immediate necessarie effect of the field's rendring; let anie man having considered this inferne the conclusion.

Againe, let the events of rendring and not rending the towne be compared, and see which should have been most heartful to the cause and countrie. By rendring (not being able to stand) wee keeped our cause and covenant inviolate. Wee keeped our citie,—wee keeped our lives,—and our meenes for manteenance of the cause and countrie in time coming. By not standing (being so unable) the countrie had losed a citie, a number of poor soules, men, women, and babes, with all their fortunes and meanes. Was it not better than to have rendred with such honestie, as to have resisted with such certaintie of danger.—

They who would have had us in Perth, offer ourselves a bloodie sacrifice for our countrie, and with more honest terms could save ourselves for our countrie's service, and, in the mean time, had not the contrair [carnage?] for their countrie to withstand the force of sworne enemies themselves, to say no more they are to uncharitable cruell against us, and to partialie lovers of themselves.

As for that the town held in their friends to be captived, its true for a little while they were detained; but how soon we saw it impossible to stand out; we let all our boats passe, and Fyfe men with other men, so thronged, that sundrie were drowned, both horse and foot. Our boats passed that night till elleven hours at evening. Our port we could not open, neither could they passe. For the cruell dogs were even hard at the inch, and had a company between that and the budge waiting the massacre of such as we should let out. Its apparant if we should let out the Fyfe men, and they beene killed between our towne and the bridge, that they should have said in Fyfe that wee would not harbour them, but chase them out to the slaughter. God judge us according to the charitie some of us shew to them.



Many of the casts and qualities of human character have been so frequently described, and are so obviously subject to every common observation that they can no longer have the power to interest in a drama, an Epic poem, a novel, or even in the faithful narrative of true history. Thus, after Homer, Virgil, Tasso, and Milton, it is no longer easily possible to confer interesting peculiarity on the character of a hero without violating its natural propriety; and hence comes it that the heroes in our modern Epic poems so slightly command our sympathy or fond enthusiastic admiration. Indeed, it would be folly to suppose, that there can be any person of native genius which, without culture, observation, and experience, can in any department of writing produce those speciosa miracula which alone have power to astonish, or interest to charm. In the whole furniture of our circulating libraries, we have not a single novel written by a raw unexperienced youth of either sex that exhibits any happy and vigorous delineations of character. What a deep insight into human nature must there not have been necessary to enable Cervantes to imagine and develope a character so natural yet so inimitably singular as that of Don Quixote? How much must Le Sage have read and observed to be able to paint so many faithful, yet happy touches, as the characters in his novel of Gil Blas? How careful must Fielding have observed, at least the superficies of both vulgar and fashionable life before he could be qualified to present those genuine displays of the humour of English manners which are diffused throughout his novels? Smollett looked deep into the human mind, and often, as it should seem, with a malignant suspicious inspection, before he drew the characters of Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, and Humphrey Clinker. How much of real knowledge, the result of keen observation, and of deep thought, appears in the single character of Zeluco, by Dr. Moore? Of all our more modern novelists, Charlotte Smith is one whose writings afford the most faithful, the happiest, and the most various pictures of character. Her experience, her affections, and the fluctuating course of her life, have evidently contributed not less than the nature, strength, and vivacity of her genius, to enable her to make her works to a degree so remarkable, a great exhibition of the varieties in human nature, and of genuine English life. We would not here be understood, let it be observed, that mere reading and experience in the world will endow any person with the power of happily inventing characters for a novel:—there must be something more. The novelist is not to copy his characters from real life and books with the servility of a plagiarist: he is to take thence only the elements—the composition of these elements into one substance; and the moulding of that into new forms, must be the work of his own genius.

The novelist, of all the writers who address themselves to the heart, appears to have a superior sway over the attention of his reader; or perhaps it were better to say that there is no species of writing for which the generality of readers shew such a rooted predilection, as for romance. We are fond of examining a moral painting. We are curious to mark the modifications, the diversities, and shades of human nature. This passion is universal: and wherever a character is faithfully delineated, it is instantly observed and appreciated by all ranks of people. Now there are points of view without number from which interesting sketches of human character can be taken: and wherever there is a moral painter who, to a quick conception, and a playful fancy, joins acuteness of observation we take it to be almost impossible that, until he ceases to write, he should ever cease to please. The very uncommon, and very deserved success of the Romances which have been supplied us of late years from the pen of the distinguished author of Waverley, shews that there is something more than speculation or hypothesis in this remark; and we will add, that the curiosity already alluded to, to survey the different aspects and phases of character, is, together with the great merit of these publications, a very good ground on which to argue, that they shall retain in after times the popularity which they have acquired in our own.

The author of Waverley has contributed a vast stock to the fund of imaginative felicity; he has evinced a consummate knowledge of nature and the workings of the human mind, in many of his vigorous and, perhaps, unrivalled delineations of character; the creations of his fancy are pregnant with enjoyment. He has exhibited such a rare combination of mingled qualities, good and evil, as even tend to throw a charm on vice itself. However difficult it may be to preserve the truth of nature, our author, however, has fallen into the best side of the general error of his predecessors—he has made his readers in love only with vice, on account of the splendid talents and virtues with which it appears inseparably allied.


To those who have not previously read this interesting novel, the following esquisse will be an acceptable morceau by way of prelude, and such as have already been gratified by the perusal will immediately recognise in the following anecdote, not only the foundation of the mutual protection afforded by Waverley and Colonel Talbot upon which the plot of the novel altogether depends, but they will also discover, in the latter part, something very nearly resembling the concealment of the Baron Bradwardine[1] and the sagacity of Daft Davie Gellatley, who protected that concealment, when the unfortunate old gentleman was observed, and shot at by the soldiers on the retreat to his cave.

When the Highlanders, on the morning of the battle of Preston Pans, made their memorable attack, a battery of four field pieces[2] was stormed and carried by the Cameron and Stuarts of Alpine. The late Alexander Stuart, of Invernahyle, was one of the foremost in the charge and observed an officer in the king's forces who, scorning to join the flight of all around, remained with his sword in his hand, as determined to the very last to defend the post assigned to him. The Highland gentlemen commanded him to surrender, and received for reply a thrust which he caught in his target. The officer was now defenceless, and the battle axe of a gigantic Highlander (the miller of Invernahyle Mill) was uplifted to dash his brains out, when Mr. Stuart with difficulty prevailed upon him to surrender. He took charge of his enemy's property, protected his person, and finally obtained him liberty on parole. The officer proved to be Colonel Allan Whiteford, of Ballochmyle, in Ayrshire, a man of high character and influence and warmly attached to the house of Hanover; yet such was the confidence existing between these two honourable men, though of different political principles, that while the civil war was raging and straggling officers from the Highland army were executed without mercy, Invernahyle hesitated not to pay his late captive a visit as he went back to the Highlands to raise fresh recruits, when he spent a few days among Colonel Whiteford's Whig friends as pleasantly and good humouredly as if all had been at peace around him.

After the battle of Culloden, it was Colonel Whiteford's turn to strain every nerve to obtain Mr. Stuart's pardon. He went to the Lord Justice Clerk, to the Lord Advocate, and to all the officers of State and each application was answered by the production, of a list in which the name of Invernahyle's appeared, 'marked with the sign of the beast!' At length Colonel Whiteford went to the Duke of Cumberland. From him also he received a positive refusal. He then limited his request for the present, to a protection for Stuart's house, wife, children, and property. This was also refused by the duke: on which Colonel Whiteford taking his commission from his bosom, laid it on the table before his Royal Highness and asked permission to retire from the service of a king who did not know how to spare a vanquished enemy. The Duke was struck and even affected. He bade the Colonel take up his commission, and granted the protection he requested with so much earnestness. It was issued just in time to save the house, corn, and cattle at Invernahyle, from the troops who were engaged in laying waste what it was the fashion to call 'the country of the enemy.' A small encampment was formed on Invernayhle's property, which they spared while plundering the country around and searching in every direction for the leaders of the insurrection, and for Stuart in particular. He was much nearer them than they suspected; for hidden in a cave, (like Baron of Bradwardine) he lay for many days within hearing of the sentinels, as they called the watchword. His food was brought to him by one of his daughters, a child of eight years old, whom Mrs. Stuart was under the necessity of trusting with this commission, for her own motions and those of all her inmates were closely watched. With ingenuity beyond her year, the child used to stray out among the soldiers, who were rather kind to her, and watch the moment when she was unobserved to steal into the thicket, when she deposited whatever small store of provisions she had in charge, at some marked spot, where her father might find it.

By means of these precarious supplies, Invernahyle supported life for several weeks, and as he had been wounded in the battle of Culloden, the hardships which he endured were aggravated by great bodily pain. After the soldiers had removed their quarters he had another remarkable escape. As he now ventured to the house and left in the morning, he was espied during the dawn by a party who pursued and fired at him. The fugitive being fortunate enough to escape their search, they returned to the house and charged the family with harbouring one of the proscribed traitors. An old woman had presence of mind enough to maintain that the man they had seen was the shepherd. "Why did he not stop when we called him?" said the soldier. "He is as deaf, poor man, as a peat stack," answered the ready witted domestic. "Let him be sent for directly."—The real shepherd was accordingly brought from the hill, and as there was time to tutor him by the way, he was as deaf, when he made his appearance, as was necessary to maintain his character. Stuart, of Invernahyle was afterwards pardoned under the act of indemnity. He was a noble specimen of the old Highlander, far descended, gallant, courteous, and brave, even to chivalry. He had been out in 1715 and 1745,[3] was an active partaker in all the stirring scenes which passed in the Highlands, between these memorable eras, and was remarkable among other exploits, for having fought with, and vanquished Rob Roy, in a trial at skill at the broadsword, a short time previous to the death of that celebrated hero, at the Clachan of Balquhidder. He chanced to be in Edinburgh when Paul Jones came into the Firth of Forth, and though then an old man, appeared in arms, and was heard to exult, (to use his own words) in the prospect of 'drawing his claymore' once again before he died. On that memorable occasion when 'Auld Reekie' was threatened by three small armed vessels, scarce fit to have plundered a fishing village, Invernahyle was the only man who seemed to propose a resistance. He offered the magistrates, if broadswords and dirks could be procured, to find as many Highlanders among the lower orders as would cut off any boat's crew who might be sent into a town, full of as many defiles nearly as the Island of Corsica, in which they were likely to disperse in quest of plunder. A shady and powerful west-wind blowing Paul Jones[4] out of the Forth, the brave Invernahyle's services were not required.

The following elucidations of two allusions in the novel of Waverley, are taken from Mr. Alexander Campbell's notes to Macintosh's collection of Gaelic Proverbs:—'The author of Waverley alludes to Roderick Morison in the following passage of that inimitable faction: "Two paces back stood Cathleen, holding a small Scottish harp, the use of which had been taught her by Rory Dall, one of the last harpers of all the northern Highlands." Rory Dall lived in the family Macleod, of Macleod, in Queen Anne's time, in the double capacity of harper and bard to the family. Many of his poems and songs are still repeated by his countrymen.'

'Conan was one of Fingal's heroes, rash, turbulent, and brave. One of his unearthly exploits is said to have led him to Jurna, or cold island, (similar to the den of Hela, of Scandinavian mythology) a place only inhabited by infernal beings. On Conan's departure from the island, one of its demons struck him, which he instantly returned. This outrage upon immortals was fearfully retaliated by a legion of devils, setting on poor Conan. To a Gaelic proverb founded on the circumstances of this unequal contest, Ensign Macombish facetiously alludes, in his reply to Mrs. Flockhart's interrogation, if he would actually "face thae tearing, swearing chields, the dragoons." "Claw for claw," cries the courageous Highlander, "as Conan said to Satan, and the deil tak' the shortest nails."'[5]

No original, we believe, has hitherto been discovered for this admirable portrait—the Baron Bradwardine. The person who held the situation in the rebel army assigned in the novel to this gentleman was the Right Hon. Alexander Pitsligo, of the Shire of Aberdeen,—a nobleman, though possessing but a moderate fortune, was nevertheless so much beloved and esteemed by his neighbours for the excellent qualities of his mind that when he declared his purpose of joining the Pretender, most of the gentlemen of that part of the country put themselves under his command, conceiving they could not follow a better or safer example than that of Lord Pitsligo. He, in this manner, commanded a body of an hundred and a half of well mounted gentlemen during the rebellion, at the fatal termination of which, he escaped to France, and in the following month with many others, who followed him, became attained of high treason. It is not unworthy of remark that the supporters of the Pitsligo arms were two bears proper; a circumstance which, when connected with the great favour in which this animal was held by the Baron of Bradwardine, being as it were the patron brute of his house, would induce one to suppose that in all probability there may have been a still stronger intimacy between these personages, and that the reality of the one may have been the germ of the other.

Since this was written, the author's new series has appeared: we have not, however, altered a word, but left it as originally intended.

See Rebellions. Passim.

See Plunder of Lady Selkirk's house; and letter from and to Paul Jones. Passim.

See Waverley Poetry. Appendix.


In Waverley, the characters of the brave and devoted 'Vich Ian Vhor,' the eccentric and kind-hearted Baron Bradwardine, with his bears and boot-jacks,—the poor idiot David Gellatley, with his leal cunning; the two dogs, Ban and Busker, with the glorious and soul-inspiring loyalty and self-devotion of Flora M‘Ivor, are master touches and dear to our recollection. Then Dominie Sampson, with his learning and his simplicity—poor Meg Merrilies, with her supernatural energies, and her simply natural feelings (we could almost cry now at the remembrance of the exquisite pathos with which she laments the loss of her humble cottage)—Dirk Hatterick, with his stern, and Gilbert Glossin, with his sly villanies; Paul Pleydell, that prince of advocates; and Dandie Dinmont, that prince of honest hearts and iron frames—the living images of Guy Mannering: and our good friend Monkbarns, with his veneration for the press, sanctifying in our eyes, all his whims in prætoriums, old coins, and old ladles—the fisherman at the funeral, old Edie Ochiltree full of good humoured craftiness,—the high-spirited young Highlander and the seal, together with the aristocratic Baronet, and his charlatan Dunsterswivel, in the Antiquary.

Then, in our opinion, the chief production of all, Old Mortality, abounding with incident and delineation—the period of the covenant, when Scotland would not tamely endure a corrupt kirk, and an arbitrary king—Balfour of Burley, with his fearlessness and desperate fanaticism; the maniac Mucklewrath, the sonorous Kettledrumle, the gallant but bloody Claverhouse; the crafty clown Cuddie, and his crafty help-mate,—the old Lady Bellenden, with the eternal déjeuner—the unfortunate Calf Gibbie, Cuddie's mother, with her love for the cause, sadly battling in her mind with the fears of her son; and the finest character of all, the young preacher Macbriar, dying in a consumption, yet still animated with divine energy in the cause of his God,—here, however, we must stop, or we shall fill this chapter with a mere catalogue of portraits, painted with all the freshness of Teniers, all the richness of Rubens, all the colouring of Titian, and all the splendour, power, and boldness of Raphael.

Sensible, however mighty and teeming the imagination, that there is a point beyond which it cannot soar, the distinguished author who, with confidence and intrepidity for a course of years, not courted, but commanded the approbation of the public, and kept, as it were, caprice stationary—he who regularly spread before us an annual banquet, without any lack of relish, or exhaustion of means, procured, for every successive performance, an additional measure of praise, and after having given the most unequivocal proofs that can be required of extraordinary genius, began at length to discover symptions of an over wrought and exhausted mind worn out by its own incessant liberality.

There is a time when, in the selection of characters fitted to command the sympathetic curiosity of the greatest number of those who are likely to be readers of similar productions, the mind must become exhausted, original characters cannot always be invented. "All that's bright must fade," and the brightness of our Aurora Borealis began to diminish, more or less, with many an intervening corruscation, with the Monastery and the Abbot. The Redgauntlet is rather a prosing tale; the Bride of Lammermuir, and the Legend of Montrose, contain more incident, in one volume and a half, than it does in three. There is moreover no description—the salmon-striking scene, is nothing compared to a similar one in Guy Mannering. Allan Fairford and his father are a thousand degrees beneath Paul Pleydell. Old Trumbell is an unnatural and unprobable hypocrite, and not half so well drawn as Gilbert Glossin. Redgauntlet, as a political enthusiast, comes far short either of Claverhouse on the one side, or Balfour on the other. Foxley, the justice, is a cypher compared with justice Ingleby in Rob Roy, as his clerk is to Jobson in the novel; and wandering Willie must hide his diminished head before Edie Ocheltree. The letters in the first volume are somewhat tedious and wire-drawn. The narrative in the other two is disconnected and made up in the way of common novel writers—leaving off just when the interest is excited, to begin another long story. These are the main faults in the work, and which, but for the many redeeming characters of the author, were in our opinion sufficient to damn it. There are, however, beauties—flights which could only proceed from the bow of the northern Ulysses. The character and tale of Nanty Ewart, the smuggler, are admirable and original;—a smuggler now and a pirate formerly: not the villanies of his present profession, nor the horrid barbarities of his late one—nor continued intoxication, nor habitual blasphemy, can efface from his conscience one ever-gnawing feeling, arising from the seduction of a young female, who, her chastity gone, lost her remaining virtues, became a thief and was sent to the plantations—her poor mother turned out of doors and dying in a workhouse. Though there were no aggravating circumstances in the seduction—yet, still her former innocence, and her present fate, her mother's happiness and her mother's end, were ever before the eyes of the drunken and blaspheming smuggler and pirate—he was dying with the worm within, and the cankerings of his heart are well delineated.

The "Bride of Lammermoor" in the Tales of my Landlord, is full of irresistible humour, of ingenious and ludicrous caricaturing, and of the most interesting views of the human heart; it bears, nevertheless, like those that precede it,[1] the clearest marks of haste and inattention, both in regard to the structure of the story and the composition of its language. On this subject we have just room to remark, in the way of the unreflecting reader who may have observed such defects, and wondered how they could have found their way into the works of a genius, that the march of our ordinary mind is slow, cautious and considerate, from a feeling of debility, or a fear of falling; it moves along a path that has often been trod, and where there is little likelihood of impediment or overturn; but, always desultory, eccentric and impetuous, the progress of genius lies over paths that never were explored. Self-sufficiency and a consciousness of power urge on its career. Galloping, stumbling and error, must therefore characterise its movements. The scene of this tale is also laid in the reign of Charles I, and the incidents are as follows:

"Ravenswood, the hero of the tale, is a Scottish royalist, intrepid, haughty, and revengeful. The best part of his patrimony, handed down through a course of ages, has fallen, by no fair means, he thinks, into the hands of Sir William Ashton the Lord Keeper, a crafty, weak-minded, temporizing politician, against whom the master of Ravenswood had directed all his hate, as the cause of the downfal of his house. He dwells in poverty and proud seclusion, in his now only residence of "Wolf's Hope," with but two domestics, one of whom a faithful old butler, Caleb Balderstone, struggles most virtuously, without food, furniture or comfort, to maintain an appearance of affluence; and in no crisis nor emergency can he be found without some ludicrous shift to uphold the fallen dignity of his patron. Accident led our hero to save the life of the object of his hate, the Lord Keeper, and that of his only daughter, Miss Lucy. This circumstance generated in the romantic and susceptible bosom of the heroine the warmest gratitude: gratitude brought on an acquaintance, an acquaintance love the most pure and ardent on both sides. This mutual felicity, however, and the incident that led to it, occurred during the absence in England of Lady Ashton, an unbending sprig of the house of Douglas, a woman of a masculine temperament, bold, ambitious, and overbearing, and deeming no sacrifice too dear for the enhancement to her family's power. To her, the name of Ravenswood was particularly odious; and on hearing of the acquaintance that commenced between him and her daughter, she hurries homeward with the celerity of a dragon; and to the dismay of Lucy, and of the weak Lord Keeper (who had, in a great degree reconciled the fiery master of Ravenswood), appears unexpectedly in the midst of them, orders away our indignant hero, who, but for his love to Lucy, would have awfully punished this blow to his dignity.

He soon after gets an appointment to an eligible situation abroad, through the influence of the Marquis of Argyle, a powerful political engine in those times. In his absence, Lady A. urges on a match between Lucy, and a young, joyous, open-hearted debauchee, of property and power, whom she supposed a proper instrument for aiding her plans of aggrandizement. All communication between Lucy and her beloved Ravenswood was carefully and cunningly prevented; and, at the same time, every effort was made to persuade her that the silence of Ravenswood was owing to an estrangement of affection.

Persecuted by her father's repinings, the taunts of an imperious brother, and above all, by the effective machinery of Lady A. our heroine became dejected and gloomy, and, in this state, was compelled to sign the marriage bond. Scarcely had she written her name, when Ravenswood all wild and ghastly, appeared among the witnesses of the ceremony like a spectre. He saw the well-known signature; and, in a transport of despair and rage, he left the bewildered, broken-hearted Lucy. The great crisis now hurries on apace. On the night of the marriage, in the midst of joy and festivity, the Bride of Lammermoor, whom an accumulation of misfortunes has exasperated to madness, stains the bedchamber with the blood of the bridegroom. The wild maniac cry, which announced this event, threw all into dismay. Bucklaw was not mortally wounded; but he never explained the event: and Lucy died in a paroxysm of insanity.

On the day after the funeral Ravenswood, in his impetuous haste to fulfil an engagement with the brother of the hapless Lucy, who had challenged him to account for his intrusion at the contract, was drowned; and thus, in his untimely end, were accomplished all the mysterious forebodings of his fate.

Drawn by C. Stanfield, A.R.A. Engraved by E. Finden.
from a sketch by W. Page. 



Published by John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1832.

There are other minor characters in this tale which serve to carry on the business of the fable, and of which our limits allow us to make but very cursory mention. Craigengelt is a runagate Captain in the army, most villainously inclined, but without purse, principle or courage. Alice Gray is a venerable old woman, who shews a deep and unintelligible interest in the fate of Ravenswood and Lucy. She is blind, but the loss of vision is remunerated by an extraordinary sagacity and penetration bordering on a prophetic spirit. Three frightful hags half allied to the spirit of darkness, are occasionally seen flitting in the back-ground and give consistence and probability to events which occur in the course of the story; and which, without the appearance and demoniac converse of these "Weird Sisters," would be too high for the faith of ordinary believers. They throw a gloom over the fable, which prepares us for the catastrophe, dark and appalling as it is.[2]

See Legend of Montrose. Passim.

This unrivalled creation of the illustrious author of Waverley is (with the exception of Kenilworth) the only story wherein the fortunes of the principal characters end unhappily. His mind, evidently, so overflowed with 'the milk of human kindness' that even in an imaginary production, he disliked to represent human nature in any other light than that of vice punished and virtue rewarded.



The story of Peveril of the Peak is as follows: Sir Geoffrey Peveril of the Peak, the hero of the tale, is an old Cavalier Baronet, in Derbyshire, living in the reign of Charles II, discarded from an illegitimate son of William the Conqueror. He was proud of small advantages, angry at small disappointments, full of prejudices, vain of his birth, contentious and quarrelsome with all that differed with him, convivial and kind to the poor, except when they plundered his game; and one who detested alike a round-head, a poacher, and a presbyterian.

When the civil war broke out, Peveril raised a regiment for the king and was in several engagements, until at length, when his regiment was cut to pieces by Poyntz, he threw himself into his mansion, Martindale Castle, and defended it as long as he could. Obliged at last to surrender, he was punished by fine and sequestration. At the final defeat at Worcester he was again taken prisoner, and would doubtless have suffered, but for the interference of his neighbour, Major Bridgenorth of Moultrassie Hall. Though the parties had joined different sides in the war, yet their wives had formed an acquaintance sufficiently strong for their husbands to do a kindness for each other. The Major also paid a somewhat liberal sum for part of the lands which Sir Geoffrey was obliged to sell. Major Bridgenorth, though a presbyterian is no republican, whom the love of liberty and religion, in the austere form professed by his party, had led, like many others, far beyond his first intention in opposition to his hard fated sovereign. He is equally upright in his intentions with his neighbour knight, and averse from the extremities to which the independents proceeded under the sway of Cromwell. He deals justly according to his views with every one, and very kindly with Peveril when oppressed by the long parliament. A series of losses and privations in his own family, which is at last reduced to one daughter, Alice, not very likely to survive the mother who had died after giving her birth, deepens the gloom on his serious and reflecting mind. The amiable and judicious consort of the stout baronet takes charge of the girl, a few years younger than her only son, Julian. This affords some compensation for the benefits conferred on the cavalier in the major's day of power. Mutual worth produces mutual benevolence, but there are too many opposing elements in the character of each to admit of social intercourse. It is enough that the knight loves his neighbour, not as himself, but as well as the best possible round-head could be loved by a zealot in loyalty. The major, again, regards the knight as much as christian charity could afford to an unenlightened sinner who had shared in shedding the blood of the saints.

The restoration of Charles II effects a somewhat closer intimacy between Peveril and Bridgenorth. At a banquet at Martindale Court, in honour of the restoration, the far-famed Countess of Derby, the royal Queen of Man, appears through a pannel, to the terror of Julian and Alice, who are in the room. Bridgenorth is there, and learns from the Countess her having ordered the execution of William Christian, the brother-in-law of Bridgenorth, for giving Fairfax possession of the Isle of Man. This so enrages him, that he orders her under arrest. Lady Peveril, however, places the major under charge of her servants, until the Countess has time to escape. In the mean time, Sir Geoffrey Peveril arrives, and announces that there was a warrant from the council to arrest the Countess, whose husband he had served under. He, however, determines to conduct her away, and, in doing so, encounters Bridgenorth, and a poursuivant with the warrant, which he seizes and tears to pieces, defeats the party, and conveys the Countess to Vale Royal.

The imaginary feelings of worthlessness which fanaticism induces, makes Bridgenorth eschew the sweets of life. He leaves his house, and places his daughter Alice under the charge of a self-important gouvernante in the Isle of Man, where the widow of his slaughtered relative resides. There, after a lapse of some years, she is discovered by Julian Peveril. They are of course destined for each other; but the "bloom of her young desire" is checked in the fair Alice, by the dread of paternal displeasure from the rivalry between the families. Her struggles between duty and affection are pourtrayed in two scenes of exquisite relish. At first, unknown to each other, the lovers exult in the bright summer of their joys—in the fragrant and refreshing sweetness which youth and innocence taste in the dawn of tender attachment. Julian Peveril is, however, destined to act a more conspicuous part than the ardent lover. His patroness is implicated in the popish plot, and to London he is dispatched in order to ascertain its true character and the aspect of the political horizon. The Countess has an attendant, a most important personage in the story called Fenella, but whose real name is Zarah. This singular person, whose acts savour more of fairy potency than of merely mortal power, is of bright and felicitous creation, and may be ranked among the happiest efforts of the author of Waverley. She is of slender yet perfect symmetry—of an eastern hue, and with that wild and fiery expression in her eyes, which denotes a mind full of strong and vehement passions. She is not the less remarkable for being supposed to be deaf and dumb—a character which she assumes during her services in the household of the Countess. When Peveril embarked in a sloop that was ready for him, Fenella, who had a secret attachment for him, forced herself on board. In vain did he indicate, to this apparently helpless but interesting creature, the necessity of her returning; but she, by signs, made him understand that her presence was a necessary protection from some danger with which he was threatened: Fenella was, however, sent back by the Dutch captain who commanded the sloop.

On arriving at Liverpool, Julian meets with Topham, the noted parliamentary messenger, in whose proscribed list he is alarmed to find the name of his father. Topham is accompanied with two low fellows, Captain Dangerfield and Everett. Dangerfield swears he will purge the garner of papists. "Stick to that noble captain," answered the officer, "but prithee reserve thy oaths for the Court of Justice; it is but sheer waste to throw them away as you do in your ordinary conversation." "Fear you nothing, master Topham," answered Dangerfield, "it is regret to keep a man's gifts in use; and were I altogether to renounce oaths in my private discourse, how should I know how to use one when I needed it? but you hear me use none of your papist abjurations. I swear not by the mass, or before George, or by any thing that belongs to idolatry; but such downright oaths as may serve a poor protestant gentleman, who would fain serve heaven and the king."

"Bravely spoken, most noble Festus," said his yoke-fellow. "But do not suppose, that although I do not use to garnish my words with oaths out of season, that I will be wanting, when called upon, to declare the height and the depth, the width and the length, of the hellish plot against the king and the protestant faith."

In Julian's road to Derbyshire, he meets at a small inn, a stranger whom he saw at Liverpool, and who first declares himself to be Ganlesse, a Roman Catholic priest; but finding his companion no catholic, states that he is 'Simon Canter, a poor preacher of the word.' Peveril determines to get rid of him, and the start of the road, threatening that it is at his peril to follow him. The real name of this man is Ned Christian, a brother-in-law of Bridgenorth. At another inn where they meet, he contrives that Julian shall be robbed of the packet of letters he is conveying from the Countess of Derby. Arriving at Martindale Castle, Julian finds his father just arrested, and fires his pistol at one of his captors who proves to be Bridgenorth. His pistols had, however, been rendered harmless, when his pockets had been rifled of his letters. Topham and his party arrive to execute their warrant, and take Sir Geoffrey into custody, while Bridgenorth becomes answerable for Julian, and conducts him to Moultrassie Hall, where Alice welcomes them.

Major Bridgenorth cautioned his daughter and Julian to seem strangers to each other. Julian is conducted into an inner apartment: five or six persons in puritanical costume, are sitting, to whom Julian's character was respectively announced by the Major. Here Julian recognised his travelling companion Ganlesse. A long grace, a plain dinner, a thanksgiving as long as the grace, and an exposition of a chapter in the bible, by the Major, as long as all the three, followed. Bridgenorth in conducting Julian to his chamber, tells him that he is known to be 'a spied spy who carries tokens and messages betwixt the popish Countess of Derby, and the catholic party in London;' he however offers him the means of escape, of which Julian refuses to avail himself.

Lance Outram an old retainer of the Peverils, musters thirty stout fellows determined to attack Martindale Castle, but being dissuaded from it, resolves on rescuing Julian from Moultrassie Hall, which they boldly assailed. Julian heard the attack, but was unable to get out of the room, until released by Alice who called on him to save her father who was in danger. Julian interposes, Bridgenorth is rescued, and the house, which had been set on fire, is saved by the joint efforts of both parties. On the road to London, Julian accompanied by Lance, overtakes Chaffinch "the well known minister of Charles' pleasures," who, under the name of Smith, had been with Ganlesse when Julian was robbed of his packet. He learns that it is in Chaffinch's possession, rides after him, and takes it from him. Julian arrives in London where he meets Fenella, by whose means he is conveyed into the presence of King Charles, while the merry monarch was, in one of his happiest phrases, amusing himself with a select group of courtiers in a morning promenade, in the mall of St. James's Park. At the royal command, Peveril and his fair mute are dispatched into the apartment of the mistress of one of his pimps, the infamous Chaffinch, where he has not long remained till he is alarmed and surprised by the appearance of Alice Bridgenorth, who is chased into the room by the lascivious Buckingham. She had been placed in this den of iniquity by her uncle, Edward Christian, who had wiled the guardianship of her from the unsuspecting father; and the use he made of his power was to advance a court intrigue, by offering her at the shrine of the licentious Charles. Julian interposes, and conveys her from the gripe of prostitution. In his way to his mother's lodging with his trembling burthen, he is insulted by two of the Duke of Buckingham's retainers. He quits Alice, and engages with one of them, whom he severely wounds. For this felony he is immured in Newgate, where he is made cell companion with the celebrated dwarf, Sir Geoffrey Hudson, whose freaks in arms and pasties are recounted. Meanwhile Alice is seized by the retainer, who had not engaged in the affray, and lodged in his grace's harem. From this place of corruption she is carried off by Christian, who dreads the discovery of his intrigues, and placed in the hands of her father, who happens to be then in London.

From Newgate, Julian is removed to the Tower where his father is confined. The father and son with Geoffrey Hudson are brought to trial for high treason. The infamous Titus Oates appears against them, with other witnesses, but the evidence is deficient, on account of the absence of Bridgenorth who does not appear. In their way from the court, they are assailed by the mob; but availing themselves of the vicinity of a cutler's stall, they arm themselves, and with little Geoffrey perform prodigies of valour. They are, however, invited to a place of refuge, which turns out to be a house belonging to Bridgenorth, whom they encounter. He professes friendship, and through a variety of secret passages conveys Julian to an assembly of Puritans, where he discovers that they are assembled for the purpose of a treasonable conspiracy. Into this plot the thoughtless Buckingham has been drawn by the wary and treacherous Ned Christian. The hic et ubique Fenella, however, thrusts Geoffrey Hudson into a violoncello, which, with other musical instruments, is sent into court by Buckingham, with conspirators, among whom is the noted Colonel Blood, who attempted to steal the crown from the tower, for musicians. Geoffrey steps out from his musical prison, and reveals the plot; the Duke is sent for, partly acknowledges his guilt, and is forgiven. Lady Derby appears at court to rescue the Peverils, who she understood had been imprisoned on her account. The Peverils are presented, and Julian marries Alice: Bridgenorth, her father, giving up the claim of mortgage he had on Martindale Castle; and Christian, who acknowledges Fenella, or rather Zarah, as his own daughter, is banished.


In the introductory chapter of the recent edition, to this novel, the following story is given in illustration of, and as a parallel to the case of Fenella, a character the author admits to be taken from the fine sketch of Mignon, in Wilhelm Meister's Lehrjahre.

"In the middle of the eighteenth century, a female wanderer came to the door of Mr. Robert Scott, grandfather of the present author, an opulent farmer in Roxburghshire, and made signs that she desired shelter for the night, which, according to the customs of the times, was readily granted. The next day the country was covered with snow, and the departure of the wanderer was rendered impossible. She remained for many days, her maintenance adding little to the expense of a considerable household; and by the time that the weather grew milder, she had learned to hold intercourse by signs with the household around her, and could intimate to them that she was desirous of staying where she was, and working at the wheel and other employment, to compensate for her feed. This was a compact not unfrequent at that time, and the dumb woman entered upon her thrift, and proved a useful member of the patriarchal household. She was a good spinner, knitter, carder, and so forth, but her excellence lay in attending to the feeding and bringing up the domestic poultry. Her mode of whistling to call them together was so peculiarly elfish and shrill, that it was thought, by those who heard it, more like that of a fairy than a human being.

"In this manner she lived three or four years, nor was there the slightest idea entertained in the family that she was other than the mute and deprived person she had always appeared. But in a moment of surprise, she dropped the mask which she had worn so long.

"It chanced upon a Sunday that the whole inhabitants of the household were at church excepting Dumb Lizzie, whose infirmity was supposed to render her incapable of profiting by divine service, and who therefore stayed at home to take charge of the house. It happened that, as she was sitting in the kitchen, a shepherd boy, instead of looking after his flock on the lea, as was his duty, slunk into the house to see what he could pick up, or perhaps out of mere curiosity. Being tempted by something which was in his eyes a nicety, he put forth his hand unseen, as he conceived, to appropriate it. The dumb woman came suddenly upon him, and in the surprise, forgot her part, and exclaimed in loud Scotch, and with distinct articulation, 'Ah, you little deevil's limb!' The boy, terrified more by the character of the person who rebuked him, than by the mere circumstance of having been taken in the insignificant offence, fled in great dismay to the church, to carry the miraculous news that the dumb woman had found her tongue.

"The family returned home in great surprise, but found that their inmate had relapsed into her usual mute condition, would communicate with them only by signs, and in that manner denied positively what the boy affirmed.

"From this time confidence was broken betwixt the other inmates of the family and their dumb, or rather silent, guest. Traps were laid for the impostor, all of which she skilfully eluded; fire-arms were often suddenly discharged near her, but never on such occasions was she seen to start. It seems probable, however, that Lizzie grew tired of all this mistrust, for she one morning disappeared as she came, without any ceremony of leave-taking."

"She was seen, it is said, upon the other side of the English border, in perfect possession of her speech. Whether this was exactly the case or not, my informers were no way anxious in inquiring, nor am I able to authenticate the fact. The shepherd boy lived to be a man, and always averred that she had spoken distinctly to him. What could be the woman's reason for persevering so long in a disguise as unnecessary as it was severe, could never be guessed, and was perhaps the consequence of a certain aberration of the mind? I can only add, that I have every reason to believe the tale to be perfectly authentic, so far as it is here given, and it may serve to parallel the supposed case of Fenella." p. xi-xiv.


"Fortune, to make him the model of absurdity, has clothed a most lofty soul within a little miserable carcase."—Peveril of the Peak.

Jeffery being one of the important personages in Peveril of the Peak, a brief notice of him here may not be uninteresting. He was born at Oakham, in Rutlandshire, (1619), and about the age of seven or eight, being then but 18 inches high, was retained in the service of the Duke of Buckingham, who resided at Burleigh on the Hill. Soon after the marriage of Charles I, the King and Queen being entertained at Burleigh, little Hudson was served up to table in a cold pie, and presented by the Duchess to the Queen, who kept him as her dwarf. From the age of seven to thirty he grew no taller; but after thirty he shot up to three feet, nine inches, and there fixed. Jeffery became a considerable part of entertainment at court. Sir W. Davenant wrote a poem called 'Jeffreilos,' or a battle between him and a turkey cock; and in 1683 was published a very small book, called the "New Year's Gift," presented at court from the lady Percival, to the Lord Minimus (commonly called little Jeffery,) her Majesty's servant, &c., written by Micropholus, with a little print of Jeffery prefixed. Before this period Jeffery was employed on a negociation of great importance: he was sent to France to fetch a midwife for the queen, and on his return with this gentlewoman and her Majesty's dancing-master, and many rich presents to the Queen, from her mother, Mary de Medicis, he was taken by the Dunkirkers. Jeffery thus made of consequence, grew to think himself really so. He had borne with little temper the teazing of the courtiers and domestics, and had many squabbles with the King's gigantic porter. At last, being provoked by Mr. Crofts, a young gentleman of family, a challenge ensued; and the appointment being on a level, Jeffery with the first fire shot his antagonist dead. This happened in France, whither he had attended his mistress in the troubles.[1] He was again taken prisoner by a Turkish rover, and sold into Barbary. He probably did not remain long in slavery; for at the beginning of the civil war, he was made a captain in the royal army; and in 1644, attended the Queen of France, where he remained till the restoration. At last, upon suspicion of his being privy to the Popish plot, he was taken up in 1682, and confined in the gate-house, Westminster, where he ended his life in the 63rd year of his age.

The following passage in a work not much known, "Mémoires d'un Voyageur qui se repose," bears a striking similarity to the history and description of Sir Geoffrey Hudson, in Peveril of the Peak:—"We stopped two or three days at Prague, to see some friends we had known at Vienna. We dined one day at the house of a lady, whose name has escaped me, where I remarked a custom which is pretty general in the principal houses in Bohemia and Saxony, that of having a dwarf, as one has a favourite dog or cat: some are very well made and well proportioned. The late king Stanislaus had a very small one, which amused him exceedingly, walking to and fro on the table conversing with the guests. The king had him served up once in a large pie, out of which he issued, to the great astonishment of some foreign princes who were dining with the king, and had not yet seen the dwarf. This one has been dead some years, but I saw his face in wax, with his clothes: he was about the height of a child of four years of age. The one I saw at Prague dined with the company, and was a little boaster that babbled and talked the whole time of dinner. He was waited on at table by another dwarf, hideously ugly, who amused me greatly by the 'sidelong looks of hate' he cast on his brother dwarf while he served him; and indeed the little man at table had no greater advantage over the one that waited on him than being better made." The date of this tour is 1770.

This scene is laid in Dunkirk, and the midwife rescues him from the fury of his antagonist.




Scotland abounds with daft men, or idiots—every village, muir, or glen, can boast of some similar production, some Daft Davie, Daft Jock, or Jemmie, Daft Sal, Kate, or Meg, &c. These imbeciles are too frequently more objects of derision than of pity, though few of them, we believe, have been so fortunate as John Gray, alias "Daft Jock Gray," to meet with so able a delineator of their foibles as the fertile author of Waverley.

John, nick-named, or misca'd 'Daft Jock Gray,' supposed to be the original of the fool of Tully Veolan[2], is a half-witted wandering crazy sort of a creature, whose head quarters and native country appear to have been a small farm town in the south of Scotland, called Gilmanscleugh—a place which Mr. Hog, the "Ettrick Shepherd," describes in a ballad of that name, as being "beneath the Heugh," and of which no further account has been traced. The proofs on which the belief is founded as his having sat to the author of Waverley for the portrait of "Mr. Gellatley," are the following: 'Jock Gray is familiarly known through an extent of fifty miles in the shires of Peebles, Selkirk, and Roxburgh; and there are collateral evidences from the inhabitants of these parts of his being supposed to be the original. Jock has been frequently seen in a town residing with his parents, by persons living at the present day, long before the publication of Waverley. His character and habits were well known, and were at once recognised on the appearance of the novel alluded to, as almost the precise counterpart of Davies.' Of this the reader may be enabled to judge for himself by the following humourous narrative, which, in itself is sufficiently interesting, even though it had not formed the prototype of the whims of Davie Gellatley.

Though 'Daft Jock' has not the good fortune of his prototype in being bedizzened off in a superb livery, "a grey jerkin with scarlet cuffs and slashing sleeves, shewing a scarlet lining," nor any other of the tawdry appendages with which he appears on the stage, insomuch as a decent old suit of "Hodden Grey, and a' that" would give quite a secondary effect to the grotesque raggedness of his appearance; yet he may boast of having at least the same face, mien, and gestures.—It was apparently neither idiotcy nor insanity which gave that wild, unsettled, irregular expression to a face which was naturally rather handsome, but something resembling a compound of both, where the simplicity of the fool was mixed up with the extravagance of a crazed imagination. Add to this felicitous outline the more prosaic appurtenance of a pair of "buck teeth," and you have Daft Jock Gray standing before you.

The Baron of Bradwardine[3], Davy's patron, describes him to be a "puir simpleton, neither fatuous nec naturaliter idiota, as is expressed in the brieves of curiosity, but simply a crack-brained knave who would execute any commission that jumped with his own humour, and made his folly a plea for avoiding every other." Now this tallies still better with Jock's character; for it is certain that this latter personage was never much addicted to that greatest of all follies, peculiar only to mechanical dispositions—a propensity to working; though he would sit brushing off flies, or stuffing himself with cold potatoes, or chanting Meggie Lauder and Aikerdrum alternately, for a whole day without ceasing. He was moreover very willing "to run an errand to a neebor town," as Burns has it, and would not begrudge the wear and tear of his trampers on seven or eight miles of road, were the prospect of a farthing for his toil held out to him. Even in money matters, Jock was in the habit of being trusted by his friends; and that to no less a distance than Innerliethin, where a certain important personage called Nelly Bathgate kept the head grocery shop of the parish. Here his honesty was often put to the most rigid test—for on some occasions he held in trust no less a sum than twopence half-penny; and there was another most seductive small shop in the village of Howford, through which he had to "box his trotters." Aware, however, of the danger of the pass, he usually commenced a sort of jack-ass gallop, as if for the purpose of wrestling with Satan, and thus got past the temptation which, without looking aside, by a pace any thing short of a canter, he might have been led into; for had he once ventured to peep at that neat white washed-window consisting of four panes, where a half-penny bake, a Lilliputian walking cane of Gibraltar rock, a small blue bottle of sweeties, a few penny baps, some peppermint drops and other small ware, displayed their modest yet irresistible allurements—it had been all up with Davie.

From many corresponding instances of sagacity which, in common with his supposed prototype, he had manifested in the course of his life, it was once alleged by some insidious and radical-hearted people, who envied and condemned Jock's sinecure of madness, that he could work if he thought proper, and that his idiotcy was only assumed to avoid it, as the monkeys of Africa are supposed to do by the negroes.[4] This unfeeling and infamous defamation of character was fortunately crushed in the whisper by the gudewife of Blackhouse, a sage old dame whose authority in matters of opinion was reckoned as absolute and immutable as the laws of the Medes and Persians, from the very weighty circumstances of her wearing two tremendous corderoy pockets, between which she waddled like an overladed donkey; added to which she wore a squinny that enveloped her face with an air of almost supernatural sagacity. This rustic Minerva, reader! was heard to say, that "ony bodie wi haf an ée i' thir head, might easly see that Daft Jock Gray, puir thing! had a want." And in virtue of this testimonial, Jock's character remains safe and sound to this hour. In fine, like Davie Gellatley, Jock is bona fide the half cracked simpleton he appears, and incapable of uniform and steady exertion. "He has just as much solidity as keeps on the weather side of insanity; so much wild wit as saves him from the imputation of idleness; warm affections, a prodigious memory, and an ear for music." This latter qualification is a point of resemblance which sets all question of his identity with the madman of Waverley past the possibility of a doubt. In Waverley, Davie is presented as continually singing fugitive scraps of ancient songs and ballads; and his general conversation was frequently carried on by means of these, to the great annoyance of his young master's English visitor, and such as, like him, did not understand the strange metaphorical meanings of his replies and allusions. Jock's principal talent and means of subsistence are identified in his singular and minstrel-like powers of song, there being few Scottish melodies of which he cannot give a stave. He is invariably a welcome guest wherever he goes among the farmers round the country side, from his talent at chanting tender ditties of the Border, or the more smart and vulgar songs of modern cast. It is rather singular too, by the bye, that his style of singing, like that of all the great masters of the art, is peculiarly his own. Sometimes his voice soars to the ecstacy of the highest, and sometimes descends to the melancholious grunt of the lowest pitch; while ever and anon he throws certain wild and beautiful variations with both the words and the music, ad libitum, which altogether stamp his performances with the character of the most utter originality. Like the Scot's precentors, Davie's nasal twang is peculiarly forcible, especially in his comic touches; and owing to the goose-like hissing he makes through his buck-teeth, in striking up his dulcet sounds, they are supposed to serve him instead of what is termed by musicians, a pitch-fork!

In addition to Jock's vocal talent, he is also a wit and a poet! He is the author of several ditties which are in no want of admirers in the country; though the most of them, scarcely, as may be supposed, deserve the praise of even mediocrity. His poetical talents, indeed, are not of a very high cast, and are of no higher order than what the author of an excellent article in the Edinburgh Annual Register, happily terms "wonderfully well considering;" and seem to be only admired by his rustic friends on the benevolent principle "what can ye expect of ane that's avowedly daft?" He has not had the good fortune of the more pathetic Davie Gellatley, in "gathering many fragments of song and music from an affectionate brother, who was supposed to have uncommon talents, and whom he followed like a shadow, till he fell into a decline and died." Perhaps our poor friend Jock must for ever want the high poetical qualities of the being whom we now take him to be the prototype, and as the author of a previous sketch says, remain in our unpretending pages as only the coarse original of a beautiful idea.

Jock possesses another remarkable gift, namely, that of memory, which the author of Waverley has discarded in the conception of his character in the revised edition of the novel. His powers, indeed, of mimicry are far from being contemptible, and such as render him a high favourite with the waggish part of his admirers. When his parents settled in Peebles, about twenty years ago, to which period our information chiefly refers, he had made a point of attending the preachings of the neighbouring ministers, and bringing away whole tenthlies of their several sermons, some of them of no small dimensions, which he would drawl and thump out in the usual canting puritanical style to his laughing cronies the next day, interlarded with the various twangs, soughs, sighs, hems, wheezes, and other of the peculiarities appertaining to the subject of his mimicry. Jock had the felicity of not being led by the nose by any particular sect himself, he therefore felt the less reluctance for any single class of divines—they were all indiscriminately familiar to the mimic powers of Daft Jock Gray,—at which the very ministers themselves would grin, with unqualmed delight. It is also remarkable that in Jock's successful "takings off" of the ministers, he does not forget to add what the country folk consider as a piece of exquisite satire on the habits of such as read their sermons, forgetting the good old practice of blundering on through thick and thin, as memory may prompt or pseudo inspiration dictate. When Jock is "at home" that is, when he imitates any of these caricature divines, a book or a piece of paper is always lying before him, from which he affects to read the discourse; a species of mimicry at which his audience never fails to be delighted.

Jock was a privileged character at all kinds of kirks, and many ministers, who dreaded the least of his mimic powers, would have been glad to eject him[5]. He never seemed to pay much, if any attention to the discourse, nor even deigned to sit down like other decent people, but wandered about from gallery to gallery like an evil spirit. This erratic habit of Jock's was not altogether without its use. When he observed any person taking a nap during the sermon, he reached over to the place, and tapped him gently on the head with his kent, till they awoke; and when, in any of his future rounds, he found the drowsy person repeating the offence, he gave him such a merciless rap over the sconce, as might serve as an antidote against sleep through an infinity of sermons, whether evangelical, moral, thumping, or sedate. When in a sitting mood, he sometimes took a modest seat on the pulpit-steps, where it is customary for a number of deaf old men and women to roost, who would not be able to hear in any other part of the church. These old dames whom the reader will perhaps remember as the unfortunate persons that Dominie Sampson sprawled over, in his premature descent from the pulpit, when he sticket his first preaching, our waggish friend Jock would endeavour to torment by every means his knavish nature could invent. He would tread upon their corns, lean amorously upon their laps, set them on a false scent after the psalm, and sometimes getting behind them, plant his longest face above their cathedral-looking black bonnets and reverend grandmother faces, like an owl looking over an ivy wall, or the devil over Lincoln; while few of the congregation could contain their gravity at the extreme humour of the scene. The fun has not unfrequently been a little enhanced by the old lady, on whom Jock was practising, turning round in holy dudgeon, and dealing the unlucky wag a vengeful thwack across the face with her heavy quarto bible.

We shall conclude this sketch of daft Jock Gray, as the original of Davie Gellately, with the following anecdotal traits, the first of which, however, we fear is not strictly cannonical. Having once received an affront from his mother, who refused to give him an extra allowance of bannocks at a time when he meditated a long journey to a new year's day junketting, he went up to the steepest of one of the Eildon hills, at that time deeply covered with snow, and played a pliskie worthy of Asmodeus himself, who has the reputation among the country people of having created this part of the world! he rolled a huge snow-ball till it became too large in its accumulation for his strength, and then taking it to the edge of the declivity, sent it rolling down the hill like an Alpine avalanche, gathering in its course to such an enormous magnitude, that when it descended to the plain it seemed a younger brother of the three Eildons. This mass was found, when it had fully melted away through the ensuing summer, to have "licked up with its mountain tongue," thirty-five withered whin bushes, nineteen hares, three ruined cottages, besides a whole encampment of peat-stacks!!!!

The following trait is from Stewart's Sketches of the Highlands, and is given as a counterpart to the fidelity of Davie Gellately, as exerted on behalf of his unfortunate patron:—"In the years 1746 and 1747, some of the gentlemen "who had been out" in the rebellion, were occasionally concealed in a deep woody den near my grandfather's house. A poor half witted creature, brought up about the house, was, along with many others, entrusted with the secret of their concealment, and employed in supplying them with necessaries. It was supposed that when the troops came round on their usual searches, they would not imagine that he could be entrusted with so important a secret, and, consequently, no questions would be asked. One day two ladies, friends of the gentlemen, wished to visit them in their cave, and asked Jamie Forbes to shew them the way. Seeing that they came from the house, and judging from their manner that they were friends, he did not object to their request, and walked away before them. When they had proceeded a short way, one of the ladies offered him five shillings. The instant he saw the money, he put his hands behind his back, and seemed to lose all recollection. "He did not know what they wanted; he never saw the gentlemen and knew nothing of them," and turning away walked in quite a contrary direction. When questioned afterwards why he ran from the ladies, he answered, that when they had offered him such a sum (five shillings was of some value eighty years ago, and would have bought two sheep in the Highlands) he suspected they had no good intention, and that fine clothes and fair words were meant to entrap the gentlemen."

See Waverley.

In a little work published some years ago, we find the following notice in the appendix. "Craig Crook, an ancient mansion, situate about two miles west from Edinburgh, near the foot of the Costorphine bills, at present the residence of Francis Jeffrey, Esq., has been drawn as Tully Veolan, by Mr. Nasmith, in his beautiful work, the "sixteen engravings from real scenes" supposed to be described by the author of Waverley, but from our own observation upon this place, we find no reason for altering the good Edinburgh Magazine's supposition respecting Traquair house. Craig Crook bears a very slight resemblance to Tully Veolan. It has indeed some traces of that pepper box style of architecture, so remarkable in the mansion of Bradwardine; but in no other respect does it strike the beholder as a probable counterpart to the fictitious scene. Those who form their judgment upon this point, from the drawing above mentioned, may question the propriety of these assertions. The gateway of Craig Muir is there represented as surmounted by certain figures of rampant bears, another of these animals (so prevalent at Tully Veolan,) appears in the front of the scene, upon a low pedestal, in a position either couchant or paw suckant—(it is impossible to determine which,) but if the peruser of these redoubtable engravings will make a quiet afternoon's pilgrimage to this the seat of the great prince of criticism, which will not be otherwise unworthy of his pains, he will see the rampant bears upon the gateway diminished to a couple of very inoffensive conical stones, like a pair of sugar loaves, terminating the piers, and the other, who is "supposed to have reclined on the pedestal," will be found to have no existence at all, except in the imagination of the artist." So much for illustrations of the author of Waverley. See the bush aboon Traquair. Passim.

No original has hitherto been discovered for this admirable portrait in Waverley. The person who held the situation in the rebel army which has been assigned in the novel to this gentleman, was the right honourable Alexander Lord Pitsligo, of Aberdeenshire. This nobleman who possessed but a moderate fortune, was yet so much beloved and esteemed by his neighbours for his excellent qualities of temper and understanding, that when he declared his purpose of joining Prince Charles, most of the gentlemen of that part of the country put themselves under his command, thinking that they could not follow a better or safer example than the conduct of Lord Pitsligo. He then commanded a body of one hundred and fifty well mounted gentlemen in the rebellion; at the fatal close of which, he escaped to France, and became attainted in the following month, like many others of those whom the reputation of his sagacity had seduced into the like imprudence. A posthumous work, of a very pious nature, entitled "Thoughts and Meditations on Death and Eternity," was published in Edinburgh, in 1761, which proves its author to have been both a sensible man and a good Christian. It is not unworthy of remark, that the supporters of this nobleman's arms, were two bears proper; that circumstance connected with the great favour that animal was held in by the Baron of Bradwardine, being as it were, the patron brute of the house, would lead one to imagine that there may have been, perhaps, a still stronger collusion between these personages, and that the reality of the one may have been the imagination of the other.

Negroes, it is said, believe that monkeys can speak: and that their only reason for being so pertinaciously unintelligible and mute, is that were they once to communicate their ideas in words, they would be made to work, like other dependent bipeds.

The antics and grimace, bawling, and whining of the Scottish pulpit, have long been ridiculously remarkable, and doubly so when transplanted to another soil. The fulsome attempts at pulpit eloquence made by some of the juvenile aspirants to theological fame, and the frequent abortions made to anglicise their ideas are often too much for the gravity of some of their hearers. All this, nevertheless, among the 'sonsie' easy to-be-pleased ignorant country folk, passes for "a very free delivery—an unco gude discourse—at weel:" and as habit renders every thing familiar, even preaching itself, these pulpit vagaries ripen with their years, and are confirmed with their practice; and what would in another be termed eccentricity, is, in a Scotch preacher, an early cultivated knack of abusing the sacredness of his functions for the sake of acquiring a morbid popularity, and a local ascendancy over the weak minds of his hearers. Daft Jock Gray's imitations of such boisterous, roaring, caper-cutting, gesticulating, carnying, gospel-drivers, argue, above all, the least in favour of his imbecility—on the contrary, they show him to have been an accurate observer of nature, and would justify the opinion that had such a mind been duly cultivated, if not a perfect gem, at least an original, instead of a mimic pulpit-thumper, might have been produced.


The original of this limb of the Scottish law is supposed to have been identified in the celebrated Mr. Crosbie who flourished for many years at the head of the bar, and was well known for his integrity (a rare virtue in some of our lawyers) and abilities as a counsel about the period alluded to in the novel.

Mr. Crosbie, for the greater part of his life, lived in a house at the foot of Allan's close, lately in the possession of a Mr. Richard Cleghorn, a solicitor. From this place he was accustomed to walk every morning to the parliament house, dressed in his gown and wig; there being at that time no functionaries about the court, to dress in due these habilments, as are employed at the present more punctilious times. It was likewise the simple costume, we are told, of the period to which we refer, however revolting it might be to the fine and learned feelings of our modern barristers to think of such a practice now, to fee counsel in John's Coffee-room over a gill of brandy and a bunch of raisins, then technically called "a cock and a feather." It was at this ancient tavern where Mr. Crosbie was frequently found; though his favourite resort was the "Clerihughs,"[2] a place well described in the novel.

The following practical and humorous joke, it is said, was played off upon Mr. Crosbie by the celebrated Lord Gardenstone, who in the course of a walk from Morningside, where he lived, met a rustic going to Edinburgh, in order to be present at the pleading of a cause in which he was deeply interested as a principal, and in which Mr. Crosbie had been retained as counsel. His Lordship directed the man to get a dozen or two of farthings at a snuff shop in the grass market, to wrap them up separately in white paper as if they were so many guineas, and to present them, as the occasion served, in the capacity of fees. The counsel who did not happen to be very warmly animated with his client's case, frequently suffered his eloquence to droop to the imminent danger of being non-suited. His wary client, however, who had posted himself close to his back, ever and anon as he found the cadence of his voice hastening to a full stop for the purpose of winding up the argument, slipped another farthing into his hand. These repeated applications of the wrapped up farthings so powerfully stimulated Mr. Crosbie's exertions, that he strained every nerve in grateful zeal for the interests of his treacherous client; and precisely as the fourteenth farthing was passing into his counsel's hand, the cause turned in his favour. The dénouement of the conspiracy, which took place shortly afterwards in John's Coffee-house over a bottle of wine with Lord Gardenstone at the expense of Mr. Crosbie, from the profits of his pleading, may be better imagined than described. One of the last acts of Mr. Crosbie's life, was the building of an elegant house, in St. Andrew's Square, at present occupied by the Royal Bank of Scotland, where he died about the year 1784, in, it is said, rather limited circumstances. His portrait may be seen in the Advocate's library.

Guy Mannering.

A well frequented and respectable house in the Anchor Close, kept by a person familiarly called Daunie Christie, where a splendid Bacchanalian ceremony used to be got up on Saturday nights, by the lawyers which consisted of the most distinguished characters both of the bar and the bench, resorted thither, to regale themselves with tripe and minced collops, which 'mine host' served up at the moderate charge of sixpence a head.


The original Driver, Pleydell's clerk, in the same novel, was a person of the name of Robert H——, whose surname is thus suppressed out of respect to his surviving relatives. His character and propensities were found to agree singularly well with those of Mr. Pleydell's crapulous dependent, Driver. He was himself a subordinate practitioner before the courts of the inferior order; and is still remembered by many who were acquainted with the public characters of Edinburgh about the end of the last century. Our eccentric genius was frequently to be seen in the fore part of the day, scudding along the closes of the High Street, or parading the Parliament Square; sometimes making a caption on the button-hole of some of his legal pals, and towing them about in the capacity of listeners, with an air and manner of as much importance as if he had been up to the very pen in his ear in business.

Our prototype is represented to have been "a pimpled, ill-shaven, clever-looking fellow," usually habited in hodden gray under garments,—an old hat nearly brushed to death, and his upper toggery, namely, a black coat, entering into the third year of its second lustre, closely buttoned up to his chin; though it was in his latter and more unfortunate years, that he thus became so remarkable for the slovenliness of his attire. A gentleman of the law who furnished some particulars concerning him, remembers when he was about the greatest dandy in all Edinburgh—powdered out and dressed in the first style of fashion, wearing two gold watches, and his coat-collar ornamented with a beautiful loop of the same material. After he had lost the patronage of Mr. Crosbie he had fallen out with all regular means of livelihood; and having, unfortunately, like his pot companion, the ill-fated Robert Ferguson, with whom he was intimately acquainted, acquired an uncontrollable propensity for social enjoyments, he became quite unsettled; sometimes did not change his clothes for weeks; spent both day and night in certain taverns, and, in fine, completely realized what Pleydell said of Driver, that "sheer ale supported him under every thing; was meat, drink, and clothes; bed, board, and washing to him." In his younger days, he had been very irregular in his irregularities, and was always to be found, like an appurtenance to the spot, at John Baxter's in Craig's Close, High Street, where he was the Falstaff of a convivial assemblage of "drouthie chiefs" ycleped the "Eastcheap club." His dignity of conduct, however, becoming gradually dissipated and relaxed, his means of suction being comparatively stunted, and there being also, perhaps, many a landlady who might have exclaimed with dame Quickly, "I warrant you he's an infinite thing upon my score;" he had unfortunately fallen into very unsteady and migrative habits, and totally unsteady in his tap-room visitations. One night he would moisten his clay at the sign of the "saut wife," in the Abbey-hill; and the next morning be found taking a hair out of the old dog, by way of a corrector, at a beer-shop in Rose-street; and after having made a midnight tumble into the "finish" in the Covenant-close, the following afternoon he would have found his way—the lord and policeman only knew how, to a pie-office on the castle-hill. In fine, there did not exist a tavern in the capital of which he could not have worked you the characters of both the waiters and beef-steaks of each at a moment's notice. He had never been farther than five miles out of Edinburgh in his life. All he knew beyond his profession was "auld Reekie;" but then he knew all that. He was the walking chronology of the mobs, manners, and jokes of the town—a human vial, containing the essence of the most remarkable events, "corked with wit and labelled with pimples." He was infinitely rich in all sorts of humour and fine sayings. His conversation was dangerously amusing; and had he not unhappily fallen into irregular habits, he possessed abilities that might have entitled him to the most enviable situations about the court. He had a perfect knowledge of the law of Scotland, combined with much professional tact; but from the nature of his peculiar habits, his wit was the only faculty he ever brought to bear to its full extent. It was absolutely true that he could write his papers as well drunk as sober, sleep as awake; and the anecdote which the facetious Pleydell related to Colonel Mannering, in confirmation of this miraculous faculty, is strictly consistent in truth with an incident of real occurrence. His constitution, was in the end so dreadfully delapidated and undermined by his irregular and tippling habits that he fell a victim to indigestion, caused, as affirmed by the late Dr. Gregory, from excessive drinking. To be brief, he was one of those happy, dissipated, thoughtless and improvident mortals whose notion of existence does not extend beyond to-day or to-morrow at farthest—whose continued life consists only of a series of random exertions and chance efforts at subsistence—a sort of constant civil war between the belly and the brains. After the death of his patron Mr. Crosbie, his own independent practice lay chiefly among the very dregs of desperation and poverty. It was therefore of such a nature as barely to afford him the humblest means of existence. Being naturally damned, as he used to express it, with the utmost goodness of heart, he never demurred at taking any poverty-struck case by the hand, that could hold out the most distant prospect of success. He held, moreover, such an intense constitutional instinctive hatred to all that bore the name of creditor, that he would have preferred at any time to have laboured in his vocation for nothing, than see an unfortunate client oppressed or kept in jail by his persecutors. This class of people he was amazingly pleased to provoke with a letter of cessio, written out in his fairest and most sober hand, sealed with his neatest nail, and "clearing off all scores at the moderate rate of cypher per cent."[1].

The Sabbath day was one of permanent importance to H——, far too good indeed to be lost in idle dram-drinking at home. A small stock previously deposited, to the amount of half a crown, in the hands of his landlady, on the Saturday night, laid the groundwork for a Sunday's jollification with some of his associates, who, for the most part, were of the same feather as himself. Mr. Robert H—— was, however, for the most part rather religiously disposed than otherwise on Sunday mornings. As he made it an invariable custom to get mellow on a Saturday night, his modus operandi was so regulated that he should get half sober by seven the following morning, and by kirk time to find his way to the conventicle, to add to the number of the congregation, in honour of his friend the morning lecturer. As he had no seat of his own in any church, it was his custom, when he intended to pass the Sabbath piously, to march to St. Giles's, a church where, except on days of general assembly, there is always (in the galleries) room enough for a regiment of soldiers; and should he have perceived that the lords of session had not chosen to hold any sederunt on that day, he would pop into their pew. Here, in virtue of his character as a lawyer, he would look wonderfully big, lolling at his ease, with one thread-bare upper extremity hanging carelessly over the vellum cushion of the front, while in the corresponding hand he held his mother's old black pocket bible—a family relic he had contrived to preserve with proper veneration for an almost incredible number of years, through a variety of hair-breadth escapes from unpaid lodgings; and many "drouthie" temptations.

There is a tradition current that about sixty years ago, he was on the most intimate carousing footing with the functionary of a certain much neglected religious institution; with whom, after divine service, he used frequently to adjourn to a certain Lucky Gudeyill's for the purpose of regaling the audience, that is, the door-keepers, with some spiritual consolation, or rather discussion, of the sermon. And perhaps, after all, a little good ale is no bad stimulus to true devotion; orators and players, singers and musicians, find their energies not a little exalted by some favourite potation; and why should it be deemed contraband for ministers to use a generous incentive for pious purposes? Many a good sermon has been predicated under the influence of all-inspiring Bacchus; many a flowery speech, in which the fate of nations has been involved, has been mellowed into eloquence and rapture under the potent sway of the juice of the grape; the soul of tragedy has been embodied, and airy nothing has found a habitation and a name in a bowl of punch; nay, the modern Orpheus, Paganini himself, before he

Strikes out, with his fiddle stick,

Sounds that would ravish old Nick.

takes his goutte d'eau de vie before he draws the bow, as well as afterwards, when "toil remitting lends its turn" to drink. Let, therefore, the ashes of the warm-hearted and truly eccentric Roby H——, rest in peace in the hope of a glorious resurgam. To stir up any further his little aberrations, all of which, inclined to virtue's side, would be wanton indeed; and if they have been made subservient to the poet or the novelist to teach mankind the fragility of human affairs, and to pourtray to us the vanities and vicissitudes so inseparably appended to our sublunar existence, let us not rake up the cinders of the dead to recal a painful recollection, or bring a tear into the eye of an innocent and unoffending survivor, by exaggerations, which, however amusing, may have no other existence, probably, than in the warm imagination of the visionary biographer. With this brief notice of the original Driver, we cannot more appropriately conclude than in the following well known stanza:—

"No further seek his merits to disclose,

Nor draw his frailties from their drear abode,

Where they alike in trembling hope repose,

The bosom of his father and his God!"

An honest lawyer in the same walk of life, as the above prototype, is a rara avis in Scotia. A more degenerate and rapacious set of unprincipled and untalented fellows do not exist than some of the low raggamuffin 'writers,' as they are termed, who practice in the inferior courts of Scotland; and the notoriety of this pityless and destructive pettifogging practice cannot be better exemplified than in a recent case, before the Sheriff-Depute's Court, Dumfries, in which a 'puir,' sneeking, crawling, cunning, animalized body, of the name of George B—ll, of Ecclefechan, was (evil) doer for the 'pursuer;' and the 'notour' Kirsty Sm—th, of 'whisky' drinking celebrity, was the same (shuffler) for the defenders. The business lay, in fine, in a nut-shell; it related to the retention of some family property of minor consideration, which, nevertheless, the pursuer considered as illegally and unjustly witheld from him. To be brief, these two cormorants made a ten years' job of the business under the very nose of the present enlightened and intelligent Sheriff-Depute of the County of Dumfries. As this case will shortly appear before the public, no further reference need be made to it, than merely to ask in what condition the law of that country must be, where a simple case of Dr. and Cr. can be so ruinously protracted by the infernal intrigues of two ravenous and designing harpies; till their costs amount to upwards of a hundred pounds each; and where the bone of contention, in the plurality of cases, as in this, might not amount in value to as many pence. If there be one berth warmer than another in a certain place, it must unquestionably be retained for such vultures as these; one of whom, we have just been informed, is (probably) gone there, to get, no doubt, his BILL TAXED by his original employer. The other, according to the course of nature, if not off yet, cannot tarry behind much longer. If we may judge from ourselves, what a gratification would it not be, as a kind of set off to the mala praxis of such reptiles, who thus insatiably prey on the vitals of those who venture to approach them in their tag-rag and bob-tail capacity, to see "Auld Hornie," incessantly preparing them with, (if with nothing worse,) the bastinado, for a little more felicity, a hundred years hence. As a milder and more christian-like alternative, however, let us hope that, in the general reform now contemplated by every well-wisher of his country,—the law departments of the United Kingdom,—(the law of the Sheriff-Depute's Court of Dumfries, in particular) and every other place, where such farces are acted, of carrying on the pleadings by replication and rejoinder for an interminable period, to the ruin of both pursuer and defender, and the enriching a set of primitive beggars with the substance of both, will meet at length with the consideration which the still existing abuses have for such a length of time so imperiously craved:—protection of property, individual rights, justice, and humanity, every thing dear to man in civil society, call aloud for such a reform in these courts, as will secure his majesty's lieges from the gripe of the ruthless vermin by which they are infested.—Then only can law have its use and proper influence—the oppressed then may stand a chance of having their real grievances redressed in proper time without the risk of being ruined—and then only will the wanton and most unprincipled pettifoggers, the Olivers, the Bells, and the Smiths, and all "sic like" trash, here, there, and every where, be legally muzzled; and consequently prevented from wiling the unwary into their reckless lures under false and base representations, fictitious advice, and ultimate robbery, &c.—Extract from a MS. entitled, "A Scotch Lawsuit," &c.


Of Mr. H——'s shadow we extract the following particulars, from a little anonymous work already alluded to: "however unsubstantial he (the shadow, or fellow star in the same orbit) may seem from his name, he was a real person, and more properly entitled Patrick Nimmo. He had long been a dependent's of H's, whence he derived that strange designation. We have now little or more than the shadow of a recollection of him or his character. With regard to the latter, it strikes us that he bore somewhat of the same relation to his principal, which Silence bears to Shallow, in Henry IV; and was altogether so inarticulate, so empty, so thin, so inane a being, that he could scarcely be reckoned more than a mere clipping of humanity—a whisper of nature's voice. Besides serving our friend H. in the ostensible capacity of clerk and amanuensis, he used to dangle at his elbow on all occasions, swear religiously to all his charges, and laugh most punctually at all his jokes. He was so clever in the use of his pen, in transcription, that his hand could travel over a sheet of foolscap at the rate of ten knots an hour, whether he were drunk or sober, asleep or awake! It used to be one of his pet jokes, in vaunting of the latter miraculous faculty, to declare that he intended to write his will after he should be dead; and his patron never failed to remark, that in such a case, he believed, the touch of a pen should have the effect of twenty galvanic batteries upon him. Nobody knew where this evanescent being roosted at night: he always seemed to disappear from the face of the earth as naturally as the shadow of men's bodies on the abstraction of light. He was altogether a quiet casual sort of creature, appeared by chance, spoke by chance, and seemed even to exist only by chance, as a mere occasional exhalation of chaos; and at last evaporated from the world, to sleep with the shadows of death. To have looked at him, one might have thought it by no means impossible for him to dissolve himself, Asmodeus-like, into a phial. His figure was in fact a libel on the human form divine. It was perfectly unimaginable, what he would have been like, in puris naturalibus, had the wind suddenly blown him out of his clothes some day, an accident of which he seemed in constant danger. It is said of him that he was once mistaken, when found dead drunk on the morning after the king's birth day, for the dead body of "Johnnie Wilks" which had been so loyally kicked about by the mob on the preceding evening."

These sketches of two of the lower retainers of the law (the original Driver and his airy deputy) from the quaint flippancy of the style in which they are written, may be suspected of at least caricature, if not of utter falsehood to the realities of common existence. Yet certain it is, that out of the ten thousand persons said to be employed in the solicitation, distribution, and execution of justice in this most legal of cities, many even now exist, in whom the lineaments of poor H——, and his shadow, might be recognised. Such beings as these dangle at the elbows of the law, and can no more be said to belong to the proper body, than so many rats in a castle can be said to belong to the garrison.

After the incontestible reputation of the greatest wit and the greatest cleverness, had been awarded to H.; after he had spent so much money and constitution in endeavouring to make his companions happy, that some of them more grateful than the rest, actually acknowledged him to be 'a damned gude natured sort of a fellow;' and after he had, like certain Scottish poets, almost drunk himself into the character of Genius, it happened, as we have related, he died. "Such a person as he," continues our somewhat puritanical if not sacrilegious biographer, "is no more missed in the world than a boroughmonger or a bishop;" but it never was very distinctly known by his friends, how or where he died; it was alone recorded of him, as of the antediluvian patriarchs, that he died. On the announcement of this melancholy event to a party of his old cronies, all of whom appeared to be very feelingly surprised, one of them, while the news was yet warm, summed up his eulogy in the following lack-a-daisical manner:—'Lord! is Rob dead at last?—Weel that's strange indeed!—I drank sax half mutchkins wi' him down at the Hen's, only three nights sin'!' (then raising his voice) 'bring us in a biscuit with the next gill mistress—Rob was aye fond o'bakes!—' and they swallowed a biscuit and drank an additional gill to his memory!!! sic transit gloria of what is vulgarly called d—n-d good fellow!

Perhaps more has been said here concerning the original Driver, than the comparative insignificance of the character, as it stands in the novel, can well bear out. But when it is considered, that we are illustrating one of the finest pieces of the author's writings, detailing the traits of a man whose life would independently be very interesting, and, perhaps, if we might be allowed so far to flatter ourselves, filling up the shadowing outline of a portrait which the original artist has left unfinished and neglected, we do not altogether regret a space among these anecdotes so interestingly occupied. Edinburgh once abounded and perhaps still abounds in characters like Pleydell, H——, and Pat Nimmo. The retainers of the law in our own day, differ considerably from their predecessors who roared away existence so gloriously in Clerihughs' and Lucky Woods'. But still, it is more in manner than in feature that they are changed. "The men have been metamorphosed according to the age." The steady, staunch bacchanalism of those times, which would prompt men to sit night and day, holding convivial orgies in the profundities of the High street, and losing all bare recollections of business and daylight in the glorious jollities of high Jenks, have suffered a dreadful defalcation in the progress which civilization and refinement have made in the present attenuated age. The day of the Lucky Woods' and the Lucky Finlaysons' are gone, and the Cowgate can no more produce such writers. The present 'public house,' in that street, is a mean boxed, sanded, uncomfortable place, compared with the couthie, bacchanalian den, from whence issued Driver 'his mouth still greasy with mutton pies, and the last draught yet unsubsided on the upper lip'. There now exist few of those eddy corners, retired from the main stream of dissipation, round whose small circles, a calm, sober, seasoned, sterling drinker like Driver, could ride at convenient anchor, enjoying the otium cum dignitate, secure from the rougher blasts of the hurricane. There still, in fact, remains one or two taverns of ancient and established reputation, deeply hidden in the impervious and the impenetrable wynds of the old town, and only known and frequented by such of those veteran, true-blue, last century characters, which still survive, unburied, in this degenerated capital, to dignify its streets with the ivory headed cane, the buckled 'breeks,' and the stately strut of A.D. 1780.

To some of our readers, it may still be palateable to learn 'that genuine tippenny,' the liquor on which our simple ancestors used to fuddle for a groat, is still secretly sold to a few choice veteran spirits of the above cut, who hold their nocturnal orgies in the back slums of Halkerston's wynd. But alas! how perishable are all human institutions! these antiquated temples of fun and frolic that have so long eluded the devastating scythe of time, like ruins in the desert, to tell the tale of ages long gone by, are fast dying out; or what is nearly the same, assuming new forms, in compliance with modern innovation. What inhabitant of 'auld Reekie' has not heard of the venerable house in Libberton's wynd so long kept by that kindliest of Landlords, good old Jonnie Dowie; where Fergusson, H——, Crosbie, Burns and Lord Gardenstone, spent so many nights of social delight. O tempora! its present anti-gothic possessors have lighted it with gas and gilt its signboard! The room termed the coffin, in which Burns wrote "Willie brewed a peck o'maut," and scribbled verses on the walls, they have covered over with green cloth and given it a new table!


There are few of our originals, in whom preciser points of coincident resemblance can be exhibited between the real and fictitious character, than in him whom is here assigned as the prototype of Dominie Sampson[2]. The person of real existence, also, possesses the singular recommendation of presenting more dignified and admirable characteristics, in their plain unwarranted detail, than the ridiculous caricature produced in Guy Mannering; though it be drawn by an author whose elegant imaginations have here exalted, but never debased the materials to which he has condescended to be indebted.

Mr. James Sanson was the son of James Sanson, tacksman of Birkhillside mill, situated in the parish of Legerwood, in Berwickshire. After getting the rudiments and his education at a country school, he went to the university of Edinburgh, and at a subsequent period, completed his probationary studies at that of Glasgow. At these colleges he made great proficiency in the Latin, Greek and Hebrew languages, and became deeply immersed in the depths of philosophy and theology, of which, as with Dominie Sampson, the more abstruse and neglected branches were his favourite subjects of application. He was a close, incessant student; and in the families where he afterwards resided as tutor, all his leisure moments were devoted to the pursuits of literature. Even his hours of relaxation and walking were not exempted, in the exceeding earnestness of his solicitude; then he was seldom seen without a book, upon which he would be so intent, that a friend might have passed and even spoken to him, without Sanson's being conscious of the circumstance.

After going through his probationary trials before the presbytery, he became an acceptable and even admired preacher; being frequently employed in assisting the clergyman of the neighbourhood.

From the narrow circumstances of his father, he was obliged early in life to become a tutor. Into whose family he first entered, is unknown. However, in this humble situation, owing probably to the parsimonious economy to which he had been accustomed from his infancy in his father's house, he, in a short time saved the sum of twenty-five pounds—a little fortune in those days to a youth of Mr. Sanson's habits.

With this money he determined upon a pedestrian excursion into England, for which he was excellently qualified, from his uncommon strength and undaunted resolution. After journeying over a great part of the sister kingdom, he came to Harwich, where a sight of the passage-boats to Holland, and the cheapness of the fare, induced him to take a trip to the continent. How he was supported during his peregrinations, was never certainly discovered; but he actually travelled over the greatest part of the Netherlands, besides a considerable portion of Germany, and spent only about the third part of his twenty-five pounds. He always kept a profound silence upon the subject himself; but it is conjectured with great probability, that in the Low Countries he had recourse to convents, where the monks were ever ready to do acts of kindness to men of such learning as Sanson would appear to them to be.

Perhaps he procured the means of subsistence by the expedients which the celebrated Goldsmith is said to have practised in his continental wanderings; and made the disputation of the morning supply the dinner of the day.

After his return from the continent, about 1784, he entered the family of the Rev. Lawrence Johnston of Earlstone; where he continued some time, partly employed in the education of his children, and giving occasional assistance in his public ministerial duty. From this situation he removed to the house of Mr. Thomas Scott, uncle to the celebrated Sir Walter, whose family then resided at Ellieston in the county of Roxburgh. While superintending this gentleman's children, he was appointed to a higher duty, the charge of Carlenridge chapel in the parish of Hawick; which he performed regularly every Sunday, at the same time that he attended the education of the family through the week. We may safely conjecture that it was at this particular period of his life he first was honored with the title of Dominie Sanson.

He was next employed by the Earl of Hopetoun, as chaplain to that nobleman's tenants at Leadhills; where, with an admirable, but unfortunate, tenaciousness of duty, he patiently continued to exercise his honourable calling, to the irreparable destruction of his own health. The atmosphere being tainted with the natural effluvia of the noxious mineral which was the staple production of the place, though incapable of influencing the health of those who had been accustomed to it from their infancy, had soon a fatal effect on the life of poor Sanson. The first calamitous consequence that befell him, was the loss of his teeth; next he became totally blind; and last of all, to complete the sacrifice, the insalubrious air extinguished the vital principle.

Thus did this worthy man, though conscious of the fate that awaited him, choose rather to encounter the last enemy of our nature, than relinquish what he considered a sacred duty; strange that one whose conduct in life was every way so worthy of the esteem and gratitude of mankind—whose death would not have disgraced the devotion of a primitive martyr—should, by means of a few less dignified peculiarities, have eventually conferred the character of perfection on a work of humour, and in a caricatured exhibition, supplied attractions nearly unparalleled to a thousand THEATRES. Mr. James Sansom was of the greatest stature, above six feet high, and otherwise proportionably enormous. His person was coarse, his limbs large, and his manners awkward; so that while people admired the simplicity and innocence of his character, they could not help smiling at the clumsiness of his motions and the rudeness of his address. His soul was pure and untainted—the seat of many manly and amiable virtues. He was ever faithful in his duty, both as a preacher and as a tutor; warmly attached to the interests of the family where he resided; and gentle in the instruction of his pupils. As a preacher, though his manners in his public exhibitions, no less than in private society, were not in his favour, he was well received by every class of hearers. His discourses were the well-digested productions of a laborious and thoughtful mind, and his sentiments seldom failed to be expressed with the utmost beauty and elegance of diction.

Vide Guy Mannering.

Another prototype of this distinguished character will be seen. We leave it to those who may be better able to judge, to say which of the two stands most closely identified with the picture drawn by the author.


It has been remarked in the Quarterly Review that there is scarcely a dale in the pastoral districts of the south of Scotland, but arrogates to itself the possession of the original of Dandie Dinmont. Many farmers have been selected as having the strongest resemblance to this humourous and eccentric personage; and even a community of traits and peculiarities have been attempted to be set up in favour of respective identity; but all we can presume from this is, that no single prototype was ever contemplated by the author; and that honest Dandie is merely the general representative of his species, "the lads of Liddesdale."

The gentleman, however, to whom this high honour has been assigned with the greatest probability of justice, was, unfortunately, one who viewed a place in the novel, rather as a debasement than as an exaltation to imperishable fame. Mr. Davidson of Hindlay appears to have considered the humours of the Liddesdale hero, as detailed in Guy Mannering, and identified with the peculiarities of his own private life, more in the light of a stigma upon his fair fame, than as assistances to honourable renown. The public opinion after all was directed towards him, more from the community of designation which was found to exist between the respective dogs of the real and the imaginary character, than from any precise resemblance that could he identified with the honest farmer himself.

Mr. Davidson, it appears, had decreed the hereditary titles of his terriers to be unalterably and unalienably "pepper and mustard;" and the men of Liddesdale took the opportunity of exonerating themselves of the charge of being the originals of Dandie Dinmont, by throwing the whole imputation upon the shoulders of Mr. Davidson.

Vide Guy Mannering.


The original of this character has been already pointed out and described in various publications, which will induce us to be very brief in our notice of Jean Gordon. It is impossible to state the exact time of her birth, though in all probability, it was about the year 1670. She was born at a place called Kirkyetholm in Roxburgh-shire, the metropolis of the Scottish gipsies; and was married to a gipsey chief named Patrick Faa[2], by whom she had ten or twelve children. In 1714, one of Jean Gordon's sons, named Alexander Faa, was murdered by another gipsey, called Robert Johnson, who escaped the hands of justice for nearly ten years; but was afterwards taken, tried for the crime, and sentenced to be hanged; but escaped from prison. It was easier, however, to elude the grasp of justice, than to elude the wide spread talons of gipsey vengeance. Jean Gordon scented the murderer like a bloodhound, followed him to Holland, from thence to Ireland, where she caused him to be seized and brought back to Jedburgh. Here her toils were amply rewarded by the satisfaction she felt at seeing the murderer of her son hanged on the Gallowhill. Some short time after this event, Jean was at Sourhope, a sheep farm on Bowmont water, the 'gudeman' said to her, "Weel, Jean, ye hae got Rob Johnson hanged at last and out o' the way." "Aye gudeman," replied Jean, lifting up her apron by the two corners, "and a' that fu' o' gowd, has na done it!" Jean Gordon's "apron fu' o' gowd," may remind some of our readers of Meg Merrilies' poke of jewels: and indeed the whole transaction forcibly recalls the stern picture of that wretched heroine.

The circumstance of Brown (in Guy Mannering) being indebted to Meg Merrilies for lodging and protection, when he lost his way near Derncleugh, finds a remarkably precise counterpart in an anecdote related of Jean Gordon. A farmer with whom she had formerly been on good terms, though their acquaintance had been interrupted for several years, lost his way and was benighted among the Cheviot hills. A light glimmering through the hole of a desolate barn, that had survived the farm house to which it had once belonged, guided him to a place of shelter. He knocked at the door and it was immediately opened by Jean Gordon. To meet with such a personage, in so solitary a spot, and at no great distance probably from her gipsey crew, was a terrible surprise to the honest man, whose rent, to lose which would have been ruin to him, was about his person. Jean set up a shout of joyful recognition, forced the farmer to dismount, and in the zeal of her kindness handed him into the barn. Great preparations were making for supper, which the gudeman of Lochside, to increase his anxiety, observed was calculated for at least a dozen of guests. Jean soon left him no doubt upon the subject, but inquired what money he had about him, and made earnest request to be made his purse-keeper for the night, as the 'bairns' would soon be home. The poor farmer made a virtue of necessity, told his story, and surrendered his gold to Jean's custody. She made him put a few shillings in his pocket, observing it would excite suspicion were he found travelling altogether pennyless. This arrangement being made, the farmer lay down, on a sort of shake-down, but as may readily be conceived, did not feel much inclined for sleep. About midnight the gang returned with various articles of plunder, and recounted their achievements in language that made the farmer tremble. They were not long in discovering their guest, and demanded of Jean whom she had there. "E'en the winsome gudeman o' Lochside puir body," replied Jean, "he's been to Newcastle seeking for siller to pay his rent, honest man, but de'il-be-licked he's been able to gather in, and sae he's gaun e'en hame wi' a toom purse and a sair heart." "That may be, Jean," replied one of the banditti, "but we maun rife his pouches a bit, an see if it be true or no." Jean set up her throat in exclamations against the breach of hospitality, but without producing any change in their determination. The farmer soon heard their stifled whispers; and light steps by his bed-side, and understood they were rummaging his clothes. When they found the money which the providence of Jean Gordon had made him retain, they held a consultation as to whether they should take it or not; but the smallness of the booty, and the vehemence of Jean's remonstrances, determined them to leave it. They caroused and went to rest. As soon as the day began to dawn, Jean roused her guest, produced his horse, which she had accommodated behind the hallem, and escorted him for some miles on the high road to Lochside. She then restored his whole property, nor could his earnest entreaties prevail on her to accept so much as a single guinea.

It is said, that all Jean's sons were condemned to die at Jedburgh on the same day. The jury, it is related, were equally divided, but a friend to justice, who had slept during the discussion, waked suddenly, and gave his vote for condemnation, in the emphatic words "HANG THEM A'." Jean was present, and only said, "the Lord help the innocent in a day like this!" Her own death was accompanied with circumstances of brutal outrage, of which Jean was, in many respects, wholly undeserving. Jean had among other merits or demerits, that of being a staunch Jacobite. She chanced to be at Carlisle upon a fair day, soon after the year 1746, when she gave vent to her political partiality, to the great offence of the rabble of that city. Being zealous in their loyalty when there was no danger, in proportion to the tameness with which they surrendered to the Highlanders in 1745, they inflicted upon poor Jean Gordon no slighter penalty than that of ducking her to death in the Eden. It was an operation of some time, for Jean was a stout woman, and struggled hard with her murderers, often got her head above water; and while she had voice left, continued to exclaim at such intervals, "Charlie yet! Charlie yet!"

Jean Gordon's propensities were exactly the same as those of the fictitious character of Meg Merrilies. She possessed the same virtue of fidelity—spoke the same language, and in appearance there was little difference; yet Madge Gordon, her grand-daughter, was said to have had the same resemblance. She was descended from the Faas' by the mother's side, and was married to a Young. She had a large aquiline nose, penetrating eyes, even in her old age; bushy hair that hung about her shoulders from beneath a gipsey bonnet of straw; a short cloak of a peculiar fashion, and a long staff nearly as tall as herself. When she spoke vehemently (for she had many complaints) she used to strike her staff upon the floor, and throw herself into an attitude which it was impossible to regard with indifference. From these traits of the manners of Jean and Madge Gordon, it may be perceived that it would be difficult to determine which of the two, Meg Merrilies was intended for. It may therefore, without injustice, be divided between both. So that if Jean was the prototype of her character, it is very probable that Madge must have sat to the anonymous author of "Guy Mannering," as the representative of her person.

To the biographer whose duty leads him so low in the scale of nature, that the manners and the miseries of a vicious and insubordinate race, prominent in hideous circumstances of unvarnished reality, are all he is permitted to read, it must even be gratifying to find traits of such fine enthusiasm, such devoted fidelity, as the conduct of Jean Gordon exhibits, in the foregoing incidents. They stand out with a delightful and luminous effect from the gloomy canvass of guilt, atoning for its errors and brightening its darkness. To trace further as others have done, the disgusting peculiarities of a people so abandoned to all sense of moral propriety, would only serve to destroy the effect already created by the redeeming characters of Jean Gordon and her nobler sister—and more extensively, to disgrace the general respectability of human nature.

Vide Guy Mannering.

See Gipsies, passim.



This reputed chief of the warlike Macgregors, whom Sir Walter Scott has drawn with such singular fidelity, was the author of various exploits, commemorated in traditional story; and many of his "deeds of fame" display a generous magnanimity, which, under more propitious circumstances, might have rendered him a distinguished benefactor of the human race. In early youth, it is said, he was remarkable for a passionate admiration of the poesy of his country, and to have had so retentive a memory as to be able to repeat several thousand lines. Rob Roy's intimate acquaintance with the soul-exalting relics of bardic composition, no doubt, tended to inspire the liberal humanity, which softened the harsher features of his intrepid, or, perhaps, desperate character. The love of nature led him, in boyhood and in mature age, to delight in wandering alone through the hills and glens of his native land. In peaceful times, he would, probably have been conspicuous as a poet; and if, instead of aggression, he had found protection from the powerful borderers of his little property, he was gifted with talents to anticipate the translation of Ossian.

Tradition makes Rob Roy the deliverer of many distressed damsels. On one occasion, travelling through the sequestered passes of Glenitive, his natural taste for the sublime was excited by the picturesque grandeur of those romantic scenes. The sun had nearly dipped her golden hair in the western main; but some parting tinges played upon the rugged towering pinnacles of Cruachan, and the profound tranquillity of nature was unbroken, except by gentle murmurs of the tides, that with solemn placidity gave a character of life to the waters of the lake. He threw himself along a mossy rock, and gazed on the magnificent perspective, until the slim outline could scarcely be traced between him and the horizon. From enrapturing reveries he was startled by female shrieks; and drawing his trusty blade, he sprung forward to follow the sound. The shrieks were stifled, but the voices of the men drew nearer, and they seemed in hot altercation. Rob Roy laid himself down among some "tall rank grass of the wild," and distinctly could hear two persons disputing in a high English accent. The one expostulated in behalf of a captive lady; the other insisted upon his right to extort a compliance with his dishonourable solicitations. They still proceeded through treadless paths, and Macgregor, with silent determination pursued. They soon disappeared, as if elves of the wood had proceeded from their Tomhans. The screams of a female furnished a direction; the Celt no longer stood in perplexity, and he lost not a moment in shaping his course according to the sound, which led him to a decayed turret, the only remains of a fortress, situated upon a craggy eminence. The voice was at times suppressed, and then burst forth with phrenzied energy. Rob Roy feared not the face nor the arm of man; but he afterwards confessed, that early impressions of supernatural agency, daunted his courage. Again, he recollected that the "gleaming counter spell, the steel of the mighty was in his hand," and he pressed onward to unravel the mystery. He could discover no door, no window, in the half ruined tower; but he perceived, after surrounding the rock, that from a tangling thicket, the tones of distress were most audible. The moon emitted some feeble rays, by which he discerned a vaulted passage, which with cautious steps he explored. A faint glimmering of light guided him, where, with disordered dress, dishevelled tresses, and a lovely countenance, marked by tears, he found in a large apartment, a female stretched upon some grass, nearly exhausted by violent efforts. On seeing Rob, she attempted to rise, saying, "If you come to end my life, cheerfully shall I meet the blow. Death is my only refuge." "Yield not to despair, lady," he replied, "Rob Roy Macgregor comes to release you. But every moment is precious, quickly tell me your wrongs."

"I am," said the lady, "a daughter of the chief of —— treacherously decoyed from the castle of my father, by a knight of England. He and his friend were visitors; they persuaded my mother to let me go out to ride with them, to learn some of the fine performances of the English ladies in hunting; and after going some miles, I was forced into a stranger sloop and hurried away. I now find that each of the friends had designs upon me. They deceived each other; but the younger has honour and pity." "Remain as you are," said Rob Roy. "I hope soon to return with good tidings." The chief with an air of authority, stalked into a vault, where two gentlemen were harshly debating, and three armed men paced the floor. They all shrunk back from the terrible apparition. "Shame to manhood!" said Macgregor. "A lady of high birth insulted! tremble! for even the demons of darkness are stirring in her cause." After a pause the elder knight said, "You at least are no airy demon, but substantial flesh and blood, and shall feel this if you do not instantly take yourself off." He made a push at Rob Roy as he spoke; but the chief was the most dexterous swordsman of the age, and soon laid his adversary at his feet. Calling for a parley, the younger knight was disposed to restore the lady; nor did the mercenary seamen oppose it, being unwilling to risk the consequences, when no further reward from their employer could be expected. Rob Roy bound up the wound of the elder knight, and by a shorter way, he and his lady were conveyed to the sea-side. In less than forty hours the battlements of —— castle were visible. At some distance from the common landing-place, Macgregor desired to be put on shore. He proceeded with rapid steps to the castle, to inform the chief of his daughter's safety, and to claim his hospitality for the wounded knight, for whose security he had pledged his honour. The younger knight was married to the lady, and the elder suffered to depart, unmolested to his own country, for the chief considered himself bound in honour and gratitude, to fulfil the terms promised by Rob Roy.

In ancient times, and among chiefs of more modern date, the engagements made by a friend were esteemed inviolable by the party concerned.

A rivulet which runs near the spot where Fletcher of Cameron, a follower of the Macgregor chief, murdered the boys who came as spectators of the battle of Luss, is called the stream of young ghosts; and it is believed, that if crossed by a Macgregor after sunset, he will be scared by unhallowed spectres. This is a remarkable proof that superstition is not only irrational, but unjust; since neither of the alleged murderers were of the Macgregor clan, and the chief, when he compelled the boys to enter the church, instead of standing exposed to the random shots from the combatants, had no view but to preserve their lives, and to detain them as hostages, if circumstances required a pledge for the safety of his own people. Yet superstition represents the ghosts of the victims peculiarly hostile to the clan of Macgregor. So late as the year 1757, every spring, the tragical fate of the scholars of Dumbarton, was commemorated by the boys of that ancient town. They assembled on the supposed anniversary; the dux of the highest class was laid on a bier, covered with the clergyman's gown, and carried by his companions to a grave, previously opened. The whole school bearing wooden guns reversed, performed the ceremony of interment, and recited Gaelic odes over the dead, allusive to the horrible massacre. They returned singing songs of lamentation in the same language.

There are records to show that Sir Humphrey, Laird of Luss, under the pretence of desiring a permanent reconciliation, invited Macgregor of Glenstrae, and the principal vassals of his clan, to meet him at Lennox; but he prepared five hundred horsemen, and three hundred foot, to form an ambuscade, and cut off the retreat of the Macgregors. Their chief came from Rannock, with only two hundred followers; but they were a chosen band; and having discovered symptoms of enmity in the Colquhouns, they marched homeward with due precaution. At Glenfruin they were attacked, and the youths from Dumbarton school having come out to view the fray, Macgregor, anxious to secure hostages from among the sons of so many powerful tribes, surrounded them, and confined them in the church as before related. The Macgregors had no friend at court to contradict the misrepresentations of their powerful foes. All their loyal services were forgotten—all they had done and suffered for the gallant Bruce—all their achievements with Glencairn, and several Highland clans, when they defeated Cromwell's troops at Aberfoyle. They were prohibited from bearing their hereditary name, and hunted with blood-hounds like the most noxious beasts of prey. These cruelties form the best apology for Rob Roy, and his clan, in retaliating upon their oppressors; and no act of cruelty or meanness has been imputed to Rob Roy. The lawless propensities of a freebooter were softened by the humanizing influence of a poetical imagination, and in some measure exalted by the pride of ancestry, and natural greatness of soul. His death was in conformity to the romantic peculiarities of his life. A life of harassing vicissitude had undermined his robust constitution; but his spirit was unsubdued, though his person evidently sunk under decay; and after manfully resisting his infirmities, he was confined to bed, when a gentleman who had done him an injury, paid him a visit. Being informed that the stranger asked admission to his chamber, he exclaimed that "an enemy must not behold Rob Roy Macgregor in the posture of defeat." He made his family raise him up, put on his clothes and warlike accoutrements, and then received the stranger with dignified civility. When he was gone, the dying man desired again to be laid in bed, and ordered the piper to be called in. He cordially shook hands with the "voice of war," instructing him to play "cha teil mi tuile" (I shall never return) and not to cease sounding the pipes while breath remained in the breast of Rob Roy. He was punctually obeyed, and expired with the "voice of battle," pealing around him. His funeral was respectably and numerously attended. He died at the farm of Inverlocharigbeg, among the braes of Balquhidder, in 1740. His remains rest in the churchyard of that parish, with no other monument to mark his grave than a simple stone, on which some kindred spirit has carved a sword—the appropriate emblem of the man.

Rob Roy was rather beneath than above the middle size; but there was an appearance of strength and muscular power in his body, that made him appear both tall and bulky. His arms were so long that he could touch his garter below the knee with his fingers; and they were so strong withal, that he could seize and hold a deer by the horns; nor was it possible to wrench any thing from his grasp, with whatever exertion. His complexion was of a dark red, from whence, as observed, he derived his name; and his features which were large and handsome, had in them something noble. His face, as seen in the portrait, is the precise counterpart of his character—as if it had been the very battle ground of his passions. The stern daring eye and the contemptuous lip, are strikingly characteristic: while the whole expression betrays a constant subjection to the injuries of lesser minds, and as unremitting a habit of revenging them. He combined in a wonderful degree, the calm, steady sagacity of the Scotsman, with the intrepid hardihood of the Highlander. Possessing both of these qualities in his own person, he formed altogether a character perfectly adapted for the life in which he was destined to figure. His sons, who were perhaps as resolute in their undertakings as himself, were uniformly unfortunate, from their deficiency in the discerning and prudential cautiousness of conduct, which formed such a distinguishing feature in the character of their father. Rob himself was always aware of the probable issue of his enterprises, and never committed himself in any chance of fortune, without at the same time providing means of clearing himself of all eventual consequence of danger. His exploits became famous over many countries, and were every where extolled as the matchless deeds of unconquered Caledonia.

The biography of Rob Roy is chiefly presented to us in the shape of anecdotes. Of these a great number are already recorded in various publications; which being easily accessible and in very general circulation, we shall only select one or two more which have not had the same advantage of publicity.

The paternal inheritance of Rob Roy extended for some miles along the eastern border of Loch Lomond; but, from pecuniary embarrassments it fell into the hands of the Duke of Montrose. During his cattle transactions Rob had a partner in whom he placed the most implicit confidence; but having entrusted this individual with a considerable sum, he made a sudden elopement, which so deranged Rob's affairs, that he was under the necessity of selling his lands to the Duke of Montrose, but conditionally, that they should again revert to himself, providing he could return to the duke the sum he had promised to pay for them. Montrose had paid a great part, but not the whole of the price agreed upon. Some years having elapsed, Rob Roy found his finances improved, and wishing to get back his estate, offered to restore to the duke the sum he had advanced. But upon some unequivocal pretence, the duke would not receive it. And from Rob's dissolute character, an adjudication of the lands was easily obtained, which deprived him of any future claim. Macgregor, however, continued for many years to levy the rents of the alienated lands, through the means of his own forces; and on one occasion when Graham of Killearn, the factor of his enemy, had received a year's rents from the tenants, our hero waylaid him while at dinner, and obliged him to give them up into his hands, granting a receipt, and told the factor never to collect the rents of that country again, which he meant in future to do himself; maintaining that as he had been deprived of them unjustly, he would never submit, while he had an arm of his own, to the alienation. On this account he was at constant war with the Murrays, the Grahams, and the Drummonds, who then claimed, and still inherit, these extensive domains.

The enmity of Montrose against Rob Roy was somewhat alleviated by the favour and protection which he found with a rival chief whose family had formerly persecuted his race, but was now from motives of popery and private faction, inclined to befriend the outlawed hero. The Duke of Argyle became attached to Rob in the most amicable manner, permitted him to assume the name of Campbell, and was, in short, his avowed patron; so that while he was oppressed on the one hand by the Duke of Athol and the Duke of Montrose (which latter is introduced into the novel, as having taken him into custody) Maccullumore never failed on the contrary, to act as a powerful counter-balancing influence in his favour. On one occasion when he had roused the vengeance of the Grahams in a particular manner, in consequence of a fearful road which he had made in the Lowlands (afterwards known as the herriship of Kilrain) he found refuge with all his people in a remote situation among the mountains at the head of Glenfyne, in the territory of Argyle. When Montrose understood that Rob had an asylum from his rival, he wrote to him desiring that the outlaw might be removed, and given up to justice, blaming Argyle, for giving him any countenance. Argyle replied, that the abode which Rob occupied, he had taken without leave, and that he supplied him only with wood or fire, and water for drink; and he believed with every other thing else Rob would supply himself. It was on the occasion of thus leaving his native hills and betaking himself to the mountains of the stranger, that Lady Macgregor composed the lament, which is mentioned so pathetically in the third volume. Having, however, found this retreat, though secure and distant, both inconvenient and uncomfortable, and their enemies having relaxed in their pursuit, they left Argyle and again took up their residence in the soil of their nativity.

The numerous and varied assaults to which Macgregor had been accessory upon the Earl of Athol and his vassals, were not dictated in the spirit of malice, or a wish for spoil, but continued as a chastisement for the contempt in which he was held by that nobleman, who did not respect his bravery, although he had often seen and dreaded its effects. Rob having shewn no inclination to desist from those practices, Athol resolved to correct him in person, as all former attempts to subdue him had failed, and with this bold intention he set out for Balquhidder. A large portion of that country then belonged to Athol; and when he arrived there, he summoned the attendance of his vassals, who very unwillingly accompanied him to Rob's house, as many of them were Macgregors, but dared not refuse their land. Rob's mother having died in his house, preparations were going on for the funeral, which was to take place that day; and on this occasion he could have dispensed with such unlooked for guests. He knew the purpose of their visit, and to escape seemed impossible; but with strength of mind and quickness of thought, he buckled on his sword, and went out to meet the Earl. He saluted him very graciously, and said that he was much obliged to his lordship for having come, unasked, to his mother's funeral, which was a piece of friendship he did not expect; but Athol replied, that he did not come for that purpose, but to desire his company to Perth. Rob, however, declined the honour, as he could not leave his mother's funeral, but after doing that last duty to his parent, he would go if his lordship insisted upon it. Athol replied that the funeral could go on very well without him, and would admit of no delay. A long remonstrance ensued; but the Earl was inexorable, and Rob, apparently complying, went away, amidst the cries and tears of his sisters and kindred. Their distress roused his soul to a pitch of irresistible desperation, and breaking from the party, several of whom he threw down, he drew his sword. Athol, when he saw him retreat, drew a holster pistol and fired at him. Rob fell at the same instant, not by the ball, which never touched him, but by slipping a foot. One of his sisters, the lady of Glenfallach, a stout woman, seeing her brother fall, believed he was killed, and making a furious spring at Athol, seized him by the throat, and brought him from his horse to the ground. In a few minutes the duke had been choked, as it defied the bystanders to unfix the lady's grasp, until Rob went to his relief, when he was in the agonies of suffocation. Several of Rob's friends who observed the suspicious haste of Athol and his party towards his house, dreaded some evil design, speedily armed, and running to his assistance, were just arrived as Athol's eye-balls were beginning to revert to their sockets. Rob declared afterwards, that had the earl been so polite as to allow him to wait his mother's burial, he would then have gone along with him; but this being refused, he would now remain in spite of all his efforts; and the lady's hug having acted like any thing but a charm, the astonished earl was in no condition to renew his orders, so that he and his men departed as quickly as they could. Had they staid till the clan assembled to the exiquies of the old woman, it is doubtful if either the chief or his companions had ever returned to taste Athol brose.

The story of Rob and Graham of Killearn, the factor to the Duke of Montrose, who had been collecting his rents in a small public house, on the borders of Monteith, is told thus:—Killearn had imbibed all his master's hostility to the Highland freebooter; and after the business of the day was over, and money collected to a great amount, he loudly declared, that the ponderous money bag should be the property of him who would bring Rob Roy into his presence. Macgregor, who, on occasions of moment and interest to himself, might almost be said to be omnipresent, was near enough to hear this friendly declaration, and with his wonted circumspection and celerity, he ordered his gillies to take their station, two by two, around the house, as a precaution against any unexpected arrival, and to prevent an escape if any should be attempted. He then boldly entered the apartment where the factor was seated in the midst of a group of tenants, who had just emptied their purses into his. "Well, Killearn," said the fearless freebooter, "here I am; the Rob Roy Macgregor, the greatest enemy your master has on this side of hell. Now I claim the proffered blood-money; produce the bag." The factor who at first stared at Macgregor with as much amazement as if he had been a spectre from the grave, was quite astounded at this demand, and the more, as it came from a person whom he knew it was fruitless to refuse or resist. Accordingly he began, as well as a faltering voice would allow, to work on the feelings of his unwelcome visitor. "No whimpering for me," interrupted he, striking the table with his fist, "down with the bag." The demand was immediately complied with, and the unfortunate factor was compelled, on the spot, to acknowledge to the tenants the receipt of the rents. "One word more," said Macgregor, "and our business is settled for this time. Swear by your eternal soul, that you will neither raise an alarm, nor divulge one circumstance, that has passed at this interview, before the expiration of two hours."—"Now," added he, after the ceremony was over, "I have done with you, valiant factor. If you attempt to break your oath, remember you have a soul to save, and remember too, that Macgregor has a dirk, which has made daylight in a stouter man than Killearn." Hereupon Rob Roy and his gillies withdrew, and were in a much shorter time than had been prescribed, in perfect safety among the fastnesses.

The means of escape adopted by Rob Roy Macgregor in crossing the Avondhu, which is so beautifully described in the third volume of the novel, seems to have been suggested as follows;—A Cameronian in the county of Galloway, flying from two dragoons who pursued him hotly, came to a precipice which overhung a lake. Seeing no other means of eluding his enemies, he plunged into the water, and attempted to swim to the opposite bank. Meantime the troopers came up and fired at him; when Rob, with an astonishing presence of mind, parted with his plaid and dived below to a safe part of the shore. His enemies fired repeatedly at the plaid, till they supposed the man slain and sunk, and then retired. The particulars of this miraculous escape are preserved by tradition in the neighbourhood of the place where it occurred.

In the year 1715, the epoch of the novel, when the Earl of Mar displayed his standard in behalf of the son of James II, against the infant government of King George I, Rob Roy prepared the clan Macgregor for the contest, in concert with his nephew, George Macgregor of Glengyle. They marched into Monteith and Lennox, disarming all whom they considered of the opposite party; and finally established themselves on an island in Loch Lomond, from whence they sent parties over all the neighbourhood, levying contributions from the peaceable, and skirmishing with detachments of the king's troops, over whom they gained frequent advantages. Nevertheless when the final issue of the contest came to be decided at Sheriffmuir, Rob hung back and joined with neither party, remaining an inactive spectator of the battle. This unexpected conduct arose from two motives, equally powerful—a wish not to offend his patron, the Duke of Argyle, by fighting against the army of Mar; and that he might not act contrary to his conscience, by joining Argyle against his expatriated king. When the Highland army was dispersed by the event of Sheriffmuir, the Macgregors continued together; being unwilling to return home without some substantial benefit from their expedition, they marched to Falkland, and garrisoned the ancient palace; from whence they issued all over the country, and exacted vigorous fines from the king's friends. Rob did not lose by saving his conscience. For many years after, the Macgregors continued in arms to the disturbance of the Highlands; and with their force, Rob raised the black mail, till his death, without resistance.

Though Rob had never, during the active part of his life, taken any conspicuous part in religious observances of any kind, he seems to have been strongly impressed concerning the ultimate fate of his soul, in the latter part of his life, that he deemed it expedient to change his religion from the protestant to the catholic faith. In all probability his chief motive for the change was for the convenience of absolution, from sin, which the latter affords; for it was never observed to make the slightest alteration in his moral principles or method of life, which continued to be as desperate and irregular as ever. In the year 1719, he engaged in an extensive foray in the north Highlands, with Gregor Macgregor and the rest of his clan. It is stated that they joined some Spaniards, who landed on the north-west coast, and were present at the battle of Glensheil; and that having plundered a Spanish ship of some valuable property, Rob Roy became so rich by the enterprise, that he again commenced farming and returned to the braes of Balquhidder. At length, worn out with the laborious vicissitudes of a restless life, he sunk calmly to his end at the farm of Inverlocharigbeg, as before stated. Though his achievements cannot be said to have been exerted always upon occasions strictly meritorious, yet the general tenor of his conduct was admired in his own country, as it accorded strictly with an ancient Gaelic saying; which marked the most valued character of the "Highlander," that he "would not turn his back on either friend or foe." Yet he never boasted of his exploits, nor reviewed them with the pride of a victor; but only with the honest exultation of having supported the valour of his clan, and repelled by dauntless strength of arm, the injuries of his enemies. Rob Roy had both principles and conscience in almost all his actions; and, indeed, if we regard impartially the motives and bearings of all his deeds, we will scarcely find one, that does not admit of either the justification of moral regret, or the apology of necessity.

The following instance of hospitality and integrity, sufficiently interesting in itself, is rendered doubly so; as having happened to an ancestor of Rob Roy.

It has been related on good authority that this chieftain of the Macgregors resided on his lands at Glenorchy, in the early part of the seventeenth century, about which period one of his sons had gone, in the shooting season, with a party of young associates to the moors, in the braes of that district. In the course of their sporting, they met with a young gentleman of the name of Lamont, from Cowal; who, attended by a servant, was proceeding to Fort William. They all went to the only inn that was in the place, and took refreshment together, in the course of which some trifling dispute took place between Macgregor and Lamont. Dirks were drawn; and before their friends could interfere, Macgregor fell mortally wounded. In the confusion the young Lamont escaped; and though pursued, yet, under cover of the night, found safety to the house of the elder Macgregor, which happened to be the first habitation that met his eye at the break of day. The chieftain was then up, and standing at his gate. "Save my life," exclaimed the fugitive, "for men are in pursuit of me to take it away." "Whoever you are," replied Macgregor, "here you are safe." Lamont was scarcely introduced to the family within doors, when his pursuers came up and inquired if a stranger had entered. "He has," said Macgregor, "and what is your business with him?" "In a scuffle," replied they, "he has killed your son; deliver him up that we may avenge the dead!"

On this information, Macgregor's lady and his two daughters filled the house with their cries and lamentations. "Be quiet," said the chief, though his own eyes manifested his extreme sorrow, "and let no man presume to touch the youth, for he has Macgregor's word and honour for his safety; and as God lives, he shall be secure and safe whilst he remains in my house!" Then treating the unhappy youth with the utmost kindness and hospitality, Macgregor carried him under his own personal protection to Inverary, accompanied by twelve men armed; having landed him in safety on the other side of Lochfine, he took him by the hand and parted with this address: "Lamont, now you are safe—no longer can I nor will I protect you—keep out of the way of my clan! May God forgive and bless you!"

The proscription of the clan of the noble-minded Macgregor, in 1633, took place soon after this, when the whole was dispersed and forced to fly; but whilst we regret that destruction so indiscriminate should have fallen on a tribe, perhaps not much worse than their neighbours, it is pleasing to record, that the chief himself found a shelter and a refuge in the house of the very Lamont to whom he had behaved with such integrity. At that period and long after, Lamont was noted for his urbanity, and the deep contrition which he felt for the unfortunate event of his youth; but he, by every act of kindness to his venerable guest, and to some branches of his family, paid a tribute to that providence which had thus put it into his power to repay the family of his generous benefactor, in some measure, for the injury he had inflicted.[2]

Robert Macgregor, celtically named Roy (red) from his complexion and colour of his hair, was the second son of Donald Macgregor, of the family of Glengyle, a lieutenant-colonel in the king's service. His mother was a daughter of Campbell, of Glenlyon, and consequently he was a gentleman from birth. He received an education, at that time considered liberal, at least suitable to the line of life in which he was destined to appear. Of strong natural parts, he acquired the necessary but rude accomplishments of the age; and with a degree of native hardihood favoured by a robust and muscular frame, he wielded the broadsword with such irresistible dexterity, as few or none of his countrymen could equal. Yet was possessed of complacent manners, when unruffled by opposition; but he was daring and resolute when danger appeared; and he became no less remarkable for his knowledge of human nature, than for the boldness of his achievements. Many of Rob's earliest and happiest days were spent in the business of cattle dealing, a profession practised in that age by many Highland gentlemen, no less than their tenantry. However, upon succeeding to his paternal estate, he began to have higher views in life. Invested with unlimited command over a few faithful vassals, he exercised his authority in levying the tax of black mail, from the neighbouring counties. The purpose of the exaction and payment of black mail, resembles in some degree the reciprocal advantages of a modern insurance office. Rob Roy extorted the tribute of the farmers and small lairds around; and in return, not only insured their property from the plunder of his own clan, which otherwise would have been unavoidable, but also engaged to employ his power and influence in protecting it from other predatory incursions, and in restoring it, when taken away, to the losers at his own risk. This impost, which was in some degree necessary in such a country, and was not without its peculiar benefits, had long been suffered to prevail in the Highlands: and, what has there been at all times sufficient to give the most unjustifiable practices a good character, the usage of many ages had sanctioned it in the eyes of the natives, so that it was considered neither unjust nor dishonourable. The custom of carrying off the cattle of other clans, had not at this period become disused; and Rob Roy engaged so deeply in the practice, that he became in a short time obnoxious to his neighbours, and even to the government. His predatory expeditions were for the most part undertaken against the Lowlanders, whom he considered as his natural enemies, and who were besides, a preferable object of prey, being more opulent and less inclined to military resistance. By the harsh enactment of James VI, which rendered it capital to bear the name of Macgregor, Rob Roy assumed that of Campbell, the maiden name of his mother; and accordingly,in a writ dated 1703, he was denominated Robert Campbell, of Inversnait, his paternal inheritance.

This anecdote is related on the authority of a venerable clergyman, well acquainted with the private history of the Highland clans.



A conjecture exists that a great part of the "Antiquary" is founded on facts. How far this may be the case, we confess ourselves unable to determine. The original of the Antiquary himself, is reported to have been a minister in the neighbourhood of Arbroath. A young gentleman who was intimate with his niece, the 'Mary M‘Intyre' of the novel, showed a sermon in manuscript of the gentleman, some years ago, and mentioned his name which has been forgotten. The coast of the part of Scotland resembles that very nearly, which is described as being the neighbourhood of Fairport,—is much indented with caves, and equally dangerous in the event of high tides, for such as (like Sir Arthur Wardour and his daughter) attempt to pass along the shores. The fraud of Dousterswivel is said to have been a real occurrence in the case of some silver mines attempted to be set on foot near Innerleithen by the Earl of T——. The next character stands better identified.


This gaberlunzie is supposed, by many persons who knew him, to have furnished the author of the Scottish national tales, with the idea of one of his happiest creatures. Edie Ochiltree[1], is, indeed, a much more elevated and amiable person than the eccentric wanderer here produced as his counterpart; but the latter (whom we cannot profess, however, to delineate at present with much nicety or distinctness) certainly possessed some of Edie's most remarkable and agreeable qualities, and, if not the sole original, at least probably suggested some of the most characteristic features of that very prepossessing and poetical badgeman.

Andrew Gemmels was well known over all the border districts as a wandering beggar or Gaberlunzie, for the greater part of half a century. He had been a soldier in his youth; and his entertaining stories of his campaigns, and the adventures he had encountered in foreign countries, united with his shrewdness, drollery, and other agreeable qualities, rendered him a general favourite, and secured him a cordial welcome and free quarters at every shepherd's cot or farm-shading that lay in the range of his extensive wanderings. "Among his other places of resort in Teviotdale," says the authority whom we quote, "Andrew regularly visited at my grandfather's. It was one of his 'Saturday night houses,' as he called them, where he always staid over the Sunday, and sometimes longer. He usually put up his horse on his arrival, without the formality of asking quarters and had a straw bed made up for him in the byre, claiming it rather as his acknowledged due and privilege, than as a boon of charity. He preferred sleeping in an out-house, and, if possible, in one where cattle or horses were kept. My grandfather who was an old fashioned farmer in a remote situation, was exceedingly fond of his company, and, though a very devout man and strict Cameronian, and occasionally somewhat scandalized at Andrew's rough and irreverend style of language, was nevertheless so much attracted by his conversation, that he seldom failed to spend the evenings of his sojourn in listening to his entertaining narrations and "auld warld stories" with the old shepherds, hinds, and children seated around them beside the blazing turf ingle in the "farmer's ha'." These conversations took sometimes a polemical turn, and in that case not unfrequently ended in a violent dispute; my ancestor's hot and impatient temper blazing forth in collision with the dry and sarcastic humour of his ragged guest. Andrew was never known to yield his point on these occasions; but he usually had the address, when matters grew too serious, to give the conversation a more pleasant turn, by some droll remark or unexpected stroke of humour, which convulsed the rustic group, and the graver good man himself, with unfailing and irresistible merriment.

"Though free, however, and unceremonious, Andrew was never burthensome or indiscreet in his visits; returning only once or twice a year, and generally after pretty regular intervals. He evidently appeared to prosper in his calling; for, though hung round with rags of every shape and hue, he commonly possessed a good horse, and used to attend the country fairs and race-courses, where he would bet and dispute with the country lairds and gentry, with the most independent and resolute pertinacity. He allowed that begging had been a good trade in his time, but used to complain sadly, in his latter days, that times were daily growing worse. My father remembers seeing Gemmels travelling about on a blood mare, with a foal after her, and a gold watch in his pocket. On one occasion, at Rutherford, in Teviotdale, he had dropped a clue of yarn, and Mr. Mather, his host, finding him rummaging for it, assisted in the search, and, having got hold of it, persisted, notwithstanding Andrew's opposition, in unrolling the yarn till he came to the kernel, which, much to his surprise and amusement, he found to consist of about twenty guineas of gold."

Many curious anecdotes of Andrew's sarcastic wit and eccentric manners are current in the Borders; and both his character and personal appearance must have been familiar to many individuals still alive, some of whom may probably be induced, if they have not already done so, to communicate further information respecting him upon their personal authority. The following is given us commonly related with much good humour by the late Mr. Dodds of the War Office, the person to whom it chiefly refers. Andrew happened to be present at a fair or market, somewhere in Teviotdale (St. Boswell's) where Dodds, at that time a non-commissioned officer in His Majesty's service, happened also to be with a military party recruiting. It was some time during the American war when they were beating up eagerly for fresh men, to teach passive obedience to the obdurate and ill-mannered Colombians, and it was then the practice for recruiting serjeants, after parading for a due space, with all the warlike pageantry of drums, trumpets, "glancing blades and gay cockades," to declaim in heroic strains of the delights of a soldier's life—of glory, patriotism, plunder—the prospect of promotion for the bold and young, and His Majesty's munificent pension for the old and the wounded. Dodds, who was a man of much natural talent, and whose abilities afterwards raised him to a honourable rank and independent fortune, had made one of his most brilliant speeches on this occasion; a crowd of ardent and active rustics were standing round, gaping with admiration at the imposing mien, and kindling at the heroic eloquence of the manly soldier, whom many of them had known a few years before as a rude tailor boy; the serjeant himself already leading, in idea, a score of new recruits, had just concluded, in a strain of more than usual elevation, his oration in praise of the military profession, when Gemmels, who, in tattered guise, was standing close behind, reared aloft his meal-pokes on the end of his kent or pike-staff, and exclaimed with a tone and aspect of profound derision, "behold the end o't!" The contrast was irresistible—the beau ideal of serjeant Dodds, and the ragged reality of Andrew Gemmels, were sufficiently striking, that the former with his red-coat followers, beat a retreat in some confusion, amidst the loud and universal laughter of the surrounding multitude.

Another time, Andrew went to visit one of his patrons, a poor Scotch laird, who had recently erected an expensive and fantastic mansion, of which he was very vain, and which but ill corresponded with his rank or his resources. The beggar was standing leaning over his pike-staff, and looking very attentively at the edifice, when the laird came forth and accosted him: "Well, Andrew, you're admiring our handy work here?" "Atweel am I, sir." "And what think ye o' them, Andrew?" "I just think ye hae thrawn away twa bonnie estates, and built a gowk's nest."

Gemmels died in the year 1793, at Roxburgh Newtown, near Kelso. A lady who was residing there at that time, and who witnessed his latter days, furnished the following particulars, which are here transferred in her own simple and expressive words:—

"He came to Newtown at that time in a very weakly condition; being, according to his own account, 105 years of age. The conduct of some of the country folks towards poor Andrew in his declining state, was not what it should have been; probably most of his old patrons had died out, and their more genteel descendants disliked to be fashed and burthened with a dying beggar; so every one handed him over to his next neighbour; and he was hurried from Selkirk to Newtown, a distance of sixteen miles, in three days. He was brought in a cart and laid down at Mr. R——'s byre door, but we never knew by whom. He was taken in, and laid as usual on his truss of straw. When we spoke of making up a bed for him, he got into a rage, and swore (as well as he was able to speak) "that many clever fellows had died in the field with his hair frozen to the ground—and would he submit to die in any of our beds?" He did not refuse a little whiskey, however, now and then; for it was but cold, in the spring, lying in an out-house among straw. A friend who was along with me, urged him to tell what cash he had about him, "As you know," said she, "it has been reported that you have money." Andrew replied, with a look of derision, "Bow, wow, wow, woman! women folk are aye fashing theirsels aboot what they hae nae business wi'." He at length told us he had changed a note at Selkirk, and paid six shillings for a pair of shoes which he had on him: but not a silver coin was found in all his duddy doublets, and many kind of odd like pouch he had: in one of them was sixpence worth of halfpence, and two combs for his silver locks, which were beautiful. His set of teeth, which he had got in his 101st year, were very white. What was remarkable, notwithstanding all the rags he had flapping about him, he was particularly clean in his old healsome looking person. He at last allowed the servants to strip off his rags and lay him on a bed, which was made up for him in a cart, in the byre. After he was laid comfortably, he often prayed and to good purpose; but if the servants did not feed him right, (for he could not lift a spoon to his mouth for several days before his death) he would give them a passing bann. He lived nine days with us, and continued quite sensible until the hour of his decease. Mr. R—— got him decently buried. Old Jemmy Jack, with his muckle nose, got his shoes for digging his grave in Roxburgh kirk-yard. Andrew was well known through all this country and great part of Northumberland. I suppose he was originally from the west country, but cannot speak with certainty as to that; it was, however, commonly reported that he had a nephew or some near relation in the west, who possessed a farm which Andrew had stocked for him from the profits of his begging."

Vide The Antiquary.


The antiquary, Oldbuck, is more of an unique personage, sui generis; who might have belonged to any country, and whose feelings the bulk of readers do not clearly comprehend. The chief interest, however, as in Guy Mannering, lies in the humbler characters, drawn from the lower ranks of life. In an age which borders so closely on the present, it was difficult to find those rude and picturesque features which formerly rendered the manners of every class almost poetical. The remains of these, of wild enterprize, of strong and untamed passions, and of a varied mode of existence, are found almost only in two classes, the beggar and the fisher, which the author, with that tact which could not desert him on such a subject, makes his prominent personages. The following picture of one who places the glory of his life in collecting unique copies, first editions, illegible manuscripts, and black letter, cannot fail to be recognized, by the truly initiated, for its characteristic truth:—

"Davy Wilson, commonly called Snuffy Davy, from his inveterate addiction to black rappee, was the very prince of scouts for searching blind alleys, cellars, and stalls, for rare volumes. He had the scent of a slow-hound, sir, and the snap of a bull-dog. He would detect you an old black-letter ballad among the leaves of a law-paper, and find an editio princeps under the mask of a school Corderius. Snuffy Davy bought the 'Game of Chess, 1474,' the first book ever printed in England, from a stall in Holland, for about two groschen, or twopence of our money. He sold it to Osborne for twenty pounds, and as many books as came to twenty pounds more. Osborne resold this inimitable windfall to Dr. Askew for sixty guineas. 'At Dr. Askew's sale,' continued the old gentleman, kindling as he spoke, 'this inestimable treasure blazed forth in its full value, and was purchased by royalty itself, for one hundred and seventy pounds! Could a copy now occur, Lord only knows,' he ejaculated, with a deep sigh and lifted-up hands, 'Lord only knows what would be its ransom; and yet it was originally secured, by skill and research, for the equivalent of twopence sterling. Happy, thrice happy, Snuffy Davy! and blessed were the times when thy industry could be so rewarded!'

"'Even I, sir,' he went on, 'tho' far inferior in industry, and discernment, and presence of mind, to that great man, can shew you a few, a very few things, which I have collected, not by force of money, as any wealthy man might—although, as my friend Lucian says, he might chance to throw away his coin only to illustrate his ignorance—but gained in a manner that shews I know something of the matter. See this bundle of ballads, not one of them later than 1700, and some of them an hundred years older. I wheedled an old woman out of these, who loved them better than her psalm-book. Tobacco, sir, snuff, and the complete Syren, were the equivalent! For that mutilated copy of the "Complaynt of Scotland," I sat out the drinking of two dozen bottles of strong ale with the late learned proprietor, who, in gratitude, bequeathed it to me by his last will. These little Elzevirs are the memoranda and trophies of many a walk by night and morning through the Cowgate, the Canongate, the Bow, Saint Mary's Wynd—wherever, in fine, there were to be found brokers and trokers, those miscellaneous dealers in things rare and curious. How often have I stood haggling upon a halfpenny, lest, by a too ready acquiescence in the dealer's first price, he should be led to suspect the value I set upon the article!—how have I trembled, lest some passing stranger should chop in between me and the prize, and regarded each poor student of divinity that stopped to turn over the books at the stall, as a rival amateur, or prowling bookseller in disguise! And then, Mr. Lovel, the sly satisfaction with which one pays the consideration and pockets the article, affecting a cold indifference while the hand is trembling with pleasure! Then to dazzle the eyes of our wealthier and emulous rivals by showing them such a treasure as this—(displaying a little black smoked book about the size of a primmer) to enjoy their surprise and envy, shrouding meanwhile under a veil of mysterious consciousness our own superior knowledge and dexterity—these, my young friend, these are the white moments of life, that repay the toil, and pains, and sedulous attention, which our profession, above all others, so peculiarly demands!"



As the author of the admirable romance of Guy Mannering has rendered every thing respecting Scottish Gypsies of extreme interest, the following details, relative to the


may not prove uninteresting to our readers.

John, sixth Earl of Cassilis, commonly termed "the grave and solemn Earl," married to his first wife, Lady Jane Hamilton, daughter of Thomas, first Earl of Haddington. It is said that this match took place contrary to the inclinations of the young lady, whose affections had been previously engaged by a certain Sir John Faa, of Dunbar, who was neither grave or solemn, and moreover much handsomer than his successful rival. While Lord Cassilis, who, by the way, was a very zealous puritan, was absent on some mission to that of England, Sir John with his followers repaired to Cassilis, where the young lady then resided, and persuaded her to elope with him to England. As ill luck would have it, the Earl returned home before the lovers could cross the Border; pursued and overtook them, and in the conflict all the masquerade gypsies were slain save one, and the weeping countess brought back to her husband's mansion, where she remained till a dungeon was prepared for her near the village of Maybole, wherein she languished for the remainder of her life in humble sorrow and devotion.

This is one version of the story, still very current in the country where the elopement took place, but it is not supported by the tenor of the ballad, which was composed by the only surviving ravisher, and is contradicted by a numerous jury of matrons, "spinsters and knitters in the sun," pronounce the fair countess guilty of having eloped with a genuine gypsey, though compelled in some degree to that low lived indiscretion by certain wicked charms and philtres, of which Faa and his party are said to have possessed the secret.

It is recorded in the ballad itself, that

"She gave to them the good white bread,

And they gave her the ginger,"

which doubtless contained some sting to enforce love. At that time the belief in the power of secret philtres was extremely prevalent; and means were resorted to in their composition far too abominable to be related here. We do not, however, find ginger mentioned as an ingredient in any of those satanic nostrums, of which the component parts have been committed to writing; but from its peculiar qualities, it probably was in request. The unfortunate lady was also assailed by the powers of glamour, which the stoutest chastity found quite unable to resist, if unaided by a morsel of the mountain ash-tree, an amber necklace, a stone forced by stripes from the head of a live toad; or the prudent recollection of keeping both thumbs close compressed in the hand, during the presence of the malevolent charmer.

Glamour, according to Scottish interpretation, is that supernatural power of imposing on the eye-sight, by which the appearance of an object shall be totally different from the reality. Sir Walter Scott, describing the wonderful volume of Michael of Balwearie, says:

"It had much of glamour might;

Could make a lady seem a knight;

The cobwebs on a dungeon wall

Seem tapestry in a lordly hall;

A nut-shell seem a gilded barge,

A sheeling seem a palace large,

And youth seem age, and age seem youth,

All was delusion, nought was truth.[1]

It is not now possible to fix the precise date of Lady Cassilis' elopement with the gypsey laddie. She was born in the year 1607, and is said to have died young; but, if she ran off with her lover during her husband's first journey to England, in quality of ruling elder deputed to the assembly of divines at Westminster, 1643, to ratify the solemn league and covenant, she could not even then have been in her first youth; and it is certain that she lived long enough in her confinement at Maybole, to work a piece of tapestry, still preserved at Colzean House, in which she represented her unhappy flight, but with circumstances unsuitable to the details of the ballad, and as if the deceits of glamour had still bewildered her memory, for she is mounted beside her lover, gorgeously attired on a superb white courser, and surrounded by a group of persons who bear no resemblance to a herd of tatterdemalion gypsies.

But it appears from the criminal records of Edinburgh, that, in January 1624, eight men, among whom were Captain John Faa, and five more of the name of Faa were convicted on the statute against Egyptians, and suffered according to sentence[2]. We are strongly induced to believe that this was the Johnnie of the ballad, whom Lord Cassilis wisely got hanged in place of slaying him in the field. Indeed, a stranger of the song, as it is sometimes recited, states that eight of the gypsies were hanged at Carlisle, and the rest at the Border. If this conjecture be right, the lady's lover was married as well as herself; for, a few days after John's trial, Helen Faa, relict of the captain, Lucretia Faa, and nine other female gypsies, were brought to judgment and condemned to be drowned; but the barbarous sentence was afterwards commuted to that of banishment, under pain of death to them and all their race should they ever return to Scotland.

The Earl of Cassilis[3] divorced his lady a mensa et thoro, and confined her, as has been already said, in a tower at Maybole, where eight heads carved in stone, below one of the turrets, are still pointed out as representing eight of the luckless Egyptians. It ought to be remembered, that this frail fair one did not carry on the noble family into which she married; for she bore only two daughters to the earl, of whom one became the wife of Lord Dundonald, and the other, in the last stage of antiquated virginity, bestowed her hand, and what was still better, upon the youthful Gilbert Burnet, then the busy intriguing inmate of Hamilton Palace, where Lady Margaret Kennedy generally resided, afterwards the well known bishop of Salisbury.

There is a portrait, said to be that of Lady Cassilis, in the Duke of Hamilton's apartments at Holyrood House; but it is evidently a picture of Dorothea, Countess of Sunderland, copied from Vandyke, and naturally enough in the possession of the noble family of Hamilton, as Lady Sunderland's grand-daughter, Lady Anne Spencer, was the first wife of James, Earl of Arran, afterwards Duke Hamilton. It would surely much annoy the disdainful spirit of the fair Saccharissa, were spirits conscious of worldly disgrace, to have her picture pointed out as that of a woman who could condescend to elope with a base-born gipsey; she, who was deaf to all the charms of plebean song, and treated her tuneful admirer with unqualified contempt, merely because he had the ill-fortune to be sprung from ignoble ancestry.

The copy of the ballad subjoined was transferred to paper from the recitation of a peasant in Galloway, and will be found to vary from the poem as it is commonly printed. Some lines have been omitted on account of their indelicacy, but it is comfortable to conclude, from the last stanza save one, that the lady, though she thought fit to elope, had not been actually criminal, when her lord overtook the gang, and secured his rambling moiety. It is to be regretted that he seems not to have taken her word on that subject, albeit he cannot justly be much blamed, considering his wife's giddiness, the wicked powers of glamour, and the enterprizing spirit of fifteen valiant men—"black but very bonnie."

The gypsies they came to my Lord Cassilis' yett,

   And O! but they sang bonnie;

They sang sae sweet and sae complete,

   That down came our fair ladie.


She came tripping down the stairs,

   And all her maids before her,

As soon as they saw her weel farred face,

   They coost their glamourie o'er her.


She gave to them the good wheat bread,

   And they gave her the ginger,

But she gave them a far better thing,

   The gold ring off her finger.


"Will ye go with me, my hinny and my heart,

   Will ye go with me, my dearie,

And I will swear by the staff of my spear,

   That your lord shall nae mair come near thee?"


"Gar take from me my silk manteel,

   And bring to me a plaidie,

For I will travel the world owre,

   Along with the gypsie laddie."


"I could sail the seas with my Jockie Faa,

   I could sail the seas with my dearie,

I could sail the seas with my Jockie Faa,

   And with pleasure could drown with my dearie."


They wandered high they wandered low,

   They wandered late and early,

Until they came to an old tenant's barn,

   And by this time she was wearie.


"Last night I lay in a weel made bed,

   And my noble lord beside me,

And now I must lay in an old tenant's barn,

   And the black crew glowring owre me."


"O hold your tongue, my hinny and my heart,

   O hold your tongue my dearie,

For I will swear by the moon and the stars,

   That thy lord shall nae mair come near thee."


They wandered high, and they wandered low,

   They wandered late and early,

Until they came to that wan water,

   And by this time she was wearie.


"Aften have I rode that wan water,

   And my Lord Cassilis beside me,

And now I must set in my white feet wade,

   And carry the gypsey laddie[4]."


By and bye came home this noble lord,

   And asking for his ladie,

The one did cry, the other did reply,

   "She's gone with the gypsey laddie."


"Go saddle to me the black," he says,

   "The brown rides never so speedie,

And I will neither eat nor drink,

   Till I bring home my ladie."


He wandered high, he wandered low,

   He wandered late and early,

Until he came to that wan water,

   And there he spied his ladie.


"O wilt thou go home, my hinny and my heart,

   O wilt thou go home, my dearie,

And I'll close thee in a close room,

   Where no man shall come near thee."


"I will not go home, my hinny and my heart,

   I will not go home my dearie,

If I have brewn good beer, I'll drink of the same,

   And my lord shall nae mair come near me."


"But I will swear by the moon and the stars,

   And the sun that shines so clearly,

That I am as free of the gypsey gang,

   As the hour my mother did bear me."


They were fifteen valiant men,

   Black, but very bonnie,

And they lost all their lives for one,

   The Earl of Casselis' ladie.

The gypsies it appears did not bring any particular religion with them from their native country; by which, as the jews, they could be distinguished among other persons, but regulate themselves in religious matters, according to the country where they live. Being very inconsistent in their choice of residence, they are likewise so in respect to religion. No gypsey has an idea of submission to any fixed profession of faith; it is as easy for him to change his religion at every new village, as for another person to shift his coat. They suffer themselves to be baptised in christian countries; among Mahometans to be circumcised. They are Greeks with Greeks, catholics with catholics, and again profess themselves to be protestants, whenever they happen to reside where that may be the prevailing religion.

From this mutability, we conceive what kind of ideas they have, and from thence we may deduce their general opinions of religion. As parents suffer their children to grow up, without either education or instruction, and were reared in the same manner themselves, so neither the one nor the other have any knowledge of God or religion. Very few of them like to attend to any discourse on the subject, they hear what is said with indifference, nay rather with impatience and repugnance; despising all remonstrance, believing nothing, they live on without the least solicitude, concerning what shall become of them after this life. In this manner the greatest part of these people think, with regard to religion; it naturally follows that their conduct should be conformable to such opinions and conceptions. Every duty is neglected, no prayer ever passes their lips, as little are they to be found in any assembly of public worship; from whence the Wallachians have a saying, "the gypsies' church was built with bacon, and the dogs ate it." The religious party from which a gypsey apostolizes, as little loses a brother believer, as the one to which he goes acquires one. He is neither mahommedan nor christian; for the doctrines of Mahomet and of Christ, are unlike unknown or indifferent to him, producing no other effect than, that in Turkey his child is circumcised, and baptised in Christendom. Even this is not done from any motive of reverence for the commands of religion, at least the circumstance of a gypsey's choosing to have his child several times baptized, in order to get more christening money, strongly indicates a very indifferent reason. This is the state of the gypsey religion in every country where they are found.

Besides, that every gypsey understands and speaks the language of the country where he lives, these people having been always famed, for their knowledge of various ones, acquired by their frequent removal from place to place, they have a general language of their own, in which they always converse with each other. Writers are of different opinions concerning this, whether it be a fictitious language, or really that of any country, and who are the people from whom it originates. Some pronounce it a mere jargon, others say it is gibberish. We can by no means agree with the first, as the only ground for the assertion is, barely, that they do not know any other language correspondent to that of the gypsies. But they do not seem to have considered how extravagant a surmise it is to believe a whole language an invention, that too, of people, rude, uncivilized, and hundreds of miles distant from each other. This opinion is too extravagant to employ more time to controvert it. The gypsey language cannot be admitted for gibberish neither, unless by those who know nothing of the former, or are totally ignorant of the latter, which is corrupt German; whereas the former has neither German words, inflexions, nor the least affinity in sound.

It is now, we believe, pretty generally agreed that the gypsies came originally from Hindostan; since their language so far coincides with the Hindostanic, that even now, after a lapse of nearly four centuries, during which they have been dispersed in various foreign countries, nearly one half of their words are precisely those of Hindostan[5]; and scarcely any variation is to be found in vocabularies procured from the gypsies in Turkey, Hungary, Germany, and those in England[6]. Their manners, for the most part, coincide, as well as the language, in every quarter of the globe where they are found; being the same idle wandering set of beings, and seldom professing any mode of acquiring a livelihood except that of fortune-telling.

The gypsies have no writing peculiar to them in which to express their language. Writing or reading are in general very uncommon accomplishments with any of them, nor must they be at all expected among the wandering sort. Sciences and the refined arts are not even to be thought of among people whose manner of living and education are so rough. Twiss does, indeed, mention that the Spanish gypsies have some knowledge of medicine and surgery; but woe betide the person who confides in their skill. Music is the only science in which the gypsies participate in any considerable degree; they compose likewise, but it is after the manner of the eastern people, extempore.

See the note to the above extract, in the Border Minstrelsy, Vol. III, p. 119, for many illustrations of the subject of glamour; but the most extraordinary instances that are to be met with, are collected by Delrio, in his citations from Dubravius' history of Bohemia. Winceslaus son to the Emperor Charles IV, marrying the Duke of Bavaria's daughter, the duke who understood that his son-in-law delighted in feats of conjuration, sent to Prague for a waggon load of magicians to enliven the nuptials. While the most scientific of these were puzzling for some new illusion, Winceslaus' family conjuror, Zyto by name, who had slid privately in among the crowd, of a sudden presented himself, having his mouth, as it seemed, entangled on both sides, open to his very ears; he goes straight to the duke's chief conjuror, and swallows him up with all that he wore, saving his pantouffles (slippers), which being dirty, he spit a great way from him. After this feat, feeling himself uneasy with such a load on his stomach, he hastens to a great tub that stood by full of water, voids the man into it, and then brings him back to the company, dripping wet, and overwhelmed with confusion; on which the other magicians would show no more tricks. This same master Zyto, who, par parenthèse, was, at last, himself carried off bodily by the devil, could appear with any visage he chose. When the king walked on the land, he would seem to swim on the water towards him; or, if his majesty was carried in a litter with horses, Zyto would follow in another borne up by cocks. He made thirty fat swine of so many wisps of hay, and sold them to a rich baker at a very high price, desiring him not to allow them to enter into any water; but the baker forgetting this injunction, found only the wisps of hay swimming on the surface of a pool; and in a mighty chafe seeking out Zyto, who was extended upon a bench, and seemingly asleep, he seized him by one leg to awake him, when lo! both the leg and thigh seemed to remain in his hands, which filled him with so much terror, that he complained no more of the cheat. Zyto at the banquet of the king, would sometimes change the hands of the guests into the hoofs of an ox or horse, so that they could not extend them to the dishes to help themselves to any thing; and if they looked out of the windows, he beautified their heads with horns;—a trick, by the by, which perhaps Johnnie Faa could have played to Lord Cassilis with infinitely greater significance.

"Two magicians," says Delrio, "met in the court of Elizabeth, Queen of England, and agreed that in any one thing they should certainly obey each other. The one, thereupon, commands the other to thrust his head out of the casement, which he had no sooner done than a huge pair of stags' horns were seen planted on his forehead, to the no small delight of the spectators, who laughed at, and mocked him extremely; but when it came to the horned magician's turn to be obeyed, he made his adversary stand upright against a wall, which instantly opening, swallowed him up, so that he was never afterwards seen."

From an abridgement of the acts of parliament and convention, from the reign of King James, we extract the following relative to gipsies. The act, no doubt, under which the dingy gallant, Johnnie Faa suffered, be he the individual in question; though there remains some doubt that the government would hang a man whom they had called upon to assist them in relieving the country of his vagrant brethren, unless he proved refractory to this command. "An act, banishing all vagabonds, called Egyptians, forth of the kingdom for ever, after the first of August 1609, and not to return under the pain of death, to be execute upon them as notorious thieves, on trial to be taken by an assize, that they are holden, and reputed Egyptians, and that none visit them and all warrants in the contrary are declared void."—Jam. 6 par 20, cap. 13.

The family of Cassilis in early times had been so powerful, that the head of it was generally termed the king of Carrick. Simpson, in his description of Galloway, (MS. Adv. Lib.) tells us that "the Earls of Cassilis had long since great power in Galloway, which occasioned the following rhyme:—

"'Twixt Wigton and the town of Ayr,

   Portpatrick and the cruives of Cree,

No man needs think for to bide there

   Unless he court with Kennedie."

A ford by which the countess and her lover are said to have crossed the river Doun, from a wood near Cassilis house, is still denominated the Gypsies' ford.

Grellman's opinion seems extremely plausible, that they are of the lowest class of Indians, called Suders, and that they left India when Timur Bag ravaged that country in 1408 and 1409, putting to death immense numbers of all ranks of people.

Mr. Marsden first made inquiries among the English gypsies concerning their language—Vide Archæologia, vol. ii. pp. 382-386. Mr. Coxe communicated a vocabulary of words used by those of Hungary, see the same volume of the Archæologia, p. 387. Any person who may wish to be convinced of the similarity of language, and being possessed of a vocabulary of words used in Hindostan, may be satisfied of its truth by conversing with the first gipsey he meets.


The following sketch of an aboriginal gipsey presents a faithful picture of one of these wandering hordes at the time to which it refers: it is taken from the popular novel Quentin Durward;[1] the prelude to which is as follows:—

Orleans, who could not love the match provided for him by the king, could love Isabella, and follows her escort. Quentin, however, unhorses him, and sustains a noble combat with his companion, the renowned Dunois, till a body of the archers ride up to his relief. The assailants are carried off prisoners, and our victorious Scot pursues his dangerous way, under uncertain guidance, as the following extract will shew:—

"While he hesitated whether it would be better to send back one of his followers, he heard the blast of a horn, and looking in the direction from whence the sound came, beheld a horseman riding very fast towards them. The low size and wild, shaggy, untrained state of the animal, reminded Quentin of the mountain breed of horses in his own country; but this was much more finely limbed, and, with the same appearance of hardness, was more rapid in its movements. The head, particularly, which in the Scottish poney is often limpid and heavy, was small and well placed in the neck of this animal, with their jaws, full sparkling eyes, and expanded nostrils.

"The rider was even more singular in his appearance than the horse which he rode, though that was extremely unlike the horses of France. Although he managed his palfrey with great dexterity, he sat with his feet in broad stirrups, sometimes resembling a shovel, so short that his knees were well nigh as high as the pommel of his saddle. His dress was a red turban of small size, in which he wore a sullied plume, secured by a clasp of silver; his tunic, which was shaped like those of the Estradiots, a sort of troop whom the Venetians at that time levied in the provinces, on the eastern side of their gulph, was green in colour and tawdrily laced with gold; he wore very wide drawers or trowsers of white, though none of the cleanest, which gathered beneath the knee, and his swarthy legs were quite bare, unless for the complicated laces which bound a pair of sandals on his feet; he had no spurs, the edge of his large stirrups being so sharp as to serve to goad the horse in a very severe manner. In a crimson sash this singular horseman wore a dagger on the right side, and on the left a short crooked Moorish sword, and by a tarnished baldrick over the shoulder hung the horn which announced his approach. He had a swarthy and sunburnt visage, with a thin beard and piercing dark eyes, a well formed mouth and nose, and other features which might have been pronounced handsome, but for the black elf locks which hung around his face, and the air of wildness and emaciation which rather seemed to indicate a savage more than a civilized man.

"Quentin rode up to the Bohemian, and said to him, as he suddenly assumed his proper position on his horse, 'Methinks, friend, you will prove but a blind guide, if you look at the tail of your horse rather than his ears.'

"'And if I were actually blind,' answered the Bohemian, 'I could guide you through any country in this realm of France, or in those adjoining to it.'

"'Yet you are no Frenchman born,' said the Scot.

"'I am not,' answered the guide.

"'What countryman, then, are you?' demanded Quentin.

"'I am of no country,' answered the guide.

"'How, of no country?' repeated the Scot.

"'No!' answered the Bohemian, 'of none. I am a Zingaro, a Bohemian, an Egyptian, or whatever the Europeans, in their different languages, may chuse to call[2] our people; but I have no country.'

"'Are you a Christian?' asked the Scotsman.

"The Bohemian shook his head.

"'Dog,' said Quentin (for there was little toleration in the spirit of Catholicism in those days) 'dost thou worship Mahoun?'

"'No,' was the indifferent and concise answer of the guide, who neither seemed offended nor surprised at the young man's violence of manner.

"'Are you a Pagan, then, or what are you?'

"'I have no religion,' answered the Bohemian.

"Durward started back; for though he had heard of Saracens and Idolaters, it had never entered into his ideas or belief, that any body of men could exist who practised no mode of worship whatsoever. He recovered from his astonishment, to ask where his guide usually dwelt.

"'Wherever I chance to be for the time,' replied the Bohemian; 'I have no home.'

"'How do you guard your property?'

"'Excepting the clothes which I wear and the horse which I ride on, I have no property.'

"'Yet you dress gaily and ride gallantly,' said Durward; 'what are your means of subsistence?'

"'I eat when I am hungry, drink when I am thirsty, and have no other means of subsistence than chance throws in my way,' replied the vagabond.

"'Under whose laws do you live?'

"'I acknowledge obedience to none but as it suits my pleasure,' said the Bohemian.

"'Who is your leader and who commands you?'

"'The father of our tribe—if I chose to obey him,' said the guide, 'otherwise I have no commander.'

"'You are, then,' said the wandering querist, 'destitute of all that other men are combined by; you have no law, no leader, no suited means of subsistence, no house, no home. You have, may heaven compassionate you, no country—and may heaven enlighten and forgive you, you have no God! What is it that remains to you, deprived of government, domestic happiness and religion?'

"'I have liberty,' said the Bohemian; 'I crouch to no one—obey no one—respect no one. I go where I will—live as I can—and die when my day comes.'

"'But you are subject to instant execution, at the pleasure of the judge.'

"'Be it so,' returned the Bohemian; 'I can but die so much sooner.'

"'And to imprisonment also,' said the Scot; 'and where then is your boasted freedom?'

"'In my thoughts,' said the Bohemian, 'which no chains can bind: while yours, even when you limbs are free, remain fettered by your laws and your superstitions, your dreams of local attachment, and your fantastic visions of civil policy. Such as I are free in spirit when our limbs are chained—you are imprisoned in mind, even when your limbs are most at freedom.'

"'Yet the freedom of our thoughts,' said the Scot, 'relieves not the pressure of the gyves on your limbs.'

"'For a brief time that may be endured; and if within that period I cannot extricate myself, and fail of relief from my comrades, I can always die, and death is the most perfect of all freedom.'

"Here was a deep pause of some duration, which Quentin at length broke, by resuming his queries.

"'Yours is a wandering race, unknown to the nations of Europe—whence do they derive their origin?'

"'I may not tell you,' answered the Bohemian.

"'When will they relieve this kingdom from their presence, and return to the land from whence they came?' said the Scot.

"'When the day of their pilgrimage shall be accomplished,' replied his vagrant guide.

"'Are you not sprung from those tribes of Israel which were carried into captivity beyond the great river Euphrates?' said Quentin, who had not forgotten the love which had been taught him at Aberbrothock.

"'Had we been so,' returned the Bohemian, 'we had followed their faith, and practised their rites.'

"'What is thine own name?' said Durward.

"'My proper name is only known to my brethren; the men beyond our tents call me Hayraddin Maugrabin, that is Hayraddin the African man.'

"'Thou speakest too well for one who hath lived always in thy filthy horde,' said the Scot.

"'I have learned some of the knowledge of this land,' said Hayraddin. 'When I was a little boy, our tribe was chased by the hunters after human flesh. An arrow went through my mother's head, and she died. I was entangled in the blanket on her shoulders, and was taken by the pursuers. A priest begged me from the provost's archers, and trained me up in Frankish learning for two or three years.'

"'How came you to part with him?' demanded Durward.

"'I stole money from him, even the god he worshipped,' answered Hayraddin, with perfect composure. 'He detected me and beat me; I stabbed him with my knife, fled to the woods, and was again united to my people.'

"'Wretch!' said Durward, 'did you murder your benefactor?'

"'What had he to do to burthen me with his benefits? The Zingaro boy was no house-bred cur to dog the heels of his master and crouch beneath his blows, for scraps of food; he was the imprisoned wolf-whelp, which at the first opportunity broke his chain, rendered his master, and returned to his wilderness.'

"There was another pause, when the young Scot, without farther investigating the character and purpose of this suspicious guide, asked Hayraddin, 'whether it was not time that his people, amid their ignorance, pretended to a knowledge of futurity, which was not given to the sages, philosophers, and divines of more polished society?'

"'We pretend to it,' said Hayraddin, 'and it is with justice.'

"'How can it be that so high a gift is bestowed on so abject a race?' said Quentin.

"'Can I tell you?' answered Hayraddin—'yes, I may indeed; but it is when you shall explain to me why the dog can trace the footsteps of a man, while man, the noble animal, hath no power to trace those of the dog. These powers, which seem to you so wonderful, are instructive in our race. From the lines in the face and on the hand, we can tell the future fate of those who consult us, even as surely as you know from the blossom of the tree in spring what fruit it will bear in harvest.'"

Few of the descendants of the aboriginal gypsies are to be found any where in Europe at the present day, and in Switzerland and England less than any where else. The severity of the police against this description of the degenerate vagabonds, existing at the present day, have considerably thinned their phalanxes, and brought them to something like a due sense of the laws and expectations of civilized society. What remains of them, nevertheless, continue one way or other to elude the vigilance of the laws by different masked callings, under which they ostensibly appear to carry on their usual traffic.

The modern gypsies pretend that they derive their origin from the ancient Egyptians, who were famous for their knowledge in astronomy and other sciences; and, under the pretence of fortune-telling, find means to rob or defraud the credulous and superstitious. To colour their impostures, they artificially discolour their faces, and speak a kind of gibberish or cant peculiar to themselves. They rove up and down the country in large companies, to the great terror of the farmers, from whose geese, turkies, and fowls they take considerable contributions. The following account of these wandering beings is extracted from Evelyn's Journal, which throws some light on their degeneracy from the primitive tribes:—

"In our statutes they are called Egyptians, which implies a counterfeit kind of rogues, 'who being English or Welsh people,' disguise themselves in uncouth habits, meaning their faces and bodies, and framing to themselves an unknown, canting language, wander up and down; and, under pretence of telling fortunes, curing diseases, &c. abuse the common people, trick them of their money, and steal all that is not too hot or too heavy for them."

In 1531, the wandering bands styled gypsies were so numerous and noxious in England, that an act was passed to banish them from the realm, on pain of imprisonment and confiscation of property. The Earl of Arran, during his regency, a few years afterwards, took a different method to get rid of these hated vagabonds, by ordering all sheriffs and other magistrates to assist John Faw, Lord and Earl of little Egypt, to collect together his subjects, the gypsies (many of whom had rebelled against Faw, under the guidance of one Sebastian Lalow), that he might carry them back to their own country, as he had engaged to do. Vide Public acts.

Quentin Durward, passim.

In most parts of the Continent the gypsies are called cingari or Zingari; the Spaniard calls them Gittemos; the French, Bohémiens; the German, Zigeuna; the Latins, Egyptii; others, Saracens and Tartars.



The energy and perseverance by which North Britons are distinguished, will be evinced throughout the pages of this section. A friend of the author, having been requested to make application at the Advocates' and the University Libraries, in the city of Edinburgh, for extracts from some foreign publications, was also desired to transmit with them, what information could be obtained respecting the Gypsies in Scotland.

With a promptitude and zeal which characterise genuine philanthropy, a circular, containing four queries, was dispatched to the Sheriff of every county in that nation; soliciting, through the medium of an official organ, all the intelligence which could be obtained on the subject. In consequence, returns have been made from nearly the whole of the shires, either by the Sheriff, or his substitute; generally addressed to George Miller, jun. Edinburgh, who has been a most effective coadjutor on this occasion.

From thirteen counties, the reports are, "No Gypsies resident in them;" some others give account of their only passing through at times.

William Frazer Tytler, Sheriff of Inverness-shire, writes as follows: "The undertaking in which you are engaged, for the civilization of so lost a portion of mankind, merits every support. Its effects may be more generally and extensively useful in England, where those unfortunate people are extremely numerous. In Scotland, their number is comparatively small, and particularly in the county of Inverness."

Alexander Moor, Sheriff Depute of Aberdeenshire, states: "There are not any Gypsies who have a permanent residence in that Sheriffalty. Occasionally, vagrants, both single and in bands, appear in this part of the country; resorting to fairs, where they commit depredations on the unwary. Some of them are supposed to be connected with Gypsies in the southern part of the island."

John Blair, sheriff-substitute for the county of Bute, writes: "I have to inform, that the people generally known by the description of gypsies, are not in use to come hither, unless abject itinerant tinkers and braziers, generally from Ireland, may be accounted such. A few of them often visit us, and take up their abode for a time in different parts of the country, where people can be prevailed upon to give them the accommodation of an out-house or hut."

They are understood to be illiterate; neither they nor their children, who are often numerous, being able to read.

The distinguished northern poet, Walter Scott, who is sheriff of Selkirkshire, has in a very obliging manner communicated the following statement;

"A set of people possessing the same erratic habits, and practising the trade of tinkers, are well known in the borders; and have often fallen under the cognisance of the law.—They are often called gypsies, and pass through the county annually in small bands, with their carts and asses. The men are tinkers, poachers, and thieves upon a small scale. They also sell crockery, deal in old rags, in eggs, in salt, in tobacco, and such trifles; and manufacture horn into spoons. I believe most of those who come through Selkirkshire resided during winter in the villages of Sterncliff and Spittal, in Northumberland, and in that of Kirk Yetholm, Roxburghshire.

"Mr. Smith, the respectable bailie of Kelso, can give the most complete information concerning those who reside at Kirk Yetholm. Formerly, I believe, they were much more desperate in their conduct than at present. But some of the most atrocious families have been extirpated, I allude particularly to the Winters, a Northumberland clan, who I fancy, are all buried by this time.

"Mr. Reddell, justice of peace for Roxburgshire, with my assistance and concurrence, cleared this county of the last of them, about eight or nine years ago. They were thorough desperadoes, of the worst of classes of vagabonds. Those who now travel through this county give offence chiefly by poaching, and small thefts. They are divided into clans, the principal names being Faa, Bailie, Young, Ruthven, and Gordon.

"All of them are perfectly ignorant of religion, nor do their children receive any education. They marry and cohabit amongst each other, and are held in a sort of horror by the common people.

"I do not conceive them to be the proper oriental Egyptian race, at least they are much intermingled with our own national outlaws and vagabonds. They are said to keep up a communication with each other through Scotland, and to have some internal government and regulation as to the districts which each family travels.

"I cannot help again referring to Mr. Smith, of Kelso, a gentleman who can give the most accurate information respecting the habits of those itinerants, as their winter-quarters of Yetholm are upon an estate of which he has long had the management."

It is very satisfactory to have received from an authority so respectable as that of William Smith, the Bailie of Kelsoe, above referred to, answers to the four queries of the circular; accompanied by his own interesting and appropriate illustrations, from which extracts were made as follow, dated November, 1815.

"Query 1st. What number of gypsies in this county?

"A. I know of none except the colony of Yetholm, and one family who lately removed from that place to Kelso. Yetholm consists of two towns, or large villages, called Town Yetholm, and Kirk Yetholm. The first is in the estate of Mr. Wauchope, of Niddry; the latter in that of the Marquis of Tweedale. The number of the gypsey colony at present in Kirk Yetholm amounts to at least 109 men, women, and children: and perhaps two or three may have escaped notice.—They marry early in life, in general have many children, and their number seems to be increasing.

"Query 2d. In what do the men and women mostly employ themselves?

"B. I have known the colony between forty and fifty years. At my first remembrance of them, they were called the Tinklers (tinkers) of Yetholm, from the males being chiefly then employed in mending pots, and other culinary utensils, especially in their perigrinations through the hilly and less populous parts of the country.

"Sometimes they were called Horners, from their occupation in making and selling horn spoons, called Cutties. Now their common appellation is that of muggers, or, what pleases them better, potters. They purchase, at a cheap rate, the cast or faulty articles, at the different manufactories of earthenware, which they carry for sale all over the country; consisting of groups of six, ten, and sometimes twelve or fourteen persons, male and female, young and old, provided with a horse and cart to transport the pottery; besides shelties and asses to carry the youngest of the children, and such baggage as they find necessary.

"In the country, they sleep in barns, and byres, or other out-houses; and when they cannot find that accommodation, they take the canvas covering from the pottery cart, and squat below it like a covey of partridges in the snow.

"A few of the colony also employ themselves occasionally in making besoms, foot-bosses, &c. from heath, broom, and bent, and sell them at Kelso, and the neighbouring towns. After all, their employment can be considered little better than an apology for idleness and vagrancy.

"They are in general great adepts in hunting; shooting, and fishing; in which last they use the net and spear, as well as the rod; and often supply themselves with a hearty meal by their dexterity. They have no notion of their being limited in their field sports, either to time, place, or mode of destruction.

"I do not see that the women are any otherwise employed, than attending the young children, and assisting to sell the pottery when carried thro' the country.

"Query 3d. Have they any settled abode in winter, and where?

"A. Their residence, with the exception of a single family, who some years ago came to Kelso, is at Kirk Yetholm, and chiefly confined to one row of houses, or street of that town, which goes by the name of Tinkler-row. Most of them have leases of their possessions, granted for a term of nineteen times nineteen years, for payment of a small sum yearly; something of the nature of a quit rent. There is no tradition in the neighbourhood concerning the time when the gypsies first took up their residence at that place, nor whence they came.

"Most of their leases, I believe, were granted by the family of the Bennets and Grubet; the last of whom was Sir David Bennet, who died about sixty years ago. The late Mr. Nesbit of Dirleton then succeeded to the estate, comprehending the baronies of Kirk Yetholm and Grubet. He died about the year 1783, and not long after, the property was acquired by the late Lord Tweedale's trustees.

"During the latter part of the life of the late Mr. Nesbit, he was less frequently at his estate in Roxburghshire than formerly. He was a great favourite of the gypsies, and was in use to call them his bodyguards, and often gave them money," &c.


"I remember that about forty-five years ago, being then apprentice to a writer, who was in use to receive the rents as well as the small duties of Kirk Yetholm, he sent me there with a list of names, and a statement of what was due; recommending me to apply to the landlord of the public-house, in the village, for any information or assistance which I might need.

"After waiting a long time, and receiving payment from most of the feuers, or rentallers, I observed to him that none of the persons of the names of Faa, Young, Blythe, Fleckie, &c. who stood at the bottom of the list for small sums, had come to meet me, according to the notice given by the Baron officer; and proposed sending to inform them that they were detaining me, and to request their immediate attendance.

"The landlord, with a grave face, inquired whether my master had desired me to ask money from those men? I said, not particularly; but they stood on the list. 'So, I see,' said the landlord; 'but had your master been here himself, he did not dare to ask money from them, either as rent or feu duty.—He knows that it is as good as if it were in his pocket. They will pay when their own time comes, but do not like to pay at a set time with the rest of the barony; and still less to be craved.'

"I accordingly returned, without their money, and reported progress. I found that the landlord was right; my master said with a smile, that it was unnecessary to send to them, after the previous notice from the baron officer; it was enough if I had received the money if offered. Their rent and feu duty was brought to the office in a few weeks, I need scarcely add, those persons all belonged to the tribe.

"When first I knew any thing about the colony, old Will Faa was king or leader, and had held the sovereignty for many years.

"Meeting at Kelso with Mr. Walter Scott, whose discriminating habits and just observations I had occasion to know from his youth, and at the same time seeing one of my Yetholm friends in the horse market, I merely said to Mr. Scott, 'Try to get before that man with the long drab coat; look at him on your return, and tell me whether you ever saw him, and what you think of him.' He was so good as to indulge me; and rejoining me, said, without hesitation, 'I never saw the man, that I know of; but he is one of the gypsies of Yetholm, that you told me of several years ago.' I need scarcely say that he was perfectly correct.

"The descendants of Faa now take the name of Fall, from the Mess. Falls, of Dunbar, who, they pride themselves in saying, are of the same stock and lineage. When old Will Faa was upwards of eighty years of age, he called on me at Kelso, in his way to Edinburgh, telling that he was going to see the laird, the late Mr. Nesbit, of Dirleton, as he understood that he was very unwell, and himself being now old, and not so stout as he had been, he wished to see him once more before he died.

"The old man set out by the nearest road, which was by no means his common practice. Next market-day some of the farmers informed me, that they had been in Edinburgh and seen Will Faa upon the bridge, (the south bridge was not then built;) that he was tossing about his old brown hat, and huzzaing with great vociferation, that he had seen the laird before he died. Indeed Will himself had no time to lose, for having set his face homewards by the way of the sea coast, to vary his route, as is the general custom of the gang, he only got the length of Coldingham, when he was taken ill and died."

Before receiving the very interesting report from William Smith, the author of this Survey was entirely at a loss to determine what was become of the descendants of John Faw, who styled himself Lord and Earl of Little Egypt; and with a numerous retinue entered Scotland in the reign of Queen Mary, as stated in section the 5th. His complaint of his men refusing to return home with him, might be only a feint, invented to cover his design of continuing in the country; for there does not appear to be any traces in history of the banishment of Fawgang, or of their quitting Scotland. But in the above-cited report, we find at the head of the Tinklers a Will Faa, in whose name there is only a variation of one letter from that of his distinguished predecessor; and that in reference to this origin, he asserts the Falls of Dunbar to be of the same stock and lineage.

From "Heyland's Historical Survey of the Gypsies." 8vo. York, 1816.



The Memoirs of Philip de Comines have long been esteemed as furnishing an impartial, authentic, and lively delineation of the remarkable era of Louis XI of France. These have acquired more than usual interest, as the ground-work of one of the most vigorous and beautiful of those master productions, by which the spirit of past ages is brought before us in the most natural and vivid colours; and the hard historical outline of great events and remarkable personages is worked up into a portraiture full of life and beauty. Quentin Durward is, in fine, a picture of foreign manners towards the end of the fifteenth century. And well it is contrasted with the introductory outline, which commences these volumes, of those of the beginning of the nineteenth, in which the interesting portrait of a restored emigrant of the old court is one of the happiest probably ever drawn even by the master of Waverley.

The hero, a young Scotsman of the shire of Angus, (or Hanguise, as the marquis persists in calling it) and the only surviving branch of a gentle family whom the Ogilvies had harried and exterminated in a feud, arrives in France in quest of happier fortunes; but previously to entering on his adventures, we have a finely written view of the state of that country and of the characters of Louis XI and Charles, Duke of Burgundy. It is the lot of Quentin to encounter the former near Plessis le Tours, and to ingratiate himself into his favour, as far as ever an ingenious youth could be prized by a tortuous politician. At first Louis suffers the adventurer to be nearly drowned, and then succours him as Maitre Pierre, a substantial citizen, while his attendant (Tristan[1], his provost marshal) passes for a still lower character. He is carried to an inn, and kindly entertained by the king, who discovers that he is in search of service, and looks forward to a maternal uncle, one of his majesty's bravest Scottish archers, and named Ludovic Leslie or le Balafré, from a scar on his face. At this inn Quentin is blessed with a sight of Isabelle, Countess of Croye, a vassal of the Duke of Burgundy's, but who, with her aunt Hameline, had fled to Louis, to avoid being forced into an hated marriage by that hot and peremptory lord.

The next character who appears on the stage is his uncle Ludovic; and a portion of the author's description of the interview between the relations is well worth citing as an example of the work:—

"The cavalier who awaited Quentin Durward's descent into the apartment where he had breakfasted, was one of those of whom Louis XI had long since said, that they held in their hands the fortune of France, as to them were entrusted the direct custody and protection of the royal person. . . . .

. . . . . . "Each of them ranked as a gentleman in place and honour; and their near approach to the king's person gave them dignity in their own eyes, as well as in those of the nation of France. They were sumptuously armed, equipped, and mounted; and each was entitled to allowance for a squire, a valet, a page, and two yeomen, one of whom was termed coutelier, from the large knife which he wore to dispatch those whom in the mêlée his master had thrown to the ground. With these followers, and a corresponding equipage, an archer of the Scottish Guard was a person of quality and importance; and vacancies being generally filled up by those who had been trained in the service as pages or valets, the cadets of the best Scottish families were often sent to serve under some friend and relation in those capacities, until a chance of preferment should occur.

"The coutelier and his companion, not being noble or capable of this promotion, were recruited from persons of inferior quality; but as their pay and appointments were excellent, their masters were easily able to select from among their wandering countrymen the strongest and most courageous to wait upon them in that capacity.

Ludovic Leslie, or, as we shall more frequently call him, Le Balafré, by which name he was generally known in France, was upwards of six feet high, robust, strongly compacted in person, and hard-favoured in countenance, which latter attribute was much increased by a large and ghastly scar, which, beginning on his forehead, and narrowly missing his right eye, had laid bare the cheek-bone, and descended from thence almost to the tip of his ear, exhibiting a deep seam, which was sometimes scarlet, sometimes blue, and sometimes approaching to black; but always hideous, because at variance with the complexion of the face in whatever state it chanced to he, whether agitated or still, flushed with unusual passion, or in its ordinary state of weather-beaten and sun-burnt swarthiness.

"His dress and arms were splendid. He wore his national bonnet, crested with a tuft of feathers, and with a Virgin Mary of massive silver for a brooch. These had been presented to the Scottish Guard, in consequence of the king, in one of his fits of superstitious piety, having devoted the swords of his guard to the service of the Holy Virgin, and, as some say, carried the matter so far as to draw out a commission to Our Lady as their Captain General. The archer's gorget, arm-pieces, and gauntlets, were of the finest steel, curiously inlaid with silver, and his hauberk, or shirt of mail, was as clear and bright as the frost-work of a winter morning upon fern or brier. He wore a loose surcoat, or cassock, of rich blue velvet, open at the sides like that of a herald, with a large white cross of embroidered silver bisecting it both before and behind—his knees and legs were protected by hose of mail and shoes of steel—a broad strong poniard (called the Mercy of God) hung by his right side—the bauldrick for his two-handed sword, richly embroidered, hung upon his left shoulder; but, for convenience, he at present carried in his hand that unwieldy weapon, which the rules of his service forbade him to lay aside.

"Quentin Durward, though, like the Scottish youth of the period, he had been early taught to look upon arms and war, though he had never seen a more martial-looking, or more completely equipped and accomplished man-at-arms, than now saluted him in the person of his mother's brother, called Ludovic with the Scar, or Le Balafré; yet he could not but shrink a little from the grim expression of his countenance, while with its rough moustachios, he brushed first the one and then the other cheek of his kinsman, welcomed his fair nephew to France, and, in the same breath, asked what news from Scotland.

"'Little good, dear uncle,' replied young Durward; 'but I am glad that you know me so readily.'

"'I would have known thee, boy, in the landes of Bourdeaux, had I met thee marching there like a crane on a pair of stilts. But, sit thee down—sit thee down—if there is sorrow to hear of, we will have wine to make us bear it.—Ho! old Pinch-Measure, our good host, bring us of thy best, and that in an instant.'

"The well-known sound of the Scottish-French was as familiar in taverns near Plessis, as that of the Swiss-French in the modern ginguettes of Paris; and promptly—ay, with the promptitude of fear and precipitation, was it heard and obeyed. A flagon of champagne soon stood before them, of which the elder took a draught, while the nephew helped himself only to a moderate sip, to acknowledge his uncle's courtesy, saying, in excuse, that he had already drank wine that morning.

"'That had been a rare apology in the mouth of thy sister, fair nephew,' said Le Balafré: 'you must fear the wine-pot less, if you would wear beard on your face, and write yourself soldier. But, come—come—unbuckle your Scottish mail-bag—give us the news of Glen-houlakin—how doth my sister?'

"'Dead, fair uncle,' answered Quentin sorrowfully.

"'Dead!' echod his uncle, with a tone rather marked by wonder than sympathy—'why, she was five years younger than I, and I was never better in my life. Dead! the thing is impossible. I have never had so much as a headache, unless after revelling out my two or three days' furlow with the brethren of the joyous science—and my poor sister is dead!—And your father, fair nephew, hath he married again?'

"And, ere the youth could reply, he read the answer in his surprise at the question, and said, 'What no?—I would have sworn that Allan Durward was no man to live without a wife. He loved to have his house in order—loved to look on a pretty woman too: and was somewhat strict in life withal—matrimony did all this for him. Now, I care little about these comforts; and I can look on a pretty woman without thinking on the sacrament of wedlock—I am scarce holy enough for that.'

"'Alas! dear uncle, my mother was left a widow a year since, when Glen-houlakin was harried by the Ogilvies. My father, and my two uncles, and my two elder brothers, and seven of my kinsmen, and the harper, and the tasker, and some six more of our people, were killed in defending the castle; and there is not a burning hearth or a standing stone in all Glen-houlakin.'

"'Cross of Saint Andrew!' said Le Balafré; 'that is what I call an onslaught. Ay, these Ogilvies were ever but sorry neighbours to Glen-houlakin—an evil chance it was; but fate of war—fate of war.—When did this mishap befal, fair nephew?' With that he took a deep draught of wine in lieu, and shook his head with much solemnity, when his kinsman replied, that his family had been destroyed upon the festival of Saint Jude last bye-past.

"'Look ye there,' said the soldier; 'I said it was all chance—on that very day I and twenty of my comrades carried the Castle of Roche-noir by storm, from Amaury Bras-de-fer, a captain of free lances, whom you must have heard of. I killed him on his own threshold, and gained as much gold as made this fair chain, which was once twice as long as it now is—and that minds me to send part of it on an holy errand—Here, Andrew—Andrew!'

"Andrew, his yeoman, entered, dressed like the Archer himself in the general equipment, but without the armour for the limbs—that of the body more coarsely manufactured—his cap without a plume, and his cassock made of serge, or coarse cloth, instead of rich velvet. Untwinning his gold chain from his neck, Balafré twisted off, with his firm and strong-set teeth, about four inches from the one end of it, and said to his attendant, 'Here, Andrew, carry this to my gossip, jolly Father Boniface, the monk of Saint Martin's—greet him well from me, by the same token that he could not say God save ye when we last parted at midnight—Tell my gossip that my brother and sister, and some others of my house, are all dead and gone, and I pray him to say masses for their souls as far as the value of these links will carry him, and to do on trust what else may be necessary to free them from Purgatory. And hark ye, as they were just-living people, and free from all heresy, it may be that they are well nigh out of limbo already, so that a little matter may have them free of the fetlocks; and in that case, look ye, ye will say I desire to take out the gold in curses upon a generation called the Ogilvies, in what way soever the church may best come at them. You understand all this Andrew?'

"The coutelier nodded.

"'Then look that none of the links find their way to the wine-house ere the Monk touches them; for if it so chance, thou shalt taste of saddle-girth and stirrup-leather, till thou art as raw as Saint Bartholomew.—Yet hold, I see thy eye has fixed on the wine measure, and thou shalt not go without tasting.'

"So saying, he filled him a brimful cup, which the coutelier drank off, and retired to do his patron's commission.

"'And now, fair nephew let us hear what was your own fortune in this unhappy matter.'

"'I fought it out among those who were older and stouter than I was till we were all brought down,' said Durward, 'and, I received a cruel wound,' 'Not a worse slash than I received ten years since myself,' said Le Balafré—'Look at this now my fair nephew,' tracing the dark crimson gash which was imprinted on his face—'an Ogilvies' sword never plunged so deep a furrow.'

"'They plunged deeply enough,' answered Quentin, sadly, 'but they were tired at last, and my mother's entreaties procured mercy for me, when I was found to retain some spark of life; but although a learned Monk of Aberbrothock, who chanced to be our guest at the fatal time, and narrowly escaped being killed in the fray, was permitted to bind my wounds, and finally to move me to a place of safety, it was only on promise, given both by my mother and him, that I should become a monk.'"

For this vocation, however, he was unfit; and after being taught the rare accomplishments of reading and writing, set forth, as shown, to push his fortunes. These prosper, for he acts bravely and prudently, saves the king at a boar-hunt, is enrolled among the Scots archers of his guard, and employed on matters of the utmost pith and enterprize. In the end of the first volume, Crevecœur, a brave Burgundian ambassador, delivers a hostile message from his master the duke; but Louis temporises, and to avoid one part of the ground of quarrel, entrusts Quentin with the charge of the ladies, Hameline and Isabelle, to convey them to the Bishop of Liege for protection, while in reality he plans their being seized by William de la March, a lawless warrior, called the Boar of the Ardennes, and disposed of by that savage. Our hero avoids the snare laid for them in the route, and over-matches his treacherous guide, one of the Bohemians whom we have mentioned.

It is exceedingly curious and instructive to trace such a writer to the sources from which he has derived his incidents and characters; to mark where he has followed, or where he has departed from, the authentic relations or established traditions of the periods of which he treats; and to discover how readily a creative genius avails itself of the most trifling anecdote or the slightest description, to give a spirit and truth to his fictions which pure invention can never attain. The labour of such an inquiry would greatly exceed the limits which we have prescribed to ourselves; we shall merely extract a few brief notices. We shall, therefore, transcribe a portion of his character of Louis XI, in order that the reader may compare it with the annexed description which Comines has given of the same ambitious and crafty monarch:

"Brave enough for every useful and political purpose, Louis had not a spark of that romantic valour, or of the pride connected with and arising out of it, which fought for the point of honour, when the point of utility had been long gained. Calm, crafty, and profoundly attentive to his own interest, he made every sacrifice both of his pride and passion, which could interfere with it. He was careful in disguising his real sentiments and purposes from all who approached him, and frequently used the expressions, 'That the king knew not how to reign, who knew not how to dissemble; and that, for himself, if he thought his very cap knew his secrets, he would throw it into the fire.' No man of his own, or of any other time, better understood how to avail himself of the frailties of others, and when to avoid giving any advantage by the untimely indulgence of his own.

"He was by nature vindictive and cruel, even to the extent of finding pleasure in the frequent executions which he commanded. But as no touch of mercy ever induced him to spare, when lie could with safety condemn, so no sentiment of vengeance ever stimulated him to a premature violence. He seldom sprung on his prey till it was fairly within his grasp, and till all chance of rescue was in vain; and his movements were so studiously disguised, that his success was generally what first announced to the world the object he had been manœuvring to obtain.

"In like manner, the avarice of Louis gave way to apparent profusion, when it was necessary to bribe the favourite or minister of a rival prince for averting any impending attack, or to break up an alliance confederated against him. He was fond of license and pleasure; but neither beauty nor the chace, though both were ruling passions, ever withdrew him from the most regular attendance of public business and the affairs of his kingdom. His knowledge of mankind was profound, and he had sought it in the private walks of life, in which he often personally mingled; and although personally proud and haughty, he hesitated not, with an inattention to the arbitrary divisions of society, which was then thought something portentously unnatural, to raise from the lowest rank men whom he employed on the most important duties, and knew so well how to choose them, that he was rarely disappointed in their qualities.—Yet there were contradictions in the nature of this artful and able monarch,—for humanity is never uniform. Himself the most false and insincere of mankind, some of the greatest errors of his life arose from too rash a confidence in the honour and integrity of others. When these errors took place, they seem to have arisen from an over-refined system of policy, which induced Louis to assume the appearance of undoubting confidence in those whom it was his highest object to over-reach; for, in his general conduct he was as jealous and suspicious as any tyrant who ever lived.

"Two other points may be noticed to complete the sketch of this formidable character, who rose among the rude chivalrous sovereigns of the period to the rank of a keeper among wild beasts, who, by superior wisdom and policy, by distribution of food, and some discipline by blows, comes finally to predominate over those who, if unsubjected by his acts, would by main strength have torn him to pieces. The first of these attributes was Louis's excessive superstition, a plague with which Heaven often afflicts those who refuse to listen to the dictates of religion. The remorse arising from his evil actions, Louis endeavoured to appease by any relaxation in his Machiavelian stratagems, but laboured, in vain, to soothe and silence that painful feeling by superstitious observations, severe penance, and profuse gifts to the ecclesiastics. The second property, with which the first is some times found strangely united, was a disposition to low pleasures and obscure debauchery. The wisest, or at least the most crafty, sovereign of his time was fond of ordinary life; and, being himself a man of wit, enjoyed the jests and repartees of social conversation more than could have been expected from other points of his character. He even mingled in the comic adventures of obscure intrigue, with a freedom scarce consistent with the habitual and guarded jealousy of his character."

The view which the historian of this monarch takes of his character is unquestionably more favourable; but it is easy to discover in the sketch of Comines the outline of the crafty, intriguing, familiar, and sarcastic Louis of Quentin Durward:—

"Of all the princes that I ever had the honour to know, the wisest and most dexterous to extricate himself out of any danger or difficulties in time of adversity, was (says Comines) our master King Louis XI. He was the humblest in his conversation and habit, and the most painful and indefatigable to win over any man to his side, that he thought capable of doing him either much mischief or good: though he was often refused, he would never give over a man whom he once undertook, but still pressed and continued his insinuations, promising him largely, and presenting him with such sums and pensions as he knew would satisfy his ambition: and for such as he had discarded in the time of peace and prosperity, he paid dear (when he had occasion for them) to recover them again; but when he had once reconciled them, he retained no pique to them for what had passed, but employed them freely for the future. He was naturally kind and indulgent to persons of indifferent condition, and morose to such as he thought had no need of him. Never prince was so conversable, nor so inquisitive as he, for his desire was to know every body he could; and, indeed, he knew all persons of any authority or worth in England, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, the territories of the Dukes of Burgundy and Bretagne, and in his own country; and by those qualities he preserved the crown upon his head, which was in much danger by the enemies he had created to himself through his inadvertency upon his accession to the throne. But, above all, his great bounty and liberality did him greatest service; and yet, as he behaved himself wisely in time of distress, so when he thought himself a little out of danger, though it were but by a truce, he would disoblige the servants and officers of his court by mean and trifling ways, which were little to his advantage: and as for peace, he could hardly bear the thoughts of it. He spoke lightly of most people, and rather before their faces than behind their backs, unless he was afraid of them, and of that sort there were a great many, for he was naturally timorous. When he had done himself any prejudice by his talk, or was apprehensive he should do, to make men amends whom he had injured, he would say to the persons whom he had disobliged, 'I am sensible my tongue has done me a great deal of mischief, but, on the other hand, it has sometimes done me good; however, it is but reason I should make some reparation for the injury;' and he never used those kind of apologies to any person, but he did something for the person to whom he made it, and it was always considerable. It is certainly a great blessing for any prince to have experienced adversity as well as prosperity, good as well as evil, and especially if the good outweighs the evil, as it did in our master. I am of opinion that the troubles he was involved in, in his youth, when he had fled from his father, and resided six years together in the Duke of Burgundy's court, were of great service to him; for there he learned to be complacent to such as he had occasion to use, which was no little improvement."

The Duke of Burgundy, the daring rival of Louis, is thus painted in Quentin Durward:

for his courage was allied to rashness and frenzy, then wore the ducal coronet of Burgundy, which he burned to convert into a royal and independent regal crown. The character of this duke was, in every respect, the direct contrast to that of Louis XI. The former was calm, deliberate and crafty; never prosecuting a desperate enterprise, and never abandoning a probable one, however distant the prospect of success. The genius of the duke was entirely different. He rushed on danger, because he loved it, and on difficulties because he despised them. As Louis never sacrificed his interest to his passion, so Charles, on the other hand never sacrificed his passion, or even his honour, to any other consideration. Notwithstanding the near relationship that existed between them, and the support which the duke and his father had afforded to Louis, in his exile, when Dauphin, there was mutual contempt and hatred betwixt them. The Duke of Burgundy despised the cautious policy of the king, and imputed to the faintness of his courage, that he sought by leagues, purchases, and other indirect means, those advantages which, in his place, he would have snatched with an armed hand; and he hated him, not only for the ingratitude he had manifested for former kindness, and for personal injuries and imputations which the ambassadors of Louis had cast upon him, when his father was alive; but also, and especially, because of the support which he afforded, in secret, to the discontented citizens of Ghent, Liege, and other great towns in Flanders."

Comines, who knew Charles the Bold intimately, thus speaks of him, after describing his death, in 1476, through the treachery of the court of Campobasso:

"I have known him a powerful and honourable prince, in as great esteem and as much courted by his neighbours (when his affairs were in a prosperous condition) as any prince in Europe, and perhaps more; and I cannot conceive what should provoke God Almighty's displeasure so highly against him, unless it was his self-love and arrogance, in appropriating all the success of his enterprises and all the renown he ever acquired, to his own wisdom and conduct without attributing any thing to God; yet to speak truth, he was master of several good qualities. No prince ever had a greater ambition to entertain young noblemen than he, nor was more careful of their education; his presents and bounties were never profuse and extravagant, because he gave to many, and had a mind that every body should taste of it. No prince was ever more easy of access to his servants and subjects. Whilst I was in his service he was never cruel, but a little before his death he took up that humour, which was an infallible sign of the shortness of his life. He was very splendid and curious in his dress and in every thing else, and indeed a little too much. He paid great honours to all ambassadors and foreigners, and entertained them nobly. His ambitious desire of fame was insatiable, and it was that which induced him to be eternally in wars, more than any other motive. He ambitiously desired to imitate the old kings and heroes of antiquity, whose actions still shine in history and are so much talked of in the world, and his courage was equal to any prince's of his time."

As the exquisite descriptions of the fortunes of the young Scotch adventurer, whose name furnishes the title to this romance, are not founded on any historical authority, it forms no part of our design to follow him through the various scenes of court intrigue, love, and danger, through which he passes.

The description of the holy man (vol. i. c. 2) or hermit of Plessis, was probably suggested by the following curious passages in Comines, in which he details the king's fits of devotion, when the fear of death, in his last illness, had begun to seize upon him:

"Among men renowned for devotion and sanctity of life, he sent into Calabra for one Friar Robert, whom, for the holiness and purity of conversation, the king called the holy man; and in honour to him our present king erected a monastery at Plessis-du-Place, in compensation for the chapel near Plessis at the end of the bridge. This hermit, at the age of twelve years, was put into a hole in a rock, where he lived three and forty years and upwards, till the king sent for him by the steward of his household, in the company of the Prince of Tacento, the King of Naples' son. But this hermit would not stir without leave from his holiness and from his king, which was great discretion in a man so inexperienced in the affairs of the world as he was. He built two churches in the place where he lived; he never ate flesh, fish, eggs, milk, or any thing that was fat, since he undertook that austerity of life: and truly I never saw any man living so holy, nor out of whose mouth the Holy Ghost did so manifestly speak; for he was illiterate and no scholar, and only had his Italian tongue, with which he made himself so much admired. This hermit passed through Naples, where he was respected, and visited (with as much pomp and ceremony as if he had been the pope's legate) both by the King of Naples and his children, with whom he conversed as if he had been all the days of his life a courtier. From thence he went to Rome, where he was visited by the cardinals, had audiences three times of the Pope, and was every time alone with him three or four hours; sitting always in a rich chair, placed on purpose for him (which was great honour for a person in his private capacity) and answering so discreetly to every thing that was asked him, and every body was extremely astonished at it, and his holiness granted him leave to erect a new order, called the Hermits of St. Francis. From Rome he came to our king, who paid him the same adoration as he would have done to the Pope himself, falling down upon his knees before him, and begging him to prolong his life; he replied as a prudent man ought. I have heard him often in discourse with the king that now is, in the presence of all the nobility of the kingdom; and that not above two months ago, and it seemed to me, whatever he said or remonstrated was done by inspiration; or else it was impossible for him to have spoken of some things that he discoursed of. He is still living, and may grow either better or worse, and therefore I will say nothing. There were some of the courtiers that made a jest of the king's sending for the hermit, and called him the holy man, by way of banter; but they knew not the thoughts of that wise king, and had not seen what it was that induced him to do it."

Claude de Seyssel, the historian of Louis XI, furnishes a remarkable illustration of the superstition of Louis XI:

"His devotion was more superstitious than religious. — . . . . His hat was always filled with images, for the most part of lead or pewter, which, whenever any good or evil news arrived, or when the fantasy took him, he would kiss them, throwing himself upon his knees before them, sometimes so suddenly that he appeared deranged in his mind rather than a wise man."

This sort of superstition, which was the prevalent weakness of his mind, led Louis XI to place implicit belief in all the pretensions of astrology. In this persuasion he always retained about him some professor of that art. Our author has availed himself of this tract to introduce the character of Galeotti Marti, (vol. 2, app. 3) where he has very properly represented him as something superior to the lying conjurors of the days of ignorance; he has also made him figure as an agent at the court of Plessis, which, however, is incorrect, as he was never fortunate enough to enter the service of Louis XI, having broken his neck at their first interview. The following account, extracted from the Addition à l'Histoire de Louis XI, by M. Naudé, is extremely curious:

"As to Galeotus Martius, who was a native of the city of Narno, in Italy, he was a man profoundly skilled in letters, a great critic, a philosopher, a physician, an astrologer, a humourist, and an orator; as may he seen by his books de doctrinâ Promiscuâ de homine, de Dictis Matthiaê Regis, de Censurâ, Operum Philelphi, and de Vulgo incognitis: of which, although I have seen only the three first in print, it must nevertheless be supposed that the fourth is so likewise, seeing that Marsile and some other authors and librarians often cite it; and the last filled with very learned and curious maxims, of which some samples may be seen in Vadianus and la Popelinière, is now preserved in the library of the King, where the learned and Reverend father Mersene has assured me he has many times consulted it. Besides this he was also very adroit in the management of all sorts of arms; and, though he was of a somewhat large heavy, and bulky stature, he nevertheless overcame, in a solemn challenge and regular combat, the most able wrestler of his time, as Janus Panonius, bishop of five churches, has remarked in an Epigram.

"Wherefore Louis XI having heard of this great prodigy of learning, grew somewhat jealous of Mathias Corvinus, who had chosen him for his master, and the companion of his studies; and moved by an honourable emulation, made proposals to him of so much advantage, that he determined at length on quitting Hungary, to the end that he might better and more fully enjoy the honour and the reputation which he had acquired by his merits, and breathe in all comfort the air of France, under the favour and liberality of so powerful a king. But, a strange misfortune on his arrival at Lyons, where the King was, in the year 1476, he was so surprised by the suddenness of the meeting that in his hurry to alight, in order to salute him, he fell from his horse with great violence, that he broke his neck and died on the spot. The learned Joannes Valerianus, from whom we have this story, relates it in his book De Literarorum Infelicitate. In which nevertheless he does not agree with Paul Jove and Scardeon, who describe his death as having come to pass in a town near unto Padua, where he was suffocated by his obesity and corpulency[2]".

The characters introduced in this volume are finely delineated. Louis and his ministers or adherents, Cardinal Balue, Oliver le Dain (his barber), Tristan (his executioner) and his satellite hangman. Trois Eschelles and Petit André are not only shockingly identified, but the Duke of Orleans, the brave Dunois, Joan, the king's daughter, Crawford, the captain of the guard, Isabella of Croye, and certain Bohemian vagabonds who perform no unimportant parts in the drama, are all most characteristically woven into the web of this history so unlike a fiction.

Vol. 3.—The interview between the astrologer Galeotti, and the incensed king is here admirably managed; and it is again to the fruitful Comines we must look for the origin of this incident.


Vol. 2, chap. 12.—This is one of the most powerful chapters in the novel. As a portraiture of horror it is perhaps unequalled. It describes the sanguinary fury of William de la Marck, the courageous piety of the Bishop of Liege, and his brutal murder by a ferocious ruffian. It is necessary to guard the reader of history against giving implicit credence to this magnificent description. The facts of the insurrection at Liege, previous to the imprisonment of Louis XI at Peronne, are distinctly described by Comines, and from him we learn that William de la Marck was not then an actor in these scenes; that the Liegeois revolted under William de Vilde; and that the bishop was not killed. The death of the Bishop of Liege did actually take place by the hands of William de la Marck, but this event occurred some years after the era of the novel. The catastrophe is thus briefly described by Comines:

"The bishop took into his councils Monsieur William de la Marck, a fine gentleman and a brave soldier, but of a cruel and malicious temper, and one who favoured the citizens of Liege, and had always been an enemy to the Duke of Burgundy's family, and to the bishop himself. The Princess of Burgundy gave this De la Marck fifteen thousand florins, partly on the bishop's account and partly to oblige him to espouse her interest; but it was not long before he openly declared both against her and his master the bishop, and by the assistance of our king would have made his own son bishop of Liege; after which he fought with, defeated and with his own hands slew the bishop in battle, and ordered his body to be thrown into the river, where it was found three days after."


Chap. 13, vol. 2.—The principal actor noticed by history in this scene is Philip de Crevecœur, Lord of Cordes. He was an active and brave officer of the Duke of Burgundy, but in 1477, after the death of the duke, went over to the service of Louis.


Vol. 3, chap. 2.—This chapter introduces us to the Baron de Hymbercourt, at Peronne, receiving news of the insurrection of Liege. The extract from Comines, for which we have not room, shews that this nobleman was really a witness to that event. He is described in the novel as—

"A fine baronial figure, with a dark countenance, marked with that sort of sadness which some physiognomists ascribe to a melancholy temperament, and some, as the Italian statuary augured of Charles I, considered predicting an unhappy death."

This nobleman, whose destiny was written in his countenance, was beheaded by the Gaulois. His companion was the celebrated Philip de Comine; to whose memoirs the talented author of Quentin Durward is so largely indebted. Sleidan, who wrote the life of Comines, thus speaks of his talents:—

"His conversation was chiefly among foreigners, being desirous to inform himself of all things and places, and very careful of employing his time well; so that he was never known to be idle. He had a prodigious memory, and such a wonderful facility in expressing his thoughts, that he would at the same time dictate to four secretaries different things, all of them of great importance, and with the same ease and dexterity as if there had been but one."


Vol. 3, chap. 7.—The contentions of passion in the mind of the Duke of Burgundy, after the siege of Louis, are painted with a glowing hand by the novelist; and the parallel passages in Comines would abundantly recompense the attention of the reader, did our limits permit us to embrace them.

Chap. 9.—The meeting of the king and the Duke of Burgundy, in the tower of Peronne, is also powerfully delineated.


Vol. 3, chap. 13, 14.—In these chapters the author, with his usual skill in blending history and romance, has mixed up the revenge of the Duke of Burgundy against the Liegeois and the subserviency of Louis with the private fortunes of Quentin Durward. The curious may compare the coincidence or the discrepancy of the various passages of the novelist and the historian with the narrative of Comines. It is, perhaps, unnecessary once more for us to observe, that William de la Marck was perfectly unconnected with the proceedings. We shall conclude these remarks on the novel of Quentin Durward, which will amply repay the time and attention bestowed upon it by the curious and inquisitive reader with the following extract from the Chronicles of Meray:—

"The badauds (cockneys) of Paris, on this shameful practice[1], taught their jays, jackdaws, and parrots to repeat, 'Peronne, Peronne,' as their royal master passed the street; a sarcasm which that irritable monarch revenged, by sending detachments into each street, to carry off from the inhabitants not only these chattering birds, but also their stags, goats, kids, fawns, crows, swans and cormorants."

In perusing the account of the murder of the good-hearted Louis of Bourbon, at Schonwaldt, as related in the novel, in consequence of the combined attack of his rebellious but dismayed Liegeois, and the followers of the Boar of Ardennes, with the fearful punishment that was exacted for the crime, the reader is forcibly reminded of the following passage in "Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk," (Letter XII) where the writer is speaking of the Place de Louis Quinze:

"Here, upon the very spot where I now stand, the most virtuous of the Bourbon race expiated, by a violent death, inflicted by his own subjects, and in view of his own palace, the ambitions and follies of his predecessors. There is an awful solemnity in the reflection, how few of those who contributed to this deed of injustice and atrocity now look upon the light, and behold the progress of retribution."

Comines does not give quite so favourable a character of "bishop (brother of the two dukes of Bourbon, John II and Peter II), being a man addicted wholly to pleasure and good cheer, and scarce distinguishing good from bad of himself[2]."

It is one very amiable, though very dangerous, characteristic of the "Author of Waverley," that throughout his works we perceive a wish, generally speaking, to veil and extenuate the weaknesses and faults of those historical personages whom he has occasion to mention.

It should be mentioned, that Louis of Bourbon did not lose his life until some time[3] after the death of the Bold Duke of Burgundy; nor was William de la Mark personally concerned in the revolt of the Liegeois, which preceded the confinement of Louis XI at Peronne, and was led by "a knight called Monsieur William de la Ville, alias, by the French, le Sauvage." Comines, p. 102. In that disturbance, however, one of the bishop's most confidential domestics was brutally butchered before the face of his master, while the wretches who committed the outrage flung at each other the mangled limbs of their victim. The bishop was led as a prisoner into the city, from which he escaped upon the approach of the king and the duke of Burgundy. His death is thus mentioned in Bulteel's Mezeray, fol. London, 1688, p. 504; "1482, William de la Mark, called the wild boar of Ardenne, incited and assisted by the king, massacred, most inhumanly, Lewis de Bourbon, bishop of Liege, either in an ambuscade, or after he had defeated him in battle[4], and soon after himself, being taken by the lord de Horne, brother to the bishop, successor to Lewis, had his head cut off at Mastrict." From Comines it appears that de la Mark, who is styled "a brave person, and a valiant gentleman, but cruel and malicious," had an idea of placing his own son in the bishopric, with the assistance of the king of France.

The anachronism caused by thus antedating the death of the bishop may not be without excuse, as deepening the interest of a fictitious narrative. A more strange oversight is committed in the rifaccimento of the king's prayer to the lady of Clery, as given by Brantome, where the author of Quentin Durward (vol. iii. ch. v. p. 128) has retained the passage respecting the death of Charles the duc de Guienne, who was personally interested in the treaty of Peronne, and was not poisoned until three or four years after, viz. in 1471. Mezeray thus tells the story, which is not a little romantic:

"He loved a lady, daughter of the Lord Monserau, and widow of Lewis d'Amboise, and had for confessor a certain Benedictine Monk, Abbot of St. John d'Angely, named John Favre Versois. This wicked monk poisoned a very fair peach, and gave it to that lady, who, at a collation, put it to steep in wine, presented one-half of it to the Prince, and eat the other herself. She, being tender, died in a short time; the Prince, more robust, sustained for some while the assaults of the venome, but however could not conquer it, and in the end yielded his life to it.

"Such as adjust all the phenomena of the Heavens to the accidents here below might have applied to this same comet of extraordinary magnitude, which was visible fourscore days together from the month of December. Its head was in the sign of the Balance, and it had a long tail, turning a little towards the north."—P. 494. Bulteel.

The duke died on the 12th of May. The king was very anxious to get the perpetrator of the crime out of the hands of the Duke of Burgundy, who had been thrown into inexpressible rage on hearing the catastrophe of Charles. "The monk was found dead in prison, the devil, as was said, having broken his neck the night before that day wherein they were to pronounce his sentence. This was what the king desired, that so the proof of the crime might perish with the poysoner." P. 495.

In Dr. Dibdin's "Tour," vol. iii. p. 591, there is a very beautiful miniature figure of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, at prayers: it is taken from a manuscript breviary on vellum, of the fifteenth century, executed for his use. A more hard-featured and truculent-looking visage is scarcely to be imagined than that prefixed to one of the four portraits intended to adorn the frontispiece of the edition of the "Mémoires de Comines."

We presume that the "courtly and martial" Galleotti was himself a memorable example of the vanity of his science, as to the personal fortunes of its professors[5]: it being his fate to break his neck at Lyons in 1476, at his first interview with Louis XI, owing to his dismounting too precipitately from his horse, in order to salute his new patron. Others, among whom is, we believe, Paulus Jovius, relate that he was seized with a fit of apoplexy at Padua.

At the close of his own life, Louis placed all hope in his physician, James Coctier, who received 10,000 crowns by the month for the last five months. (See Comines, b. vi. xii. and Mezeray, p. 505.) He summoned also from Calabria, a holy hermit whom Comines, (b. vi. 8.) calls friar Robert; but according to Mezeray, his name was "Francis Martotille, . . . .founder of the order of Minimes."—"This hermit," says Comines, "at the age of twelve years was put in a hole in a rock, where he continued three-and-forty years and upwards, till the King sent for him by the master of his household, in the company of the prince of Tarante, the king of Naples' son. But the said hermit would not stir without leave from his holiness, and from his king, which was great discretion in so inexperienced a man."

"The king," says Mezeray, "flattered him, implored him, fell on his knees to him;" and, according to Comines, "adored him, as if he had been Pope himself." "But this good man, in answer, talked to him of God, and exhorted him to think of the other life than this."—Mezeray, p. 505.

We remember to have seen a story, that Louis, suspecting the death of a lady whom he regarded with affection had been occasioned by the prediction of an astrologer, summoned the supposed delinquent into his presence, intending to take very summary vengeance. The wary sage, set upon his guard by the tenour of the first question put by the monarch; "Tell me, thou that art so learned, what shall be thy fate?"—humbly represented, that he foresaw his death would happen three days before his majesty's. The king, it was added, very carefully avoided putting him to death.

In allusion to storming the town of Liege and the subsequent devastation that took place, the seizure of Louis and his imprisonment at Peronne.

P. 202 of the Memoirs of Philip de Comines, faithfully translated into English from the edition of Denys Godefroy, Lond., 1674, 8vo.

From the narrative of Comines, it would appear that he perished in the year following the death of the duke, who lost his life before Nanci, 6th Jan. 1477. Mezeray, as will be seen, does not mention it until the year 1482: his words are, "au mesmes temps encore il donna trois mille hommes à Guillaume de la Mark, dit le sanglier d'Ardenne, pour le deffaire de l'Evesque du Liege, trop affectioné à ce qu'il soupçonnait, au party Bourguignon. Ce Guillaume, de son chef, gardoit une cruelle inimitié contre cet Evesque parce qu'il avoit chassé de sa Maison, où peu de temps auparavant il avoit este en grande faveur. Tellement que l'ayant pris par la trahison des Liegeois, comme il estoit sorty du Liege pour le combatre, il le massacra inhumainement de sa propre main, et le fit traîner tout nud dans la grande place de la Ville devant le Temple de S. Lambert. Mais peu de temps après, Maximilien l'ayant atrapé, luy fit avec justice trancher la teste," Ed. 1685, tome ii. pp. 744-5.

Comines, page 280, tells us, that he slew the bishop with his own hands in battle, and caused his body to be thrown into the river, where it was found three days afterwards.

Even Apollo was compelled to exclaim—

"Nec prosunt domino, quæ prosunt omnibus, artes!"—

Ovid, Met i. 524.



"All the blue bonnets are over the border."


Of the different regions into which Scotland is divided, it may be said, that, as the Highlands possess the greatest attraction for the lover of nature in her sublimest and most interesting forms, so the border has charms to fascinate all those who delight in romantic enterprize, and poetic fancy. This boundary, between two warlike and long hostile kingdoms, became, naturally, the great theatre on which the achievements of the feudal ages were performed. The habitual hostility, too, with which the inhabitants of the opposite side of the march viewed each other, gave rise to constant scenes of minor exploits, which, though they could not find a place in history, kept alive the habits of activity, enterprize, and daring valour, which held men's minds in a state of perpetual excitement. The same causes which rendered the borders the theatre of war, rendered it also a land of song; for true and native poetry is the result, not of monastic and studious seclusion, but of those eventful circumstances which fire the imagination, and melt the heart. Another effect of this constant state of warfare upon the borders, was the construction of "towers of defence," which, if they could not aspire to the rank of fortresses, might at least afford protection against sudden inroad; and, if they could not repel an invader, might retard his progress. These could not indeed, rival the pomp and magnificence of those mansions which, in the interior of Scotland, and the less troubled districts of England, were erected by the great nobles, for the display of baronial grandeur. A square tower, built on a height, with walls of immense thickness, and a few narrow loop-holes for the admission of light, and the discharge of missile weapons, formed usually the whole array of a border castle. Some, however, belonging to the border nobility, were built on a scale of greater magnificence; they are placed, generally, in a picturesque situation, and all of them recal events of history and tradition which must be interesting to a large portion of the present generation. The striking aspect, indeed, presented by a country which, after having long been the theatre of national hostility, has remained some time in a state of peace, affords a contrast as inviting as it is romantic and luxuriant. Numerous castles left to moulder in massive ruins; fields where the memory of ancient battles still live among the descendants of those by whom they were fought or witnessed; the very line of demarcation which, separating the two countries, though no longer hostile, induces the inhabitants of each to cherish their separate traditions, unite to render these regions interesting to the topographical historian or antiquary.

The most remarkable border antiquities of the Britons are the extensive entrenchments, known by the name of the Catrail, and the remains of an irregular hill fort, situated on the grounds of Mr. Pringle, of Fairnlee.[1] The Roman antiquities here met with, besides their great roads, and the remains of the wall of Antoninus, consist chiefly of arms and sepulchral monuments. At length the Saxons, partly as conquerers, and partly as refugees, came and filled the whole low country of Scotland, and finally communicated their language to that part of the kingdom. The system of clanship, which was originally Celtic, and unknown to the Saxons, was borrowed by the latter, and adopted on the borders to nearly as great an extent as in the Highlands. Of this remarkable form of political association, a very striking picture is furnished by the distinguished author of "the Border Antiquities of England and Scotland." The most flourishing period of Border history was the reign of David I, when the splendid monasteries of Kelso, Jedburgh, Melrose, and Dryburgh were founded. The castle also of Roxburgh and Jedburgh, then standing, appear to have surpassed any military stations erected in later times. After the usurpation of Edward I, and the succession of desolating invasions with which Scotland was afflicted; the Scots ceased attempting to defend regularly their frontiers. The consequences are thus described by the author here alluded:

"It followed from this devastating system of defensive warfare, that the Scottish were so far from desiring to cover their borders by building strong places or fortresses, that they pulled them down and destroyed them, where they formerly erected. Buchanan has elegantly termed this systematic destruction of their castles into a compliment to the valour of his countrymen.

"Nec fossis et muris patriam sed Marse tueri."

But, without disparaging Scottish valour, the motive of leaving their frontier thus, seems to have been a consciousness that they were greatly surpassed by the English, both in the attack and the defence of their strong-holds ; that if they threw their best warriors into frontier garrisons, they might be there besieged, and reduced either by force or famine; and that the fortresses of which the enemy should thus obtain possession, might afford them the means of maintaining a footing in the country. When, therefore, the Scottish patriots recovered possession of the castles which had fallen into the power of the English, they usually dismissed them. The good Lord James of Douglass surprised his own castle of Douglass, three times, it having been as frequently garrisoned by the English, and upon each occasion he laid waste and demolished it. The military system of Wallace was on the same principle. And, in fine, with a very few exceptions, the strong and extensive fortresses, which had arisen on the Scottish borders in better times, were levelled with the ground during the wars of the thirteenth century. The ruins of the castles of Roxburgh, and Jedburgh, and of several others which was thus destroyed, bear as wonderful disproportion in extent to any which were erected in subsequent times. Nay, the castle of Jedburgh was so strongly and solidly constructed, and the Scottish so unskilful in the art of destruction, even where there was no military opposition, that it was thought it could not be destroyed without such time and labour, as would render it necessary to impose a tax of two pennies on every hearth in Scotland, to defray the expense. But Robert, Duke of Albany, then regent, to show the unpopularity of this impost, defrayed the charge of the demolition out of the crown revenue.

"This continued to be the Scottish defensive system for many ages; and, of course, while it exposed invaders to hardships, loss, and want of subsistance, it reduced the frontiers of their own country, for the time, to a waste desart. Beacons were lighted in such a manner, as to signify either the threatened approach, or actual arrival of the English army. These were maintained at Hume Castle, at the tower of Edgerhope, or Edgerstone, near the source of the Jed, upon the ridge of the Soltra hills, at Dunbar, Dunpender (or Trapraine), Law, North-Berwick Law, and other eminences; and their light was a signal for the Scottish forces to assemble at Edinburgh and Haddington, abandoning to waste and pillage all the southern counties. Till the very last occasion of hostility between England and Scotland, this mode of defensive war was resorted to in the latter kingdom. Cromwell found the Borders in that desolate situation in his campaign of 1650; and had it not been for the misguided zeal of the Presbyterian Ministers, who urged David Leslie to give battle at Dunbar, he must have made a disastrous and disgraceful retreat.

"From this system it followed, that most of the Scottish places of strength, even when the abode of great nobles or powerful chiefs, were constructed upon a limited and mean scale. Built usually in some situation of natural strength, and having very thick walls, strongly cemented, they could easily repel the attack of any desulsory incursion; but they were neither victualled nor capable of receiving garrisons sufficient to defend them, excepting against a sudden assault. The village, which almost always adjoined to the castle, contained the abodes of the retainers, who, upon the summons of the chieftain, took arms either for the defence of the fortresses, or for giving battle in the field. Of these, the greater part were called "kindly tenants," or "rentallers," deriving the former name from the close and intimate nature of their connexion with the Lord of the soil, from whom they held their little possessions by favour, rather than bargain; and the latter from the mode in which their right of possession was constituted, by entering their names in their lord's rental book. Besides this ready militia, the more powerful chiefs maintained in their castle, and as immediate attendants upon their persons, the more active young gentlemen of their clan, selected from the younger brethren and gentlemen of estate, whose descent from the original stock, and immediate dependence upon the chief, rendered them equally zealous and determined adherents. These were recompensed by grants of land, in property or lease, which they stocked with cattle or sheep, as their chief did those which he retained in his own hands.

"But the castles which held these garrisons, whether constant or occasional, were not of strength, or at least of extent, at all commensurate with the military power of the chiefs who inhabited them. The ruins of Cessford, or of Branxholm, before the latter was modernized, might be considered as on the largest scale of Scottish border fortresses, and neither could brook compassion with the baronial castles of English families of far less power and influence."

For the most interesting account of the most remarkable incidents in border history and tradition; see "The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland, comprising specimens of architecture and sculpture, and other vestiges of former ages," by Walter Scott, Esq. To which the reader is referred for many curious anecdotes, and many views of manner, and antiquities.


The edifices on the opposite side of the border present a very different scene, including, even in these remote provinces, the superior wealth and civilization of the English nation, with that attention to defend, which was the natural consequence of their having something of value to defend. The central marches, indeed, and the extreme verge of the frontier in every direction, excepting upon the east, were inhabited by wild clans, as lawless as their northern neighbours, resembling them in their manner and customs, inhabiting similar strong holds, and substituting, like them, by rapine. The towers of Thirlwall, upon the river Tippal, of Fenwick, Widdrington, and others, exhibit the same rude strength and scanty limits with those of the Scottish border chieftains. But these were not as in Scotland, the abode of the great nobles, but rather of leaders of inferior rank. Wherever the mountains receded, arose chains of castles of magnificent structure, great extent, and fortified with all the art of the age, belonging to those powerful barons whose names hold so high a rank in English history. The great house of Clifford of Cumberland alone possessed, exclusive of inferior strong hold, the great and extensive castles of Appleby, Brough, Brougham, Pendragon, and Skipton, each of which formed a lordly residence, as may yet be seen from their majestic ruins. The possessions of the great house of Percy was fortified with equal strength. Warkworth, Alnwick, Bamborough, and Cockermouth, all castles of great baronial splendour and strength, besides others in the interior of the country, shew their wealth and power. Raby Castle, still inhabited, attests the magnificence of the great Nevilles, Earls of Westmoreland; and the lowering strength of Naworth or Brougham Castles are compared with the magnificence of Warwick and Kenilworth[1], their savage strength, their triple rows of dungeons, the few and small windows which open to the outside, the length and complication of secret and subterraneous passages, shew that they are rather to be held limitary fortresses for curbing the doubtful allegiance of the borders, and the incursions of the Scottish, than the abodes of feudal hospitality and baronial splendour.

See Kenilworth. Passim.


Returning to the other side of the Solway, the moss-troopers present us with an admirable picture of the local mode of warfare carried on by the borderers. The following sketch of these early and indefatigable yet predatory warriors will be found very interesting.[1]

Contrary to the custom of the rest of Scotland, the moss-troopers almost always acted as light horsemen, and made use of small active horses accustomed to traverse morasses, in which other cavalry would have stood a chance of being swallowed up. "Their hardy mode of life made them indifferent to danger, and careless about the ordinary accommodations of life. The uncertainty of reaping the fruits of their labour, deterred them from all the labours of cultivation; their mountains and glens afforded pasturage for the cattle and horses, and when these were driven off by the enemy, they supplied the loss by reciprocal depredation." Living under chiefs by whom this predatory warfare was countenanced, and sometimes headed, they appear to have had little knowledge of the light in which their actions were regarded by the legislature, and the various statutes and regulations made against their incursions, remained in most cases a dead letter. It did indeed, frequently happen, that the kings or governors of Scotland, when the disorders upon the border reached to a certain height, marched against these districts with an overpowering force, seized on the persons of the chiefs, and sent them to distant prisons in the centre of the kingdom, and executed without mercy, the inferior captains and leaders. Thus in the year 1529, a memorable era for this soil of expeditious justice, James V, having first committed to ward the Earl of Bothwell, the Lords Home and Maxwell, the Lairds of Buccleigh, Fairnihist, Johnstone, Polwarth, Dolphinton, and other chiefs of clans, marched through the borders with about 8000 men, and seizing upon the chief leaders of the moss-troopers, who seem not to have been aware that they had any reason to expect harm at their sovereign's hands, executed them without mercy.

Besides the celebrated Johnnie Armstrong, of Gillnockie, to whom a considerable part of the English frontier paid black mail,[2] the names of Piers, Cockburn of Henderland, Adam Scott, of Tushielaw, called the king of the border, and other marauders of note, are recorded as having suffered on this occasion. And although this and other examples of severity, had the effect for the time, as the Scottish phrase is, of "dantoning the thieves of the borders, and making the rush-bush keep the cow," yet this course not only deprived the kingdom of the assistance of many brave men, who were usually the first to endure or repel the brunt of invasion, but it also diminished the affections of those who remained; and a curious and middle state of relation appears to have taken place between the borders on each side, who, as they were never at absolute peace with each other during the cessation of national hostilities, seem, in like manner, to have shunned engaging in violent and sanguinary conflicts, even during the time of war.

The English borderers, who were in the same manner held aliens to the civilized part of the country, inasmuch that, by the regulation of the corporation of Newcastle, no burgess could take to his apprentice a youth from the dales of Reed of Tyne, made common cause with those of Scotland, the allegiance of both to their common country was much loosened; the dalesmen on either side seem to have considered themselves in many respects as a separate people, having interests of their own, distinct from, and often hostile to, that of the country to which they were nominal subjects. This gave rise to some singular feature in their history.

These men, who might thus be said to bear but dubious allegiance to their country, were, of all others, the most true of faith to whatever they had pledged their individual word. If it happened that any of them broke his troth, he who sustained the wrong, displayed at the first public meeting upon the borders, a glove upon the point of a lance, and proclaimed him a perjured and man-sworn traitor. This was accounted an insult to the whole clan to which the culprit belonged. If his crime was manifest, there were instances of his being put to death by his kinsman; but if the accusation was unfounded, the stain upon the honour of the clan was accounted equal to the slaughter of one of its members, and, like that, could only be expiated by deadly feud. Under the terrors of this penalty, the degree of trust that might be reposed in the most desperate of the border outlaws, is described by Robert Constable, in his account of an interview with the banished Earl of Westmoreland and his unfortunate followers. They desired to get back into England, but were unwilling to trust their fortune without some guides. "I promised," said Constable, "to get them two guides that would not care to steale, and yet they would not bewray any man that trusts in them for all the gold in Scotland and France. They are my guides and outlaws; if they would betray me they might get their pardons, and cause me to be hanged, but I have tried them ere this." This strict observance of pledged faith tended much to soften the rigours of war; for when a borderer made a prisoner, he esteemed it wholly unnecessary to lead him into actual captivity or confinement. He simply accepted his word to be a true prisoner, and named a time and place where he expected him to come to treat about his ransom. If they were able to agree, a term was usually assigned for the payment and security given; if not, the prisoner surrendered himself to the discretion of his captor. But where the interest of both parties pointed so strongly towards the necessity of mutual accommodation, it rarely happened that they did not agree upon terms. Thus even in the encounters of these rude warriors on either side, the nations maintained the character of honour, courage, and generosity assigned to them by Froissart. Englishmen on the one party and Scotsmen on the other party, are good men of war; for when they meet, there is a hard fight without sparing; there is no hoo (i. e. there is no cessation for parley) between them, as long as spears, swords, axes or daggers will endure; but they lay on each other, and when they be well beaten, and that the one party hath obtained the victory, they then glorify so in their deeds of arms, and are so joyful, that such as be taken they shall be ransomed ere they go out of the field: so that shortly each of them is so content with the other, that at their departing courteously, they will say 'God thank you.' But in fighting one with another, there is no play nor sparing.

Of the other qualities and habits of the borderers we are much left to form our own conjectures. That they were a people of some accomplishments, fond of the legends of their own exploits, and of their own rude poetry and music, is proved by the remains still preserved of both. They were skilful antiquaries, according to Roger North, in whatever concerned their own bounds. Lesley gives them the praise of great and artful eloquence when reduced to plead for their lives: also that they were temperate in food and liquors, and rarely tasted those of an intoxicating quality. Their females caught the warlike spirit of the country, and appear often to have mingled in battle. Fair maiden Liliard, whose grave is still pointed out upon the field of battle at Anoram-Moor, called from her name, Lilliard's Edge, seems to have been a heroine of this description. And Holingshed records them at the conflict fought near Naworth (A. D. 1570) between Leonard Dacres and Lord Hunsden, the former had in his company many desperate women, who there gave the adventure of their lives, and 'fought right stoutly.' This is a change in the habits of the other sex which can only be produced by early and daily familiarity with scenes of hazard, blood and death. The borderers, however, merited the devoted attachment of their wives, if, as we learn, one principal use of the wealth they obtained by plunder was to bestow it in ornamenting the persons of their partners.

Vide Border Antiquities, Op. Citat.

A sort of tax paid to freebooters, to obtain exemption from their inroads.



Hospitality, kindness and most minute attention to the comfort and ease of their guests, mark the character of Scots gentlemen of the present day, whilst the peasantry are equally remarkable for the same good qualities in a ruder way, and the more valuable ones of correct morality, sincere piety, and an exemplary decency in language and manners. Struggling with a poverty that almost amounts to a privation of food, and condemned to a labour before which the southern Britons would sink down in listless despondence, the Scotch peasant displays a degree of patience and industry, accompanied at the same time with content, that place him on the scale of moral excellence far above those who ridicule or despise him.—Serious without moroseness; quick without asperity, and sagacious without conceit; friendly, kind and just; this may be considered as the moral portrait of such part of the Scotch as are not sophisticated or spoiled by a communication with their southern neighbours, and particularly where the benefits of religious instruction and education have paved the way to more striking exemplifications of moral excellence. Of this description may we pronounce the inhabitants of the borders to be, who perhaps are more national in their manners, practices, and ideas, than the northern counties of the kingdom; from the circumstances of the effects being still felt in these parts, which have long faded away in the more distant divisions of the country. The natural consequence of those perpetual feuds which subsisted between the borderers of both kingdoms was a reciprocal rooted hatred, piously handed down from father to son, and carefully transmitted through successive generations by legendary tales and popular ballads, whose constant theme and burden were the injuries which each party had received from the other, and the vengeance which these injuries deserved.

Amongst the other Scots, the national disgust of the English, though excited before their conquest by frequent wars, had ceased (at least in a degree) as soon as those wars had terminated. But with the borderers the case had been different; their relative situation with the English prevented the wound from being closed; the cause was always operating; new occasions of rancour were ever occurring in the violence of each party; and their mutual dislike, instead of being softened by time, was, on the contrary, every day increased and confirmed. Hence it happens that a great degree of coolness and dislike still subsists between the inhabitants of the respective neighbouring counties, which not only operate as a bar to free conversation between them, but at the same time render the Scotch infinitely more tenacious of those manners, customs, and opinions, which distinguish them from their ancient enemies.



About sixty or seventy years ago, a great part of the cottages of the Scotch day-labourers were built with walls of turf, stone buttresses, or wooden posts, built into the wall, supporting the heavy timbers of the roof; few, comparatively, of this description exist at present, the greater part being built with stone and lime[1].

The general description of the cottage of a labourer or tradesman, who keeps a cow, is a house of eighteen or twenty feet by fifteen or sixteen within walls; the door is in front, close by one of the gables; two close beds from the cross partition, dividing the space occupied by the family from a space of four feet from the gable at which you enter, where stands the cow behind one of the beds, with her tail to the door of the house. There is one window in front near the fire gable, opposite to which, at the opposite wall, stands the ambry, or shelved wooden, in which the cow's milk and other family daily provisions are locked up; and above it, lying against the slant of the roof, is the skelf or frame, containing shelves, with cross-bars in front, to prevent the utensils set upon its shelves from tumbling off from its over-hanging position; the show of the house depending much upon the quality and arrangement of the crockery and other utensils placed thus, in open view upon the shelf. A chest, containing the family wardrobe, stands in front of one of the close beds, serving also for seats. The close beds are also furnished with a shelf at head and foot, upon which part of the family apparel is deposited, to preserve it from the dust. A wooden armed chair for the husband or "gudeman," when he arrives fatigued from his labour, and a few stools, among which is one called the buffet stool, for the rest of the family, and a plunge churn, completes the inventory of the household furniture; to which only a small barrel for salted fish and another for meal may be added, if the family can afford to lay in stores, and are not from hand to mouth.

The cooking utensils consist of a small cast-iron pot, in which is daily prepared the oatmeal porridge, the universal breakfast, eaten with milk, or with home-brewed weak ale from treacle, when the milk season is over, in which also the potatoes are boiled, as the universal supper, while they last, eaten either with milk, or merely with salt; in which is also prepared for dinner, through winter, potatoes dressed with mutton suet for the purpose, or broth, to be eaten with bread made universally with shelled barley, and kale from the kale-yard, and, according to circumstances, either with or without a bit of salted mutton, to give them a relish. The butter from the cow being all sold fresh, from the high price it bears in such vicinity to Edinburgh, being the chief dependence for money to pay for the cow's summer grass, and to purchase the winter's fodder: the skimmed milk only being used by the family, in the manner already stated, or, when most plenty in summer, serving for dinner broth.

The next indispensable cooking utensil, universally in use in every cottage and in every family in the country, is the girdle, which is a round thin plate, either of malleable or cast iron, from a foot to two feet and a half in diameter, according to the size of the family. It is suspended over the fire by a jointed iron arch with three legs called the clips, the end of the legs of which are hooked to hold fast the girdle. The clips is again hooked upon the end of a chain, called the crook, which is attached to an iron rod, or wooden beam, called the rantle-tree, which is fixed across the chimney-stalk, at some distance above the fire. Upon this girdle is baked the ordinary bread of the cottager, and of the farmers' servants, consisting of bannocks, made of the meal of peas or of barley, but more generally of the two meals together, and more rarely of oats. The meal is made into dough with water without leaven, and the dough is formed into circular cakes of from seven to nine inches in diameter, and ½ to ¾ of an inch in thickness. It is then toasted, first on one side and then on the other, upon the girdle; and two or three days' provision are made at once. The bread has but a doughy taste.

The oat cake, known by the sole appellation of cake, is the gala bread of the cottager. The meal is made into dough with water, without leaven, as little water being used as is merely sufficient to make the meal stick together; the dough is then kneaded, or rolled out as thin as possible, into a round cake, or diameter, corresponding to the size of the girdle; the cake is then cut into four quadrants, and toasted on the girdle, alternately on both sides, care being taken, both with cakes and bannocks, to prevent the girdle from being so hot as to burn the surface. When the cake is so hardened as to stand on edge, it is placed upon an iron heater, linked upon a bar of the grate; where it toasts leisurely till it be perfectly dry, though no way burnt. If it has lain some days unused, it is toasted anew before it is eaten: it thus constitutes a hearty species of bread, of a tonic quality, to judge by the taste; and which, by many Scotsmen in the higher ranks, is preferred to wheaten bread.

There is just one other utensil indispensable to the cottager, which is a very small barrel or can of stone water to hold his salt, which he keeps in a hole in the wall, close by his fire, to prevent its running, from the moisture in the air. He must also have a wooden pail to carry water; in which also his cow is milked, if he has one; on which supposition, too, he must have three cans of stone ware, or vessels of cooper's work, in which the milk is set in the ambry, to stand for casting up the cream.

See Findlater's General View of the Agriculture of Peebleshire.



Like many other of the author's productions, the romance of the Monastery embraces an important period in history. It outstrips the task of the grave historian, in the lively and spirit stirring picture of manners and morals which it presents, and shews from what causes and into what forms, principals, and institutions of the highest character were moulded. The mind is thus drawn into the very web and texture of the existing society; it is taught the true feelings and existence of the people; and is thus enabled to survey public transactions exempt from the exaggerations of party zeal. These excellences shine conspicuously in the present work; and no where could they be more fitly employed than in the delineation of the features of that fierce and distracted period, out of which the reformation arose. The author has brought into view the struggles of the catholic and the protestant—the one party exerting every nerve to continue the fetters of superstition, and the other striving to dash them to pieces. The contest, however, was far from equal. The liberal opinions of the age had every where damped the ardour of devotion, towards the Romish faith, and combining with reasons of state, gave the reformers a vast advantage over their adversaries. But the zeal of the latter in maintaining their rights, seemed only proportionate to the decline of their influence. The thunders of excommunications fulminated far and near. Bulls of damnation were scattered profusely, and all the refinement of Italian intrigue put in practice, to check the growth of new opinions. But these spiritual weapons, which might once have shaken the throne of the greatest potentate in Europe, were now treated with contempt. The light which had broken in upon the human mind, enabled it to discern the dark and insidious policy of the catholics. The national spirit was roused to its highest pitch of desperation, and events followed in thick succession, which exhibited a mingled scene of bigotry and ferocity, hitherto unknown in the annals of Scotland. These evils were aggravated by the weakness of the reigning powers. The reins of government lay neglected in the hands of the feeble and irresolute Arran; the nobles were divided by bitter feuds, and seemed more solicitous to ferment than to allay the discord of the kingdom.

The natural consequence which followed these distractions was the unrelenting fury with which private quarrels were prosecuted. Feudal retainers swarmed on every side, ready to plunge into the greatest atrocities; distrust and alarm pervaded every mind. The mild precepts of the christian religion, delivered in the simple language of scripture, to hearts capable of feeling and practising them, abated the rancour of persecution, and restored in some degree peace and liberty to our unhappy land. But soon after these bright prospects had begun to dawn, the ravages of the restless became apparent, in the demolition of those sumptuous fabrics which had been so long the strong hold of catholic tyranny. Various indeed have been the apologetical replies for the Gothic infatuation of the reformer for having laid violent hands on these works of art. Into the question of right or wrong, it were needless to enter. We must remain satisfied with the melancholy consolation of beholding their shattered fragments, fast mouldering into decay; from them to body forth lively images of their quondam magnificence. Nor have our poets slumbered over the mournful task: Sir Walter Scott has made the most strenuous efforts to collect the fragments of border antiquity. The names of places are concealed under fictitious designations; and their peculiarities are beautified above reality by the glorifying lights of his imagination. These, however, as far as the means goes, we must discover and strip off, that Scotland may hereafter know where to drop the classic tear over scenes that erst had been visited by the most favoured of her poetic children. The first and most prominent object of the romance now under consideration is the monastery (Melrose) itself.


The romantic and picturesque scenery of some parts of Scotland is universally and deservedly admired. As you approach Melrose from the west, and come all at once along the base of the Eildon hills (the probable Trimontium of the Romans) upon the magnificent sweeps of the Tweed, and all that richness of landscape, which old forest trees, gentlemen's seats, neat cottages, and hedge enclosed fields produce, you experience an exultation of spirit which can only be conceived by those who have felt it. Here you rise from your saddle, make one bold eye sweep of the vast amphitheatre before and underneath you; cut two or three most magnificent curvatures through the air with your whip, and exclaim in all the pith of exulting heart,

"Who would not fight for such a land."

At least, if you have one remaining spark of humanity and Scottish spirit in your bosom, such will be the reality and demonstration of your feelings.

Having reached the old village of Melrose, you will not be at a loss to discover the presence and presenting influence of that ancient and noble erection, which still exhibits evidences of its former magnificence. Towards the south side, and immediately adjoining, and, as it were, fixed to the town, a range and cluster of towers and turrets, and spires, and minarettes shoot up into the air amidst a profusion of surrounding trees, and under the shadow of the over-hanging Eildons. You make your way through a small wicket and pathway into the church yard, where you have a lateral view of that extraordinary exhibition of taste and magnificence, at which so many ages, and even nations, have gazed with wonder and delight.

It is not here that the traveller ought to stop with the view of examining more minutely the tracery and covering upon the extremity of the northern wall, otherwise you may come into contact with one of the most miserable exhibitions of practical pun-work, of punning in masonry, which has ever been exhibited, and which has ever been contrasted with so much grandeur and glory, as that by which it is surrounded and swallowed up. You have a Mel or Mallet, and a rose in basso relievo, upon the entrance wall, indicating to you and to all succeeding, as well as to many preceding ages, that the name of the building is Melrose, and that the architect who conceived this device whatever might be his other qualifications, did not excel in the art of profound and elegant hieroglyphic.[1]

You will find here guides anew who will describe, without ceasing, the abbey ruins, and, in particular, a drunken good-for-nothing blackguard, whose object it is to way-lay strangers, and to persuade them that, because he is not in possession of the keys, the inside of the building is, in fact, not worth seeing. But trust not to him, but have immediate recourse to Mr. John Bower, whose habitation is immediately adjoining, and who is, in fact, the legal and extremely well qualified expositor and exhibiter of all that is to be here seen, felt, or understood. I was fortunate enough, in consequence of a letter of introduction, to put myself under the guidance and direction of no less a character, than the original Dominie Sampson, who actually exists in the house adjoining, and whose singular, but most interesting and engaging manners, and talents, are equally deserving of admiration, with the ruins he is so willing and so able to describe. I came upon the Dominie all unexpectedly, he had never seen me before, and he appeared in an undress, and without a neckcloth, and yet all at once, and without opening the card with which I was charged to him, having understood my name and purpose, he took the lead, and proceeded whistling, and humming a tune alternately, through the church-yard, into a corner of the building, where a young lady of surprising beauty and accomplishments had lately been buried. The tears were in the poor Dominie's eyes, while he spoke of the living and deathless virtues, accomplishments, and endowments of this lately-departed beauty of Melrose; nor could I abstract him, but with considerable difficulty, to the more immediate object of my visit—the abbey ruins, under the shadow of which we were now loitering away the limited period which I could allot to the purpose of my travel. However, as soon as the Dominie's kind and warm heart, was abstracted from the interesting recollections which this recent tomb excited, his whole soul was at my service, and he proceeded with surprising speed and energy, to ascend one stair and descend another, to lead me along by "slender shafts" and "shapely pillars," by "foliaged tracery," and "willowed wreaths of stone," till I had been satiated, as it were, and overpowered by seeing, hearing, and feeling. My guide, who seemed but the more revived and invigorated, the more he exhibited and explained of his favourite Melrose—its history and antiquities, concluded his perigrinations amongst

"Pillared arches that were over our head,

Whilst beneath our feet were the bones of the dead,"

by mounting a considerably elevated tombstone, that lay near to the position of the high altar, and thundering forth, under suitable action and emphasis, the following well-known lines of the poet of Abbotsford:—

"If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,

Go visit it by the pale moonlight,

For the gay beams of lightsome day,

Gild, but to flaunt the ruins grey.

When the broken arches are black in night,

And each shafter oriel glimmers white;

When the cold light's uncertain shower,

Streams in the ruined central tower;

When buttress, and buttress alternately,

Seem framed of ebon and ivory."

Having performed this piece of respect to the living, and reverence to the dead, the Dominie proceeds to invite me most cordially, to a participation of his dinner, and of his afternoon's hospitality. I had two motives for complying with this invitation; and, in all probability, the first will be deemed sufficient: I was hungry, and I was delighted with the outré but vigorous character of my guide and landlord; so away we passed along the aisles and eaves of the building, when nearly at the further end, I cast my eyes, accidentally, upon a very old inscription, which appeared to me exceedingly powerful and expressive.—"Here lies the race of the house of Zair." In other corners and niches, we had found various princes, and even kings, deposited singly, and reposing under the heralding of his own escutcheon; but here matters were disposed of wholesale, and a race of individuals once famed, fortunate, and powerful, were content to shelter themselves, throughout many surrounding ages, under this somewhat laconic, but most sublimely expressive, and deeply admonitory inscription. Amidst the contingencies of that inconceivable futurity, towards which the current of duration is continually setting in, who shall declare with certainty, what may be the fate even of the whole human race, who have, during successive ages, figured and sunk, and who are still continuing to figure and sink on this circular lump of materiality. May not some commissioned cherub, amidst the milleniums of eternity, hang out, in the midst of God's Universe, a similar intimation of the existence somewhere, betwixt the orbits of the planets Venus and Mars, of a race and a habitation of which no other memorial remains?

If the Dominie's ante-prandial company and conversation were agreeable, his afternoon discourse and hospitality were not less so. He had resided for six or seven years as tutor in the family of Sir Walter Scott, and related many very interesting anecdotes, illustrative of the goodness of heart, as well as the genius of this romantically fertile individual. It would be improper to reveal what was delivered in confidence, and with no view to publication, nor shall we trespass on this score, in the present instance. The appellations of "auld and young Reekie," which were applied by a certain, recently-created, facetious knight, in consequence of their propensity to cigaring, to Sir Walter Scott and his eldest son, struck me as not being a little quaint and descriptive, and deserving of public record. "Long may "auld Reekie" himself," said I, "smoke his cigar by the banks of the Tweed, and under the shade of the canny Eildons, and long may "auld Reekie herself," the queen of cities, and the emporium of glee and genius, enjoy the honour of receiving yearly, into her protection, a son, who has not only conferred upon her, but upon his country at large, and upon the race to which he belongs, so much honour and benefit."

The sun had set as I passed Huntly Brae, and the Trysting Stone, and the haunted Clough, on my way homewards; but, like Tam O'Shanter of old, I was in that very desirable and fearless state, when

"Fair play, I cared not deil's a boddle."

So onward I moved by the broom of Cowden, and the ruins of Dryburgh, towards that land where

"Ale his sparkling waters pours,

'Neath Ancrum's bonnie woods and towers;

And nature all herself surpasses,

In honest men and bonnie lassies."

That such fine and stately edifices as the one here alluded to, should have been erected in so poor a country as Scotland, and at a time when the arts were in a barbarous state, is a matter of curious reflection. And it appears more wonderful when we think of the plain, simple, unadorned buildings, that are generally to be met with in our own times. A solution of this is to be sought for in the zeal and superstition which then prevailed in religious concerns, and by which the devoted members of the church of Rome have always distinguished themselves. We have greater pecuniary resources: we are possessed of materials equally real and good: our architects are as ingenious, and our workmen as capable; but we have purer and more rational ideas of divine worship; and the progress of science and of commerce has directed our views into a different and mere useful channel. We are more anxious to improve the soil, and extend our trade, than to decorate those structures of which neatness and simplicity are the greatest ornaments. And there is no need for numerous apartments or splendid accommodation, when the clergy are contented to live in detached houses, and under humble roofs. But in the twelfth century the church was regarded with exclusive veneration; it was the sole, or at least the principal object of attention; and whatever could contribute to render its power more absolute, or its livings more valuable, was furnished with readiness and liberality. For the honour of the Virgin Mary, or that of a departed saint, no mark of respect was considered as extravagant—no sacrifice of property or of comfort was deemed foolish or unnecessary. And when a spirit of piety was wanting in the breast of any individual, that influence which priesthood had, by artifice on the one hand, and ignorance on the other, procured and established, was fully sufficient, and often exercised, to extort what could not otherwise be obtained.

When the Pope thought proper to command, when an order wished to enlarge its dominion, when a ghostly father chose to suggest the propriety of founding a religious house, every prince or great man who had faith and ability united, willingly agreed to the pious design; and while his subjects were starving in miserable huts, and even he himself living in a rugged castle, he scrupled not to bestow the most magnificent dwellings on fat monks and useless nuns; to do so was for the glory of God, and the good of his own soul, and therefore it was done with zeal. Heaven was rendered propitious, when sacred services were performed in apartments which no expense had been spared in adorning, and when the ministers of Christ, and the votaries of his saints were made to inhabit the abodes of elegance and grandeur. Those who resided in them might observe the utmost austerity of manners, but the building itself was dedicated to a heavenly being; it was designed perhaps to atone for some flagrant crimes, and secure the ardent intercessions of some favourite martyr, or some sainted virgin, it was erected at any rate, for the accommodation of many whose favour it was profitable to gain; and therefore nothing was superfluous that could add to its richness, or in any way display to advantage the warm piety and holy zeal which animated its founder. The choicest materials were prepared: the most skilful artifices were employed: neither time, nor labour, nor money was grudged; every thing was furnished with a liberality proportioned to the value of the object.

Melrose Abbey is indeed a vast and beautiful ruin. No person can help admiring it, whether he survey it narrowly or contemplates it at some distance; whether he examines it in detail, or in one comprehending view. It is not one of those rude edifices which, when seen from afar, when contrasted with some neighbouring object, and magnified or embellished with imagined perfections, strike the eye with admiration of their vastness and beauty, but from the coarseness of their materials, or the ignorance of those who constructed them, sink into deformity when subjected to a minute and critical inspection. It is impossible to view it from any quarter, or in any direction, without perceiving it to be a most admirable specimen of the architecture of former times, and a striking monument of the taste of its builder, as well as of the party of its founder. It pleases alike by the magnificence of its plan, and the exquisite fineness of its workmanship, by its local situation and the interesting associations to which it gives rise. He who can view the Abbey of Melrose without being highly gratified, has neither understanding that is cultivated, nor feelings that one might envy. He is ruder than the ground on which he treads, he is more insensible than the structure whose beauties he cannot see.

This stupendous structure owes its origin to the superstitions of David the First. It was built by a famous architect of the name of Murdo. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and inhabited by the Cistertians. That religious order was at one time possessed of the most ample revenues, and had greater power than almost any other society of a similar description. It could boast of not less than eighteen hundred abbeys; it held a kind of dominion over all the monastic orders; and governed the temporal affairs of almost all Europe. But now, in common with the other branches of the Romish hierarchy, it is either totally annihilated, or reduced to extreme insignificance. The part of the abbey which remains, then, is too fine an emblem for those for whose benefit it was originally founded. In the former there is still a vastness and a beauty to which there is no corresponding feature in the condition of the latter. There is, however, a general resemblance which naturally leads the mind to a train of reflexions beyond the object which immediately strikes the eye. From the scattered columns and the wasted walls, we turn to meditate on the more complete decay of the cistertian order, which, though at first remarkable for the strictness of its rules, the innocence of its members, and the extent of its authority, became gradually corrupted, and has now come to an end. The silent choirs, the deserted cloister, and the roofless chancel, lead our thoughts to that system of superstition which once reigned with despotic sway over the minds of men, but which, in our day, may be said to exist only in the pages of history. And taking a more comprehensive view of the ruin before us, we behold a striking representation of the gradual dissolution of that powerful and tyrannical church, which, for many ages, awed, and astonished, and oppressed the world.

Yet whatever we may think of the motives from which these fabrics were reared; whatever may have been the characters and principles of those who inhabited them; however much we may detest that system of spiritual despotism to which they formerly belonged; we cannot avoid entering them with sentiments of veneration, and regarding their scattered ruins with melancholy pleasure. Considering them merely as remains of antiquity, we feel that they are worthy of veneration; as erected by the hands of our fathers and our countrymen, they are still more precious in our eyes; and as places of worship, we esteem it sacrilege to think of them without interest, or to view them without reverence. We justly wonder at that excess of religious zeal which could venture to violate or erase such commanding structures; we detest that spirit of selfishness and of novelty, which will endure a man to pull them down that he may erect new edifices in their place; we are surprised at that thoughtless negligence which allows them to fall an unassisted prey to the waste of time, or to the ravages of wantonness and accident: we are offended that by restless and untutored fancy which, by awkward alterations, or useless additions, destroys their uniformity, and diminishes these effects.

The Abbey of Melrose, along with other buildings of the same kind, suffered much from the ruthless disciples of John Knox. That stern and daring reformer was actuated by a most unqualified zeal against the Roman Catholics. He regarded them as the children of Satan, and their religious houses as nothing better than heathen and blood-stained temples: and whilst he laboured to overthrow the tenets of the one, he thought it impious and hostile to the true faith, to allow the other to remain. Every vestige of popery must have been an eye-sore to a man of his stamp; he had no taste for refinement to soften the asperity of his temper: and to him the carved pillar and the unpolished stone, the ornamented window, and the simple aperture, were matters of entire indifference. He took pity on nothing that stood in the way of those glorious ends which it was the great business of his life to accomplish.

The reformers of those days have been much condemned for the havoc which they made among the religious houses. But upon mature reflexion, we shall perhaps find that there was a greater share of wisdom in their conduct than at first sight it indicates. The multitude who were immediately employed in these apparent outrages were indeed barbarous, influenced by no views of policy, and by no principles of reason. Knox, however, and those who directed and encouraged them, were guided to these measures by a thorough knowledge of human nature, and a perfect acquaintance with the genius of the religion against which they contended. And if we call their conduct savage, what shall we say of our own government, which, in the year 1746, prohibited the poor Highlanders from using that dress to which they had been accustomed from their infancy, and on which they looked with as much affection as a Papist regards his crucifix. In both cases there is much to censure, and still more to regret. In both, however, the principle was the same; and, in its general complexion, just. It was a principle of due regard to the connexion which has been established between certain modes of thinking, and certain habits of associations: in the one case between a religion, and the places in which its services have been performed, and which in their structure have been adapted to their nature and spirit; in the other case, between peculiar attachments in a class of people, and those internal circumstances with which such attachments have always been united.

Knox, however, and his zealous followers did not commit all the mischief which the Abbey has experienced. The covenanters in 1649, moved perhaps by similar views, but with a much less degree of reason and propriety, let loose their rage upon it, and despoiled it of some of its fairest ornaments. Whether shall we attach most blame to them, or to that weak and bigotted monarch who drove them to such excesses.

The Abbey of Melrose is situated upwards of thirty-five miles south of Edinburgh. It is allowed to be a most beautiful and correct specimen of Gothic architecture in Scotland, and has been universally admired for the elegance and variety of its sculpture, the beauty of its stones, the multiplicity of its statues and the symmetry of its parts. It was founded about the middle of the 12th century, by the pious David I, who dedicated it to the Virgin Mary.


Not quite a quarter of a mile to the west of Melrose Abbey, there is a green bank reaching to the height of some hundred feet above the level of the Tweed. It is called the Wierd Hill, from a dim tradition of the fairy tribe having haunted the spot, and held high conclave touching the pranks, to be played on the wights and untidy domestics[1] who came under their just indignation. Immediately below this bank, is the Wierd, or dam-dyke, where it is believed the poor Sacristan was ducked by the white lady,[2]—a lineal descendant of the ancient inhabitants of the hill.

Pursuing the line of the Tweed upwards, that is, westerly, about a mile and a half, you arrive at the ruins of the old bridge, which once formed the regular communication to the monastery. It appears to have been constructed of timber, in the form of a drawbridge, with three pillars—the middle one containing a house for the bridge-keeper. From this bridge there was a plain way to Soutra hill, along the northern bank of the Tweed, which was called the Gerth-gate, from an hospital having the privileges of sanctuary, which was founded at Soutrer, by Malcolm IV, for the relief of pilgrims, and of poor and infirm persons who journeyed southwards. This way was so good and easy, that, as a learned divine remarked, it might strongly remind the traveller of the paths to the city of refuge. There were likewise two Hostelries or Inns at this place, which could well afford from their stores, an elegant déjeuné à la fourchette to Sir Piercie Shafton and his "fair Molindinara."

See Fairies Fagaries, &c. passim.

The White Lady of Avenel.—See Monastery.


Not many yards from the bridge in question, the Elevand, or Allan water discharges itself into the Tweed. It is this little mountain brook, rising from Allan shaws on the boundary of Melrose parish towards the north, that forms the beautiful valley of Glendearg, described in the romance.

Continuing on from the Strath of the river in the northern direction from Melrose, the stream is discerned meandering in chrystal majesty through Langlee wood, the property of Lord Sommerville. The serpentine turns its course to oblige the traveller to pass and repass it, in the line of the foot tract; but this is attended with no inconvenience, from the number of rustic bridges which are thrown over it.

Emerging from the wood, the glen presents itself to your view. On the east side rises a precipitous bank, or scaur,[1] of a reddish coloured loam, with here and there thin patches of green sward. The eminences do not swell so high on the opposite side, but form a perfect contract to the other.—They have opened their fertile bosom to the industry of man, and amply rewards his labour with the rich fruits of autumn. This improvement is comparatively recent, as forty years have since elapsed since they displayed an appearance almost as sterile as the opposite ridge. The little brook that runs below is not perceptible from either height, so deeply is its bed embosomed in the narrow dell. Proceeding onwards, under the shade of alder, the glen opens by degrees, and about four hundred yards from the place where it opens, a singular amphitheatre catches the eye, somewhat crescent shaped, through which the water passes, leaving a pretty large channel. The counter-precipices are thickly studded with copse-wood and several mountain shrubs, which entwine with the branches of the beech and fir-trees. This place is called

Precipitous ground without vegetation.


from some curiously shaped stones which are said to be found after heavy falls of rain. These are met with in several fantastic shapes, such as guns, cradles, boots, &c. and are justly supposed to be the petrifications of some mineral spring close at hand. But probably a better plea for the appellation of the "Fairey or nameless Dean" exists in the situation itself, which afforded a hidden rendezvous for the Elfin race with which superstition planted many parts of the district during the grandeur of the abbacy. No one, however, will deny, that the white lady of Avenel might here have fixed her residence, and delivered her responses to young Glindenning, or that it might have served as a secluded corner for deadly strife. Though the holley bark cannot be discovered, yet the spring of water may be easily conjectured, by the curious observer, in the swampiness of portions of the ground now covered with sward.—The scenery of the remainder of that glen is extremely picturesque, but unmarked by any striking varieties, like

"Streamlet of the mountain north,

Now in a torrent racing forth,"

often dashes and foams over small interjecting rocks, and forms some beautiful cascades. At other times,

"Winding slow its silver train,

And almost slumbering o'er the plain,"

it sends a puny rill into some of the deep recesses or ravines which have found their way between the hills. As the top of the glen is neared, the hills shew a greater slope, till we arrive at the green mount, on which stands


on the property of Borthwick Castle, of Crookston, from which there is little doubt Glendearg has been depicted. The outward walls are still entire, and from their thickness and oblong form, with the port-holes with which they abound, show it to have been in former times a place of some strength—a circumstance which also seems probable from the bleakness and wildness of the surrounding scenery. High mountainous ridges, the castles of nature, tower on every side, whose bosoms sometimes display the naked grey rock encircled with fern and heath, and at other times excellent verdure. No cultivation, however, meets the eye, and the solemn stillness which reigns around is only interrupted by the murmuring of the brook. The site of the old tower is well selected, as from the line in which the hills run, a sort of circle is formed, which not only shelters it from the north and east winds, but might easily intercept all communication with the neighbouring country.[1]

If a sculpture on the lintel of the entrance of the old tower may be accredited, the date is 1585; and from its interior appearance, its inhabitants seem to have been of some consequence. At the foot of the stair, which projects almost to the door, there is a long narrow apartment, with an arched roof lighted by a loop-hole window, which, in the olden times, formed the pen for the proprietor's cattle, when danger was apprehended. It would suit well for the place of concealment, suggested by the miker's daughter, for Sir Pierce, before the unbarring of the door. The decayed stone stair-case leads to a common-sized hall, with a large chimney-piece; but from the height of the walls, and other circumstances, there must have been another room of equal dimensions above it. There are also the remains of some small rooms, which complete the accommodations of the mansion. At a little distance from the foot of the tower, the straggling ruins of small out-houses are visible, and which once were connected with the principal building. A little way farther, to the north, stand the ruins of Colmsley and Langshaw. But these are void of interest for our purpose, being quite unnoticed in the romance.

Leaving Glendearg, it becomes necessary to follow the sequel of the romance towards the castle of Avenel, commonly called Smailholm Tower. The distance between the two places is about seven miles. There is no regular road, though a tract may be discovered running eastward from Hislop, through the base of the Gattonside—a small chain which runs from east to west, in the direction of Melrose. The path is a most unenviable one, for besides the obstacles of a ditch and furze, it is frequently intersected with deep morasses, which often render it quite impassable. In mazing this winding tract, we pass Threepwood and Blainslie Mosses, the favourite resort of the moss-troopers, who kept the peaceful inhabitants in constant alarm. The ravages committed by them were particularly extensive during the usurpation of Cromwell, who allowed these marauders to scour the borders with impunity.[2]

In the "Scenery, &c. of the Monastery," it has been mentioned that Colmslie and Langshaw, two places in the vicinity of Glendearg, are unmentioned in the romance. This is in part erroneous. The former place is thus noticed at the 304th page of the first volume: "The laird of Colmslie," says Halbert Glendenning, "is at the head of the glen with his hounds." Which may be considered as completely identifying the real scenery we have described, with that of the "Monastery."

See Moss-troopers, p. 252.


It is presumed that the description of this ancient tower agrees in the leading points with Avenel Castle; and if the reader will carry back his imagination for two hundred years, he will be better able to identify the resemblance.

The following animated and picturesque description of the local beauties of Smailholm are by Sir Walter Scott, who, having passed his early years in the farm house of Sandyknowe (about a bow shot from the tower) with a maternal aunt, whose mind was well stored with border legends, which she related to her youthful charge, may account for the feeling and descriptive energy which it embodies. And there is little doubt that with this instructress, and by incessantly poring over, for a number of years, on the relics of antiquity, which are to be found in the neighbourhood, the author of the Waverley novels received the impressions that afterwards bodied forth to such distinguished maturity, and stored his fecund imagination with those splendid images of chivalry which have been so powerfully warped into his imperishable song.

"——Then rise those crags, that mountain tower,

Which charmed my fancy's waking hour."

*       *       *       *       *       *

"It was a barren scene and wild,

Where naked cliffs were rudely piled;

But ever and anon between

Lay velvet tufts of loveliest green;

And well the lonely infant knew

Recesses where the wall-flower grew,

And honey-suckle loved to crawl

Up the low crag and ruined wall.

I deemed such nooks the sweetest shade,

The sun in all his round surveyed;

And still I thought that shattered tower

The mightiest work of human power;

And marvelled as the aged hind

With some strange tale bewitched my mind,

Of forayers, who with headlong force,

Down from that strength had spurred their horse,

Their southern rapine to renew,

Far in the distant Cheviot's blue,

And home returning filled the hall

With revel, wassel-route and brawl."

Smailholm Tower is about seven miles distant from Melrose to the east, and eight from Kelso to the west; and is the most perfect relic of the feudal keep in the south of Scotland. It stands upon a rock of considerable height, in the centre of an amphitheatre of craggy hills, which rise many hundred feet above the level of the fertile plains of the Merse. Between the hills there appear ravines of some depth, which, being covered with straggling clumps of mountain shrub afford an agreeable relief to the rocks which are continually starting upon the eye. Nature indeed seems to have destined this isolated spot for a bulwark against the border marauder; but its strength and security was not confined to the encircling eminences. It chiefly lay in a deep and dangerous loch, which completely environed the castle, and extended on every side to the hills. Of this loch only a small portion remains, it having been drained many years ago for the convenience of the farmer, on whose estate it was thought a nuisance. But the fact is evident, not only from the swampiness of the ground, which only a few years since created a dangerous morass, but from the appearance of the remaining pool which has hitherto defied the efforts of the numerous drain-beds which surround it in every direction. Some people in the neighbourhood do recollect and can mark out the extent of the large sheet of water which gave so romantic an air to this shred of antiquity.

The external appearance of Smailholm Tower may be briefly described as follows:

The walls are of a quadrangular shape, and about nine feet in thickness. They have none of the decorations of buttress or turret, and if there were any ornamental carving, time has swept it away. A ruined bartizan, which runs across three angles of the building near the top, is the only outward addition to the naked square cachot. The tower has been entered on the west side, as all the other quarters rise perpendicularly from the lake. Accordingly there we discern the fragments of a causeway, and the ruins of a broad portal, whence a drawbridge seems to have communicated with an eminence about a hundred yards distant. On this quarter also there may be traced the site of several small booths which curtained the retainers or men-at-arms of the feudal lord.

On the west side[1], at a little distance from the castle, is the west crag, a massive rock, on the top of which a fire was lit to announce the approach of the English forayers to the neighbourhood. It is thus described in the ballad of the Eve of St. John:

"The bittern clammered from the moss,

The wind blew loud and shrill;

Yet the craggy pathway she did cross,

To the airy beacon hill."

*       *       *       *       *       *

"I watched her steps, and silent came,

Where she sat her all alone;

No watchman stood by the dreary flame

It burned all alone."

The interior of the castle bespeaks the mansion of the lesser Scottish baron. The sunk floor or keep seems, from its structure, to have contained the cattle of the baron during seasons of alarm and invasion. It is vaulted in the roof, and the light admitted by a small outshot. It has been conjectured that the apartment was occupied as a dungeon or Massy More where the captives taken in war were confined; but this idea is not at all probable, not only from the comfortable appearance it exhibits, but from the circumstance of every border fortress having a place of the description alluded to.

Ascending a narrow winding staircase, we arrive at a spacious hall, with the customary distinction of a huge chimney-piece. The roof is gone, but the stone props of it, which were of course the support of another floor, remain. This latter would seem to have been the grand banquetting-room, where the prodigality and hospitality of our ancestors were displayed in their usual style of magnificence. There also remain the marks of a higher floor, thus making three stories in all. The highest opens by a few steps to the bartizan we have already mentioned, whence we ascend to a grass grown battlement, which commands a magnificent prospect. To the east the spires of Berwick are observed, terminating an extensive plain, beautified by the windings of the Tweed; to the south the conical summits of the Eildon hills; to the north the Lammermoors rear their barren heads above the verdant hills of the Merse; and on the south the blue Cheviots are seen stretching, through a lengthened vista of smaller hills. Besides this grand outline, the eye can take in a smaller range, beyond the rocky barrier of the castle, a most uncultivated dale, varied with peaceful hamlets, crystal streams, and towering forests.

The history of the ancient possessors of Smailholm tower is involved in obscurity. All we know is that there were barons of Smailholm, but no memorable qualities are recorded of them. They were, as already observed, in the rank of the lesser barons, those who had not the patent of peerage; but who were dignified only by the extent of their possessions. But we know that the present proprietor, Mr. Scott, of Harden, is not a descendant of that ancient family; as we believe he acquired the estate by purchase. This gentleman cares so little for the antique pile within his domains, that it is not long since he intimated his intention to raze it to the ground and from its materials to erect a steading to the farm of Sandy Knowe. This would certainly have occurred had not his poetic kinsman, the author of Waverley, interfered and averted the sacrilegious intent. And to prevent the recurrence of the resolution, he composed the admired ballad of the Eve of St. John, which ranks among the best in the border minstrelsy. Tradition states that Smailholm tower was inhabited by an aged lady at the beginning of the last century. And several old people still alive remember the joists and window frames being entire. A more interesting legend exists, of which the purport is, that there was once a human skull within this tower, possessed of the astounding faculty of locomotion to the degree that, if taken to any distance, it was always sure to have found its way back the following morning.[2] This may perhaps remind the reader of the strange journies performed by the "Black Volume," in the Monastery, whose rambling disposition was such a source of terror and amazement to the monks of St. Mary's.[3]

The entrance of Avenel was also from the west.

Vide Border Antiquities. The ridiculous and most unromantic incident which gave rise to this story, is, that the skull was removed from its place in the castle by a rat which had converted it into a tenement; and having contrived, with that ingenuity and address for which rats are remarkable, to take it back to a particular apartment on the skull having been removed to any other.

The only error of any note in "the Monastery," (or, indeed, in the author's whole works,) which has run the gauntlet of the critics is that absurd passage in which the White Lady profanes her own angelic purity by taking a bodkin from her hair. The impossibility of immaterial essence such as she consisted of, sustaining any gross or earthly substance, or being at all palpable to its touch, is a glaring fault, abstract from all consideration of the vulgarity of the "bodkin." But still it is not more absurd than the general representation of apparitions in the works of other authors: for is it at all more unnatural that the White Lady should have a pin to her head-dress, than the rest of our common herd of ghosts should appear shrouded in twenty yards of stout linen? How can they, any more than the White Lady, be supposed capable of bearing such "stout stuff" upon their spectral limbs? This absurdity is well ridiculed in a lute ballad, where the ghost of a sailor is thus represented.


Chrichton Castle has been "supposed" by the same authority to be the original of Ravenswood; but excepting a collusion in locality, there is little grounds for the presumption. It has been already amply described by a pen whose power of delineation has alone, of all modern attempts, been able to cope with the inimitable strokes of the describer of Ravenswood. Tantallan has been imagined by some to represent Wolf's Crag; which is not improbable, as it exhibits some resemblance, in point of situation, and lies in the immediate vicinity of Tyne-Sands, a dangerous quicksand where many accidents have at various periods occurred similar to the fate of "the last heir of Ravenswood." In the middle of the seventeenth century, a Lord Bellhaven, who seems to have been nursed and brought forward by the Duke of Hamilton for the same purposes, for which the Master of Ravenswood was protected by his kinsman the Marquis of A——, was lost on Solway Sands, and neither himself nor his horse were ever seen again. But we are informed that the tragic events of this melancholy Tale are founded upon facts which took place, at some former period, in the family of the Earl of Stair; the scene being laid not in the east, but in the west of Scotland.


On the terminating point of that rocky shore called the Heads of Carrick, in Ayrshire, stands Dunure Castle, a fine old building, in some parts overhanging the sea. From the peculiarities of its situation and appearance, it is supposed to have furnished the Author of Waverley with the description of Ellangowan; though Caerlaverock Castle, in Dumfries-shire, on the shore of the Solway Firth, has also been pointed out. The former has a most extensive view to the west, over Arran, Kintyre, and the isles of Ailsa[1] and Bute, as far as the coast of Ireland. It seems to have been a place of great strength and importance; and was the ancient residence of the family of Kennedy, from whom the Earl of Cassilis is descended. Caerlaverock, in its principal front, strongly resembles Ellangowan, as it is described in the novel. It was formerly the residence of the powerful family of the Maxwells, whose crest and motto yet remain over the great gateway, as those of the Bertrams are represented to have done in Ellangowan.

See a description of Ailsa passim.


Is supposed to have been described from Craig Nethan Castle, in Lanarkshire, lying near the road between Lanark and Hamilton. It must be confessed that, both in locality and appearance, they closely resemble each other.

The following fragment of some romantic and sentimental itinerants, with whom we have not the pleasure to be acquainted, is so lively a picture that the imagination will require comparatively little efforts to transport one to the scene itself.


On the 27th of July 1831, we parted with "Bonnie Dumfries," as the Duchess of Bedford very truly calls it—bade farewell to Criffel,[2] the fairest of mountains—and Solway, the sweetest of all seas—and penetrated into the vale of Yarrow, by the way of Moffat. We bowed as we went along to Bodsbeck, the abode of the last of those drudging goblins called Brownies,[3] and the scene of one of Hogg's tales, and visited the Gray Mare's Tail, a wild torrent of that name, which Loch Skene flings from the summit of her pasture mountains over cliffs, the abode of the eagle, into the great pass of Moffatdale. We had never been in that land before; and on reaching Birkhill, where the waters of Dumfrieshire run one way, and those of Selkirkshire another, we were conscious of being about to enter the enchanted region of Poetry and Romance. The hills on either side rose lofty, steep, and green; white, in many places with innumerable sheep, and differing from the brown heathery eminences of Dumfrieshire and Galloway in one important feature of beauty—namely, they were one and all covered with the greenest grass from base to summit. Between them St. Mary's Lake lies like a fine mirror, in which the hills on either side, with all their sheep and shepherds, are reflected calm and fair. We looked for the Chapel of the Lowes; but it is past and gone, and lives only in the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel;' and we looked for Wordsworth's swans, but they are gone too—swan and shadow. In truth, the wild swan is but the winter guest of this fine lake; and even in winter, it comes seldom. The last of the race was of great size and beauty, and was shot some years ago by a gentleman, who sent it to Altrive; the shepherd presented it to Sir Walter Scott, who, in his turn, bestowed it upon the Edinburgh Museum, where the majestic bird may be seen stuffed. If we did not see Wordsworth's swans, we felt that pastoral melancholy of which the poet speaks; and in this mood we parted with the lonely lake and Dryhope Tower, the residence of Mary Scott, the Flower of Yarrow, and followed the course of the water of that name on its way to the banks of the Tweed.

Though the mark and aim of our journey was Abbotsford and Chiefswood, we had promised ourselves pleasure by the way; and accordingly, on moving along, we looked out for Altrive Lake, the abode of the "far-kenned and noted" Shepherd of Etterick. Now, in this land the population is thin—there are no mile-stones, and, what is better, no toll-bars—and what is sorrowful, no houses of refreshment: and moreover, to a citizen of "credit and renown," the whole vale, with all its associations of verse and prose, may seem naught and barren. But to him who knows how to seek such things, there is milk and honey, and trout and lamb, and as much information, old and new, as would fill a hundred pages of a traveller's volume. Any maiden, whom ye may chance to meet, will, with small entreaty, supply you with milk, if you ask for water; and any shepherd will give you information on any subject reaching from the present hour to the days of Robert Bruce. We had arrived at that part of the valley where the growing corn and natural grass meet, when we inquired of a boy where Altrive was, and if Hogg was at home. "Yon house is Altrive, (said the boy,) and yon man fishing is Mr. Hogg: cry, and he'll hear you." We lifted our voice, but the murmur of the stream drowned it; and as we advanced upon him, 'bout ship went the Shepherd, and, with a heavy creel of trouts, began to wend his way home: at length he heard us, and marvelling, no doubt what manner of people we were, came slowly to meet us. Now, we were known to the poet of old—he had heard, too, that we were in these parts; so he began to quicken his pace, and before we met, his whole face was radiant with joy—dilated with gladness. "God, man! but I'm glad to see you!" was the first exclamation, followed by a hearty, vigorous shake of both hands, after the manner of that Great Minstrel of Abbotsford. "You must come and dine with me, you and all your following; na, nae murmuring, man—I am omnipotent here, and can command you. I have two friends also who will be glad to see you; besides, you must taste our Yarrow cheer—our mutton, our trout, and our whiskey."[4]

The house of the poet is a lonely one, and not very large; nor is the land very fertile around; but to make amends for all this, the fine water of Yarrow is some bow-shot distance—a burn well stored with trout runs past the very door—and, better than all, the wife of the poet, a prudent and clever lady, keeps the whole in good order, and presides over the in-door economy of her dwelling-place in a way worthy of more worldly prosperity. We had a pleasant chat about things bygone—how we met of old on Queensberry Hill, with the Lay of the Last Minstrel and a bottle of Ferintosh for our companions—how we lingered at a Thornhill fair till the morning stars shone—and how we discoursed in old Dumfries on the merits of all poets living and dead. During all this we made use of our eyes, and looked at the Shepherd's library—a small, but valuable collection; at his pictures on the wall, among which we remarked a clever portrait of one of his children—a likeness of a fine collie—and two of Martin's exquisite engravings, one of them the Fall of Nineveh. The Scottish games of Inverleithing were talked of, where wrestling, pithing the bar, throwing the sledge hammer and archery, are practised in the presence of the noblemen and gentlemen of the district, and in which the Shepherd himself takes a leading part. He invited us anxiously to these sports, held on the 2nd of August—showed us certain silver buttons, with suitable devices, sent to him by a Scottish nobleman, to be worn on that day—and, finally, producing a good yew bow six feet long, dared us to attempt to string it. Now, in a vain moment, we had said something of our skill with this old weapon, and the Poet, who sorely misdoubted us, had a roguish twinkle in his eye, as we handled the bow in such sort as bow was never handled before; we nevertheless lodged the string, and our entertainer spared us farther proof of our skill. The dinner was excellent—broth of the best, trout, lamb and haggis; and when their reliques were removed, the Shepherd set on the table a massive punch-bowl of solid silver, the gift of Mr. Franks; and with no little knowledge he mixed the whisky and the sugar and water. As this pleasing tipple went round, we said, "What is your pen about now, Mr. Hogg?"—"Pen!" said he, "it might as well be in the goose's wing; I cannot get writing any for the visits of my friends; I'm never a day without some."—We looked at the two guests to whom he had formerly alluded: they looked at us: and we all perhaps felt that a man might he ruined by the visits of thoughtless friends.

Crowdie ance, crowdie twice,

   Crowdie three times in a day;

And if ye crowdie ony mair,

   Ye'll crowdie a' my meal away.

We tore ourselves reluctantly away from Altrive and its hospitable master and mistress, and pursued our way along the Yarrow.

The mere names of places renowned in song and story would fill a column; we saw "the dowie dens of Yarrow," and the two gray stones which mark the scene of the tragedy. One of these rude but effectual monuments was about to be destroyed by the hands of a divine, when it was saved by the poetic Sheriff. We passed "Sweet Bowhill," and those wooded acclivities where

Newark's ruined tower

Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower.

The memory of our ancestor rose upon us, as we passed Philiphaugh, where he fought and fled; and Janet and her elfin lover were present as we looked on Carterhaugh; we hastened through Selkirk, singing, in a subdued tone of voice, 'Sutors a'—sutors a',' and hurried on towards Abbotsford, with the hope of reaching, before bed-time, the abode of the greatest of all Scotland's spirits. But the ascending-into-heaven and descending-into-hell nature of the road interposed—the candles, when we reached the gates, were burning bedward, for it was now ten at night, so we drove on to Melrose, and with the light of the moon surveyed the splendid ruins. Well has the poet sung—

He that would view Melrose aright,

Must visit it by the pale moon-light;—

and with equal beauty and accuracy has he called it the "ruin gray;" and observed that the flowers of the garden and the herbs of the field around are carved on the fabric. In the burial ground we saw a small monument in memory of Thomas Purdie, wood-forester at Abbotsford, erected by his affectionate master. We forgot the "dark Abbaye" as we looked at this honorable memorial. On the morrow we made our way to Abbotsford, and were received with what Burns calls, in his emphatic language, "a soul-warm welcome." We had not seen Sir Walter for years, and the newspapers had hinted of ill-health: we found him hale and ruddy in the outward man, and in conversation all that we had ever known him. Indeed, out of the dozen times at least that we have had the honour of being in his company, we never found him so shrewd, so anecdotish, and so agreeably companionable. His foot, as he said of Rob-Roy, was on his native heath, and we were his guests; yet to be pleasant cost him no effort, and his wit ran as readily as the waters of the Tweed. His hair is as white as the "Dinlay snow;" and we could not help involuntarily blessing him as he passed before us into his halls and libraries, to show us fine collections of books, and armour, and weapons.

Of the former it is enough to say, that of the works of Scotsmen, he has perhaps the finest collection extant; volumes anent the Cameronians, and dark books on witchcraft and gramery abound. His armour and weapons merit a longer description—they are numerous and of great value. The fowling-piece of Rob-Roy, and the pistol of Claverhouse, both of rich workmanship, hang together; the sword of the great Montrose is locked carefully in a sort of relique-chest. There are the arms, too, of the warlike name of Scott: we neglected to inquire for the lance of the poet's ancestor, Swinton, of Swinton, with which he slew the Duke of Clarence in the battle of Beague: the wound inflicted by the Scottish lance is imitated on the cheek of the alabaster figure on the tomb in Canterbury cathedral. We looked at those torture-irons called "thumbikins" in the history of the persecutions in Scotland; but the relique which struck us most was a plain piece of well tempered steel, being neither more nor less than the head of an English arrow found on the field of Bannockburn, several feet below the surface. It was small, compact, and fit for the working day: the barbs on the sides lie closer than what is common, and the thickness of the shaft must have been little more than that of a tobacco pipe. We had often heard of English arrows, but we never saw one before; and we believe that of Abbotsford is almost the only one: we involuntarily repeated the lines—

And there were many vainly thought,

But for a vaunt such weapons wrought,

But little deemed their force to feel

Through bars of brass and links of steel,

When rattling down on Flodden vale,

The cloth-yard arrows flew like hail.

As we were walking through the house an open carriage came to the door, and the Baronet said, "if we wished to take a ride, he would be glad to accompany us, and show us what was most worth seeing in the land." It is needless to say with what joy we stepped into the carriage.

From the Athenæum. We like the pleasing sentimental and picturesque style of our tourists; the sketch is natural, well-drawn, and chimes in admirably with our subjects; and equally so in accordance with our feelings, from local knowledge, and other agreeable associations.—Ed.

An excellent local barometer for many miles round. It is an old saying that when Criffel has got her "night mutch on" it is an infallible sign of wet weather.

See Fairies. Passim.

The glens and the mountains of Etterick and Yarrow combine almost all the soft and wild sublimity that Highland scenery exhibits. In the lower district of Yarrow, that lovely stream winds among hills of no great height, gently swelling, and green to the summits: in some places finely wooded, but generally naked, and well suited to the pasture of flocks. This is their common character, but some miles from the mouth of the valley, dark heathy mountains are seen towering to a considerable height above the surrounding hills, and give a variety to the scene. Towards the head, the glen widens, and embosoms St. Mary's Loch, and the Loch of the Lowes; and above these sweet lakes, terminates in a wild mountain-pass that divides it from Moffatdale. In the loftiest and most rugged regions of this pass, the grey-mare's tail, a waterfall 300 feet in perpendicular height dashes and falls over stupendous rocks. This celebrated fall is formed by a stream that flows from dark Skene, a dark and mountain lake, about a mile above it, surrounded by inaccessible heights on all sides save one, and that is strewed by a thousand black heathery hillocks of the most grotesque and irregular forms. This place is so solitary that the eagle has built her nest in an islet of the lake for ages, and is overhung by the highest mountains in the south of Scotland. The character of Etterick is similar to that of Yarrow, except perhaps that its tints are softer and more mellow, and it is destitute of lakes. These valleys, so celebrated in border legend and song, are skirted by hills, extending many miles on both sides, and, as there is no great road through them, the people have long lived shut out from the rest of mankind in a state of pastoral simplicity and virtuous seclusion, alike remote from the vices of boorish rusticity and fawning servility. Among the wild mountains at the head of Etterick and Yarrow, the sturdy champions of the covenant found an asylum when they were chased like wild beasts, by a relentless persecution, from every other part of the country. Their preachers held their conventicles in the most sequestered glens, and made many converts, from whom a number of the present race are descended; but while they cherish the memory of these glorious men, and as well they may, retain all the noble-mindedness that arises from the consciousness of an illustrious ancestry, their moral features have lost much of the sternness of their fathers, and are softened down into the gentler virtues of more peaceful times; yet if we were asked what people of Britain had suffered least from the evil consequences of excessive refinement, we should answer without hesitation, the inhabitants of Etterick and Yarrow. In these interesting vallies, there is hardly a cottage that has not its legend, or a cleugh that is not famed for some act of romantic chivalry, or tenanted by some supernatural being, or sanctified by the blood of some martyr. In such a country, full of chastened beauty, and dark sublimity and visionary agency, and glorious recollections, it was the good fortune of Hogg to be born.



   "He might se him besides

Oft in hot undertides.

The king of fairi with his route,

Come to hunt him al about,

With dim cri and shrill blowing, &c.—

Ac best thai no nome

No never he nist whider thai be come."

Romance of Orfeo and Heurodis.

The fiction of fairies is supposed to have been brought, with other extravagancies of a like nature, from the eastern nations, whilst the European Christians were engaged in the holy war; such, at least, is the notion of an ingenious writer, who thus expresses himself: "nor were the monstrous embellishments of enchantments the invention of romancers, but formed upon eastern tales, brought thence by travellers from their crusades and pilgrimages, which, indeed, have given a cast peculiar to the wild imagination of the Eastern people."[1] That fairies, in particular, came from the east, we are assured by that learned orientalist, Mr. Herbelot, who tells us that the Persians called the fairies Peri, and the Arabs genies; that according to the eastern fiction, there is a certain country inhabited by fairies, called gennistian, which answers to our fairy-land; and that the ancient romances of Persia are full of Peri, or fairies[2]. Mr. Warton (vol. I. p. 64) in his observations on Spenser's Fairy Queen, is decided in his opinion that the fairies came from the east, but he justly remarks that they were introduced into this country long before the period of the crusades. The race of fairies, he informs us, were established in Europe in very early times, but "not universally." The fairies were confined to the north of Europe—to the ultima Thule—to the British isles to the divisis orbe Britannicis. They were unknown at this remote era to the Gauls or the Germans, and they were, probably, familiar to the vallies of Scotland and Danmonium, when Gaul and Germany were yet unpeopled either by real or imaginary beings. The belief, indeed, of such invisible agents, assigned to different parts of nature, prevails at this very day in Scotland, and in Devonshire and Cornwall, regularly transmitted from the remotest antiquity to the present time, and totally unconnected with the spurious romance of the crusader or the pilgrim. Hence those superstitious notions now existing in our western villages, where the spriggian[3] are still believed to delude benighted travellers, to discover hidden treasures, to influence the weather, and to rule the winds. "This, then," says Warton, "strengthens the hypothesis of the northern parts of Europe being peopled by colonies from the east!"

The inhabitants of Shetland and the isles pour libations of milk or beer through a holed stone, in honour of the spirit Brownie, and it scarcely can admit of a doubt that the Danmonii were accustomed to sacrifice to the same spirit, since the Cornish and the Devonians on the border of Cornwall, invoke to this day, the spirit Brownie, on the swarming of their bees. With respect to rivers, it is a certain fact, that the primitive Britons paid them divine honours; even now, in many parts of Devonshire and Cornwall, the vulgar may be said to worship brooks and wells, to which they resort at stated periods, performing various ceremonies in honour of those consecrated waters; and the Highlanders, to this day, talk with great respect of the genius of the sea; never bathe in a fountain, lest the elegant spirit that resides in it should be offended, and remove; and mention not the water of rivers without prefixing to it the name of excellent.[4] In one of the western islands, the inhabitants retained the custom to the close of the last century, of making an annual sacrifice to the Genius of the Ocean.[5]

In the west of Europe, a host of other demons was brought upon the stage, far more formidable, who had their origin in Celtic, Teutonic, and even Eastern fables; and as their existence as well as influence, was, not only by the early Christians, but even by the reformers, boldly asserted; it was long before the rites to which they have been accustomed, were totally eradicated. Thus in Orkney, for instance, it was customary, even during the last century, for lovers to meet within the pale of a large circle of huge stones, which had been dedicated to the chief of the Scandinavian deities. Through a hole in one of the pillars, the hands of the contracting parties were joined, and the faith they plighted was named, the promise of Odin, to violate which, was infamous. But the influence of the Dii majores of the Edda was slight and transient, in comparison with that of the duergan or dwarfs, who figure away in the same mythology, and whose origin is thus recited:—Odin and his brothers killed the giant Ymor, from whose wound ran so much blood, that all the families of the earth were drowned, except one who saved himself on board a bark. These gods, then made of the giant's bones, of his flesh and blood, the earth, the waters, and the heavens. But, in the body of the monster, several worms had, in the course of putrefaction, been engendered, which, by order of the gods, partook of both human shape and reason. These little beings possessed the most delicate figures, and always dwelt in subterraneous caverns, or clefts in the rocks. They were remarkable for their riches, their activity, and their malevolence.[6] This is the origin of our modern fairies, who, at the present day are described as people of a small stature, gaily dressed in habiliments of green. They possess material shapes, with the means, however, of making themselves invisible. They multiply their species; they have a relish for the same kind of food that affords sustenance to the human race, and when, on some festal occasion, they would regale themselves with good beef or mutton; they employ elf arrows to bring down their victims. At the same time they delude the shepherds with the substitution of some vile substance, or illusory image, possessing the same form as that of the animal they had taken away. These spirits are much addicted to music; and when they make their excursions, a most exquisite band of music never fails to accompany them in their course. They are addicted to the abstraction of the human species, in whose place they leave substitutes for living beings, named, changelings, the unearthly origin of whom is known by their mental imbecility, or some wasting disease. When a limb is touched with paralysis, a suspicion often arises, that it has been touched by these spirits, or that, instead of the sound member, an insensible mass of matter has been substituted in its place.

In England, the opinions originally entertained, relative to the duergan or Dwarfs, have sustained considerable modifications, from the same attributes being assigned to them as the Persian Peris, an imaginary race of intelligences, whose offices of benevolence was opposed to the spiteful interference of evil spirits. Whence this confusion, in proper Teutonic mythology has originated, is doubtful; conjectures have been advanced, that it may be traced to the intercourse the Crusaders had with the Saracens, and that, as before observed, was imported the corrupted name, derived from the Peris, of fairies; for under such a title the duergan of the Edda are now generally recognised,—the malevolent character of the dwarf being thus sunk in the opposite qualities of the Peris, the fairies. Blessing became, in England, proverbial: "Grant that the sweet fairies may nightly put on your shoes, and sweep your house clean." In more general terms, the wish denoted, "peace be to the house."[7]

Fairies, for many centuries, have been the objects of spectral impressions. In the case of a poor woman of Scotland, Alison Pearson, who suffered for witchcraft,[8] in the year 1586, they probably resulted from some plethoric state of the system, which was followed by paralysis. Yet, for this illusive image, to which the popular superstition of the times had given rise, the poor creature was indicted for holding communication with demons, under which light, fairies were then considered, and burnt at a stake. During her illness, she was not unfrequently impressed with sleeping and waking visions, in which she held an intercourse with the queen of the Elfland, and the "good neighbours." Occasionally, these capricious spirits would condescend to afford her bodily relief; at other times, they would add to the severity of her pains. In such trances or dreams, she would observe her cousin, Mr. William Sympsoune, of Sterling, who had been conveyed away to the hills by the fairies, from whom she received a salve that would cure every disease, of which the Archbishop of St. Andrew's deigned himself to reap the benefit. It is said, in the indictment against her, that "being in Grange Muir with some other folke, she, being sick, lay downe; and when alone, there came a man to her clad in green, who said to her, if she would be faithful, he would do her good; but she being feared, cried out, but nae bodie came to her, so she said, if he came in God's name, and for the gude of her soul, it was all well: but he gaed away; he appeared another time, like a lustie man, and manie men and women with him, at seeing him, she signed herself, and prayed, and passed with them, and saw them making merrie with pypes, and good cheer, and wine; she was carried with them, and when she telled any of these things, she was sairlie tormented by them, and the first time she gaed with them, she gat, a sair stracke frae one of them, which took all the poustie (power) of her side frae her, and left an ill-far'd mark on her side.

"She saw the gude neighbours make their saas (salves) with panns and fyres, and they gathered the herbs before the sun was up, and they cam verie fearful sometimes to her, and flaire (scared) her verie sair, which made her cry, and threatened they would use her worse than before; and at last they tuck away the power of her haile syde frae her, and made her lye manie weeks. Sometimes they would come and sit by her, and promise that she should never want if she would be faithful, but if she would speak and tell of them, they would murder her. Mr. William Sympsoune is with them who healed her, and telt her all things, he is a young man, not six years older than herself, and he will appear to her before the court comes; he told her he was taken away by them; and he bid her sign herself that she be not taken away."

Another apparition of this kind may be seen in the pamphlet which was published in 1696, under the patronage of Dr. Fowler, Bishop of Gloucester, relative to Ann Jeffries, "who was fed for six months by a small sort of airy people, called fairies." There is every reason to suppose, that this female was either effected with hysterics, or with that highly excited state of nervous irritation, which gives rise to ecstatic illusions. The narrative of this girl, which is not worth reciting, was, nevertheless, highly interesting at the time, to her superstitious neighbours, and she was induced to relate far more wonderful stories, upon which not the least dependance can be placed, as the sympathy she excited, eventually induced her to become a rank imposter.

But besides fairies, or elves, which formed the subject of many spectral illusions, a domestic spirit named Brownie, deserves to be noticed, who was once held in no small degree of reverence. In most northern countries there were few families that were without a shrewd and knavish spirit, who, in return for the attention or neglect which he experienced, was known to

————————"Sometimes labour in the quern,

And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;

And sometimes make the drink to bear no barm!"

In his illustrations of Shakspeare, Mr. Douce has shown that the Samogitæ, a people formerly inhabiting the shores of the Baltic, who remained idolatrous so late as the fifteenth century, had a Deity named Pulseet, whom they invoked to live with them, by placing in the barn every night, a table covered with bread, butter, cheese and ale. If these were taken away, good fortune was to be expected; but if they were left, nothing but bad luck. This spirit is the same as the Goblin Groom, Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, of the English, whose face and hands were either of a russet or green colour, who was attired in a suit of leather, and armed with a flail. For a much smaller fee than was originally given him, he would assist in threshing, churning, grinding malt or mustard, and sweeping the house at midnight. "He would chafe exceedingly, (says Scott) if the maid or good wife of the house, having compassion on his nakedness, laid ani clothes for him besides his messe of white bread and milk, which was his standing fee. For in that case he saith, what have we here? Hempten, Hampten, here will I never more tread nor stampen." A similar tall lubber fiend, habited in a brown garb, was known in Scotland. Upon the condition of a little wort being laid for him, or the occasional sprinkling, upon a sacrificial stone, of a small quantity of milk, he would ensure the success of many domestic operations.

According to Olans Magnus, the northern nation regarded domestic spirits of this description, as the souls of men who had given themselves up, during life, to illicit pleasures, and were doomed, as a punishment, to wander upon the earth, for a certain time, in the peculiar shape which they assumed, and to be bound to mortals in a sort of servitude. It is natural, therefore, to expect, that these familiar spirits would be the subjects of many apparitions, of which a few relations are given in Martin's account of the Second Sight in Scotland. "A spirit," says this writer, "called Browny, was frequently seen in all the most considerable families in the isles of the north of Scotland, in the shape of a tall man, but within these twenty or thirty years, he is seen but rarely." Suffice it to observe, as regards this subject, that in the course of a few centuries, the realms of superstition were increased to almost an immeasureable extent; the consequence was, that the air, the rocks, the seas, the rivers, nay, every lake, pool, brook or spring, were so filled with spirits, both good and evil, that in each province, in the words of the Roman satirist, "Nosiba regio tam plena est numinibus, ut facelius possis deum quam hominem invenire." Hence the modification which took place of systems of Demonology, so as to admit of the classification of all description of devils, whether Teutonic, Celtic, or Eastern.

In the "Bibliographical Miscellanies," a selection of curious pieces, in verse and prose, published at Oxford, (1813), there are three fairy poems with which the work concludes; the Fancy Ring, is ascribed to Sir Simeon Steward; the second a description of his diet, has been printed with many variations, in Herrick's Hesperides; and the third, the Fairies Fagaries, which we here extract, is, we observe, copied by Mr. Brand, from Poole's English Parnassus, into the elegant edition of his "Observations on popular Antiquities," (vol. II, p. 345) published by Mr. Ellis. Mr. Brand justly calls it a fairy song of exquisite beauty.—

Supplement to the Trans. Pref. to Jarvis's Don Quixote.

Herbelot tells us, that there is an Arabian book, entitled "Pièces de Corail amassées, sur ce qui regarde les Ginnes, ou Génies." But above all see the Arabian Nights' entertainments.

"That the Druids worshipped rocks, stones, and fountains, and imagined them inhabited, and actuated by divine intelligence of a lower rank, may be plainly inferred from their stone monuments. These inferior deities, the Cornish call spriggian, or spirits, which answer to genii or fairies; and the vulgar in Cornwall, still discourse of these spriggian as of real beings, and pay them a kind of veneration,"—Borlasse, p. 163, 164.

See Macpherson's Introduction to the History of Great Britain and Ireland.

It is a well-known fact, that the inhabitants of India deify their principal rivers; the waters of the Ganges possess an uncommon sanctity; and the modern Arabians, like the Ishmalites of old, concur with the Danmonii, in their reverence of springs and fountains. Even the names of the Arabian and Danmonium wells have a striking correspondence. We have the singing well or the white fountain, and there are springs with similar names in the deserts of Arabia. Perhaps the veneration of the Danmonii in fountains and rivers, may be accepted as no trivial proof, to be thrown into the mass of circumstancial evidence in favour of their Eastern original. That the Arabs, in their thirsty deserts, should even adore their wells of "springing water," need not excite our surprise; but we may justly wonder at the inhabitants of Devonshire and Cornwall, thus worshipping the gods of numerous rivers, and never failing brooks, familiar to every part of Danmonium.

Sir Walter Scott has supposed that this mythological account of the duergan, bears a remote allusion to real history, having an ultimate reference to the oppressed Fins, who, before the arrival of the invaders, under the conduct of Odin, were the prior possessors of Scandinavia. The followers of this hero saw a people, who knew how to work upon the minds of the people better than they did; and, therefore, from a superstitious regard, transformed them into spirits of an unfavourable character, dwelling in the interior of rocks, and surrounded with immense riches. See Border Minstrelsy, vol. II, p. 179.

In Germany, probably for similar reasons, the dwarfs have acquired the name of elves,—a word, observes Mr. Douce, derived from the Teutonic helfin, which Etymologists have translated juvare. Vide Demonologia, by J.S.F. p. 329.

See Witches. Passim.



Singing and dancing being all their pleasure,

Theyle please you most nicely, if youle be at leisure;

To hear their sweet chanting, itt will you delyght,

To cure melancholy at morning and night.


Come follow, follow me,

You fairie Elves that be:

And circle round this greene,

Come follow me your queene,

Hand in hand let's dance around,

For this place is fairie ground.


When mortals are at rest,

And snorting in their nest,

Unheard or unespy'd,

Through key-holes we do glide:

Over tables, stools, and shelves,

We trip it with our fairie elves.


And if the house be foule,

Or platter dish or bowle,

Up stairs we nimbly creepe,

And find the sluts asleepe;

And we pinch their armes and thighes,

None escape and none espies.


And if the house be swept,

And from uncleannesse kept,

We praise the house and maid,

And surely she is paid;

For we do use before we go,

To drop a tester in her shoe.


Upon the mushroome's head,

Our table-cloth we spread,

A graine o' th' finest wheat,

Is manchet that we eate:

The pearlie drops of dewe we drinke,

In acorne-cups filled to the brinke.


The tongues of nightingales,

With unctious juice of snayles,

Betwixt two nut-shells stewde,

Is meate that's easily chewde:

The braines of rennes, the beards of mice,

Will make a feast of wondrous price.


Over the tender grasse,

So lightly we can passe,

The young and tender stalke,

Nere bowes wherein we walke,

Nor in the morning dew is seene,

Over night where we have been.


The grashopper, gnat, and flie,

Serve for our minstrel's three,

And sweetly dance awhile,

Till we the time beguile;

And when the moone-calf hides her heade,

The glow worme lights us into bed.


The popular belief in the existence of fairies still remains almost unimpaired in some of the more remote parts of the borders of Scotland and England; though it is generally allowed that they are now very seldom seen in the southern parts of the island. The opinion current among the peasantry is, that, after the land had been purged from popish superstitions and prelatic corruptions, the "gude neighbours," as they were usually called, found it expedient likewise to retreat to the Highlands and other "sick like" unenlightened and uncivilized regions. A similar cause is assigned for their disappearance by Cleland, the Cameronian poet, who, as might be expected, speaks of them somewhat rigidly, though, at the same time, evidently with a degree of hankering partiality, not unlike that with which the pious mountaineers of the present day still regard these old "neighbours" in spite of all the clerical fulminations which have been so frequently launched against them. Cleland, alluding to the classical attributes of certain border streams, whose poetical "vertue" he, with some justice, ascribes chiefly to the haunting of these aërial visions, says:

"For there, and several other places,

About mill-dams and green brae faces,

Both Elrich elfs, and Brownies stayed,

And green-gown'd fairies danced and played:

When old John Knox and other some

Began to plott the baggs of Rome,

They suddenly took to their heels,

And did no more frequent these fields:

But if Rome's pipes perhaps they hear,

Sure for their interest they'll compear

Again, and play their old hell's tricks," &c.

Yet, though thus proscribed and exiled from our Scottish Arcadia, the fairy folk are still supposed to pay, now and then, a passing visit to their own haunts, and to keep up a sort of shy correspondence with a few favourable individuals. "A most worthy old woman of our acquaintance," says our informant, who for the greater part of a century resided in a spot very well known to me, has long held much familiar and kindly intercourse with them. Indeed, their intercourse with old Nanzy could scarcely be otherwise than of a kindly description, for she possessed such an inexhaustible fund of good nature, and moreover entertained such a true respect for them, that the "Brown Man of the Moors" himself, the most malignant sprite of the elfin kind, could scarcely have had the heart to do her an injury. Nanzy has frequently met with fairy processions when she chanced to be late or early out of doors; and has more than once received presents from her aërial neighbours; among other things, very nice rolls of fairy butter have occasionally been laid down before her on the grass when she had occasion to go to market. But she was too good a Christian and too well aware of the insidious nature of such gifts, to use this in "ony meltith," though she applied it without hesitation to other household purposes.

The place where Nanzy resided was an old ruinous hamlet, containing only five habitable cottages, all of which were tenanted, separatim et divisim, by old unmarried women, except one that was occupied by an aged weaver and his wife. It stood at the bottom of a black heathy hill, was dreary and desolate in appearance, and remote from even the cross roads of the country; and was very well known to be haunted itself, as well as several places in its immediate vicinity. At a little distance down the valley lay a marshy recess, traversed by a moorland stream, called the Laike, which, from time immemorial, had been haunted by the unhappy ghost of an unchristened infant, which a cruel mother was said to have murdered there at some former period. Many persons have heard this wailing: though many have imagined they heard the unearthy yell, nobody was ever known to have seen it except old Nanzy. "She gat a sight o't ae morning," she said, "just afore the skriegh o' day, as she was gaun through the Larke, on her way to the merket. Hearing its eirie erlish maene, she lookit up the water, and just gat a glim o't as it was hovan away like, i' the mist, wi its bit wee waesome hands streekit out, and its elfish body swathed like a corpse in the dead cleeding."

Still nearer the old hamlet, at about the distance of half a Scotch mile, stood an old farm-house, which, about sixty or seventy years ago, is said to have been visited by a bogle much more uncommon, as well as familiar than the "Greetin' Bairn o' the Laike." This being was neither fairy, ghost, nor Brownie, but appears to have partaken somewhat of the attributes of the whole three. Often have we, in our boyhood, listened with intense and fearful interest to the strange and mysterious tales related of this "elrich incubus," but the purport of these was altogether so undefined and shadowy, that they cannot now be detailed with any degree of accuracy or distinctness. It was generally said, however, that this creature took on the appearance of an ancient man, wild, withered, dwarfish and deformed; that it played a number of malicious tricks to such as gave offence to it; that it never, on any occasion, was known to speak; but at length, one winter evening, it came and took a seat among the family, who were sitting round the kitchen fire; when a servant girl, who was churning, having offered it a bowl of cream, it thought fit to fly up the chimney, and was never since seen or heard of. When first we met with the account of Gilpin Horner, for the first time in the notes of the "Lay to the Last Minstrel," we were forcibly struck with the resemblance of that elfish sprite to this anomalous ghaist, and have ever since believed that the "Bogle of Blacklaw Myres" could be none other than the redoubted Gilpin himself, or one of his near relatives.

Though the inhabitants of the old hamlet never made any objection to these and other bogles who frequented their neighbourhood, nor even seemed to be any way adverse to a peaceable intercourse with them, they by no means exhibited the same degree of forbearance in regard to witches. They were once put to a sore trial on this point: one of the ancient female inhabitants having died, the landlord let the cottage she had occupied to two old single women who lived together. These poor creatures had the misfortune to be strongly suspected in the neighbourhood of using the black art; which probably arose from the circumstance of one of them being very crabbed in her temper, and the other very crazed in her head. They ruled the new neighbours for a season most despotically, for none dared to quarrel with them; till at length the old weaver plucked up courage, held a council of the other cronies, and forthwith went to the landlord, and declared, in their name and his own, that unless the witches were put away next term, or else "scored aboon the breath[1]," all the other cotters would leave the place. It was in vain to reason on the subject, and the unhappy beldames were obliged to flit. This occurred only about twenty years ago; and one of these supposed witches (the crazy one) rather encouraged the belief of her magical endowments. She was generally known by the name of Whistling Ann.

The Plora wood, between Traquair[2] and Selkirk, is distinguished for a remarkable feat of the fairies, who are said to have carried off from this place a little girl, and after keeping her a considerable time, and shewing her all the wonders of the fairyland, left her asleep, as the story goes, upon the same spot from whence they had stolen her away. Upon this legend, Mr. Hogg is understood to have founded his very beautiful and enchanting tale of Kilmeny.

The Pastoral Braes of Plora would appear to have been peculiarly favoured by these and other beneficent genii. The following story was related by a lady of very superior intelligence, who was long resident in that neighbourhood, and remembers hearing the matter talked of as a very recent and well-authenticated occurrence. A family who resided on the banks of the Plora were assembled one evening at family worship, and the old goodman had just concluded his pious duty, when the youngest girl, a child who had been absent unnoticed, rushed breathless into the room, and, in a perfect rapture of delight, called upon them "to come a' and look! for the maist beautifu' leddie o' a' the world was coming sailing doun the glen!"—Such was the eagerness and even ecstasy of the child, that the call was instantly obeyed, and old and young followed her straight out of doors to see this delightful vision. They looked up the glen, as she pointed, but in vain: nothing unusual could be seen or heard, till a sudden and dreadful crash behind them made every one look instantly round, and explained at once the benevolent mission of this lovely lady of the wood; the house which had just been emptied of all its inmates had fallen flat to the ground.[3]

To draw blood above the breath of a reputed witch, is to render all her spells impotent.

The Bush aboon Traquair, or rather what is called the new bush, is nothing else than an ugly square clump of Scotch firs, planted on the side of a bleak hill, at a distance from every thing in the landscape that is pleasing or poetical. The rest of the scenery, however, abundantly compensates for this piece of bad taste. The situation and appearance of the old mansion of Traquair is beautiful and interesting in the highest degree. What is here most striking is the wonderful resemblance, in the whole aspect of the gate-way, avenue, and house itself, to the semi-gothic bear guarded mansion of Tully Veolan, as described by the author of Waverley. It is true, indeed, that, in place of the multitudinous representations of the Bear, so profusely scattered around the environs of Bradwardine, we have here only the single pair which adorn the gate at the entrance of the avenue, and that the avenue itself cannot pretend to match the broad continuous shade through which Waverley approached the castle of the hospitable and redoubted baron; and also that several other important features are wanting to complete the resemblance; yet if one be not altogether imposed upon by one's fancy, there is a likeness sufficiently strong to support the idea, that this scene formed the original study of the most finished and bold-featured fiction of the celebrated novelist.—(Ed. Mag.)

The author, however, in a note to the last edition of Waverley, p. 280, admits that as "there is no particular mansion described under the name of Tully Veolan; but the peculiarities of the description occur in old Scottish seats. The house of Warrender up Burnt's-field links, and that of old Ravelston, belonging, the former to Sir George Warrender, the latter to Sir Alexander Keith, have both contributed several hints to the description in the text. The house of Dean, near Edinburgh, has also some points of resemblance with Tully Veolan. The author has, however, been informed that the house of Grandtully resembles that of the Baron of Bradwardine still more than any of the above."

The last story of the Plora appeared some time ago in a poetical dress, in the shape of stanzas inserted in a late number of the Edinburgh Annual Register.


The Brownies formed a class of beings distinct in habit and disposition from the freakish and mischievous elves. They were meagre, shaggy, and wild in their appearance. Cleland, in his satire against the Highlanders, compares them to

"Fawnies, or Brownies, if ye will,

Or Satyrs come from Atlas hill."

In the day time the Brownies lurked in remote recesses of the old houses which they delighted to haunt, and in the night sedulously employed themselves in discharging any laborious task which they thought might be acceptable to the family, to whose service they had devoted themselves. But, although like Milton's lubber fiend, they love to stretch themselves by the fire, they do not drudge from the hope of recompense. On the contrary, so delicate is their attachment, that the offer of reward, but particularly of food, infallibly occasions their disappearance for ever.

The last Brownie known in Etterick forest, resided at Bodsbeck, a wild and solitary spot, where he exercised his functions undisturbed, till the scrupulous devotion of an old lady induced her to hire him away, as it was termed, by placing in his hands a porringer of milk and a piece of money. After receiving the hint to depart, he was heard the whole night to howl and cry, "Farewell to Bonnie Bodsbeck!" which he was compelled to abandon for ever.—When the menials of a Scottish family protracted their vigils around the kitchen fire, Brownie, wearie of being excluded from the midnight hearth, sometimes appeared at the door, seemed to watch their departure, and thus admonish them: "Gang a' to your beds, Sirs, and dinna put out the wie grieshoch (embers)"—It seems no improbable conjecture that the Brownie is a legitimate descendant of the Lares familiaris of the ancients.

The next a-kin to the Fairies is the witch tribe, though their origin be of a different stamp. The following account of the persecutions of some unfortunate creatures will throw a degree of light on the state of society both preceding and at the time to which the transaction occurs.



Hard luck, alake! when poverty and eild

Weeds out o'fashion, and a lanely bield,

Wi' a sma cast o wiles, should in a twitch,

Gie ane the hatefu' name—a wrinkled witch.


The wishes, and probably still more, the terrors of man, in that rude state of society in which it has not yet begun to trace effects towards the causes in the established laws of nature, seem every where to have laid the foundation of a multiplicity of popular creeds, in which the object is to connect man with mysterious beings of greater power and intelligence than himself. The character which the imagination gave with this intercourse was the consequence, in some degree, of accidental occurrence, but still more, perhaps of local circumstances, and of the social condition of the people. The vicissitudes of human life, and of human affairs, however, do not permit the most prosperous people to ascribe pure benevolence to these superior beings; and so much greater is the sensibility of men to painful and disastrous events, and the dread of their recurrence, than to such instances of good fortune as either happen very rarely, or are neutralized by their frequency, that in the superstitions of every age and country, perhaps, the number and power, and activity, of capricious spirits, or of such as are decidedly hostile to human happiness, will be found to predominate, or to have exerted, at least an equal influence in the common affairs of life, with the beneficent.

This propensity to reduce the invisible beings whose power and knowledge were recognised in almost every great event, to the level of men in other respects, naturally led to a belief in their occasional manifestations, both in their own proper form, and in the assumed garb of humanity. It was, however, in every respect, desirable that the more immediate intercourse between the worlds of matter and of spirit should be carried on by a chosen few of the human race, to whom their fellow mortals might apply, as to the delegates of invisible power, on every great emergency. Such seems to have been the origin of oracles and priests, and all the other delusions of paganism, both in ancient and modern times.

The light of Christianity, and the progress of knowledge, which have done so much to rectify the judgment, as well as to purify the heart, by displaying the wisdom and goodness of the Supreme Being, have not yet altogether dispelled the illusions which had possessed the imagination during the infancy and helplessness of rational beings. On the contrary, some passages in the Holy Scriptures themselves, though evidently applicable only to the peculiar circumstances of the theocratical government of the Jews, or to the first promulgation of the gospel, have been not only taken in the most literal sense, but held to prove continued succession, through every age of the world, of a class of human beings endowed with the power of infringing the established laws of nature, of exercising this power for the most insignificant purposes.

In the records of ignorance and credulity, there is not perhaps a more melancholy proof of the aberration of the human mind, than that which is exhibited by the very general belief in witchcraft, which, in this country, continued to prevail, even to the close of the 17th century, and which, even at the present moment, is far from being completely eradicated. The sex, age, condition, of the individuals commonly accused of this crime,—the utter improbability of the accusation itself, and of the cruel acts by which it was attempted to prove it—the horrid means by which confessions were extorted,—and the cruel doom which awaited conviction—do not appear to have raised any doubts of the reality of their guilt, and very rarely to have excited in the minds of their judges those feelings of commiseration, which nothing but the grossest superstition has ever been able altogether to repress with the sufferings of the greatest criminal. But it is not our intention here to enter upon the very extensive field to which these general views would conduct us. Suffice it, on this occasion, merely to notice the law and practice of Scotland, in regard to the alleged crime of witchcraft; and then to mark the dawn of improvement in public opinion at the commencement of the 18th century, displayed in the case of


It is a singular circumstance in the history of this delusion in Scotland, that the only statute against witchcraft passed so late as in 1563, a period when the superstition of the dark ages was shaken to its foundation by the spirit of inquiry, which, in a few years, led to the complete establishment of the reformation.

As this remarkable statute, which brought so many innocent beings to an untimely end, is not very long, we shall here insert it. The reader cannot fail to perceive, on comparing this simple and concise enactment with the elaborate and voluminous acts of the present age, how much the technical part of the science of legislation has been improved in the intermediate period:

"Queen Marie,—ninth parliament,

IV of June, 1563.

73. Anentis Witchcraftes."

"Item, For sa meikle as the Queenis Majestie, and the three estaites in this present parliament, being informed that the heavie and abominable superstition used by divers of the lieges of this realme, be using of witchcraftes, sorcerie, and necromancie, and credence given thereto in times by-gone, against the law of God; and for avoiding and away-putting of all such vaine superstition in times to come; it is statute and ordained by the Queenis Majestie, and the three estaites foresaides, that na-maner of person or persones, of quhat-sum-ever estaite, degree or condition, they be off, take upon hand in onie times hereafter to use onie maner of witchcraftes, sorcerie, or necromancie, nor give themselves furth to have onie seik crafte or knowledge thereof, their-throw abusand the people: nor that na person seek onie help, response, or consultation at onie seik users or abusers forsaidis of witchcraftes, sorceries, or necromancie, under the paine of death, alsweil to be execute against the user, abuser, as the seeker of the response or consultation. And this to be put to execution be the justice, Schireffis, Stewards, Baillies, Lordes of Regalites and Royalties, their deputies, and eithers ordinar judges incompetent within this realme, with all vigour, have power to execute the samen."[2]

It deserves also to be remarked, that the trials for witchcraft seem to have been more numerous about a hundred years after the Reformation had taken place[3], though during this interval the nation had not only acquired a thorough conviction of the value of civil and religious liberty, but shed its blood in the most arduous struggles to obtain and secure both, under circumstances of peculiar difficulty and discouragement. If the legal murders which the records of our criminal courts prove to have been committed during this period, had occurred in that comparatively remote age which Shakspeare has penetrated with the light of his genius in his tragedy of Macbeth, however much we might lament the infatuation of our forefathers, we should find it less difficult to account for their proceedings. But Sir George Mackenzie, in his "Laws and Customs of Scotland in Matters Criminal," so late as 1678, never insinuates a doubt of the reality of witchcraft, though he was led to express his strong disapprobation of the forms of trial then in use in a number of instances. On the contrary, indeed, this eminent lawyer stoutly defends the popular belief against the more liberal views of "many lawyers in Holland and elsewhere."

The same belief prevailed in England posterior to the middle of the seventeenth century. At the assizes held at Bury St. Edmond's for the county of Suffolk, on the 10th March, 1664, before Sir Matthew Hale, Rose Cullender and Amy Duny, widows, were found guilty of witchcraft, "upon a long evidence," and hanged a few days after[4]. In the absurdity of the accusation, the insufficiency of the evidence, and the iniquity of the verdict,—the unhappy women asserting their innocence in their last moments,—this remarkable trial is in no degree exceeded by any similar one in Scotland.

We find the following curious document among a collection of others, published a few years ago[5]—"Edinburgh, November 2, (1652). . . . There was a man condemned for a witch, a very simple fellow, but he was reprieved. It is very observable in him, that upon a commission from the judges in June last, and afterwards before the judges, he confessed himself to have had familiar converse with the devil,—that he gave him a piece of silver, which was put into a crevice of his neighbour's house who had crost him, and thereupon all his cattle and horses died; and (after a year's languishment) the woman herself. He said also that he renounced his name, for which the devil gave him a new one, which is Alexander, or Sandy; that he sometimes lay with the devil in the likeness of a woman, with many other stories of that nature; and yet most of them that have conversed with him say they cannot believe him to be a witch. Before the judges at his trial, he denied all that he had confessed before, and said he was in a dream. Yet the very day that he should have been executed, he was not at all afraid, but seemed indifferent whether to live or die.

"The truth is, he lived in so poor a condition, and was (through his simplicity) so unable to get his livelihood, that he confessed, or rather said, every thing that was put into his head by some that accused him, upon the confession of some who have died witches. By this you may guess upon what grounds many hundreds have heretofore been burnt in this country for witches[6] . . . . . . "

It was not until 1735, by the 9th Geo. II, c. 5, that prosecutions for witchcraft, and for imputing witchcraft to others, were prohibited; and it does not appear that the wisdom of the legislature in this repeal had been anticipated by the progress of knowledge among the great body of the people, to such an extent as has been sometimes alleged. So late as 1722, a person was brought to the stake in Scotland for the crime of witchcraft, under the authority of the sheriff-depute of the county of Sutherland[7]. In 1743, a body of dissenters, who have since become numerous and respectable, published an act of their presbytery, in which, among the national sins enumerated as the causes of God's wrath against Scotland, is to be found the repeal of the penal statutes against witches, "contrary to the express law of God," and the same doctrine is still taught from their pulpits, and firmly believed by the far greater number of their adherents. Indeed a belief in witches prevails even at the present enlightened period among the lower orders in different parts of Scotland, whatever may be their religious persuasion.

In many parishes in Scotland, traditional tales of witches, and specific instances of their preternatural power are still current, only a few of which have passed through the press. Of the works on this curious subject, "Satan's Invisible World Discovered," by "Master George Sinclair, late professor of philosophie at the college of Glasgow," seems to have been received with peculiar favour, the lords of council having, by an order, dated at Edinburgh, 26th Feb. 1685, prohibited and discharged all persons "from printing, re-printing, or importing into this kingdom, any copie or copies of the said book, during the space of eleven years after the date hereof, without licence of the author or his order." The last edition printed is within a few years; and the editor, without the slightest intimation, of any doubts as to the truth of the marvellous narratives it contains, has enriched his work with "some additional relations which have happened in the shire of Renfrew, towns of Pittenween, Calder, and other places." The Renfrewshire witches, indeed, have been thought to merit the honour of a separate "history," which was published in 1809, by the editor of the Paisley Reporter. We regret we cannot do as much justice to the old dames of Pittenween, who, notwithstanding the very laudable exertions of their minister and magistrates, had the singular good fortune to escape the flames, through the obstinacy of the privy council, who could not be prevailed on to bring them to trial. What could be done, however, by these active enemies of the evil one, was not spared. The witches were imprisoned and tortured, and confessed in the usual manner. One of them was starved in prison, and the rabble enjoyed "three hours' sport" in murdering another, by the permissive power of the legal guardians of their lives and properties on earth, and of their saintly guide to Heaven[8].

About the month of March, 1704, there lived in the town of Pittenween, a noted witch, Beatrix Laing, by name, who came to one Patrick Mortoun, a blacksmith, with an order for some nails, which this person, being otherwise employed at the time, refused to execute. The witch went away muttering threats of course, and soon after was detected, by the blacksmith, in the use of a charm, of which even the literal description is not without its difficulties. Patrick, with another person in company, carrying some fish by the said Beatrix Layng's door, they saw a vessel with water placed at the door, with burning coal in it, upon which he was presently stricken with an impression, that it was a charm designed against him; and upon this, a little after he was sickened.[9]

This is the account of the party so active in the concern against the witches; and is given from a pamphlet published in their defence, after their proceedings had drawn upon them the notice of the privy council. Convincing, however, as this charm must have been to the magistrates and minister of Pittenween, as well as to the blacksmith himself, of the diablerie of Layng, other proofs were not wanting. The physicians would not understand Morton's distemper. At length he was seized with fits, and in due time delated (accused) Layng and a number of other persons as his tormentors, who were forthwith thrown into prison, and subjected to the usual preparatory process of pricking or brodding, to prevent them from sleeping, and to extort from them a confession of guilt.

"It was upon his (Morton's) accusation ulteriorly the ministers and bailiffs imprisoned these poor women, and set a guard of drunken fellows about them, who, by pinching and pricking, some of them with pins and elesions (awls), kept them from sleep for several nights together; the marks whereof were seen by several, a month thereafter. This cruel usage made some of them learn to be so wise, as acknowledge every question that was asked them; whereby they found the ministers and bailiffs well pleased, and themselves better treated."[10]

Nothing upon this subject of witchcraft has ever appeared more extraordinary, than the confessions of the accused themselves. But this wonder must cease, when we know the means by which they were extorted. "Thrusting of pins into the flesh, and keeping the accused from sleep, were the ordinary treatment of a witch. But if the prisoner was endued with uncommon fortitude, other methods were used to extort confession. The boots and capsie-claws, and the pilniewinks, engines for torturing the legs, the arms, and the fingers, were applied to either sex, and that with such violence, that sometimes the blood would have spouted from the limb. Loading with heavy irons, and whipping with cords, till the skin and flesh were torn from the bones, have also been the adopted methods of torture."[11]

Of the treatment which the wretched Layng experienced, in consequence of the ridiculous charge we have mentioned, we have some account in a petition which she presented to the privy council, about a year afterwards, praying for protection against the rabble, who had murdered another woman, a few months before, and which detestable outrage, does not seem to have its proper effect upon the darkened intellects of the rulers of that burgh, to the following effect:—

"Act and protection to Bettie Layng,

Att the palace of Holyrudehouse.

May 1, 1705.

"Anent the supplication given in and presented to his grace, her majesty's high commissioner, and the lords of her majesties privy council, by Bettie Laing, spous to William Brown, tayleor, and late theasurer of the town of Pittenween, humbly shewing, that the petitioner having met with most cruell and unchristianlike treatment in the town of Pittenween, upon no other ground then bare affection of ane Peter Mortoun, a young man in the said town, who being under a natural disease, which had some strange effect upon his body, pretended that the petitioner, and other persons he named, wer witches, and tormented him: upon this very unsufficient ground, the petitioner was thrown into the talbooth of Pittenween, by the minister and magistrates thereof; and because she would not confess that she was a witch, and in compact with the divell, was tortured by keeping her awake, without sleep for fyve days and nights together, and by continual pricking her with instruments in the shoulders, back, and thighs, that the blood gushed out in great abundance, so that her lyfe was a burden to her; and they urging her continuallie to confess, the petitioner expressed severall things as they directed her, to be rede of the present torture; and because she afterwards avowed and publickly told, that what she had said to them, of her having seen the divell, &c., was lyes and untruths, they put her in the stocks for several dayes, and then carried her to the thiefs' hall, and from that they transported her to a dark dungeon, where she was allowed no maner of licht, nor human converse, and in this condition she lay for fyve months together; and at last, having found means to get out of the said dungeon, she wandered about in strange places, in the extremity of hunger and cold, tho' she thanked God, she had a competency at home, but dared not come near her own house, because of the fury and rage of the people: and the petitioner being willing to undergoe any legall tryall upon the said cryme hereof she was accused, and for denying of which she had been so inhumanly treated: she confidently presumed their grace and their lops, would grant her the common benefit of protection to her person, till she were legally convict of crymes rendering her indeserving of it: and this she was necessitated to demand of your lops: for that she having lately returned to her own house at Pittenween, expecting to live safely and quietly with her husband, the rabble there so menaced, and threatened to treat her as they had done Janet Cornfoot, a little before, &c. &c. His grace her majesties high commissioner, &c. &c., declares the petitioner to be under the protection of the government; and therefore, his grace and the said lords, appoints and ordains the magistrates of Pittenween, to maintain and defend the petitioner against any tumults and mobbs, insult and violence, that may fall upon, or be attempted against her, as they will be answerable," &c. &c. &c.

Our acquaintance with these personages is chiefly indebted to some curious original documents, and to several very rare tracts printed at the time when the events they describe had very recently occurred.

It has been doubted, and we think with much propriety, whether the framers of this act themselves believed in witchcraft, and whether by denouncing the same heavy penalty against the dupe and the impostor, they even expected it to be executed at all. The judges and juries however, never seem to have any doubts about the matter.

In the years 1661, the number of commissioners upon record for trying persons suspected of witchcraft are very considerable in various parts of Scotland: they all confessed themselves guilty of the "abominable cryme of witchcraft, in entering into paction with the devill, renuncing their baptisme, and otherways," &c. In 1662, the number is still more considerable, but the commissions seem to have been granted under certain qualifications; for instance, June 12, 1662, commission is granted to Sir Archibald Douglas, sheriff-principal of Roxburgh, and others, "to try and judge Bessie Thompson, Malie Thompson, Agnes Quarie and Malie Turnbull, who have confest themselves to be guilty of witchcraft, with these qualities, that if they shall be found guilty, upon voluntary confessions, by renouncing of baptisme, paction with the divell, or committing of malefices, without any sort of torture or other indirect means used, and that the tyme of their confession and pactioning with the divell, they wer of compleat age, sound judgment, no ways distracted, or under any earnest desire to dy, and reiterat the former confessions made by them judicially; and then, and in those cases, the said commissioners cause the sentence of death to be executed upon them, and no otherways."

Trial of Witches, &c. taken by a person then attending the court, printed in 1716.

Military Memoirs of the great Civil War; being the Military Memoirs of John Gwynne; and an Account of the Earl of Glencairn's Expedition in the Highlands of Scotland, in 1653 and 1654.

The sectaries, however wedded to their own enthusiastic dreams, were free from the infatuated belief in witchcraft, which characterised the Presbyterians both in Scotland and England. During the brief domination of Presbytery in the latter country, a great many unhappy victims were executed under the direction and upon the evidence of a pretended witch-finder, called Hopkins, mentioned in Hudibras. The infatuation continued in Scotland to a much later period; the last witch being executed in 1722.

Arnot's Criminal Trials, p. 412.

The better educated classes of Scotland seem by this time to have become rather sceptical about the existence of witches in the records of the burgh of Pittenween, we find a minute of a meeting, dated 1st of June, 1704, at which "the minister and some of the elders were present," where a baillie and another member of the town council were "elected and nominated to goe from this burgh to Edinburgh to-morrow, and deal with Sir Thomas Moncrief, of that ilk, as justiciar within the regality of St. Andrews, to grant commission to some gentlemen and burgesses in this part of the country for sitting as burgesses in this burgh, for taking trial of these persons incarcerat in the tolbooth, as they suspect guilty of witchcraft; and if Sir Thomas refuse to make application to the councill, to take such other methods as they shall think fitting for that effect." It was also resolved at the same time to apply "for advice to the presbyterie." Sir Thomas, it would appear, had not given these officious gentlemen much encouragement; for, on the 12th July thereafter, there is another entry in the records, nominating two new commissions "to consult and advyse with the members of the commission of the General Assembly of the Kirk, now sitting at Edinburgh, and crave their concurrence, and also to take the advyse and concurrence of her Majesty's advocate, and of Sir Robert Forbes, one of the clerks of her Majesty's privy council, and principal agent for the royal burrows, what method and cause may be taken in addressing the privy council, for getting these persons put to trial and condign punishment, with all convenient diligence." On the 20th July, these last commissioners report that the privy council had ordained the suspected witches to be transported to Edinburgh and judged there, requiring at the same time information of the names and confessions of the accused, and the witnesses' names who were to be cited. It is possible enough that a trial on the spot before some "gentlemen and burgesses in this part of the country," would have been more acceptable to these enlightened guardians of the burgh, as they had at first wished; for, either for want of evidence, or on some other account, the witches were not transported to Edinburgh, nor even brought to trial. On the 12th August, all of them, five in number, were liberated on bail, apparently in consequence of the interference of the Erle of Bellcarres and Lord Anstruther, commissioners of the privy council, with whom the bail-bonds were lodged.

A just reproof of the false reports, &c. printed in 1706.

An answer of a letter from a gentleman in Fife to a nobleman, printed in 1705.

Arnot's Criminal Trials, p. 413.

The Magistrates, however, were more careful of their own individual interest than the peace of their burgh, or the lives of their fellow-citizens; and seem to have held their clergyman in higher veneration than the Commissioners of the Privy Council. In the burgh records there is the following minute on this occasion:

"Act anent the committee of the privy counsel, their tryal of the process anent the witches."

Undecimo May, 1705.

"The which daie the baillies and counsell, viz. William Borthwick, &c. (thirteen present) being convened, the said baillie represented to the Counsell, that one the ninth day of May instant, the Erie of Bellcarnes and Lord Anstruther, two of her Majesties most honourable privie Counsell, being commissioned to meet here this day for takeing further triall of the murther of Janet Cornfoot, who confest herself guilty of witchcraft, and anent the way of the touns procedure against Beatrix Layng, and others, accused for that cryme, the said Lords requyred that the Baillie and whole toune counsell should engage in a bond to protect the Beatrix Layng against any rabble that should assault her. Which they unanimously refused to doe, in respect she may be murdered in the night without their knowledge, and the penaltie of the bond being five hundred merks they would be obliged to pay it. The said baillie also informed the Counsell, that these Lords of the Committee of the Counsell were to meet here on Saturday nixt, and it was concluded, that the baillie and some of the toune Counsell should attend them."

Janet Cornphat, or Cornfoot, who was murdered by the rabble, was also one of those unhappy persons delated by this Mortoun. There was another crime however imputed to this woman of a not less extraordinary nature. Beatrix Layng, who seems to have been Satan's chief minister in those parts, happened to quarrel with one Alexander Macgregor, a fisherman, about what we are not told—and forthwith the Devil in person, with his Janet Cornfoot, and "several others in company," set upon poor Macgregor in his bed, with the felonious intent of murdering him in his sleep. Macgregor, however, awaking in good time, and wrestling manfully with his infernal majesty, was glad to beat a retreat with his baffled troops. The tenth of the thing could not possibly be called in question, for it was confessed by two of the hags who had assisted on the occasion;[1] and at least it would appear by Cornfoot herself alone. This poor woman, of course retracted her confession to some gentlemen whom curiosity had induced to visit her in prison; but begged them, "for Christ's not to tell them she had done so, else she would be murdered."[2] She was murdered nevertheless; and with circumstances of such almost incredible barbarity, that we shall give the account in the words of the writer to whom we have referred.

A just reproof to the false reports, &c. p. 7.

Account of an horrible and barbarous murder, in a letter from a gentleman in Fife, to a friend in Edinburgh, Feb. 1765.


It appears that this no less unhappy than innocent woman, (Jane Corphat, or Cornfoot, above mentioned) had contrived by some means or other to escape from prison; (stated to be by the connivance of the minister who, after the attention that began to be paid to her case by persons of rank and influence, seems to have lost all hope of bringing her to the stake, and was, probably, glad to get rid of her,) she was, however, apprehended, and sent back to Pittenweem by another active clergyman in the neighbourhood, in the custody of two men, who carried her as a matter of course to the minister, in whose person the offices of Priest and King appear to have been harmoniously combined throughout all these proceedings. But the clergyman had nothing to say to her, he was not concerned, he told the rabble; and they might do what they pleased with her.

"They took encouragement from this to fall upon the poor woman, those of the minister's family going along with them, as I hear; they fell upon the poor creature immediately, and beat her unmercifully, tying her so hard with a rope, that she was almost strangled; they dragged her through the streets, and along the shore by the heels. A baillie hearing of a rabble near his stair, came out upon them, which made them immediately disappear. But the Magistrates though met together, not taking care to put her into close custody, for her safety, the rabble gathered again immediately, and stretched a rope betwixt a ship and the shore, to a great height, to which they tied her fast, after which they swinged her to and fro, from one side to another, in the mean time throwing stones at her from all quarters, until they were weary. Then they loosed her, and with a mighty swing threw her upon the hard sands; all about being ready in the mean time to receive her with stones and staves, with which they beat her most cruelly. The daughter in the time of her mother's agony, though she knew of it, durst not adventure to appear, lest the rabble had used her after the same manner, being in house in great concern and terror, out of natural affection for her mother. They laid a heavy door upon her, with which they pressed her so sore, that she cried out to let her up for Christ's sake, and she would tell the truth. But when they, did let her up, what she said could not satisfy them, and therefore they again laid on the door, and with a heavy weight of stones on it, pressed her to death. And to be sure it was so, they called a man with a horse and a sledge, and made him drive over her corpse backward and forward several times. When they were sure she was killed out right, they dragged her miserable carcase to Nicolas Lawson's house, where they first found her.

"There was a motion made to treat Nicolas Lawson (another witch) after the same manner immediately; but some of them being wearied with three hours' sport as they called it, said 'it would be better to delay her for another day's divertisement;' and so they all went off."

To the disgrace of the country, the rabble, who had been so easily dispersed by the magistrates before, do not appear to have experienced any interruption in this protracted murder, which was perpetrated on the 30th of January, 1765, in one of the most civilized counties of Scotland, and within a few hours distance of the metropolis. But this was an enormity which it was impossible for a well-regulated government to overlook. The Privy Council had lent a deaf ear, as we have seen, to two sets of commissioners from this priest-ridden junto, who do not appear to have been supported either by the presbytery, or the commission of the general assembly of the Kirk; but this very plain hint was still not plain enough for the comprehension. On the present occasion, it was necessary to operate upon their perverted intellects, by a more definite expression of disapprobation. Besides this, Mrs. White, a witch of the better order, about this time commenced an action against these magistrates for false imprisonment. These proofs of a remarkable improvement in public opinion seem to have put an end to the legal persecutions of old women in that quarter,—though, as appears, from the order made upon the petition of Beautrix Layng in May thereafter, formerly referred to—not to the belief in the existence in witches.

The following paper, of which the title does not exactly correspond with its contents, is transcribed from the original records, and the proceedings of the Privy Council, do not seem to have been carried further. The report of the Committee represents the murder as of a less atrocious character than the account of it taken from the letter before quoted, though the two are by no means inconsistent with each other.

"Approbation of the report of the Committee anent the murder at Pittenweem,

At Edinburgh, Feb. 15. 1705.

"The Lords of her Majesties Privy Counsell doe hereby covenant and appoynt the Earls of Rothes and Haddingtown, Lords Yester, Advocat, and Enstruther, to be a Committee to enquyre into the murder committed upon a woman in Pittenweem, as suspect of witchcraft, and recommends to the said committee to meet to-morrow at twelve o'clock, in the midd-day, and call for baillie Couts, in Pittenweem, and know at him why he suffered the said murder to be committed, and did not keep the public peace in the place, and appoynts the solicitors to cite the rest of the magistrates to the said burgh of Pittenweem, to appear before the said Committee, and answer to what shall be laid to their charge, for their not keeping the peace of the place, as said is, and declares any three of the said Committee, a quorum and to report."

"Report of the Committee appoynted to inquyre after the murder committed at Pittenweem.

"At Edinburgh, sedurunt the Earle of Rothes, the Lord Yester, the Lord Enstruther, and her Majesties advocat. The baillies compearing, and having given in a subsequent information of the matter of fact, with the double of the precognition taken by them anent the murder of Janet Cornfoot, they find that the said Janet was brought from the parish of Lewchars, by two men, to the town of Pittenweem, upon the thirtieth of January last, about six o'clock at night; that the men brought her first to the minister, after she had stayed a little in a private house in the town; and that the minister being for the time at Baillie Cook's house, she was brought before Baillie Cook's door, but not immediately secured as she ought to have been: That when the officer, Peter Inues, after a little time, was found, and sent to secure her, the rabble was up, and that they deforced the officer, and made him flee, that the officer went to the other two baillies and gott their verbal orders, but they concerned themselves no further: That when Baillie Cook heard of the rabble, he came out himself and dispersed them, and rescued the poor woman, but found her almost halfe dead, lying within the sea-mark—that she being in that condition, Baillie Cook did not order her to prison, but ordained the officer and four men to take her to a private house: that they carried her to Nicolas Lawson's, other houses being unwilling to receive her: that before Nicolas Lawson's door she was again assaulted, cast down, and murdered. And that it appears the principal actors were Robert Dalziell, a skipper's son, Walter Watson, in Bruntesland, and one Groundwater, an Orkney-man; all three fled."

While these active magistrates displayed so much laudable anxiety to expel the great enemy of mankind, and his associates from their jurisdiction, it was not to be expected that they should look with horror on the instruments by which their object was, in some degree, accomplished. The end was probably thought holy enough to sanctify the means, however irregular. It does not appear that a single, individual was ever brought to trial for the "three hour sport" of the rabble who murdered Janet Cornfoot. Before the baillies made their appearance in presence of the committee of the Privy Council, they had contrived, indeed, to imprison some of the murderers, but according to the writer of the letter to a nobleman already quoted "they were not long from the town, when the minister set them at liberty," as it is alleged, by virtue of an order from these magistrates themselves.

The only men accused by Mortoun was one Thomas Brown, who died in prison, "after a great deal of hunger and hardship;" and his remains, as well as those of Janet Cornfoot, were denied Christian burial.

Thus much is said of the Pittenweem witches, not because the evidence against them if Mortoun's pretended fits could deserve such a name, or the murder of two of them, are circumstances in themselves remarkable. Hundreds were brought to the stake in Scotland during the seventeenth century, on no better grounds.[1] But what is worthy of particular notice in their case, is the visible conflict between statute-law supported by the obstinate credulity of the lower classes, on the one hand,—and the dawn of a purer day which was then rising upon our rulers, and had already begun to dispel the illusions of the most detestable fanaticism, on the other. Yet melancholy it is to reflect how long the night had lasted, and how deep had been its darkness; nor is it less lamentable to perceive how ineffectually the influence of true religion and of science is opposed in our days, to the inveterate credulity of a large proportion of our countrymen.[2]

See the ridiculous confessions of certain Scotch witches, taken out of an authentic copy of their trial at the assizes, held at Paisley, Feb. 15, 1678, 'touching the bewitching of Sir George Maxwell.'—Also the confession of Agnes Sympson to King James—a confession which in all probability induced that Monarch to change his opinion relative to the existence of witches; which, it was reported, he was inclined to think were mere conceits; as he was then but young (not above five or six and twenty years of age) when this examination took place before him; and part of the third chapter of his Demonologie appears to be a transcript of this confession.

The vulgar, even in this most enlightened period, are not entirely exempt from the belief in the powers of sorcery and magic, and other fantastical and imaginary agonies, such as exorcisms, charms, and amulets. It is pleasing, however, to contrast the present times, in which there is almost an extinction of these delusions. It is only at the present time, 192 years since great numbers of persons were condemned to death, in the ordinary course of law, and executed for witchcraft in England. And the like disgraceful proceedings have occurred in Scotland of a more recent date. The like trials and convictions, and executions, took place in New England, in the end of the 17th century.—See Evleyn's Memoirs. Vol. xi. p. 35.—See also Demonologia, by J. S. Forsyth, 1827.


(See also page 167).

The following outline of Peveril's Castle of the Peak, which might have made a conspicuous figure in the novel of that name, may still relieve the disappointment of many of our antiquarian readers.[1]

On the summit of a steep and rocky eminence, at the base of which is that vast subterranean recess, the Peak Cavern, stand the remains of the ancient castle of the Peak; from which the adjacent village of Castleton derives its name. The elevated situation of the fortress, and the almost perpendicular chasms that partially insulate the rock which it occupies, must have rendered it nearly impregnable, prior to the use of artillery in sieges. On the east and south sides its site is bounded by a narrow ravine called the cave; and on the west it is skirted by the precipice which frowns over the cavern. The most accessible part is towards the north. Yet even here the path has been carried in a winding, or rather in a zig-zag direction, in order to obviate the steepness of the ascent. The Castle-yard, or Ballium, included nearly the whole summit of the eminence. The enclosing wall, though for the most part in ruins, measures twenty feet in height in a few places on the outside. On the north side were two small towers, now destroyed. The entrance was at the north-east angle, where part of an arched way still remains. Near the opposite angle in the keep, the walls of which, on the south and west sides, are the most entire, and at the north-west corner they are above fifty feet high; the north and east sides are much shattered. On the outside the keep forms a square of thirty eight feet, but its interior dimensions are unequal; the extent from north to south being rather more than twenty-one feet, but from east to west only nineteen. The walls consist of broken masses of limestone, embedded in mortar of such tenacity, that it imparts to the whole the solidity of an entire rock. Some of the herring-bone masonry may be observed on the inner side. The interior is now a complete vacuity; but it anciently consisted of two chambers, one on the ground floor and one above, over which the roof was raised with a gable-end to the north and south, but not equal in height to the outer walls. The lower chamber was about fourteen feet high, and the upper one about sixteen: the only entrance to the former appears to have been through a door-way on the south-side of the latter, down a flight of steps now wholly destroyed, but said to have existed within memory. At the south-east angle are the ruins of a narrow winding stair-case communicating with the roof. In the east wall of the upper apartment is a kind of recess or niche, of a rectangular figure, having a singular canopy.

That eminent antiquary Mr. King, who has minutely described this curious edifice in the "Sequel to his observations on ancient castles," in the sixth volume of the Archæologia, and also in the third volume of his Elaborate "Munementa Antiqua," has endeavoured to prove that this castle was erected by the Pagan Saxons, and was the dwelling of some great chieftain of that nation; he suspects, rather fancifully perhaps, that the niche above mentioned, like that in Conesborough Castle in Yorkshire, might have been designed for the reception of an idol. By other antiquaries the Peake's Castle is considered to be a Norman structure, built by William Peverel, natural son of the conqueror; to who, indeed, the traditions of the neighbourhood ascribe its erection. This opinion is in some degree countenanced by the ancient appellation of the castle, Peverel's place in the Peke. Whichever of these suppositions be the true one, it is certain that this fortress was possessed by Peverel, at the period of the doomsday survey, together with the Peak forest, and numerous manors.

The following curious and romantic account of a tournament held here, is related by Mr. Pelkington, in his, "View of Derbyshire:"—" William, a valiant knight, and sister's son to Pain Peverel, Lord of Whittington, in the country of Salop, had two daughters, one of whom called Mallet, was no less distinguished by a martial spirit than her father. This appeared from the declaration which she made respecting the choice of a husband. She firmly resolved to marry none but a knight of great prowess; and her father to confirm her purpose, and to procure and encourage a number of suitors, invited all noble young men, who were inclined to enter the lists, to meet at Peverel's place in the Peke, and there decide their pretensions by the use of arms; declaring at the same time, that whoever vanquished his competitors should receive his daughter, with the castle of Whittington, as a reward of his skill and valour. Guarine de Meez, a branch of the house of Lorraine, and an ancestor of the Lord Fitzwarrine, hearing this report, repaired to the place above-mentioned. He had a silver shield with a peacock for his crest, and there engaged with a son of a king of Scotland, and also with a Baron of Burgogne, and vanquishing them both, obtained the prize for which he fought."[2]

See a series of views of the most interesting remains of ancient Castles of England and Wales.

Those who may be desirous of perusing the history of Peak Castle, may consult with advantage the Rev. Dr. Pegge's History of the twin "Castles of Bolsover and Peak," in the 32nd No. of the "Bibliographia Topographica Britannia;" Mr. King's interesting observation on ancient castles, in Vol. VI. of the Archæologia; and also Mr. Rhodes's beautiful work on Peak scenery; the last rendered doubly interesting by the masterly sketches of F. Chantrey, Esq. R.A.



This was one of the most magnificent piles in England: in the days of its prosperity it took a military part; and it retains traces of a military air. The foliage which overspreads its remains, has softened down the ruins into the appearance of a peaceful mansion. It was first destroyed by Cromwell, in revenge for its possessor having favoured the royal cause. Since then it has been hastening to decay, and another century will probably level it with the earth on which it stood. Kenilworth is mentioned in history as early as the reign of Henry I. At that time it was private property, afterwards falling into the hands of the crown, where it continued till the time of Elizabeth, who bestowed it upon her favourite, the Earl of Leicester. This nobleman is said to have expended the sum of £60,000 upon it. One of the most remarkable events in the history of this castle, is the entertainment given to Elizabeth, which forms the groundwork of the beautiful romance of Kenilworth. The tradition of this grand festivity still lives in the country; such having been the impression made upon the minds of the country people by the grandeur of the occasion, that in a lapse of two hundred and fifty years, it has not died from their remembrance; an account of the castle description of which is given in the following:

Kenilworth Castle was built by Geffry de Clinton, Treasurer to King Henry I; but it continued not long in this family, for, in the eleventh of Henry II, the Sheriff of Warwick reckoned with the crown for the profits of the Park, and it was garrisoned by the King, on account of the rebellion of his eldest son; at which time there were laid in for stores an hundred quarters of bread-corn, charged 8l. 8s. 2d. little more than two-pence per bushel; twenty quarters of barley, at 33s. 4d. an hundred hogs 7l. 10s. forty cows salted 4l. one hundred and twenty cheeses 40l. and twenty-five quarters of salt 30s. What an amazing disparity between these and the present prices of the like provisions!

It is besides to be observed, that, as the Sheriff here acted as a commissary for the government, every thing was reckoned at least at the highest market-price. At the same time an hundred shillings were allowed for making a goal: and the next year the same Sheriff, Bertram de Vardon, accounted for large sums paid the garrison, which consisted of both horse and foot.

About this period, Geffry de Clinton, son and heir of the founder, appears to have recovered for a time the possession of this castle; but he held it scarce seven years; and after that time it was never out of the possession of the crown, till granted by Henry III to Simon Montfort, Earl of Leicester.

In the beginning of the reign of King John, Henry de Clinton, grandson to the founder, released to the king all his rights in the castle, with the woods, pools, and whatever belonged to it, excepting what he had in possession at the death of Henry; and towards the latter end of his reign that king caused the castle to be garrisoned, and placed in it for safety the Prince, his son, sending an experienced officer, named Ralph de Normanville, to command under William de Cantalupe, his steward, then governor.

In the time of Henry III, it was some time used as a prison, and had twice justices appointed to attend the goal-delivery. In this reign much money was laid out, and the castle underwent many considerable repairs and additions; particularly in the twenty-sixth year, of that king, the chapel was ceiled, wainscotted, and adorned with painting; handsome seats were made for the King and Queen; the bell-tower repaired; the Queen's chamber enlarged and painted, and the walls on the south side next the pool entirely rebuilt.

Henry afterwards granted this castle to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and Eleanor, his wife, during their lives. This Earl, joining with the Barons, was, with his eldest son, slain at the battle of Evesham; but the castle was six months held against the King by Henry de Hastings, appointed governor by Simon de Montfort, son of the deceased Earl, he being absent in France, whither he went, in order to solicit assistance to raise the siege. During this attack, the garrison defended themselves with great resolution, having engines which cast stones of an extraordinary bigness, and likewise making frequent and successful sallies. The King, finding a stouter resistance than he had expected, turned the siege into a blockade, during which time in the town of Kenilworth he assembled a Parliament, in order to mitigate the severity of the penalties enacted by that of Winchester, by which the estates of all persons who had taken part with the Barons were confiscated; this he rightly considered would make those who had rashly embraced that party become desperate.

Here therefore was made that decree, styled 'Dictum de Kenilworth;' according to which, every person, whose estate had thus been forfeited, Henry de Hastings, and some of the heads of the party excepted, might redeem their lands, on the payment of a pecuniary fine, not under two, nor exceeding the amount of five years' rent.

On the first assembling of this Parliament, the King sent a messenger with the offer of advantageous terms to the Governor and garrison; but his negociation was not more successful than his arms; for, although backed by the interposition and menaces of Ottobon, the Pope's Legate, then in his camp, they not only rejected these offers, but, with a barbarity that disgraced their courage, basely maimed the messenger. The person, guilty of this breach of faith, was likewise properly excepted from the benefits of the 'Dictum de Kenilworth.' The King, greatly exasperated at this outrage, and tired of the blockade, resolved to storm the Castle, and therefore commanded the Sheriff of the shire to assemble at Northampton, within three weeks (namely, on the 11th of December, 1266) all the masons and other labourers within his district, with their hatchets, pickaxes, and other tools, there to receive his further orders; but in the mean time, a violent pestilential disorder breaking out amongst the garrison, and their provisions being nearly exhausted, they agreed, on certain conditions, to yield up the Castle to the King, unless relieved on a fixed day: a messenger was, by permission, dispatched to acquaint Montfort of this agreement; but, before his return, the disorder increasing, they surrendered. Henry de Hastings, with the rest of the garrison, being permitted to go freely forth, with their horses, arms, and accoutrements: they had also four days allowed them for the removal of their goods.

Bishop Gibson, in his edition of Camden, says, 'near this Castle they still find balls of stone sixteen inches in diameter, supposed to have been thrown in slings in the time of the Barons' wars;' the balls were most probably designed for particular engines: their weight, supposing them only of the same specific gravity as Portland stone, would be upwards of two hundred weight, by far too great a mass to be thrown by the strength of an human arm. After the siege, the King bestowed the Castle on his son, Edmund, and his heirs; he likewise granted him free chace and free warren in all his demesne lands and woods belonging thereto, with a weekly market and annual fair.

Here, in the time of Edward I, was held a gallant assembly of an hundred knights, and as many ladies, headed by Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, to which many repaired from foreign parts. The knights exercised themselves in tilting and other feats of chivalry; the ladies in dancing. It is recorded, seemingly as an extraordinary circumstance, that these ladies were clad in silken mantles. Their diversions began on the eve of St. Matthew, and lasted till the morrow after Michaelmas-day. They styled themselves the Society of the Round Table, from one at which they were seated, in order to avoid contention for precedency.

In the 15th of Edward II, this Castle escheated to the Crown by the attainder of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, beheaded at Pontefract; when it was successively committed to the custody of Ranulph Charun, Robert de Stoke, John de Hastings, and Odo de Stoke. The unfortunate Edward, being deposed by his Queen, was here kept close prisoner, and afterwards removed in the night to Berkeley Castle, where he was shortly after cruelly murdered.

In the thirtieth of Edward III, Henry, brother and heir to the Earl of Lancaster, beheaded at Pontefract, had all his brother's estates restored to him; among which was this Castle. His sons leaving only two daughters, on a partition, the Castle fell to Blanch the younger, who married John of Gaunt, by whom towards the latter end of the reign of Richard II, was built that part of the Castle, still called Lancaster's Buildings.

In the disputes between the two houses of York and Lancaster, this fortress was alternately taken by the adherents to the Red Rose and the White; but what has made it most remarkable, in history, was the celebrated Fête Champêtre given there by the Earl of Leicester to Queen Elizabeth, which for expense and magnificence is said to have exceeded any thing of the kind ever known in these kingdoms. The Earl had previously repaired the Castle in a most noble manner, and it contained arms for a garrison of 10,000 men.

This Fête Champêtre, unlike those of modern date, lasted ten days. The Queen, with a numerous train of courtiers, according to Sir William Dugdale, arrived there in the middle of July, 1575, and was surprised at her entrance with the sight of a floating island on the large pool there, bright blazing with torches, on which were clad in silks the Lady of the Lake and two nymphs waiting on her, who made a speech to the Queen, in metre, of the antiquity and owners of that Castle, which was closed with cornets and other music. Within the base Court was a noble bridge set up of twenty feet wide, and seventy feet long, over which the Queen passed; on each side whereof, on posts erected, were presents on them to her by the Gods, viz. a cage of wild fowl, by Sylvanus; divers sorts of fruits, by Pomona; of corn, by Ceres; of wine, by Bacchus; of sea-fish, by Neptune; of all habiliments of war, by Mars; and of musical instruments, by Phœbus. Also, during the several days of her stay, various raree-shews and sports were exercised, viz. in the chase, a savage man with satyrs, bear-baitings, fire-works, Italian tumblers, a country bride-ale, with runnings at the quinting and morrice-dancing; and that nothing might be wanting which those parts could afford, the Coventry men came and acted the ancient play, long since used in that city, called Hock's Tuesday, setting forth the destruction of the Danes in King Ethelred's time; which pleased the Queen so much, that she gave them a brace of bucks, and five marks in money, to bear the charges of a feast. Likewise on the pool there was a Triton riding on a mermaid, eighteen feet long; as also Arion on a dolphin, and rare music. The costs and expenses of these entertainments may be guessed at by the quantity of beer then drank, which amounted to three hundred and twenty hogsheads of the ordinary fort; and, for the greater honour thereof, Sir Thomas Cecil, son and heir to the Lord Burleigh, Lord Treasurer; Sir Henry Cobham, brother to the Lord Cobham; Sir Thomas Stanhope, and Sir Thomas Tresham, were then knighted; and the next ensuing year the Earl obtained a grant of the Queen for a weekly market at Kenilworth, on the Wednesday, with a fair yearly on Midsummer day.

After the revolutions of the reign of Charles II, this piece of antiquity gradually fell to decay, till it became the awful ruin it now appears.

The principal gate-way of the above Castle has been converted into a farm-house, and is indeed the only part of these ruins that is now inhabited. On entering into the inner court, the beholder is struck with the sight of many mouldering towers, which preserve a sort of magnificence, even in their ruins. On the west side of the court is a broken tower, which leads to a path-way on the top of the walls, from whence a most delightful prospect of the country may be seen around. To a thinking mind, this noble piece of antiquity gives ample room for reflection: where now, one might ask, are the tilts. and tournaments, the princely shews and sports, which were once so proudly celebrated within these walls? Where are the pageants, the studied devices and emblems of curious invention, that set the court on a gaze, and even transported the high soul of our Elizabeth? Where now, the observer might say, (pointing to that which was a canal, but at present is only a meadow, with a small rivulet running through it) where is the floating island, the blaze of torches that eclipsed the day, the Lady of the Lake, the silken nymphs, her attendants, with all the other fantastic exhibitions, surpassing even the whimsies of the wildest romance? What now is become of the revelry of feasting? Of the minstrelsy, that took the ear so delightfully, as it babbled along the valley, or floated on the surface of this lake? See there the smokeless kitchens, stretching to a length that might give room for the sacrifice of a hecatomb; the vaulted hall, which mirth and jollity have set so often in an uproar; the rooms of state, and the Presence-chamber; what are they now, but void and tenantless ruins, clasped with ivy, open to wind and weather, and presenting to the eye nothing but the rib and carcase, as it were, of their former state? And see likewise that proud gate-way, once the mansion of a surly porter, who, partaking of the pride of his Lord, made the crowds wait, and refused admittance, perhaps, to nobles, whom fear or interest drew to these walls, to pay their homage to their master: see it now the residence of a poor tenant, who turns the key but to let himself out to his daily labour, to admit him to a short meal, and secure his nightly slumbers.

Yet, in this humble state, it hath had the fortune to outlive the glory of the rest, and hath even drawn to itself the whole of that little note and credit, which time hath continued to this once pompous building. For, while the castle itself is crumbled into shapeless ruins, and is prophaned, as we there see, by the vilest uses, this outwork of greatness is left entire, sheltered and closed in from bird and beast; and even affords some decent room, in which the human face is not ashamed to shew itself.

There is also something else that fires one on the occasion. It brings to mind the fraud, the rapine, the insolence of the potent minister, who vainly thought to immortalise his ill-gotten glory by this proud monument. Nay, further, it awakens an indignation against the prosperous tyranny of those wretched times, and creates a generous pleasure in reflecting on the happiness we enjoy under a juster and more equal government. Who can see the remains of that greatness, which arose in the past ages on the ruins of public freedom and private property, without congratulating themselves on living at a time, when the meanest subject is as free and independent as those royal minions; and when his property, whatever it be, is as secure from oppression as that of the first minister?

Castles walled with stone, and designed for residence as well as defence, are for the most part of no higher antiquity than the Conquest; for, though the Saxons and Romans had fortresses built with stone, yet at that period they were but very few in number, and those so decayed, that little more than their ruins were remaining. This has been assigned by our best historians as a reason for the facility with which William made himself master of this country; and this circumstance was not overlooked by that penetrating monarch, who, to guard against invasions from without, and to awe his subjects at home, began to erect Castles all over the Kingdom: the turbulent state of the nation, after, multiplied them prodigiously, insomuch that, in the reign of King Stephen, they amounted to eleven hundred and fifteen. In process of time, however, they were rendered of little use or consequence, from the total change in the art of war, brought about by the invention of gunpowder; from the more settled state of the nation, Scotland being united with England; from the abolition of the feudal system; and, lastly, from the respectable condition of our Navy, whose wooden walls secure us from invasions. This being premised, we flatter ourselves the following account of this venerable monument of the grandeur of our ancestors will not be disagreeable to the reader.



The match of archery, at Ashby (see Ivanhoe) in which the yeoman Locksley overcomes all the antagonists whom Prince John brings up against him, finds a parallel, and indeed it may be said a foundation, in the ballad of "Adam Bell, Clym of the Cleugh, and William of Cloudeslea."[1] The story of the ballad bears, that these "three perilous outlaws," having wrought great devastation among the "foresters of the foe" and liege burghers of Carlisle, while in the act of rescuing one of their companions from prison "fure up to London town," to crave of their sovereign a charter of peace. This, by the intercession of the Queen, he grants them; but no sooner is the royal word passed for the pardon, than messengers arrive from the "north countrye" with tidings of the deadly havock. The King happens to be quietly engaged in eating his dinner at the time, and is completely thunderstruck at the intelligence, so that

"'Take up the table, then said he,

   'For I can eat no mo?'"

He straight way assures the three offenders, that, if they do not prevail every one of his own bowmen, their lives shall be forfeited.

"They then all bent their good yew bows

   Looked that their strings were round,

And twice or thrice they shot their shafts

   Full deftly in that stound.


"Then out spake William of Cloudesleie,

   'By him that for me died,'

I hold him ne'er a good Archee,

   That shoots at butt so wide.


"'Wereat I crave' then said the King,

   'That thou wilt tell to me?

At such a butt, Sir as we wont,

   To use in our countrye.'


"Then William with his brethren twain,

   Stepped forth upon the green,

And then set up two hazel rods,

   Twenty score paces between."

It will here be recollected that Locksley upbraids his adversary, after his unsuccessful shot, for not having made allowance for the pressure of the breeze. Cloudeslea gives a caution to the spectators of no less minute—

"He prayed the people that were there,

   That they would all still stand;

He that for such a wager shoots

   Has need of steady hand;"

and having chosen a "leaning plane," splits the wand.

Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudsly, were three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery rendered them as famous in the North of England, as Robin Hood and his fellows were in the midland counties. Shakespeare in his Much Ado About Nothing (Act. 1) makes Benedict confirm his resolution of not yielding to love, by this protestation:—"If I do hang me in a bottle like a cat, and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder and be called Adam;" meaning Adam Bell. Abraham Cupid, in Romeo and Juliet should be Adam Cupid, in allusion to the archer. Ben Jonson mentions Clym of the Clough in his Alchymist. Mr. Perry also illustrates the passage, "they shall hang me up in a bottle like a cat," by the following note.—"Bottles formerly were of leather; though perhaps a wooden bottle might be here meant. It is still a diversion in Scotland to hang up a cat in a small cask, or firkin half filled with soot, and then a parcel of clowns on horseback try to beat out the end of it, to shew their dexterity in escaping, before the contents fall upon them."


Nothing particularly applicable to the Long-Bow (for we do not mean that archery remains unnoticed) is to be found in our early historians, during the reigns immediately following, till that of Edward III in whose time this weapon is supposed to have been much in use.[1] Mr. Barrington entertains this opinion very reasonably, from circumstances which occurred at the battle of Crecy. The arbalests in the hands of the Genoese, were all exposed to a violent storm, which happened just before the battle commenced. This storm falling on the strings of their bows, relaxed them so far, as to render them incapable of proper service: while, on the other hand, the English bows were kept in their cases during the rain, and were not injured. From hence Mr. Barrington concludes, the English used the long-bow as that instrument was usually provided with a case, but the cross-bow, being of so inconvenient a shape, could not be provided with such covering. Indeed this latter kind of bow, is not said to have been furnished with a cover, as far as I have been able to find.

The battle of Crecy, as well as that of Poictiers, (where the archers poured forth their quivers in such bloody victories,[2]) intimates the bow to have been highly cultivated by the English at those times; but it was found necessary by Edward to enforce the practice of archery during the peace which followed, as the soldiers rather attended to other amusements, than archery.

During the reign of Richard II little is recorded with respect to the bow. We find, however, from Hollinshead, that a number of archers were sent at the request of the Genoese, to assist them against the Saracens on the coast of Barbary; and that they performed some meritorious exploits with their long-bow.

From a passage in Stow, we find Richard II to have had a very numerous guard of archers; for in the year 1397, as one day the members were leaving the Parliament House, "a great stir was made as was usual; whereupon the king's archers, in number four thousand, compassed the Parliament House, thinking there had been some broil, or fighting, with their bows bent, their arrows notched, and drawing ready to shoot, to the terror of all that were there: but the king coming pacified them."

The most memorable circumstance with respect to the bow, which occurring in the reign of Henry IV was the victory gained over the Scots near Halidownehill, in the year 1402; "where," in the words of an old historian, "the Lord Percie's archers did withall deliver their deadly arrows so lively, so courageously, so grievously, that they ranne through the men of armes, bored the helmets, pierced their very swords, beat their lances to the earth, and easily shot those who were more slightly armed, through and through[3]."

The battle of Agincourt, which happened in the year 1415, under Henry V, is the next signal victory ascribed to the English archers, who destroyed a great number of the French cavalry, by their yard-long arrows. This indeed, seems the last very important action in which archery is much spoken of, and although the use of it was continued through several succeeding reigns, it at length seems to have been cultivated more as an amusement, than for real military service[4].

The amusement was extremely fashionable in the time of Henry VIII and Hollinshead reports, that that prince shot as well as any of his guard.

Edward VI is said, by Mr. Barrington, to have been fond of the exercise of archery[5].

Charles I appears to have amused himself in this way also, and is represented in the frontispiece of Markham's art of archery, (1734) in the attitude and dress of a bowman.

During the reigns of Charles II and James II the amusement was continued, and the former sometimes attended at exhibitions of shooting. The Artillery Company, or Finsbury archers, have survived even to the present time, but except in that society, the bow, till within these ten years, was very little known in the kingdom. At present, indeed, archery gains favour, and many companies are formed, for the practice of that amusement[6].

The exact time in which the bow became disused in war by the English army, perhaps cannot be fixed. P. Daniel mentions, that arrows were shot by the English at the Isle of Rhé, in 1627. Mr. Grose informs us, that in 1643, the Earl of Essex issued a precept "for stirring up all well-affected people by benevolence, towards raising a company of archers for the service of the King (Charles I) and the Parliament." And in a pamphlet, says the same author, which was printed anno 1664, giving an account of the success of the Marquis of Montrose against the Scots, bowmen are repeatedly mentioned. One Neade, in the Reign of Charles I obtained a commission under the Great Seal, wherein he and his son were empowered to teach the combined management of the pike and bow. A book entitled, "The double armed man," shewing the proper exercise and attitudes, was written and published by William Neade, about the year 1625. It contains nothing of consequence relating to archery, but we may judge that that art was not laid aside at this period.

The spirit of archery is still kept up at many places among the Scots. It is kept up at Kilwinning[7]. This society is very ancient, there being evidence of its existence as far back as 1488. This amusement is practised annually at a certain time of the year, generally in the month of June. What has contributed perhaps more than any other thing to its continuance has been the monastery here, the only venerable remains of which are the steeple, and a gable which some years ago underwent a repair by the present Earl of Eglinton. Like many other religious structures this abbey suffered severely at the Reformation. This supposition is rendered highly probable, from the species of archery in use here from time immemorial. It is of two kinds: the one is at a perpendicular mark called a pepingoe. The pepingoe is a bud known in heraldry. It is on this occasion cut out in wood, fixed on the end of a pole, and placed 120 feet high on the steeple of the monastery[8]. The archer who shoots down the mark, is honoured with the title of the Captain of the Pepingal.

It is uncertain whether the long-bow or arbalest discharged the arrow which proved fatal to William II.

—"Innumera laxarunt cæde pharetus."

As a contrast to this barbarous, though energetic passage, we quote the description of a furious arrow, from Lucan:

"Haud unum contenta latus transire, quiescit:

Sed pandens perque arma viam, perque ossa, relicta

Morte fugit: superest telo post volnera cursus."

Pharsalia, Lib. 3.

It is said that James I, of Scotland, during his long confinement in England, in the beginning of the fifteenth century, was so struck with the spirit and gallantry of the English archers, that on returning to his own country, he established Royal Companies of bowmen in different parts of his dominions. The art of shooting with the bow, is at present regularly practised by numerous Societies; and the Pepingoe is annually celebrated at Kilwinning, in the West of Scotland, by the gentlemen of the neighbourhood. The Pepingoe (or Popingay, a mark formed like a parrot) is projected two or three feet from the top of the church steeple, and they shoot at it perpendicularly, resting their left foot on the base of the tower. The Royal Company of Archers, at Edinburgh, consists of the principal nobility and gentry of that kingdom, to the number of eight or nine hundred members. Maitland, in his history of Edinburgh, informs us, that this Society was founded about the year 1676; and that it was erected into a corporation by Letters Patent from Queen Anne, dated the 31st of December, 1713. If we may judge from the compliments of a Poet, this Society seems to have flourished with great spirit in the beginning of the present century. We allude to Allan Ramsey's works; among which there are several poems addressed to the Archers of Edinburgh, and which celebrate their skill. Among others, the Duke of Hamilton receives a few lines on his having shot an eel in the neck.

Mr. B. refers to that Prince's manuscript journal, in the British Museum.

Of these Societies I believe the following are the principal: viz.

The Hon. Artil. Comp.Southampton Archers
Royal EdinburghBowmen of Chiviot Chace
ToxophiliteKentish Hangers
Woodmen of ArdenWoodmen of Hornsey
Royal Kentish BowmenSurry Bowmen
Royal British BowmenBowmen of the Border
Robin Hood BowmenMercian Bowmen
Loyal ArchersBroughton Archers
Yorkshire ArchersStaffordshire Bowmen
Hainhault ForestersTrent Archers.

The Monastery was founded as early as the year 1140, by Hugh de Moreville, a very opulent and powerful Baron, Lord of Cunningham, and Lord High Constable of Scotland. It was dedicated to St. Winning. The monks were brought from the Priory of Kelso. At the Reformation the Earl of Glencairn, who had been so active in its demolition, obtained a grant of the abbey, and made him Commendator of it. To him succeeded William Melville, of the family of Raith. On his resignation, January 5th 1603, Hugh, Earl of Eglinton, got a new grant of the Abbey, with all the lands, titles, and patronage of the churches at that time belonging to it, erected into a temporary Lordship.

At the Reformation the revenue of the monastery, exclusive of the property lands, amounted to £840 3s. 4d. Scots; 8 bolls of wheat, 14 chalices, 1 boll, and 15 pecks of beans; 67 chalders of oat meal, 13 stubs, 140 capons, two hens 268 cheeses; and 9 fathom of stack peat. According to the traditionary account of the entire revenue of the monastery, it is asserted, that its present annual amount would be at least £200,000 sterling. This supposition seems to be pretty well founded, when it is considered that no less than nineteen churches are known to have held of it.

Alexander, Earl of Glencairn, in consequence of an order from the states of Scotland, demolished the greatest part of this edifice. It is reported to have been built by a number of masons from the Continent, who brought with them an architect to superintend the work. This architect resided at Kilwinning, and being intimately acquainted with every branch of the art, was chosen Master of the Meetings all over Scotland. King James I of Scotland patronized the mason lodge of Kilwinning, and presided as grand master of Scotland, till he settled an annual salary to be paid by every Master Mason in Scotland to a grand master chosen by the brethren, and approved by the crown. This grand master was to be nobly born, or a clergyman of high rank and character. He had his deputies in the different towns and counties of Scotland. King James II conferred the office of grand Master on William Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, and Baron of Roslin. By another deed of the same King, this office was made hereditary in this very ancient family. Earl William and his successors, Baron Roslin, assembled their grand lodge at Kilwinning, as being the mother lodge, or the place where regular and stated lodges had first been held in Scotland. This monastery was founded as early as 1143, by Hugh de Moreville, a very opulent and powerful Baron, Lord of Cunningham, and Lord High Chancellor of Scotland. It was dedicated to St. Winning. The monks were brought from the Priory of Kelso.



An error in heraldry in Ivanhoe, where "a fetterlock and shacklebolt azure," are blazoned upon a sable shield, has been noticed as having a curious and remarkable parallel in Marmion, where a falcon is said to have

"Soared sable in an azure field."

Canto I. Stanza VI—VIII.

It may be added, that an unauthorized word "wroken," which is found Canto II, stanza XXVII, of the "Bridal of Tremain,"

"Merlin's magic doom is spoken;

Vanoe's death must now be wroken—."

occurs likewise in Vanda's prophecy in the first of these stories.—

"How," asked Ulysses, addressing his guardian goddess, "shall I be able to recognize Proteus in the swallow that skims round our houses, whom I have been accustomed to behold as a swan of Phœbus measuring his movements to a celestial music?"—"In both alike," she replied, "thou canst recognize the god[1]."

Much absurd errors has been wasted on the above "errors in Heraldry," because every tyro in the "art of Blazon," has been taught, that to place a colour upon a colour, or a metal upon a metal, in false heraldry. But though such is undoubtedly one of the Canons of Heralds, many ancient coats exhibit a deviation from it; and, hence, Sir Walter Scott's supposed mistakes may be justified by undoubted precedents of which it is sufficient to cite the following. Perhaps the oldest armorial ensigns known are those of Jerusalem, Argent a cross potent between four crosses potent, Or; and to which Cleveland thus alludes:

"Metal on metal is false heraldry;

And yet the known Godfrey of Boulogn's coat

Shines in exception to the herald's vote."

A Roll of arms, compiled in the early part of the reign of Edward II circa 1310, presents among others, the subjoined instance of a colour being placed upon a colour: "Sir Richard de Rohesle, de azure a vj leoncels de argent a une fesse de goules;" and the arms of the poorest Lord de Tabley contain a similar anomaly, they being azure a fess goules between three fleur de lis, or. But when the ermine banner itself is a violation of the rules of heraldry, such a fault in a mere novelist, even if it really existed, would scarcely justify so many remarks. It is not, however, our intention to defend that writer from the charge of being imperfectly acquainted with heraldry, for he scarcely ever alludes to it without committing himself; but the anachronisms with which Sir Walter's Novels abound, with respect to manners, costume, and events, would have been a far more useful object of criticism, since they are so calculated to mislead.

The "Friend," Vol. III, p. 100. Ed. Lond. 1818.



The Jacobite intrigues which wind up the plot in this novel are best understood by a reference to Dr. King's anecdotes of his own times, pp. 36—190 et seq. The following specimen of comparative criticism may amuse our readers: it will show them how unsteady and transitory are all sublunary criticisms; though the perusal of the novel itself, will be the best test of the judgment of either.

"This tale is not unworthy the author of Waverley.—But Redgauntlet farther engrafts a beauty unknown even to the popular novel to which we have compared it—we allude to the masterly way in which the history of the times and the fiction are made to chime in with and hold each other. In this respect, it is not inferior to Waverley itself—and the conclusion is what it ought to be at once, grand, simple, and affecting".—Literary Gazette.

"We are sadly disappointed with this novel. It has none of the fine qualities which belong to its predecessors, and it is a mere fourth or fifth rate production. Take away a few pages, and it would do no credit to the Minerva Press. The story is intricate without being interesting: the personages numerous, without any thing characteristic; the dialogue diffuse, undramatic, and tedious; and the whole thing very slovenly got up. Redgauntlet is incomparably the worst of all the novels of Sir Walter Scott."—Literary Museum.

The case before the town-baillies of Cupar Angus, when Luckie Simpson's cow had drunk up Luckie Jameson's browst of ale, while it stood in the door to cool, is very fully and facetiously detailed in Franck's "Northern Memoirs," of which a reprint was some time ago published at Edinburgh, under the reported superintendence of Sir Walter Scott, is thus humourously narrated in the last Waverley edition, with the author's notes, to the following effect:—"An ale-wife in Forfar, had brewed her "peck o' malt," and set the liquor out of doors to cool; a neighbour's cow chanced to come by, and seeing the good beverage, was allured to taste it and finally to drink it up. When the proprietor came to taste her liquor, she found her tub empty, and from the cow's staggering and staring, so as to betray her intemperance, she easily discovered the mode in which her "browst" had disappeared. To take vengeance on crummie's ribs with a stick, was her first effort. The roaring of the cow brought her master who remonstrated with his angry neighbour, and received in reply a demand for the value of the ale which crummie had drunk up. Payment was refused, and the party was cited before the magistrate who listened patiently to the case, and then demanded of the plaintiff whether the cow had sat down to her potation, or taken it standing. The plaintiff answered she had not seen the deed committed, but she supposed the cow had drank the ale standing on her feet—adding that had she been near, she would have made her use them to some purpose. The Baillie, on this admission solemnly adjudged the cow's to be deoch an doruis,[1] a stirrup cup, for which no charge could be made, without violating the ancient hospitality of Scotland."

When the landlord of an inn presented his guests with deoch an doruis, that is, the drink at the door, or the stirrup-cup, the draught was not charged in the reckoning.


We surmise the Author to have had in view the craving and litigious disposition which characterise some of our northern brethren when he drew the following sketch of "Poor Peter Peebles against Planestanes." The touches are so true to nature and the incidents of such daily occurrence, that we cannot resist quoting it.—The satire on a court of justice is no less keen than true.

"Well, but friend," said the quaker, "I wish to hear thee speak about the great lawsuit of thine which has been matter of such celebrity."—"Celebrity! ye may say that," said Peter (a ruined pauper suitor) when the string was touched to which his crazy imagination always vibrated. "And I dinna wonder that folks that judge things by their outward grandeur should think me sometimes worth their envying. It's very true, that it is grandeur upon earth to hear ane's name thundered out along the arched roof of the outer house:—'Poor Peter Peebles against Planestanes et per contra'; a' the best lawyers fleeing like eagles to the prey; some because they are in the cause, and some because they want to be thought engaged (for there are tricks in other trades by selling muslins), to see the reporters mending their pens to take down the debate—the Lords themselves pooin' in their chairs, like folks sitting down to a gude dinner, and crying as the clerks for parts and pendicles of the process; the puir bodies can do little mair than cry on their closet keepers to help them. To see a' this, (continued Peter, in a strain of sustained rapture) and to ken that nothing will be said or done amang a' these grand folk, for may be the feck of three hours, saving that concerns you and your business.—O man, nae wonder that ye judge this to be earthly glory! and yet, neighbour, as I was saying, there be unco drawbacks.—I whiles think of my bit house, where dinner, and supper, and breakfast used to come without any crying for, just as if the fairies had brought it—and the gude bed at e'en—and the needfu penny in the pouch—and then to see a' ane's warldly substance capering in the air in a pair o' weigh bauks, now up, now down, as the heart of judge or counsel incline for pursuer or defender. Troth, man, these are times I rue having ever begun the plea wark, though may be, when ye consider the renoun and credit I have by it, ye will hardly believe what I am saying."







170,16,Lady Macgregorr.Helen Macgregor
267,note"a most""the most"

Transcriber's Notes

The table of contents has been reconstructed from the text, and differs from that in the original, in order to be of greater use to the reader. Those items shown without indentation, or leading dashes, are considered chapter headings.

The '§' character has been retained in the text to mark the start of chapters, but has been removed from other headings.

Page numbers in the range 312-336 were originally numbered as 302-326, duplicating the page numbers of an earlier section. Page numbers were altered to give a continuous sequence that realigned with subsequent text.

The location of the reference to the footnote at the start of page 321 is inferred from the text.

Some changes to the text were made silently to achieve consistent spelling, and balanced and complete punctuation, within passages.

[The end of The Waverley Anecdotes, Vol I by anonymous]