Tales of a Grandfather, by Walter Scott

Chapter 50

When the custom of holding field conventicles was adopted, it had the effect of raising the minds of those who frequented them to a higher and more exalted pitch of enthusiasm. The aged and more timid could hardly engaged on distant expeditions into the wild mountainous districts and the barren moors, and the greater part of those who attended divine worship on such occasions, were robust of body, and bold of spirit, or at least men whose deficiency of strength and courage were more than supplied by religious zeal. The view of the rocks and hills around them, while a sight so unusual gave solemnity to their acts of devotion, encouraged them in the natural thought of defending themselves against oppression, amidst the fortresses of nature’s own construction, to which they had repaired to worship the God of nature, according to the mode their education dictated and their conscience acknowledged. The recollection, that in these fastnesses their fathers had often found a safe retreat from foreign invaders, must have encouraged their natural confidence, and it was confirmed by the success with which a stand was sometimes made against small bodies of troops, who were occasionally repulsed by the sturdy Whigs whom they attempted to disperse. In most cases of this kind they behaved with moderation, inflicting no further penalty upon such prisoners as might fall into their hands, than detaining them to enjoy the benefit of a long sermon. Fanaticism added marvels to encourage this new-born spirit of resistance. They conceived themselves to be under the immediate protection of the Power whom they worshipped, and in their heated state of mind expected even miraculous interposition. At a conventicle held on one of the Lomond hills in Fife, it was reported and believed that an angelic form appeared in the air, hovering above the assembled congregation, with his foot advanced, as if in the act of keeping watch for their safety.

On the whole, the idea of repelling force by force, and defending themselves against the attacks of the soldiers, and others who assaulted them, when employed in divine worship, began to become more general among the harassed nonconformists. For this purpose many of the congregation assembled in arms, and I received the following description of such a scene from a lady whose mother had repeatedly been present on such occasions.

The meeting was held on the Eildon hills, in the bosom betwixt two of the three conical tops which form the crest of the mountain. Trusty sentinels were placed on advanced posts all around, so as to command a view of the country below, and give the earliest notice of the approach of any unfriendly party. The clergyman occupied an elevated temporary pulpit, with his back to the wind. There were few or no males of any quality or distinction, for such persons could not escape detection, and were liable to ruin from the consequence. But many women of good condition, and holding the rank of ladies, ventured to attend the forbidden meeting, and were allowed to sit in front of the assembly. Their side-saddles were placed on the ground to serve for seats, and their horses were tethered, or piqueted, as it is called, in the rear of the congregation. Before the females, and in the interval which divided them from the tent, or temporary pulpit, the arms of the men present, pikes, swords, and muskets, were regularly piled in such order as it used by soldiers, so that each man might in an instant assume his own weapons. When scenes of such a kind were repeatedly to be seen in different parts of the country, and while the Government relaxed none of that rigour which had thrown the nation into such a state, it was clear that a civil war could not be far distant.

It was in the autumn of 1666 that the severities of Sir James Turner, already alluded to, seem to have driven the Presbyterians of the west into a species of despair, which broke out into insurrection. Some accounts say, that a party of peasants having used force to deliver an indigent old man, whom a guard of soldiers, having pinioned and stretched upon the ground, were dragging to prison, in order to compel payment of a church fine, they reflected upon the penalties they had incurred by such an exploit, and resolved to continue in arms, and to set the Government at defiance. Another account affirms, that the poor people were encouraged to take up arms by an unknown person, calling himself Captain Gray, and pretending to have orders to call them out from superior persons, whom he did not name. By what means soever they were first raised, they soon assembled a number of peasants, and marched to Dumfries with such rapidity, that they surprised sir James Turner in his lodgings, and seized on his papers and his money. Captain Gray took possession of the money, and left the party, never to rejoin them; having, it is probable, discharged his task, when he had hurried these poor ignorant men into such a dangerous mutiny. Whether he was employed by some hot-headed Presbyterian, who thought the time favourable for a rising against the prelates, or whether by Government themselves, desirous of encouraging an insurrection which, when put down, might afford a crop of fines and forfeitures, cannot now be known.

The country gentlemen stood on their guard, and none of them joined the insurgents; but a few of the most violent of the Presbyterian ministers took part with them. Two officers of low rank were chosen to command so great an undertaking; their names were Wallace and Learmont. They held council together, whether they should put Sir James Turner to death or not; but he represented to them that, severe as they might think him, he had been much less so than his commission and instructions required and authorized; and as, upon examining his papers, he was found to have spoken the truth, his life was spared, and he was carried with them as a prisoner or hostage. Being an experienced soldier, he wondered to see the accurate obedience of these poor countrymen, the excellent order in which they marched, and their attention to the duties of outposts and sentinels. But, probably, no peasant of Europe is sooner able to adapt himself to military discipline than a native of Scotland, who is usually prudent enough to consider, that it is only mutual cooperation and compliance with orders which can make numbers effectual.

When they had attained their greatest strength, and had assembled a Lanark, after two or three days’ wondering, the insurgents might amount to three thousand men. They there issued a declaration, which bore that they acknowledged the King’s authority, and that the arms which they had assumed were only to be used in self-defence. But as, at the same time, they renewed the Covenant, of which the principal object was, not to obtain for Presbytery a mere toleration, but a mere toleration, but a triumphant superiority, they would probably, as is usual in such cases, have extended or restricted their objects as success or disaster attended their enterprise.

Mean time, General Dalziel, commonly called Tom Dalziel, a remarkable personage of those times, had marched from Edinburgh at the head of a small body of regular forces, summoning all the lieges to join him, on pain of being accounted traitors. Dalziel had been bred in the Russian wars, after having served under Montrose. He was an enthusiastic Royalist, and would never shave his beard after the King’s death. His dress was otherwise so different from what was then the mode, that Charles the Second used to accuse him of a plan to draw crowds of children together, that they might squeeze each other to death while they gazed on his singular countenance and attire. He was a man of a fierce and passionate temper, as appears from his once striking a prisoner on the face, with the hilt of his dagger, till the blood sprung; — an unmanly action, though he was provoked by the language of the man, who called the General “a Muscovian beast, who used to roast men.”

This ferocious commander was advancing from Glasgow to Lanark, when he suddenly learned that the insurgents had given him the slip, and were in full march towards the capital. The poor men had been deceived into a belief that West Lothian was ready to rise in their favour, and that they had a large party of friends in the metropolis itself. Under these false hopes, they approached as far as Colinton, within four miles of Edinburgh. Here they learned that the city was fortified, and cannon placed before the gates; that the College of Justice, which can always furnish a large body of serviceable men, was under arms, and, as their informer expressed it, every advocate in his bandaliers. They learned at the same time, that their own depressed party within the town had not the least opportunity or purpose of rising.

Discouraged with these news, and with the defection of many of their army, — for their numbers were reduced to eight or nine hundred, dispirited and exhausted by want, disappointment, and fatigue — Learmont and Wallace drew back their diminished forced to the eastern shoulder of the Pentland Hills, and encamped on an eminence called Rullion Green. They had reposed themselves for some hours, when, towards evening, they observed a body of horse coming through the mountains, by a pass leading from the west. At first the Covenanters entertained the flattering dream that it was the expected reinforcement from West Lothian. But the standards and kettle-drums made it soon evident that it was the vanguard of Dalziel’s troops, which, having kept the opposite skirts of the Pentland ridge till they passed the village of Currie, had there leaned the situation of the insurgents, and moved eastward in quest of them by a road through the hills.

Dalziel instantly led his men to the assault. The insurgents behaved with courage. They twice repulsed the attack of the Royalists.(18th Nov. 1666) But it was renewed by a large force of cavalry on the insurgents’ right wing, which bore down and scattered a handful of wearied horse who were there posted, and broke the ranks of the infantry. The slaughter in the field and in the chase was very small, not exceeding fifty men, and only a hundred and thirst were made prisoners. The King’s cavalry, being composed chiefly of gentlemen, pities their unfortunate countrymen, and made little slaughter; but many were intercepted and slain by the country people in the neighbourhood, who were unfriendly to their cause, and had sustained some pillage from their detached parties.

About twenty of the prisoners were executed at Edinburgh as rebels, many of them being put to the torture. This was practised in various ways — sometimes by squeezing the fingers with screws called thumbikins, sometimes by the boot, a species of punishment peculiar to Scotland. It consisted in placing the leg of the unfortunate person in a very strong wooden case, called a Boot, and driving down wedges between his knee and the frame, by which the limb was often crushed and broken.

But though these horrid cruelties could tear the flesh and crush the bones of the unfortunate victims, they could not abate their courage. Triumphing in the cause for which they died, they were seen at the place of execution contending which should be the first victim, while he who obtained the sad preference actually shouted for joy. Most of the sufferers, though very ignorant, expressed themselves with such energy on the subject of the principle for which they died, as had a strong effect on the multitude. But a youth, named Hugh M’Kail, comely in person, well educated, and of an enthusiastic character, acted the part of a martyr in its fullest extent. He had taken but a small share in the insurrection, but was chiefly obnoxious for a sermon, in which he had said, that the people of God had been persecuted by a Pharoah or an Ahab on the throne, a Haman in the state, and a Judas in the church; words which were neither forgotten nor forgiven. He was subjected to extreme torture, in order to wring from him some information concerning the causes and purposes of the rising; but his leg was crushed most cruelly in the boot, without extracting from him a sigh or sound of impatience. Being then condemned to death, he spoke of his future state with a rapturous confidence, and took leave of the numerous spectators in the words of a dying saint, careless of his present suffering, and confident in his hopes of immortality.

“I shall speak no more with earthly creatures,” he said, “but shall enjoy the aspect of the ineffable Creator himself. — Farewell, father, mother, and friends — farewell, sun, moon, and stars — farewell, perishable earthly delights — and welcome those which are everlasting — welcome, glory — welcome, eternal life, — and welcome, death!” There was not a dry eye among the spectators of his execution, and it began to be perceived by the authors of these severities, that the last words and firm conduct of this dying man, made an impression on the populace the very reverse of what they desired. After this the superintendents of these executions resorted to the cruel expedient which had been practised when the Royalist followers of Montrose suffered, and caused trumpets to be sounded, and drums beaten, to drown the last words of these resolute men.

The vengeance taken for the Pentland rising was not confined to these executions in the capital. The shires of Galloway, Ayr, and Dumfries, were subjected to military severities, and all who had the slightest connexion with the rebellion were rigorously harassed. A party of Ayrshire gentlemen had gathered together for the purpose of joining the insurgents, but had been prevented from doing so. They fled from the consequences of their rashness; yet they were not only arraigned, and doom of forfeiture passed against them in their absence, but, contrary to all legal usage, the sentence was put in execution without their being heard in their defence; and their estates were conferred upon General Dalziel, and General Drummond, or retained by the officers of state to enrich themselves.

But the period was now attained which Lauderdale aimed at. The violence of the government in Scotland at length attracted the notice of the English court; and, when enquired into, was found much too gross to be tolerated. The Primate Sharpe was ordered to withdraw from administration; Lauderdale, with Tweeddale, Sir Robert Murray, and the Earl of Kincardine, were placed at the head of affairs, and it was determined, by affording some relief to the oppressed Presbyterians, to try at least the experiment of lenity towards them.

Such of the ejected clergy as had not give any particular offence, were permitted to preach in vacant parishes, and even received some pecuniary encouragement from Government. (July, 1669) This was termed the Indulgence. Had some such measure of toleration been adopted when Presbytery was first abolished, it might have been the means of preventing the frequency of conventicles; but, when resorted to in despair, as it were, of subduing them by violence, the mass of discontented Presbyterians regarded accession to the measure as a dishonourable accommodation with a government by whom they had been oppressed. It is true, the gentry, and those who at once preferred Presbytery, and were unwilling to suffer in their worldly estate by that preference, embraced this opportunity to hear their favourite doctrines without risk of fine and imprisonment. The Indulged clergy were also men, for the most part, of wisdom and leaning, who, being unable to vindicate the freedom and sovereignty of their church, were contented to preach to and instruct their congregations, and discharge their duty as clergymen, if not to the utmost, at least as far as the evil times permitted.

But this modified degree of zeal by no means gratified the more ardent and rigid Covenanters, by whom the stooping to act under the Indulgence was accounted a compromise with the Malignants — a lukewarm and unacceptable species of worship, resembling salt which had lost its savour. Many, therefore, held the indulged clergy as a species of king’s curates; and rather than listen to their doctrines, which they might have heard in safety, followed into the wilderness those bold and daring preachers, who voices thundered forth avowed opposition and defiance against the mighty of the earth. The Indulged were accused of meanly adopting Erastian opinion, and acknowledging the dependence and subjection of the Church to the evil magistrate, — a doctrine totally alien from the character of the Presbyterian religion. The elevated wish of following the religion of their choice, in defiance of danger and fear, and their animosity against a government by whom they had been persecuted, induced the more zealous Presbyterians to prefer a conventicle to their parish church; and a congregation where the hearers attended in arms to defend themselves, to a more peaceful meeting, when, if surprised, they might save themselves by submission or flight. Hence these conventicles became frequent, at which the hearers attended with weapons. The romantic and dangerous character of this species of worship recommended it to such as were constitutionally bold and high-spirited; and there were others, who, from the idle spirit belonging to youth, liked better to ramble through the country as the life-guard to some outlawed preacher, than to spend the six days of the week in ordinary labour, and attend their own parish church on the seventh, to listen to the lukewarm doctrine of an Indulged minister.

From all these reasons, the number of armed conventicles increased; and Lauderdale, incensed at the failure of his experiment, increased his severity against them, while the Indulgence was withdrawn, as a measure inadequate to the intended purpose, though, perhaps, it chiefly failed for want of perseverance on the part of the Government.

As if Satan himself had suggested means of oppression, Lauderdale raked up out of oblivion the old and barbarous laws which had been adopted in the fiercest times, and directed them against the nonconformists, especially those who attended the field conventicles. One of those laws inflicted the highest penalties upon persons who were intercommuned, as it was called — that is, outlawed by legal sentence. The nearest relations were prohibited from assisting each other, the wife the husband, the brother the brother, and the parent the son, if the sufferers had been intercommuned. The Government of this cruel time applied these ancient and barbarous statutes to the outlawed Presbyterians of the period, and thus drove them altogether from human society. In danger, want, and necessity, the inhabitants of the wilderness, and expelled from civil intercourse, it is no wonder that we find many of these wanderers avowing principles and doctrines hostile to the government which oppressed them, and carrying their resistance beyond the bounds of mere self-defence. There were instances, though less numerous than might have been expected, of their attacking the houses of the curates, or of others by whose information they had been accused of nonconformity; and several deaths ensued in those enterprises, as well as in skirmishes with the military.

Superstitious notions also, the natural consequences of an uncertain, melancholy, and solitary life among the desolate glens and mountains, mingled with the intense enthusiasm of this persecuted sect. Their occasional successes over their oppressors, and their frequent escapes from the pursuit of the soldiery, when the marksmen missed their aim, or when a sudden mist concealed the fugitives, were imputed, not to the operation of those natural causes by means of which the Deity is pleased to govern the world, and which are the engines of his power, but to the direct interposition of a miraculous agency, over-ruling and suspending the laws of nature, as in the period of Scripture history.

Many of the preachers, led away by the strength of their devotional enthusiasm, conceived themselves sustained; and, as they imagined themselves to be occasionally under the miraculous protection of the heavenly powers, so they often thought themselves in a peculiar manner exposed to the envy and persecution of the spirits of darkness, who lamed their horses when they were pursued, betrayed their footsteps to the enemy, or terrified them by ghastly apparitions in the dreary caverns and recesses where they were compelled to hide themselves.

But especially the scattered Covenanters believed firmly, that their chief persecutors received from the Evil Spirit a proof against leaden bullets — a charm, that is, to prevent their being pierced or wounded by them. There were many supposed to be gifted with this necromantic privilege. In the battle of Rullion Green, on the Pentland Hills, many of the Presbyterians were willing to believe that the balls were seen hopping like hailstones from Tom Dalziel’s buff-coat and boots. Silver bullets were not supposed to be neutralized by the same spell; but that metal being scarce among the persecuted Covenanters, it did not afford them much relief.

I have heard of an English officer, however, who fell by baser metal. He was attacking a small house in Ayrshire, which was defended by some of the Wanderers. They were firing on both sides, when one of the defenders, in scarcity of ammunition, loaded his piece with the iron ball which formed the top of the fire-tongs, and taking aim at the officer with that charge, mortally wounded him whom lead had been unable to injure. It is also said, that the dying man asked to know the name of the place where he fell; and being told it was Caldens, or Daldons, he exclaimed against the Evil Spirit, who, he said, had told him he was to be slain among the Chaldeans, but who, as it now appeared, had deceived him, by cutting him off when his death was totally unexpected.

To John Graham of Claverhouse, a Scottish officer of high rank, who began to distinguish himself as a severe executer of the orders of the Privy Council against nonconformists, the Evil Spirit was supposed to have been still more liberal than to Dalziel, or to the Englishman who died at Caldons. He not only obtained proof against lead, but the devil is said to have presented him with a black horse, which had not a single white hair upon its body. This horse, it was said, had been cut out of the belly of its dam, instead of being born in the usual manner. On this animal Claverhouse was supposed to perform the most unwonted feats of agility, flying almost like a bird along the sides of precipitous hills, and through pathless morasses, where an ordinary horse must have been smothered or dashed to pieces. It is even yet believed, that mounted on this steed, Claverhouse (or Clavers, as he is popularly called) once turned a hare on the mountain named the Brandlaw, at the head of Moffatdale, where no other horse could have kept its feet. But these exertions were usually made whilst he was in pursuit of the Wanderers, which was considered as Satan’s own peculiar pleasing work.

These superstitious notions were the natural consequences of the dreary and precarious existence to which these poor fugitives were condemned, and which induced them to view as miraculous whatever was extraordinary. The persons supposed to be proof against bullets, were only desperate and bold men, who had the good fortune to escape the dangers to which they fearlessly exposed themselves; and the equestrian exploits of Claverhouse, when stripped of exaggeration, were merely such as could be executed by any excellent horseman, and first-rate horse, to the amazement of those who were unaccustomed to witness feats of the kind.

The peculiar character and prejudices of the Covenanters are easily accounted for. Yet when it is considered that so many Scottish subjects were involved in the snares of these cruel laws, and liable to be prosecuted under them (the number is said to have reach eighteen or twenty thousand persons), it may seems wonderful that the Government could find a party in the kingdom to approve of and help forward measures as impolitic as they were cruel. But, besides the great command which the very worse government must always possess over those who look for advancement and employment under it, these things, it must be considered, took place shortly after the Royalists, the prevalent party at that time, had been themselves subjected to proscription, exile, judicial execution, and general massacre. The fate of Montrose and his followers, the massacres of Dunnavertie and Philiphaugh, above all, the murder of King Charles, had taken place during the predominance of the Presbyterians in Scotland, and were imputed, however unjustly, to their religious principles, which were believed by the Cavaliers to be inconsistent with law, loyalty, and good order. Under such mistaken sentiments, many of the late royalist party lent their arms eagerly to suppress the adherents of a sect, to the preeminence of which they traced the general misery of the civil wars, and their own peculiar misfortunes.

Thus we find the Lady Methven of the day (a daughter of the house of Marischal, and wife of Patrick Smythe of Methven), interrupting a conventicle in person. A large meeting of this kind had assembled on the grounds of her husband, then absent in London, when the lady approached them at the head of about sixty followers and allies, she herself leading them on with a light-horseman’s carabine ready cocked over her arm, and drawn sword in the other hand. The congregation sent a part of a hundred armed men to demand her purpose, and the Amazonian lady protested, if they did not leave her husband’s estate, it should be a bloody day. They replied, that they were determined to preach, whether she would or not; but Dame Anne Keith’s unshaken determination overcame their enthusiasm, and at length compelled them to retreat. After this affair, she wrote to her husband that she was providing arms, and even two pieces of cannot, hearing that Whigs had sworn to be revenged for the insult she had put on them. “If the fanatics,” she concludes, “chance to kill me, comfort yourself it shall not be for nought. I was once wounded for our gracious King, and now, in the strength of Heaven, I will hazard my person with the men I can command, before these rebels rest where you have power.” No doubt Lady Methven acted against these “vagueing gipsies,” as she terms them, with as much honesty and sincerity of purpose, as they themselves entertained in resisting her.

But the principal agents of government, in the persecution of these oppressed people, were the soldiery, to whom, contrary to the rule in all civilized countries, unless in actual warfare, power was given to arrest examine, detain, and imprison such persons as they should find in the wildernesses, which they daily ransacked to discover delinquents, whose persons might afford plunder, or their purses pay fines. One of these booted apostles, as the Presbyterians called the dragoons, Captain Creichton by name, has left his Memoirs, in which he rather exults in, than regrets, the scenes of rapine and violence he had witnessed, and the plunder which he collected. The following is one of his stories.

Being then a Life-guardsman, and quartered at Bathgate, he went out one Sunday on the moors with his comrade Grant, to try if they could discover any of the Wanderers. They were disguised like countrymen, in grey coats and bonnets. After eight or ten miles’ walking, they descried three men on the top of a hill, whom they judged to be placed there as sentinels. They were armed with long poles. Taking precautions to come suddenly upon this outpost, Creichton snatched one of the men’s poles from him, and asking what he meant by carrying such a pole on the Lord’s day, immediately knocked him down. Grant secured another — the third fled to give the alarm, but Creichton over took and surprised him also, though armed with a pistol at his belt. They were then guided onward to the conventicle by the voice of the preacher, Master John King (afterwards executed), which was so powerful, that Creichton professes he heard him distinctly at a quarter of a mile’s distance, the wind favouring his force of lungs.

The meeting was very numerously attended; nevertheless, the two troopers had the temerity to approach, and commanded them, in the King’s name, to disperse. Immediately forty of the congregation arose in defence, and advanced upon the troopers, when Creichton, observing a handsome horse, with a lady’s pillion on it, grazing near him, seized it, and leaping on its back, spurred through the morasses, allowing the animal to choose its own way. Grant, though on foot, kept up with his comrade for about a mile, and the whole conventicle followed in full hue and cry, in order to recover the palfrey, which belonged to a lady of distinction. When Grant was exhausted, Creichton gave him the horse in turn, and being both armed with sword and pistol, they forced their way through such of the conventiclers as attempted to intercept them, and gained the house of gentleman, whom Creichton calls Laird of Poddishaw. Here they met another gentleman of fortune, the Laird of Polkemmet, who, greatly to his disturbance, recognised, in the horse which the troopers had brought off, his own lady’s nag, on which without his knowledge as he affirmed, she had used the freedom to ride to the conventicle. He was now at the mercy of the Life-guardsmen, being liable to a heavy fine for his wife’s delinquency, besides the forfeiture of the palfrey. In this dilemma, Mr Baillie of Polkemmet invited the Life-guardsmen to dine with him next day, and offered them the horse with its furniture, as a lawful prize. But Creichton, perceiving that the lady was weeping, very gallantly gave up his claim to the horse, on condition she would promise never to attend a conventicle again. The military gentlemen were no losers by this liberality; for as the lady mentioned the names of some wealthy persons who were present at the unlawful meeting, her husband gave the parties concerned to understand that they must make up a purse of hush-money, for the benefit of Creichton and his comrade, who lived plentifully for a twelvemonth afterwards on the sum thus obtained.

This story, though it shows the power intrusted to the soldiers, to beat and plunder the persons assembled for religious worship, is rather of a comic than a serious cast. But far different were the ordinary rencounters which took place between the Covenanters and the military. About forty or fifty years ago, melancholy tales of the strange escapes, hard encounters, and cruel exactions of this period, were the usual subject of conversation at every cottage fireside; and the peasants, while they showed the caverns and dens of the earth in which the Wanderers concealed themselves, recounted how many of them died in resisting with arms in their hands, how many others were executed by judicial forms, and how many were shot to death without even the least pretence of a trial. The country people retained a strong sense of the injustice with which their ancestors had been treated, which showed itself in a singular prejudice. They expressed great dislike of that beautiful bird the Green-plover, in Scottish called the Pease-weep. The reason alleged was, that these birds being, by some instinct, led to attend to and watch any human beings whom they see in their native wilds, the soldiers were often guided in pursuit of the Wanderers, when they might otherwise have escaped observation, by the plover being observed to hover over a particular spot. For this reason, the shepherds, within my own remembrance, often destroyed the nests of this bird when they met with them.

A still sadder memorial of those calamitous days was the number of headstones and other simple monuments which, after the Revolution, were erected over the graves of the persons thus destroyed, and which usually bore, along with some lines of rude poetry, an account of the manner in which they had been slain.

These mortal resting-places of the victims of persecution were held so sacred, that about forty years since an aged man dedicated his life to travel through Scotland, for the purpose of repairing and clearing the tombs of the sufferers. He always rode upon a while pony, and from that circumstance, and the peculiarity of his appearance and occupation, acquired the nickname of Old Mortality. In later days, the events of our own time have been of such an engrossing character, that this species of traditional history is much forgotten, and moss and weeds are generally suffered to conceal the monuments of the martyrs.

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