The curse of growing factions and divisions
Still vex your councils!
The prudence of Morton found sufficient occupation in stemming the furious current of these contending parties, when, two days after his return to Hamilton, he was visited by his friend and colleague, the Reverend Mr Poundtext, flying, as he presently found, from the face of John Balfour of Burley, whom he left not a little incensed at the share he had taken in the liberation of Lord Evandale. When the worthy divine had somewhat recruited his spirits, after the hurry and fatigue of his journey, he proceeded to give Morton an account of what had passed in the vicinity of Tillietudlem after the memorable morning of his departure.
The night march of Morton had been accomplished with such dexterity, and the men were so faithful to their trust, that Burley received no intelligence of what had happened until the morning was far advanced. His first enquiry was, whether Macbriar and Kettledrummle had arrived, agreeably to the summons which he had dispatched at midnight. Macbriar had come, and Kettledrummle, though a heavy traveller, might, he was informed, be instantly expected. Burley then dispatched a messenger to Morton’s quarters to summon him to an immediate council. The messenger returned with news that he had left the place. Poundtext was next summoned; but he thinking, as he said himself, that it was ill dealing with fractious folk, had withdrawn to his own quiet manse, preferring a dark ride, though he had been on horseback the whole preceding day, to a renewal in the morning of a controversy with Burley, whose ferocity overawed him when unsupported by the firmness of Morton. Burley’s next enquiries were directed after Lord Evandale; and great was his rage when he learned that he had been conveyed away over night by a party of the marksmen of Milnwood, under the immediate command of Henry Morton himself.
“The villain!” exclaimed Burley, addressing himself to Macbriar; “the base, mean-spirited traitor, to curry favour for himself with the government, hath set at liberty the prisoner taken by my own right hand, through means of whom, I have little doubt, the possession of the place of strength which hath wrought us such trouble, might now have been in our hands!”
“But is it not in our hands?” said Macbriar, looking up towards the Keep of the Castle; “and are not these the colours of the Covenant that float over its walls?”
“A stratagem — a mere trick,” said Burley, “an insult over our disappointment, intended to aggravate and embitter our spirits.”
He was interrupted by the arrival of one of Morton’s followers, sent to report to him the evacuation of the place, and its occupation by the insurgent forces. Burley was rather driven to fury than reconciled by the news of this success.
“I have watched,” he said —“I have fought — I have plotted — I have striven for the reduction of this place — I have forborne to seek to head enterprises of higher command and of higher honour — I have narrowed their outgoings, and cut off the springs, and broken the staff of bread within their walls; and when the men were about to yield themselves to my hand, that their sons might be bondsmen, and their daughters a laughing-stock to our whole camp, cometh this youth, without a beard on his chin, and takes it on him to thrust his sickle into the harvest, and to rend the prey from the spoiler! Surely the labourer is worthy of his hire, and the city, with its captives, should be given to him that wins it?”
“Nay,” said Macbriar, who was surprised at the degree of agitation which Balfour displayed, “chafe not thyself because of the ungodly. Heaven will use its own instruments; and who knows but this youth”—
“Hush! hush!” said Burley; “do not discredit thine own better judgment. It was thou that first badest me beware of this painted sepulchre — this lacquered piece of copper, that passed current with me for gold. It fares ill, even with the elect, when they neglect the guidance of such pious pastors as thou. But our carnal affections will mislead us — this ungrateful boy’s father was mine ancient friend. They must be as earnest in their struggles as thou, Ephraim Macbriar, that would shake themselves clear of the clogs and chains of humanity.”
This compliment touched the preacher in the most sensible part; and Burley deemed, therefore, he should find little difficulty in moulding his opinions to the support of his own views, more especially as they agreed exactly in their high-strained opinions of church government.
“Let us instantly,” he said, “go up to the Tower; there is that among the records in yonder fortress, which, well used as I can use it, shall be worth to us a valiant leader and an hundred horsemen.”
“But will such be the fitting aids of the children of the Covenant?” said the preacher. “We have already among us too many who hunger after lands, and silver and gold, rather than after the Word; it is not by such that our deliverance shall be wrought out.”
“Thou errest,” said Burley; “we must work by means, and these worldly men shall be our instruments. At all events, the Moabitish woman shall be despoiled of her inheritance, and neither the malignant Evandale, nor the erastian Morton, shall possess yonder castle and lands, though they may seek in marriage the daughter thereof.”
So saying, he led the way to Tillietudlem, where he seized upon the plate and other valuables for the use of the army, ransacked the charter-room, and other receptacles for family papers, and treated with contempt the remonstrances of those who reminded him, that the terms granted to the garrison had guaranteed respect to private property.
Burley and Macbriar, having established themselves in their new acquisition, were joined by Kettledrummle in the course of the day, and also by the Laird of Langcale, whom that active divine had contrived to seduce, as Poundtext termed it, from the pure light in which he had been brought up. Thus united, they sent to the said Poundtext an invitation, or rather a summons, to attend a council at Tillietudlem. He remembered, however, that the door had an iron grate, and the Keep a dungeon, and resolved not to trust himself with his incensed colleagues. He therefore retreated, or rather fled, to Hamilton, with the tidings, that Burley, Macbriar, and Kettledrummle, were coming to Hamilton as soon as they could collect a body of Cameronians sufficient to overawe the rest of the army.
“And ye see,” concluded Poundtext, with a deep sigh, “that they will then possess a majority in the council; for Langcale, though he has always passed for one of the honest and rational party, cannot be suitably or preceesely termed either fish, or flesh, or gude red-herring — whoever has the stronger party has Langcale.”
Thus concluded the heavy narrative of honest Poundtext, who sighed deeply, as he considered the danger in which he was placed betwixt unreasonable adversaries amongst themselves and the common enemy from without. Morton exhorted him to patience, temper, and composure; informed him of the good hope he had of negotiating for peace and indemnity through means of Lord Evandale, and made out to him a very fair prospect that he should again return to his own parchment-bound Calvin, his evening pipe of tobacco, and his noggin of inspiring ale, providing always he would afford his effectual support and concurrence to the measures which he, Morton, had taken for a general pacification. 28
Thus backed and comforted, Poundtext resolved magnanimously to await the coming of the Cameronians to the general rendezvous.
Burley and his confederates had drawn together a considerable body of these sectaries, amounting to a hundred horse and about fifteen hundred foot, clouded and severe in aspect, morose and jealous in communication, haughty of heart, and confident, as men who believed that the pale of salvation was open for them exclusively; while all other Christians, however slight were the shades of difference of doctrine from their own, were in fact little better than outcasts or reprobates. These men entered the presbyterian camp, rather as dubious and suspicious allies, or possibly antagonists, than as men who were heartily embarked in the same cause, and exposed to the same dangers, with their more moderate brethren in arms. Burley made no private visits to his colleagues, and held no communication with them on the subject of the public affairs, otherwise than by sending a dry invitation to them to attend a meeting of the general council for that evening.
On the arrival of Morton and Poundtext at the place of assembly, they found their brethren already seated. Slight greeting passed between them, and it was easy to see that no amicable conference was intended by those who convoked the council. The first question was put by Macbriar, the sharp eagerness of whose zeal urged him to the van on all occasions. He desired to know by whose authority the malignant, called Lord Evandale, had been freed from the doom of death, justly denounced against him.
“By my authority and Mr Morton’s,” replied Poundtext; who, besides being anxious to give his companion a good opinion of his courage, confided heartily in his support, and, moreover, had much less fear of encountering one of his own profession, and who confined himself to the weapons of theological controversy, in which Poundtext feared no man, than of entering into debate with the stern homicide Balfour.
“And who, brother,” said Kettledrummle, “who gave you authority to interpose in such a high matter?”
“The tenor of our commission,” answered Poundtext, “gives us authority to bind and to loose. If Lord Evandale was justly doomed to die by the voice of one of our number, he was of a surety lawfully redeemed from death by the warrant of two of us.”
“Go to, go to,” said Burley; “we know your motives; it was to send that silkworm — that gilded trinket — that embroidered trifle of a lord, to bear terms of peace to the tyrant.”
“It was so,” replied Morton, who saw his companion begin to flinch before the fierce eye of Balfour —“it was so; and what then? — Are we to plunge the nation in endless war, in order to pursue schemes which are equally wild, wicked, and unattainable?”
“Hear him!” said Balfour; “he blasphemeth.”
“It is false,” said Morton; “they blaspheme who pretend to expect miracles, and neglect the use of the human means with which Providence has blessed them. I repeat it — Our avowed object is the re-establishment of peace on fair and honourable terms of security to our religion and our liberty. We disclaim any desire to tyrannize over those of others.”
The debate would now have run higher than ever, but they were interrupted by intelligence that the Duke of Monmouth had commenced his march towards the west, and was already advanced half way from Edinburgh. This news silenced their divisions for the moment, and it was agreed that the next day should be held as a fast of general humiliation for the sins of the land; that the Reverend Mr Poundtext should preach to the army in the morning, and Kettledrummle in the afternoon; that neither should touch upon any topics of schism or of division, but animate the soldiers to resist to the blood, like brethren in a good cause. This healing overture having been agreed to, the moderate party ventured upon another proposal, confiding that it would have the support of Langcale, who looked extremely blank at the news which they had just received, and might be supposed reconverted to moderate measures. It was to be presumed, they said, that since the King had not intrusted the command of his forces upon the present occasion to any of their active oppressors, but, on the contrary, had employed a nobleman distinguished by gentleness of temper, and a disposition favourable to their cause, there must be some better intention entertained towards them than they had yet experienced. They contended, that it was not only prudent but necessary to ascertain, from a communication with the Duke of Monmouth, whether he was not charged with some secret instructions in their favour. This could only be learned by dispatching an envoy to his army.
“And who will undertake the task?” said Burley, evading a proposal too reasonable to be openly resisted —“Who will go up to their camp, knowing that John Grahame of Claverhouse hath sworn to hang up whomsoever we shall dispatch towards them, in revenge of the death of the young man his nephew?”
“Let that be no obstacle,” said Morton; “I will with pleasure encounter any risk attached to the bearer of your errand.”
“Let him go,” said Balfour, apart to Macbriar; “our councils will be well rid of his presence.”
The motion, therefore, received no contradiction even from those who were expected to have been most active in opposing it; and it was agreed that Henry Morton should go to the camp of the Duke of Monmouth, in order to discover upon what terms the insurgents would be admitted to treat with him. As soon as his errand was made known, several of the more moderate party joined in requesting him to make terms upon the footing of the petition intrusted to Lord Evandale’s hands; for the approach of the King’s army spread a general trepidation, by no means allayed by the high tone assumed by the Cameronians, which had so little to support it, excepting their own headlong zeal. With these instructions, and with Cuddie as his attendant, Morton set forth towards the royal camp, at all the risks which attend those who assume the office of mediator during the heat of civil discord.
Morton had not proceeded six or seven miles, before he perceived that he was on the point of falling in with the van of the royal forces; and, as he ascended a height, saw all the roads in the neighbourhood occupied by armed men marching in great order towards Bothwell-muir, an open common, on which they proposed to encamp for that evening, at the distance of scarcely two miles from the Clyde, on the farther side of which river the army of the insurgents was encamped. He gave himself up to the first advanced-guard of cavalry which he met, as bearer of a flag of truce, and communicated his desire to obtain access to the Duke of Monmouth. The non-commissioned officer who commanded the party made his report to his superior, and he again to another in still higher command, and both immediately rode to the spot where Morton was detained.
“You are but losing your time, my friend, and risking your life,” said one of them, addressing Morton; “the Duke of Monmouth will receive no terms from traitors with arms in their hands, and your cruelties have been such as to authorize retaliation of every kind. Better trot your nag back and save his mettle today, that he may save your life tomorrow.”
“I cannot think,” said Morton, “that even if the Duke of Monmouth should consider us as criminals, he would condemn so large a body of his fellow-subjects without even hearing what they have to plead for themselves. On my part I fear nothing. I am conscious of having consented to, or authorized, no cruelty, and the fear of suffering innocently for the crimes of others shall not deter me from executing my commission.”
The two officers looked at each other.
“I have an idea,” said the younger, “that this is the young man of whom Lord Evandale spoke.”
“Is my Lord Evandale in the army?” said Morton.
“He is not,” replied the officer; “we left him at Edinburgh, too much indisposed to take the field. — Your name, sir, I presume, is Henry Morton?”
“It is, sir,” answered Morton.
“We will not oppose your seeing the Duke, sir,” said the officer, with more civility of manner; “but you may assure yourself it will be to no purpose; for, were his Grace disposed to favour your people, others are joined in commission with him who will hardly consent to his doing so.”
“I shall be sorry to find it thus,” said Morton; “but my duty requires that I should persevere in my desire to have an interview with him.”
“Lumley,” said the superior officer, “let the Duke know of Mr Morton’s arrival, and remind his Grace that this is the person of whom Lord Evandale spoke so highly.”
The officer returned with a message that the General could not see Mr Morton that evening, but would receive him by times in the ensuing morning. He was detained in a neighbouring cottage all night, but treated with civility, and every thing provided for his accommodation. Early on the next morning the officer he had first seen came to conduct him to his audience.
The army was drawn out, and in the act of forming column for march, or attack. The Duke was in the centre, nearly a mile from the place where Morton had passed the night. In riding towards the General, he had an opportunity of estimating the force which had been assembled for the suppression of the hasty and ill-concerted insurrection. There were three or four regiments of English, the flower of Charles’s army — there were the Scottish Life-Guards, burning with desire to revenge their late defeat — other Scottish regiments of regulars were also assembled, and a large body of cavalry, consisting partly of gentlemen-volunteers, partly of the tenants of the crown who did military duty for their fiefs. Morton also observed several strong parties of Highlanders drawn from the points nearest to the Lowland frontiers, a people, as already mentioned, particularly obnoxious to the western whigs, and who hated and despised them in the same proportion. These were assembled under their chiefs, and made part of this formidable array. A complete train of field-artillery accompanied these troops; and the whole had an air so imposing, that it seemed nothing short of an actual miracle could prevent the ill-equipped, ill-modelled, and tumultuary army of the insurgents from being utterly destroyed. The officer who accompanied Morton endeavoured to gather from his looks the feelings with which this splendid and awful parade of military force had impressed him. But, true to the cause he had espoused, he laboured successfully to prevent the anxiety which he felt from appearing in his countenance, and looked around him on the warlike display as on a sight which he expected, and to which he was indifferent.
“You see the entertainment prepared for you,” said the officers.
“If I had no appetite for it,” replied Morton, “I should not have been accompanying you at this moment. But I shall be better pleased with a more peaceful regale, for the sake of all parties.”
As they spoke thus, they approached the commander-inchief, who, surrounded by several officers, was seated upon a knoll commanding an extensive prospect of the distant country, and from which could be easily discovered the windings of the majestic Clyde, and the distant camp of the insurgents on the opposite bank. The officers of the royal army appeared to be surveying the ground, with the purpose of directing an immediate attack. When Captain Lumley, the officer who accompanied Morton, had whispered in Monmouth’s ear his name and errand, the Duke made a signal for all around him to retire, excepting only two general officers of distinction. While they spoke together in whispers for a few minutes before Morton was permitted to advance, he had time to study the appearance of the persons with whom he was to treat.
It was impossible for any one to look upon the Duke of Monmouth without being captivated by his personal graces and accomplishments, of which the great High-Priest of all the Nine afterwards recorded —
“Whate’er he did was done with so much ease, In him alone ’twas natural to please; His motions all accompanied with grace, And Paradise was open’d in his face.” Yet to a strict observer, the manly beauty of Monmouth’s face was occasionally rendered less striking by an air of vacillation and uncertainty, which seemed to imply hesitation and doubt at moments when decisive resolution was most necessary.
Beside him stood Claverhouse, whom we have already fully described, and another general officer whose appearance was singularly striking. His dress was of the antique fashion of Charles the First’s time, and composed of shamoy leather, curiously slashed, and covered with antique lace and garniture. His boots and spurs might be referred to the same distant period. He wore a breastplate, over which descended a grey beard of venerable length, which he cherished as a mark of mourning for Charles the First, having never shaved since that monarch was brought to the scaffold. His head was uncovered, and almost perfectly bald. His high and wrinkled forehead, piercing grey eyes, and marked features, evinced age unbroken by infirmity, and stern resolution unsoftened by humanity. Such is the outline, however feebly expressed, of the celebrated General Thomas Dalzell, 29 a man more feared and hated by the whigs than even Claverhouse himself, and who executed the same violences against them out of a detestation of their persons, or perhaps an innate severity of temper, which Grahame only resorted to on political accounts, as the best means of intimidating the followers of presbytery, and of destroying that sect entirely.
The presence of these two generals, one of whom he knew by person, and the other by description, seemed to Morton decisive of the fate of his embassy. But, notwithstanding his youth and inexperience, and the unfavourable reception which his proposals seemed likely to meet with, he advanced boldly towards them upon receiving a signal to that purpose, determined that the cause of his country, and of those with whom he had taken up arms, should suffer nothing from being intrusted to him. Monmouth received him with the graceful courtesy which attended even his slightest actions; Dalzell regarded him with a stern, gloomy, and impatient frown; and Claverhouse, with a sarcastic smile and inclination of his head, seemed to claim him as an old acquaintance.
“You come, sir, from these unfortunate people, now assembled in arms,” said the Duke of Monmouth, “and your name, I believe, is Morton; will you favour us with the pupport of your errand?”
“It is contained, my lord,” answered Morton, “in a paper, termed a Remonstrance and Supplication, which my Lord Evandale has placed, I presume, in your Grace’s hands?”
“He has done so, sir,” answered the Duke; “and I understand, from Lord Evandale, that Mr Morton has behaved in these unhappy matters with much temperance and generosity, for which I have to request his acceptance of my thanks.”
Here Morton observed Dalzell shake his head indignantly, and whisper something into Claverhouse’s ear, who smiled in return, and elevated his eyebrows, but in a degree so slight as scarce to be perceptible. The Duke, taking the petition from his pocket, proceeded, obviously struggling between the native gentleness of his own disposition, and perhaps his conviction that the petitioners demanded no more than their rights, and the desire, on the other hand, of enforcing the king’s authority, and complying with the sterner opinions of the colleagues in office, who had been assigned for the purpose of controlling as well as advising him.
“There are, Mr Morton, in this paper, proposals, as to the abstract propriety of which I must now waive delivering any opinion. Some of them appear to me reasonable and just; and, although I have no express instructions from the King upon the subject, yet I assure you, Mr Morton, and I pledge my honour, that I will interpose in your behalf, and use my utmost influence to procure you satisfaction from his Majesty. But you must distinctly understand, that I can only treat with supplicants, not with rebels; and, as a preliminary to every act of favour on my side, I must insist upon your followers laying down their arms and dispersing themselves.”
“To do so, my Lord Duke,” replied Morton, undauntedly, “were to acknowledge ourselves the rebels that our enemies term us. Our swords are drawn for recovery of a birthright wrested from us; your Grace’s moderation and good sense has admitted the general justice of our demand — a demand which would never have been listened to had it not been accompanied with the sound of the trumpet. We cannot, therefore, and dare not, lay down our arms, even on your Grace’s assurance of indemnity, unless it were accompanied with some reasonable prospect of the redress of the wrongs which we complain of.”
“Mr Morton,” replied the Duke, “you are young, but you must have seen enough of the world to perceive, that requests, by no means dangerous or unreasonable in themselves, may become so by the way in which they are pressed and supported.”
“We may reply, my lord,” answered Morton, “that this disagreeable mode has not been resorted to until all others have failed.”
“Mr Morton,” said the Duke, “I must break this conference short. We are in readiness to commence the attack; yet I will suspend it for an hour, until you can communicate my answer to the insurgents. If they please to disperse their followers, lay down their arms, and send a peaceful deputation to me, I will consider myself bound in honour to do all I can to procure redress of their grievances; if not, let them stand on their guard and expect the consequences. — I think, gentlemen,” he added, turning to his two colleagues, “this is the utmost length to which I can stretch my instructions in favour of these misguided persons?”
“By my faith,” answered Dalzell, suddenly, “and it is a length to which my poor judgment durst not have stretched them, considering I had both the King and my conscience to answer to! But, doubtless, your Grace knows more of the King’s private mind than we, who have only the letter of our instructions to look to.”
Monmouth blushed deeply. “You hear,” he said, addressing Morton, “General Dalzell blames me for the length which I am disposed to go in your favour.”
“General Dalzell’s sentiments, my lord,” replied Morton, “are such as we expected from him; your Grace’s such as we were prepared to hope you might please to entertain. Indeed I cannot help adding, that, in the case of the absolute submission upon which you are pleased to insist, it might still remain something less than doubtful how far, with such counsellors around the King, even your Grace’s intercession might procure us effectual relief. But I will communicate to our leaders your Grace’s answer to our supplication; and, since we cannot obtain peace, we must bid war welcome as well as we may.”
“Good morning, sir,” said the Duke; “I suspend the movements of attack for one hour, and for one hour only. If you have an answer to return within that space of time, I will receive it here, and earnestly entreat it may be such as to save the effusion of blood.”
At this moment another smile of deep meaning passed between Dalzell and Claverhouse. The Duke observed it, and repeated his words with great dignity.
“Yes, gentlemen, I said I trusted the answer might be such as would save the effusion of blood. I hope the sentiment neither needs your scorn, nor incurs your displeasure.”
Dalzell returned the Duke’s frown with a stern glance, but made no answer. Claverhouse, his lip just curled with an ironical smile, bowed, and said, “It was not for him to judge the propriety of his Grace’s sentiments.”
The Duke made a signal to Morton to withdraw. He obeyed; and, accompanied by his former escort, rode slowly through the army to return to the camp of the non-conformists. As he passed the fine corps of Life-Guards, he found Claverhouse was already at their head. That officer no sooner saw Morton, than he advanced and addressed him with perfect politeness of manner.
“I think this is not the first time I have seen Mr Morton of Milnwood?”
“It is not Colonel Grahame’s fault,” said Morton, smiling sternly, “that he or any one else should be now incommoded by my presence.”
“Allow me at least to say,” replied Claverhouse, “that Mr Morton’s present situation authorizes the opinion I have entertained of him, and that my proceedings at our last meeting only squared to my duty.”
“To reconcile your actions to your duty, and your duty to your conscience, is your business, Colonel Grahame, not mine,” said Morton, justly offended at being thus, in a manner, required to approve of the sentence under which he had so nearly suffered.
“Nay, but stay an instant,” said Claverhouse; “Evandale insists that I have some wrongs to acquit myself of in your instance. I trust I shall always make some difference between a high-minded gentleman, who, though misguided, acts upon generous principles, and the crazy fanatical clowns yonder, with the bloodthirsty assassins who head them. Therefore, if they do not disperse upon your return, let me pray you instantly come over to our army and surrender yourself, for, be assured, they cannot stand our assault for half an hour. If you will be ruled and do this, be sure to enquire for me. Monmouth, strange as it may seem, cannot protect you — Dalzell will not — I both can and will; and I have promised to Evandale to do so if you will give me an opportunity.”
“I should owe Lord Evandale my thanks,” answered Morton, coldly, “did not his scheme imply an opinion that I might be prevailed on to desert those with whom I am engaged. For you, Colonel Grahame, if you will honour me with a different species of satisfaction, it is probable, that, in an hour’s time, you will find me at the west end of Bothwell Bridge with my sword in my hand.”
“I shall be happy to meet you there,” said Claverhouse, “but still more so should you think better on my first proposal.”
They then saluted and parted.
“That is a pretty lad, Lumley,” said Claverhouse, addressing himself to the other officer; “but he is a lost man — his blood be upon his head.”
So saying, he addressed himself to the task of preparation for instant battle.
28 Moderate Presbyterians. The author does not, by any means, desire that Poundtext should be regarded as a just representation of the moderate presbyterians, among whom were many ministers whose courage was equal to their good sense and sound views of religion. Were he to write the tale anew, he would probably endeavour to give the character a higher turn. It is certain, however, that the Cameronians imputed to their opponents in opinion concerning the Indulgence, or others of their strained and fanatical notions, a disposition not only to seek their own safety, but to enjoy themselves. Hamilton speaks of three clergymen of this description as follows:—
“They pretended great zeal against the Indulgence; but alas! that was all their practice, otherwise being but very gross, which I shall but hint at in short. When great Cameron and those with him were taking many a cold blast and storm in the fields and among the cot-houses in Scotland, these three had for the most part their residence in Glasgow, where they found good quarter and a full table, which I doubt not but some bestowed upon them from real affection to the Lord’s cause; and when these three were together, their greatest work was who should make the finest and sharpest roundel, and breathe the quickest jests upon one another, and to tell what valiant acts they were to do, and who could laugh loudest and most heartily among them; and when at any time they came out to the country, whatever other things they had, they were careful each of them to have a great flask of brandy with them, which was very heavy to some, particularly to Mr Cameron, Mr Cargill, and Henry Hall — I shall name no more.”— Faithful Contendings, p. 198.
29 Usually called Tom Dalzell. In Crichton’s Memoirs, edited by Swift, where a particular account of this remarkable person’s dress and habits is given, he is said never to have worn boots. The following account of his rencounter with John Paton of Meadowhead, showed, that in action at least he wore pretty stout ones, unless the reader be inclined to believe in the truth of his having a charm, which made him proof against lead.
“Dalzell,” says Paton’s biographer, “advanced the whole left wing of his army on Colonel Wallace’s right. Here Captain Paton behaved with great courage and gallantry. Dalzell, knowing him in the former wars, advanced upon him himself, thinking to take him prisoner. Upon his approach, each presented his pistol. On their first discharge, Captain Paton, perceiving his pistol ball to hop upon Dalzell’s boots, and knowing what was the cause, (he having proof,) put his hand in his pocket for some small pieces of silver he had there for the purpose, and put one of them into his other pistol. But Dalzell, having his eye upon him in the meanwhile, retired behind his own man, who by that means was slain.”
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00