PART II.-Containing a Brief Account of the Persecution of the last Period, and of the great suffering whereby all the parts of its Testimony were sealed.
The foregoing deduction, being the first thing I proposed to be discussed in the method of this essay, hath now swelled to such a bulk, that the last Period of it doth, in a manner, swallow up what I intended to have said on the second: because it gives grounds to gather the methods and measures that our adversaries have managed, for the ruin of this witnessing remnant, and also discover some special steps of their sufferings within these 27 years past, under the tyranny of both the brothers. It will now be the more easy to glean the gradations of the means and machines, and by this popish, prelatical, and malignant faction, to raze the work of reformation, and to build their Babel of popery and slavery on the ruins thereof; and to aggregate an account in brief of the great sufferings of the faithful. Which tho’ it be beyond any power, and besides my purposes at present, to offer a narrative of it, with any proportion to the greatness of the subject; a more particular relation thereof, being now projected, if providence permit, to be published to the world, which will discover strange and unheard of cruelties; yet in this little heap of some hints only of the kinds of their sufferings, I do not question but it will appear, that the persecution of Scotland hath been very remarkable, and of injustice, illegality, and inhumanity, though perhaps inferior in some other circumstances. But that none could be more unjust, illegal, or inhuman, I need not further, I cannot better, demonstrate than only to declare the matter of fact, as it fell out in the several steps of the last period.
I. In the entry of this fatal catastrophe the first of their mischievous machinations was to remove out of the way all who were eminent instruments in carrying on the former work of God, or might be of influence for obstructing their antichristian and tyrannical designs, both in the state and in the church. And accordingly, when the Marquis of Argyle, who had a main hand in bringing home the King, and closing the second treaty at Breda, went up to London, to congratulate his return from exile, he was made prisoner in the Tower, thereafter sent down to Scotland, indicted of high treason, at length beheaded, and his head placed upon the tollbooth of Edinburgh (a watch word of warning to our addressers, who may, ere all be done, meet with the same sauce) for no other alleged cause, but for his compliance with the English, when they had our land in subjection; a thing wherein the judges who condemned him were equally criminal; but really for another provocation that incensed the king against him, which made him a tyrant as infamous for villainy as for violence, to wit, for his reproving the king (when others declined it) for an adulterous rape, which he held for so piacular a crime, that he resolved nothing should expiate it but the blood of this nobleman. For the same pretended cause was the Lord Waristoun afterwards executed to death at Edinburgh, after they had missed of their design of taking him off by clandestine ways abroad. Then they fall upon the ministers: and because Mr. James Guthrie was a man, who had been honoured of God to be zealous and singularly faithful, in carrying on the work of reformation, and had asserted the kingly authority of Christ, in opposition to the Erastian supremacy encroaching thereupon, therefore he must live no longer, but is condemned to die, and most basely handled, as if he had been a most notorious thief or malefactor; he is hanged, and afterward his head placed upon one of the ports of Edinburgh, where it abideth to this day, preaching not only against the enemies rebellion against God, but against the defection of many ministers since, who have practically denied that great truth for which he suffered, to wit, his testimony against the Supremacy, and for declining the usurped authority of him who arrogated it. At the same time there was a proclamation, which they caused to be read at all the church doors, discharging ministers to speak against them or their proceedings, whereby profane and malicious persons were encouraged to witness against their ministers. By which means (though many were in no hazard, thinking it commendable prudence, commended indeed by the world, but hateful unfaithfulness before God, to be silent at such a time) some faithful ministers giving faithful and free warning, and protesting against the present defection, were condemned of treason, and banished out of the three dominions. Others, without a legal citation, or without access to give in their defenses, were sentenced with banishment, and could never get an extract of their sentence: and further, were compelled to subscribe a bond, under pain of death, to remove out of all the dominions betwixt and such a day. This was the lot and also the blot of these famous and faithful ministers, Mr. John Livingston, Mr. Robert Macward, Mr. John Brown [of Wamphray], etc. who spent the rest of their days in Holland, serving their generation by their excellent writings. Then, after they had disposed of many other ministers, whom they thrust out, for not keeping the 29th of May, having now lad by the most eminent, and whom they feared most of the ministry, they shortly thereafter outed, and violented the rest from the exercise of their ministry, and straitened them with strange and severe confinements; yea, because they would not be outdone in suppressing religion by any, no, not by Julian the apostate, they proceeded to poison all the springs and fountains of learning; ordaining that none be masters in universities, except they take the oath of supremacy, and own the government of prelacy; and none be admitted to teach in a school, without the prelate’s license. These courses brought many ministers and expectants to great sufferings.
II. Hitherto they reached only noblemen, gentlemen and ministers, and others whom they thought might stand in their way of advancing their cursed designs. The next drift is, when they had emptied the churches of ministers, and filled them with the vermin of ignorant and scandalous curates, to force the people to conformity, and to disown and discountenance their own ministers; first, by severe edicts of exorbitant fining not only the persons themselves contravening, but those that had the superiority over them, and rigorous exaction of these fines, to the depopulation of a poor country, by military force; whereby, where there was but one church in the bounds, still enjoying a minister whom the people could hear, the profane soldiers would beset that church in time of worship, and cause all within to pay their fines, or take the garments from them that could not, and beat them to the effusion of their blood: and where the church was planted with a curate, the soldiers would come, and call the names of the parishioners, and amerciate the absents in such fines as they pleased. In other places they went to private houses, and by force drove them to church, even tho’ sick and unable. But where the dissenters were numerous, great bands of legal robbers were sent to exact and extort these exorbitant fines, by plundering quartering, beating, and harassing whole country-sides in a hideous manner. And yet after all these insolencies, some of the common sort were compelled to subscribe an acknowledgment, that the captain had used them civilly and discreetly; though the account of others of that place manifests the violence to have been so monstrous, that it justified the great barbarity; showing their exactions to have been intolerable, both for the quantity, without all proportion or pity, and for the manner of it, consuming and wasting poor people’s provision by their very dogs, and sparing no more these who conformed, than others who did not conform at all, and punishing husbands for their wives, yea, doubling and tripling, the same exactions after payment. Next, though at first they did not imprison any for simple absenting themselves from the curates, yet they began to fill prisons with such as at any time showed more than ordinary zeal against the curates intrusion, and testified their dissatisfaction to his face; for which, women were imprisoned, scourged, stigmatized, and thereafter carried to Barbados. Others, because they would not give the Prelates their title of Lords, when convened before them, were also scourged: and one minister seized for preaching, and offending the prelates by the same fault, was carried first to the thieves hole, laid in irons in company with a madman, and then banished to Shetland, the coldest and wildest of all the Scots islands.
III. But when fining would not do, and still not do, and still the people were more averse from the curates, by getting sometimes occasions of hearing their own ministers in private; hence were houses forced and searched, many hauled to prisons, and several necessitate to escape at windows with the hazard of their lives, spies sent unto and set in suspected places, to seize and fall upon such as they found at such meetings, or but suspected to have been these. Whence it came to pass, that many, both men and women, young and old, have been dragged to prisons, and there cross kept as malefactors, besides several other outrageous and illegal acts of violence and oppression committed against them, contrary to all law, equity and conscience.
IV. After Pentland defeat, they ruled by rage more than either law or reason. There 40 prisoners, who were taken upon quarter, and solemn parole to have their lives spared, yet treacherously and bloodily were all hanged (except five that were reprieved) who had much of the Lord’s presence at their deaths, and assurance of his love, strengthening them to seal a noble testimony. One of them, a much honoured young minister, only for having a sword about him, though not present at the fight, did first most patiently endure the cruel torture of the boots (a cruel engine of iron, whereby with wedges the leg is tortured, until the marrow come out of the bone) and afterwards death, with great courage and constancy. Upon the scaffold, at their execution, they then began that barbarity never practiced in Scotland before, but frequently, and almost always at all the executions since, to beat drums, that they might not be heard. After this conflict, many were forfeited of their estates, and intercommuned, with inhibition to all to reset, conceal, or correspond with any that had escaped, under the pain of being accounted guilty of the same rebellion, as they called it. Soldiers are permitted to take free quarter in the country, and licensed to all the abuses, that either rapine or cruelty may suggest; to examine men by tortures, threatening to kill or roast alive, all that would not delate [accuse] all they knew were accessory to that rising; to strip them who did so much as reset the fugitives, and thrust them into prisons, in cold, hunger, and nakedness, and crowd them so with numbers, that they could scarce stand together, having the miseries of their own excrements superadded; yea, to murder without process, such as would not, nay could not, discover those persecuted people. But not only time, but heart and tongue would fail, to relate all the violences and insolencies, the stobbings, woundings, stripping and imprisonings of men’s persons, violent breaking of their houses both by day and night, beating of wives and children, ravishing of women, forcing of them by fire-matches and other tortures, to discover their husbands and nearest relations, although not within the compass of their knowledge, and driving away all their goods that could be carried away, without respect to guilt or innocency, and all the cruelties that were exercised without a check by these ruffians at that time.
V. After all these tender mercies and clemencies, or cruelties, which his gracious majesty was pleased to confer or commit upon these poor contenders for religion and liberty, he and his cabal the council thought it not enough to suppress them with oppressions and force, distrusting the authority of his law (that he knew the people would no more observe, than he would observe a promise or oath) and dissiding also the authority of his sword, which he had above their heads, he proposes terms of bargaining with them, whereupon he would suffer them to live, and to which he would have them bound to live according to his prescript; therefore, besides the old oaths of allegiance and supremacy, that were still going among hands, he caused coin new ones to keep the peace, and to live orderly, meaning to conform themselves to the disorders of the times? whereby, after he had wrought such destruction to their bodies and estates, and almost nothing was left them but a bit of a conscience, he would rob them of that too: verifying the constant character of the wicked, they only consult to cast a man down from his excellency. What is a man’s excellency but a good conscience? But these men, having seared consciences of their own, not capable of any impression, they presume to impose upon all others, and cannot endure so much as to hear of the name of conscience in the country, except it be when it is baffled in the belchings of beastly mouths; as one, that was well acquaint with the council’s humour in this point, told a gentleman that was going before them, to have one of these oaths imposed upon him, who was beforehand signifying his scruples, that he could not do such things inn conscience. Conscience (said he) I beseech you whatever you do, speak nothing of conscience before the lords, for they cannot abide to hear that word. Therefore it is, that since this last revolution, there have been more conscience debauching and ensnaring oaths invented and imposed, and some repugnant and contradictory to others, than ever was in any nation in the world in so short a time: and hereby they have had woeful success in their designs, involving the generality of the land in the sin of perjury and false swearing with themselves. And it hath been observed, that scarcely have they let one year pass, without imposing some oaths or bonds upon Presbyterians; such always as are unlawful to take, yea and impossible to keep, sometimes more obviously gross, sometimes more seemingly smooth, sometimes tendered more generally through the kingdom, sometimes imposed upon particular shires; and these carried on by craft and cunning, sometimes by force and cruelty. Doubtless it is not the least part of their design, hereby to make oaths and bonds become a trivial and common thing, and by making all men of as capacious consciences as themselves.
VI. Further, they never ceased to express their fear of another rising, (their guilty consciences dictating that they deserved greater opposition.) Hence, to secure themselves, and incapacitate the people from further attempts of that nature, they order all withdrawers from churches, all who did not join to suppress the Lord’s people, to deliver up their arms betwixt and such a day, and not keep a horse above such a very mean price, unfit for service.
VII. When force could not do the business, then they try flatteries; and hence contrive that wicked Indulgence to divide and destroy the ministers that remained and to suppress meetings. But when this bait, so well busked [made], could not catch all, but still there were meetings for administering the ordinances; their flattery turns to fury, and the acceptance of that Indulgence by some, and despising of it by others, did both animate and instigate them unto a following forth of their design, by all the cruel acts and bloody executions. And hereby the residue of the faithful of the land were exposed unto their rage while the indulged became interpretatively guilty of, and accessory to all the cruelties used and executed upon ministers and professors, for adhering unto that way. Hence it was common at private and peaceable meetings, when, without arms of defense, they were disturbed by soldiers, and exposed to all manner of villainous violence, some being dragged to prisons, some banished and sold to French captains to be transported with rascals, many intercommuned and driven from their dwellings and relations, great sums of money were proferred to any that would bring in several of the most eminent ministers, either dead or alive; yea several at several times were killed, and others cruelly handled: all which, for several years, they patiently endured without resistance. But especially, when not only they were driven to the fields to keep their meetings in all weathers, summer and winter, but necessitate to meet with arms, then they raised more troops of horse and dragoons to pursue them with all rage, as traitors and rebels. Hence what pursuings, hornings, huntings, hidings wanderings through mountains and muirs, and all kinds of afflictions, the people of God then met with, because of their following that necessary and signally blessed duty; all the lands inhabitants know, the jailers can witness to this day, and the barbarous soldiers, bloody executioners of the commands of their enraged masters, having orders to would and kill, and apprehend all they could take at these meetings, or on the way suspected to be going to or coming from them, having encouragement to apprehend some ministers, and bring them dead or alive, by the promise of 2000 merks, others valued at 1000, and several professors also with prices put upon their heads. Hence others that were taken of them were sent into the Bass, a dry and cold rock in the sea, where they had no fresh water, nor any provision, but what they had brought many miles from the country; and when they got it, it would not keep unspoiled. And others both ministers and many hundreds of professors, were outlawed; whereby all the subjects were prohibited to reset, supply, intercommune with any of them, or to correspond with them by word, writ, or message, or furnish them with meat, drink, house, harbour, victual, or any other thing useful, under the highest pains. Hence also prisons were filled, and the wives and children of the outed ministers, that were come to Edinburgh for shelter, were commanded to dislodge, within a short day prefixed, under the pain of being forcibly shut up or dragged out. For which and other such uses, to apprehend and seize, on meetings, a major was appointed in Edinburgh, with command over the town guards, and a good salary for that end. Then prisons being filled, they were emptied to make room for others in ships, to be taken away to be sold for slaves, in one of which were sent to Virginia above 60 men, some ministers; who, through the kindness and sympathy of some English godly people, were relieved at London. A greater barbarity not to be found in the reigns of Caligula or Nero.
VIII. But all this is nothing to what followed; when, thinking these blood hounds were too favourable, they brought down from the wild Highlands a host of Savages upon the Western shires, more terrible than Turks or Tartars, men who feared not God nor regarded man; and being also poor pitiful Skybalds [contemptible fellows], they thought they had come to a brave world, to waste and destroy a plentiful country, which they resolved, before they left it, to make as bare as their own. This hellish crew was adduced to work a reformation, like the French conversions, to press a Band of Conformity, wherein every subscriber was bound for himself and all under him, wife, children, servants, tenants, to frequent their parish churches, and never to go to these meetings, nor reset nor entertain any that went, but to inform against, pursue, and deliver up all vagrant preachers, as they called them, to trail and judgment. Which they prosecuted with that rigour and restless, boundless rage, that the children then unborn, and their pitiful mothers do lament the memory of that day, for the loss of their fathers and husbands. Many houses and families then were left desolate in a winter flight, many lost their cattle and horses, and some, in seeking to recover them, lost their lives, by the sword of these Burrio’s [hangmen]. So that it was too evident, both by what orders was given the severity of prosecuting, and the expressions of some great ones since, that nothing less than the utter ruin and desolation of these shires was consulted and concluded, and that expedition, at that time, calculated for that end; for what else can be imagined could induce to the raising 10 or 11,000 barbarous Savages, the joining them to the standing forces, and with such cruel orders the directing them all to the West, where there was not one person moving the finger against them: neither could they pretend any quarrel, if it was not the faithfulness of the people there in their covenanted religion, and their hopelessness of complying to their popish and tyrannical designs, and therefore no course so feasible as to destroy them; so for dispatching thereof, order is given forth, that whosoever refuseth to subscribe that hell-hatched bond, must instantly have 10, 20, 30, 40,more or fewer according to his condition as he is poorer or richer, of these new reformers sent to him, to lie not only upon free quarters to eat up and destroy what they pleased, but also (for the more speedy expedition) ordered to take a sixpence for each common soldier a-day, and the officers more, according to their degrees, and so to remain till either the bond was subscribed, or all destroyed; nor was these trustees deficient to further their purposes in prosecuting their orders, who, coming to their quarters, used ordinarily to produce a billgate for near to as many more as came, and for these absents they must have double money, because their landlord was not burdened with their maintenance, and, where that was refused, would take the readiest goods, and if any thing remained not destroyed and plundered at their removing, which was not transportable, rather than the owner should get any good of it, they would in some places set fire to it, as they did with the corn-stacks. it would require several great volumes to record the many instances of horrid barbarities, bloods and villainies of that wicked expedition; so that what by free quarterings, exactions, robberies, thefts, plunderings, and other acts of violence and cruelty, many places were ruined almost to desolation, all which the faithful chose rather to suffer, than to sin in complying: and albeit their oppression was exceeding lamentable, and their loss great, yet that of the compliers was greater and sadder, who lost a good conscience in yielding to them, and compounding with them.
IX. Then the country behooved to pay the soldiers for all this service, and hire them to do more, by paying the imposed cess; whereby they were sharpened into a greater keenness in cruel executions of their orders, returning to those places of the country whither they had chased the persecuted people, who still kept their meetings where ever they were, though they could not attend them, but upon the hard of being killed, either in the place (where some had their blood mingled with their sacrifice) or fleeing, or be exposed to their dreadful cruelties, more bitter than death. For then it was counted a greater crime, and punished with greater severity, for persons to hear a faithful minister preach, than to commit murder, incest, adultery, or to be guilty of witchcraft, or idolatry, or the grossest abominations: for these have passed unpunished, when some, for their simple presence at a meeting, have been executed unto the death. Then also, when some were forced to flee into the English border for shelter, there also were parties ordered to pursue these poor hunted partridges, who could not find a hole to hide their head in. There we lost a valiant champion for truth, and truly zealous contender for the interest of Christ, that universally accomplished gentleman and christian, Thomas Ker of Heyhope, who was cruelly murdered in a rencounter [skirmish] with a party of the English side.
Thereafter followed that lamentable stroke at Bothwel, where about 300 were killed on the field, and about 10 or 1100 taken prisoners, and stripped, and brought into Edinburgh in a merciless manner. After which, first two faithful and painful ministers and witnesses of Christ, Mr. John Kid and Mr. John King, received the crown of martyrdom, sealing that testimony with their blood, and many others after them for the same cause. Then the enemy, after the manner used before, first to wound our head, and then put on a hood upon it, (as they have done always after a mischief, and intending a greater), offered their bond of peace, on terms, that clearly condemned the cause, never to rise in arms against the king, etc. by which bond, many of the prisoners, after they had lain several weeks in a church yard, without the shadow of a house to cover them night and day, were liberate: and many of the rest, by the persuasion of some ministers, at whose door their blood lies as well as at the enemy’s, took that bond; and yet were sent away with others that did not take it, in a ship bound for America between 2 and 300 in all, who were all murdered in the ship, being shut up under the hatches when it split upon a rock in the north of Scotland, except about 50 persons; whereof many to this are living witnesses of such a cruelty.
X. Hitherto only the common rules and rudiments of the art of persecution were put in practice, exactly quadrating with the rules of Adam Contzen the Jesuit for introducing of Popery, in his Polit. Lib. 2. Cap. 18. which are, (1.) To proceed as musicians do, in tuning their instruments gradually. (2.) To press the examples of some eminent men to draw on the rest (3.) To banish all archheretics at once (that is the most zealous witnesses of Christ) or at least with all expedition by degrees. (4.) To put them out of all power and trust, and put in friends to the catholic interest. (5.) To load the Protestant opinions, as are most obnoxious, with all odious constructions. (6.) To discharge all private conventicles. (7.) To make and execute rigorous laws against the most dangerous. (8.) To cement all quarrels among Protestants, and strengthen the party that is ready to comply. But these, and many other of a deeper projection, and greater perfection, were fallen upon afterwards, equaling the most mischievous machines of Spanish inquisition, or the methods that effectuated the desolation of the church of Bohemia; that were exactly followed, as they are related in Clark’s Martyrology. Especially the last of Contzen’s rules were industriously observed, in the device of the Indulgences both before and after Bothwel; which contributed more to the rending and ruining the remnant, and to expose the faithful to rage and cruelty, than any thing: for when, by these ensnaring favours, many were drawn away from their duty, the rest that maintained it, and kept up the testimony, were both the more easily preyed upon, and more cruelly insulted over. Hence the field-meetings that were kept, were more fiercely pursued after Bothwel than the many before, and more cruel laws were made against them, and more bloody executions, than I can find words to express in short. But, in a word, no party of Tartars invading the land, or crew of cut-throats destroying the inhabitants, or the most capital malefactors, could have been more violently opposed, or more vigorously sought to be suppressed, than these poor meeters [attendees] were. But I must make some more special hints.
1. They not only raised more forces to exhaust the strength and substance of the already wasted country, and laid on and continued from one term to another that wicked exaction and cruel oppression of the cess, for the same declared ends of suppressing and banishing what remained of the gospel, and imposed localities for maintaining the soldiers employed in those designs; for refusing which many families were pillaged, plundered, and quite impoverished, besides the beating and abusing them: but also they went on unweariedly with their courts of inquisition, pressing the bonds of peace, and dragging them like dogs to prisons that would not subscribe them and for taking up in their Porteous rolls the names of all that were suspect to have been at Bothwel insurrection: which they gathered by the informations of Sycophants, and reputed them convict, if being summoned they did not appear, and forced others to swear concerning things that are to be inquired after, and delate [accuse] upon oath whom they did either see or heard that they were in arms, or went to meetings; and such as refused, suffered bonds or banishment. Yea, having made it criminal to reset, harbour, correspond, or converse with these whom they declared rebels, they thereupon imprisoned, fined, and ruined vast numbers, for having been or spoken with some of them, or because they did not discover or apprehend them when they fancied they might, and even when they were not obliged, and could not know whether they were obnoxious persons or not: for which many gentlemen and others were indicted and imprisoned, and some arraigned and condemned to death. For these causes, the country was harassed and destroyed by four extraordinary Circuit courts, successively going about with their numerous train, whereby many were grievously oppressed, and with their oppressions tempted with many impositions of conscience debauching oaths, and bonds to compear when called, and to keep the church, and to refrain from going to meetings, etc. and by these temptations involved in compliance and defections.
2. To enrich themselves, by these means, with the spoil of the country, did not satisfy these destroyers; but they must glut themselves with the blood of the saints, upon every pretext that they could catch, under any colour of law. As upon the account of Bothwel insurrection, many were cruelly executed to the death, some gentlemen, and some common country men, without any legal conviction, by packing bloody juries and assizes most partially for their murdering ends, besides more than can be reckoned that were kept to perish in their imprisonments. And not only for being actually in arms, or any overt act of transgressing their wicked laws, but even for their extorted opinions of things, or because they could not condemn these necessitated risings in arms to be rebellion, and a sin against God, which they were forced to declare by terrible menacings of death and torture, they have been condemned to death; making their arbitrary laws to reach the heart, thoughts, and inward sentiments of the mind, as well as outward actions. Whereupon this became a criminal question robbing many of their lives. Was the rising at Bothwel bridge rebellion, and a sin against God? And this another, Was the killing of the bishop of St. Andrews horrid murder? Which if any answered negatively, or did not answer affirmatively, they were cruelly condemned to death; for which, first, five innocent Christians were execute upon the spot, where that murderer fell. Though they declared, and it was known, they were as free as the child unborn, and that some of them had never seen a bishop that they knew from another man, and were never in that place of the country where he was killed. And afterwards this was the constant question that all brought before them were troubled with, which some avouching to be duty, were dismembered alive, their hands struck off, and then hanged, and their heads cut off when dead.
3. After Sanquhar Declaration, they observed the Jesuits’ rules more exactly, especially that mentioned above to load the opinions that are most obnoxious with all odious constructions, and to make it both criminal to declare them, and also criminal to conceal and wave their entrapping questions thereupon. For after Mr. Hall was killed at the Queensferry, and Mr. Cameron with several worthies were slain at Airsmoss, and after Mr. Hackston for declining the authority of his murderers, head and tail, and for being accessory to executing judgment upon the arch-traitor, or arch bishop at St. Andrews(tho’ he laid not his hands on him himself, nor was present at the action, but at a distance when it was done) was tortured alive, with the cutting off of his hands, and then hanged, and before he was dead, ripped up, his heart taken out and carried about on the point of a knife, and thrown into a fire, and afterwards his body quartered. Then, not only such as were with that little handful at Airsmoss were cruelly murdered, but others against whom they could charge no matter of fact, were questioned if they owned the king’s authority? which if any did not answer affirmatively and positively, he was to look for nothing but exquisite torments by terrible kinds of tortures, and death besides. And if any declared their judgment, that they could not, in conscience, own such authority as was then exercised; or if they declined to give their thoughts of it, as judging thoughts to be under no human jurisdiction; or if they answered with such innocent specifications as these, tat they owned all authority in the Lord, or for the Lord; or according to the word of God, or all just and lawful authority, these under-went and suffered the capital punishment of treason. And yet both for declining and declaring their extorted answers about this, they were condemned as insufferable maintainers of principles inconsistent with government.
4. But here, as in Egypt, the more they were afflicted, the more they grew, the more that the enemies rage was increased, the more were the people inflamed to inquire about the grounds of their suffering, seeing rational men and religious christians die so resolutely upon them; and the more they insisted in this inquisition, the more did the number of witnesses multiply, with a growing increase of undauntedness, so that the then shed blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church, and as by hearing and seeing them so signally countenanced of the Lord, many were reclaimed from their courses of compliance, so others were daily more and more confirmed in the ways of the Lord, and so strengthened by his grace, that they chose rather to endure all torture, and embrace death in its most terrible aspect, than to give the tyrant and his complices [confederates] any acknowledgment: yea, not so much as to say, God save the king, which was offered as the price of their life, and test of their acknowledgment, but they would not accept deliverance on these terms that they might obtain a better resurrection. Which so enraged the tigrish [tiger-like] truculency of these persecutors, that they spared neither age, sex, nor profession: the tenderness of youth did not move them to any relenting, in murdering very boys upon this ahead, nor the gray hairs of the aged; neither were women spared, but some were hanged, some drowned, tied to stakes within the sea-mark, to be devoured gradually with the growing waves, and some of them of a very young, some of an old age. Especially after the murder of the never to be forgotten martyr, Mr. Cargil, the multitude of merciless sufferings upon this account cannot he enumerated; which increased far beyond all the former steps, after the Lanerk Declaration, which was burnt with great solemnity by the magistrates of Edinburgh in their robes, together with the Solemn League and Covenant, which had been burnt before, but then they would more declared give new demonstrations of their rage against it, because they confessed, and were convinced of its being conform unto and founded upon that covenant. And because the incorporation of Lanerk did not, because they could not, hinder the publishing of it; therefore they were threatened with the loss of their privileges, and forced to pay 6000 merks. Upon the back of which, the sufferings of poor people that owned the testimony being banished for soldiers to Flanders,etc. some to be sold as slaves in Carolina, and other places in America, to empty the filled prisons, and make room for more: which were daily brought in from all quarters, and either kept languishing in their nasty prisons, or thieves holes, in bolts and irons to make them weary of their life, or dispatched as sacrifices, and led as dumb sheep to the slaughter, without suffering them to speak their dying words, for beating of drums, or disposed of to matters of ships to be transported to slavery.
5. Had they satisfied themselves with murdering them out of hand, it would have been more tolerable and reckoned some degree of mercy, in comparison of their malice; which, after all their endeavours to murder their souls, by ensnaring offers, enslaving bonds, blasphemous and contradictory oaths, and multiplying captious questions to catch the conscience, or at least vex the spirits of the righteous, whom they could not prevail with to put forth their hands into iniquity, did proceed to invent all exquisite torments more terrible than death. Some at their first apprehending were tortured with fire-matches, burning and for ever thereafter disabling their hands: then laid fast, and locked up in great irons upon their legs, where they lay many months in the cold of winter, without any relaxation. Some were tortured with the boots, squeezing out the marrow of their legs: others with thumbkins, piercing and bruising the bones of their thumbs: and some tormented with both one after another, and besides, kept waking nine nights together by watchful soldiers, who were sworn not to let the afflicted person sleep all that time.
6. All this tyranny had been the more tolerable, if they had kept within any bounds of colourable or pretended shadow of legality, or in any consonancy to their own wicked laws, or exemplars of any further persecutions. But in an ambition to outdo all the Neros, Domitians, Dioclesians, Duke d’Alvas, or Lewis le Grands, they scorned all forms as well as justice of law, and set up monstrous monuments of unprecedented illegality and inhumanity. For when, after all their hornings, harassings, huntings, searchings, chafings, catchings, imprisonments, torturings, banishments, and effusions of blood, yet they could not get the meetings crushed, either in public or private, nor the zeal of the poor wanderers quenched, with whom they had interdicted all harbour, supply, comfort, refreshment, converse or correspondence, and whom they had driven out of their own and all other habitations, in towns, villages, or cottages, to the deserts, mountains, muirs and mosses, in whose hags and holes they were forced to make dens and caves to hide themselves, but that they would still meet for the worship of God, either in public (though mostly in the cold winter nights) or in their private fellowships for prayer and conference; and to rescue their brethren, and prevent their murder in these extremities, would surprise, and take advantages of the soldiers now and then: they then raged beyond all bounds, and not only apprehending many innocent persons (against whom they had nothing to accuse them of but because they could not satisfy them in their answers) sentenced, and executed them, all in one day, and made an act to do so with all; but allowed the bloody soldiers to murder them, without either trial or sentence. Especially after the Apologetical Declaration, affixed on the church doors, they acted with an unheard of arbitrariness. For not only did they frame an oath of abjuration, renouncing the same; but pressed it universally upon pain of death, upon all men and women in city and country, and went from house to house, forcing young and old to give their judgment of that declaration, and of the king’s authority, etc. to ridicule and reproach, and make a mocking stock of all government: yea empowered soldiers, and common varlets, to impanel juries, condemn, and cause to be put to death, innocent recusants, and having stopped all travel and commerce without a pass, signifying they had taken that oath, they gave power to all hostlers and inn-keepers to impose oaths upon all passengers, travelers, gentlemen and countrymen, who were to swear, that their pass was not forged. And prisoners that would not take the oath, were, according to the foresaid act, condemned, sentenced and execute, all in one day, and early in the morning, that the people might not be affected with spectacles of their bloody severities. Yea spectators also, that gathered to see the execution, were imposed upon, and commanded to give their judgment, whether these men were justly put to death or not. And not only so, but after tat, they gave orders and commands to the soldiers to pursue the chase after these wanderers more violently, and shoot, or otherwise put them to death where ever they could apprehend them; whereby many were taken and instantly most inhumanely murdered.
XI. In the beginning of this killing time, as the country calls it; the first author or authorizer of all these mischiefs, Charles II. was removed by death. Then one would have though the severity would have stopped: and the Duke of York succeeding, in his late proclamation would make the world believe, that it never was his principle, nor will he ever suffer violence to be offered to any man’s conscience, nor use force or invincible necessity against any man on the count of his persuasion: smooth words, to ever the mischiefs of his former destructions, and the wickedness of his future designs. To which his former celebrated saying, that it would never be well till all the south side of Forth were made a hunting field; and his acts and actings designed to verify it, since his unhappy succession, do give the lie. For immediately, upon his mounting the throne, the executions and acts, prosecuting the persecution of the poor wanderers, were more cruel than ever.
1. There were more butchered and slaughtered in the fields, without all shadow of law, or trial, or sentence, than all the former tyrant’s reign; who were murdered without time given to deliberate upon death, or space to conclude their prayers, but either in the instant, when they were praying, shooting them to death, or surprising them in their caves, and murdering them there, without any grant of prayer at all; yea many of them murdered without taking notice of anything to be laid against them, according to the worst of their own laws, but slain and cut off without any pity, when they were found at their labour in the field, or traveling upon the road. And such as were prisoners, were condemned for refusing to take the oath of Abjuration, and to own the authority, and surprised with their execution, not knowing certainly the time when it should be, yea left in suspense whether it should be or not, as if it had been on design to destroy both their souls and bodies. Yea Queensberry had the impudence to express his desire of it, when some went to solicit him, being then commissioner, for a reprieval in favours of some of them, he told them, they should not have time to prepare for heaven, hell was too good for them.
2. There have been more banished to foreign plantations in this man’s time than in the other’s. Within these two years, several shipfuls of honest and conscientious sufferers have been sent to Jamaica, (to which before they were sent, some had their ears cut) New Jersey, and Barbados, in such crowds and numbers, that many have died in transportation; as many also died before in their pinching prisons, so thronged that they had neither room to lay nor sit. Particularly the barbarous usage of a great multitude of them that were sent to Dunotter Castle, when there was no room for them in Edinburgh, is never to be forgotten; which the wildest and rudest of Savages would have thought shame of. They were all that long way made to travel on foot, men and women, and some of both sexes, very infirm and decrepit through age; and several sick, guarded by bands of soldiers, and then put into an old ruinous and rusty house, and shut up under vaults above 80 in a room, men and women, without air, without ease, without place, either to lie or walk, and without any comfort save what they had from heaven, and so straitened for want of refreshment, which they could not have but at exorbitant prices inconsistent with their poor empty purses, and so suffocated with the smell of the place, and of their own excrements, that as several of them died; so it was a wonder of mercy that any of them could outlive that misery, yet there they remained some months, at a distance from all their friends, being sent thither to that northern corner out of the South and West borders of the country; and some out of London. Whose transportation hither, if it were not a part of this tragical story, would seem a merry and ridiculous passage to strangers, discovering the ridiculous folly as well as the outrageous fury of their persecutors. For at a private meeting in London, among others, some Scotsmen, of very mean figure, some tailors, a shoemaker, a chapman, etc. were taken, and being found to be Scotsmen, were not only examined at the common courts there, but by Sir Andrew Foster, by express commission from the late king a little before his death; who threatened them under a strange sort of certification, (considering what fell out immediately thereafter) that assuredly they should be sent to Scotland very shortly, if there were not a revolution of the government. But this revolution, following within a few days, retarded it a little: yet not long thereafter they were sent in a yacht, with a guard of soldiers, and a charge of high treason. But, when brought before the council of Scotland, the amount of all that bustle with them was, a question posed to them under pain of death, whether the king should be king or no? that is, whether they owned his authority or not. Yet though some of the poor men did own it, they were sent to Dunotter castle: and thence among the rest banished and transported to New Jersey; in which passage, by reason of their crude and bad provision, the most part in the ship were cast into a fever, and upwards of 60 died, yea even since the former proclamation for this pretended liberty, there are 21 men and 5 women sent to Barbados, against whom nothing could be alleged but matters of mere religion and conscience: which, as it proclaims the notoriousness of these impudent lies, wherewith the proclamations for this liberty are stuffed; so it puts an indelible brand of infamy upon some London merchants, that are said to pretend to some profession of religion, who sent the ship to transport them, thereby to make gain of the merchandise of the Lord’s captives.
3. There have been more cruel acts of parliament enacted in this tyrant’s time, than the former made all his reign. For in his first parliament held by Queensberry commissioner, not only was there an act for making it treason to refuse the oath of Abjuration, confirming all the illegalities of their procedure hereupon before; but an act making it criminal to own the Covenant, and another act making it criminal for any to be present at a field-meeting, which was only so to preachers before. Yet neither these acts, and all the executions following upon them, have daunted, nor I hope shall drive them, nor the indemnity and toleration (so generally now applauded) draw them from the duty of owning both these, that are so much the more publicly to be avouched, that they are so openly interdicted by wicked and blasphemous tyranny, though for the same they expect from the Scottish inquisition all the murdering violence, that hell and Rome and malignant rage can exert.
But to conclude this tragical deduction: as these hints we have heaped together of the kinds and several sorts (the particulars being impossible to be reckoned) or barbarities and arbitrary methods, used in carrying on this persecution, demonstrating the reign, or rather rage of these two dominators, under which we have howled these 27 years, to be a complete and habitual tyranny, to discover the inhumanity and illegality of their proceedings, having no other precedent save that of the French conversions, or Spanish inquisition, outdone by many stages, in respect of illegality, by the Scottish inquisition, and the practices of the council of Scotland, and justiciary court; so I shall shut up all in a summary relation of the common practices and forms of procedure in these courts: which will be useful to understand a little more distinctly, to the end the innocency of sufferers may more clearly appear. 1. They can accuse whom they will, of what they please; and if by summary citation, he will not, may be, because he cannot, compear; if once his name be in their Porteous rolls, that is sufficient to render him convict. 2. They used also to seize some, and shut them up in prison year and day, without any signification of the cause of their imprisonment. 3. They can pick any man off the street; and if he do not answer their captious questions, proceed against him to the utmost of severity; as they have taken some among the crowd at executions, and imposed upon them the questions. 4. They can also go through all the houses of the city, as well as the prisons, and examine all families upon the questions of the council’s catechisms, upon the hazard of their life, if they do not answer to their satisfaction, as has been done in Edinburgh. 5. When they are brought in by seizure, sometimes (as is said before) they let them lie along without any hearing, if they expect they cannot reach them; but if they think they can win at them any way, then they hurry them in such haste, that they can have no time to deliberate upon, and oftentimes have no knowledge or conjecture of the matter of their prosecution: yea, if they be never so insignificant, they will take diversion from their weightiest affairs, to examine and take cognizance of poor things, if they understand they dare vent or avow any respect to the cause of Christ: and the silliest body will not escape their catechization about affairs of state, what they think of the authority, etc. 6. If they be kept in prison any space, they take always to pump and discover what can be brought in against them: yea, sometimes they have exactly observed that device of the Spanish inquisition, in suborning and sending flies among them, under the disguise and show of prisoners, to search and find out their minds, who will out-strip all in an hypocritical zeal, thereby to extort and draw forth words from the most wary, which may be brought in judgment against them the next day. 7. When prisoners are brought in before them, they have neither libel nor accuser, but must answer concerning things that are to be inquired after, to all questions they are pleased to ask. 8. If at any time they form a sort of libel, they will not restrict themselves to the charges thereof, but examine the person about other things altogether extraneous to the libel. 9. They have frequently suborned witnesses, and have sustained them as witnesses, who either were sent out by themselves as spies and intelligencers, or who palpably were known to delate [accuse] those against whom they witnessed, out of a pick and prejudice, and yet would not suffer them to be cast for partial counsel. 10. If they suppose a man to be wary and circumspect, and more prudent than forward in the testimony; then they multiply questions, and at first many impertinent interrogations, having no connection with the cause, to try his humour and freedom, that they may know how to deal with him: and renew and reiterate several criminal examinations, that they may know whereof, and find matter wherein, to indict him, by endeavouring to confound, or entrap, or involve him in confessions or contradictions, by wresting his words. 11. They will admit no time for advice, nor any lawful defense for a delay, but will have them to answer presently, except they have some hopes of their compliance, and find them beginning to stagger and succumb in the testimony; in that case, when a man seeks time to advise, they are animated to a keenness to impose, and encouraged to an expectation of catching by their snares, which then they contrive and prepare with great cunning. 12. If a man should answer all their questions, and clear himself of all things they can allege against him, yet they used to impose some of the oaths, that they concluded he would not take; and according to the measure of the tenderness they discovered in any man, so they apportioned the oaths to trap them, to the stricter the smoother oaths, to the laxer the more odious, that all natural consciences did scar[e] at. 13. They will not only have their laws obeyed, but subscribed and they reckon not their subjects obedience secured by the lawmaker’s sanction, but the peoples hand-writing; and think it not sufficient that people transgress no laws, but they must also own the justice of them, and the authority that enacts them, and swear to maintain it: and yet when some have done all this, and cleared themselves by all compliances, they will not discharge them, but under a bond to answer again when called. 14. They will have their laws to reach not only actions but thoughts; and therefore they require what people think of the bishop’s death, and of Bothwel insurrection; and whether they own the authority, when they can neither prove their disowning of it, nor any way offending it. 15. They will have men to declare their thoughts, and hold them convict, if they do not answer positively all their captious questions; and if they will not tell what they think of this or that, then they must go as guilty. 16. If they insist in waving, and will not give categorical answers, then they can extort all, and prove what they please by torture: and when they have extorted their thoughts of things, tho’ they be innocent as to all actions their law can charge them with, then they used to hang them when they had done. 17. They have wheedled men sometimes into confession either of practices or principles, by promising to favour their ingenuity, and upbraiding them for dissemblers if they would not, and by mock-expostulations, why were they ashamed to give a testimony? and then make them sign their confessions at the council, to bring them in as a witness against them at the criminal court. 18. Yea, not only extrajudical confession will sustain in their law, but when they have given the public faith, the king’s security the act and oath of council, that their confession shall not militate against them, they have brought it in as witness against them, and given it upon oath, when their former oath and act was produced in open court, in demonstration of their perjury. 19. When the matter comes to an assize or cognizance of a jury, they use to pack them for their purpose, and pick out such as they listed, who they think will not be bloody enough. 20. Sometimes when the jury hath brought their verdict in favours of the Pannel, they have made them sit down, and resume the cognition of the case again, and threatened them with an assize of error, if they did not bring him in guilty. 21. Yea, most frequently the king’s advocate used to command them to condemn, and bring in the Pannel guilty, under most peremptory certifications of punishment if they should not; so that they needed no juries, but only for the fashion, 22. Sometimes they have sentenced innocent persons twice, once to have their ears cut and be banished, and after the lopping of their ears, some have been re-examined, and sentenced to death, and execute. 23. They have sentenced some and hanged them both in one day: others early in the morning, both to surprise the persons that were to die, and to prevent spectators of the sight of their cruelty; others have been kept in suspense, till the very day and hour of their execution. 24. Not only have they murdered serious and zealous followers of Christ in taking away their lives, but endeavoured to murder their names, and to murder the cause for which they suffered; loading it with ill reproaches, as sedition and rebellion, etc. which was their peculiar policy, to bring the heads of sufferings to points that are most obnoxious to men’s censure, and accounted most extrinsic to religion, whereby they leveled their designs against religion, not directly under that notion, but obliquely in the destruction of its professors, under the odium and reproach of enemies to government. 25. But chiefly they labour to murder the soul, defile the conscience, and only consult to cast a man down from his excellency, which is his integrity; that is a christian’s crown, and that they would rather rob him of as any thing, either by hectoring or flattering him from the testimony; which they endeavour, by proposing many offers, with many threatenings, in subtle terms; and pretend a great deal of tenderness, protesting they will be as tender of their blood as of their own soul (which in some sense is true, for they have none at all of their own souls) and purging themselves as Pilate did, and charging it upon their own head. 26. They will be very easy in their accommodations, where they find the poor man beginning to faint, and hearken to their overtures, wherein they will grant him his life, yielding to him as cunning anglers do with fishes: and to persuade him to some length in complying, they will offer conference sometimes or reasoning upon the point, to satisfy and inform his conscience, as they pretend, but really to catch him with their busked [manufactured] hook. 27. If they have any hope of prevailing, they will change a man’s prison, and take him out from among the more strict and fervent in the cause, that might sharpen and strengthen his zeal, and put him in among the more cool and remiss. 28. Sometimes they used to stage several together, whereof they knew some would comply, to tantalize the rest with the sight of the others liberty, and make them bite the more eagerly at their bait, to catch the conscience. But when they had done all they could, Christ had many witnesses, who did retain the crown of their testimony in the smallest points, till they obtained the crown of Martyrdom, and attained to the crown of glory, speaking boldly to them without fear or shame, and disdaining their flattering proposals, but looking on them under a right notion, as stated there in opposition to Christ; whereby they found this advantage, that hence They were restrained from all sinful tampering with them, or entertaining any discourse with them, but what was suitable to speak to Christ’s enemies, or doing any thing to save their life, but what became Christ’s witnesses, who loved not their lives unto the death. Of whom universally this was observed, that to the admiration of all, the conviction of many enemies, the confirmation of many friends, the establishment of the cause, and glory of their Redeemer, they went off the stage with so much of the Lord’s countenance, so much assurance of pardon and eternal peace, so much hope of the Lord’s returning to revive his work, and plead his cause again in these lands, that never any suffered with more meekness humility and composure of spirit, and with more faithfulness, steadfastness and resolution, than these worthies did for these despised and reproached truths; for which their surviving brethren are now contending and suffering, while others are at ease.