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John Mathieson, like not a few of the Presbyterians some years after the Revolution, inveighs in strong terms against William III., possibly because he was ignorant of the difficulties the king had to contend against--difficulties that Burnet in his history unconsciously shows might well have baffled even a more courageous spirit than the Prince of Orange. Mathieson's testimony had been seen by Lord Macaulay, who calls it one of the most curious of the many curious papers written by the Covenanters of that period; but he makes the most of its intemperate language against King William, and forgets that such language was a characteristic of the age. first part of his testimony, in which he records his sufferings, is not without its interest, and no doubt might be parallelled by the experience of many of the sufferers of that time. He says:
"I am a poor man, and seemingly about to step out of this vale of misery; and I may say with old Jacob, 'The days of the years of my life have been few and evil, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in their pilgrimage' (Gen. xlvii. 9).
"As to my education, I was brought up with those that cared not much for religion or the things that accompany salvation, if they got me seen [ie., cared for] as to back and belly, but the Lord, who knew well what He had to do with me, inclined my heart to better things from my youth, and at length brought me to the knowledge of His way, by converse with some good neighbours, such as Thomas Corsbie, etc. So, being married, I left off hearing the curates, and withdrew from them, which afterwards brought on my persecution; but not being fixed and stable-as the generality of the country was -in bearing testimony against the then defections; until I became acquainted with some of these who were declared rebels, and then I was [i.e., got] to understand matters better, and be as they were in judgment and practice. But this I observed, that I never went out of His way (though I then did it ignorantly), but I met with chastisement of one sort or other from the Lord to bring me back again to Him.
"And when it pleased His holy majesty to bring me to a wandering and suffering lot for Him, wonderful was His loving kindness. unto me, and strange were the warnings He gave me at several times before I was apprehended, which I forbear to relate. But at length, being apprehended on the Lord's day at my own house by a party of the bloody dragoons whom Closeburn had sent for by Doeg John Kilpatrick in Bredgeburgh Head, I was, by his command, sent to
prison in Dumfries, where, after continuing for a season, I was carried from that to Edinburgh with some others, and there sentenced, by a party of the bloody Council, to Carolina, in America.
"When I was on the sea, and there, or in my way going, which was nineteen weeks from our entering into the ship until we set our foot on shore and came to land again, I endured a sore fight of affliction from the enemy of my salvation, but the Lord helped me to resist that evil one. . . . We suffered great straits while on shipboard, and on shore also, by him and his who carried us captives to that land, yet the Lord was with me and was exceeding kind to me in that strange land. Their cruelty to us was because we would not consent to our own selling or slavery; for then we were miserably beaten, and I especially received nine great blows upon my back very sore, by one of his sea-fellows, so that for some days I could not lift my head higher nor my breast; which strokes or blows I looked upon to be the beginning of all my bodily pains and diseases that have been upon me since that time until now.
"But soon after, by a remarkable providence, getting free from these bloody butchers, from Carolina we sailed to Virginia, in which voyage we suffered a long and dangerous storm, and great hunger. From Virginia we went into Pennsylvania, where I was near unto death by a great weighty sickness. From Pennsylvania we went to East Jersey, where we met with the rest of our banished brethren; and from thence we went into New England. But being sorely grieved with the miscarriages of some of our friends there, I left New England, and returned to East Jersey, whereafter soon I fell sick; and during which sickness I was kindly entertained and taken care of by the man and his wife in whose house I lay, and with whom I had bound myself. For, albeit we had escaped from them that had brought us over, and could not work to them, yet we behoved to work for something to bring us back again. From thence I came to New York on my journey homeward, where I agreed with a shipmaster to bring me to London.
During my abode or being in that strange land, the Lord helped me twice or thrice to covenant with Him, but on these terms, that He would carry me and my burden both, and save His noble truth from being wronged by me; still confessing and acknowledging unto Him that I could keep neither word nor writ unless He kept me and it both. And so, on His own terms, I took Him for my king, priest, and prophet. After my first covenanting with Him in these lands, I
wan [ie., got] to such a clearness of my interest and salvation, that the very thoughts of it made me often to leap for joy in the midst of all my sorrows, sore travail, and labour, I had in these lands. And when alone, which was often, I was readily best in my case, for I was grieved with the vain and wicked conversation of the inhabitants of the land. And, now, what shall I say to the commendation of my kind Lord and Master Christ? For many and wonderful were His loving kindnesses unto me in all my travels in that land, even to me, one of the silliest [i.e., frailest] things that ever He sent such an errand; so that, as it passes my memory to relate, I think truly, it would seem incredible to many to believe when they heard them told, even what He hath done for poor insignificant unworthy me, during my abode in these lands; which, betwixt being taken from my own house, and my returning home, was something more than three years.
"But for all that, my heart was still at home with the poor suffering remnant in Scotland. For though fire and sword had been in one end of it, I could have been content to have been in the other end of it. So, from New York coming to London, and from thence soon after I arrived in Scotland. So then at length being safe there, and restored to my friends and relations, I clave to and joined with that party after whom while in my banishment I had so great a desire, and continued with them all alongst, hearing with much delight the Gospel then faithfully preached, yea, powerfully preached as occasion offered, by that shining light Mr James Renwick."
Dr Simpson, in his "Gleanings among the Mountains," tells a touching story of his reception in his own house on his return home. When he entered the house, his wife was busy preparing dinner for the reapers. She did not recognise him, but took him for a traveller, who had come in to rest himself. She pressed him to take some refreshment, which he did, when she went out to the field with a portion for the reapers. As she went out, he rose, and followed her at a respectful distance. She turned round, and fancying he had not been satisfied with her hospitality, said to the bystanders, "The man wants a second dinner." The words drew the eyes of the reapers on him, when one of his sons whispers to his mother, "If my father be alive, it is him." She turned round, looked into the stranger's face for a moment, and then ran to his embrace, crying out, "My husband!" John Mathieson died October 1, 1709. His remains lie in the churchyard of Closeburn.-ED.]
HEREAFTER were taken away in banishment, by one Robert Maloch, fourteen men, whose names are not recorded. [Wodrow's notice is equally short: "And August 15, about fifteen more are ordered to the same place."--ED.]
NNO 1685. In the time of Queensberry's Parliament, of men and women were sent to Jamaica two hundred.
[Among these prisoners was Gilbert Milroy of Kirkala in Penninghame parish, who survived the Revolution, and returned home, and was in 1710, says Wodrow, a very useful member of the session of Kirkcowan. He wrote an account of his sufferings. He and his brother William had doubts about abjuring the Societies' Declaration, and so had kept from home out of the way of the soldiers. The soldiers came and plundered their house, and carried away eighty black cattle and about five hundred sheep, besides household stuff. Next day the brothers were brought to Minnigaff, and, not answering the usual questions to satisfaction, were sent on to Edinburgh, where they were imprisoned in Holyrood, as the ordinary prisons were full. When brought before the judges, they refused to take the oaths, and were sentenced to have their ears cut off and to be banished for ten years. A few days after sentence, the prisoners were taken out and tied six and six of them together, and marched to Newhaven, such as were not able to walk being conveyed in carts, and put on board a ship lying there, and thrust under deck two and two of them together to the number of an hundred and thirty. In this state they were kept during the voyage, and so great were their sufferings through insufficient food, a scanty supply of water, and want of fresh air, that when they arrived at Jamaica, after a passage of three months and three days, thirty-two had died on the way. They were landed at Port Royal, and kept in prison ten days, until they were sold as slaves. The proceeds of their sale were kept for Sir Philip Howard, an Englishman, who had received a gift of them from the king. Sir Philip, however, did not live to enjoy it, for when leaving London for Port Royal, he fell between two ships and was drowned.-ED.]
HE same year, one Pitlochie transported to New Jersey one hundred, whereof twenty-four were women.
[In 1685 there are several acts of Council banishing prisoners, and handing them over to John Scot, laird of Pitlochie.
Under March 10, he received a warrant to go to the prisons of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Stirling, and transport a hundred of the prisoners to the plantations. He seems also to have gone to Dunottar, and to have got about thirty there, among others Patrick Walker, the well known writer of "Remarkable Passages in the Lifes of Peden, Cameron, Cargill, etc;" but he escaped while they were waiting at Leith. The ship sailed September 5. She had scarcely turned the Land's End, when fever broke out, especially among those who had been confined for so many months in the dark vault at Dunottar. The beef became putrid; the ship twice sprang a leak; and so deadly was the voyage, which lasted for fifteen weeks, that their numbers were about seventy less when they arrived at New Jersey (whither the wind drove them rather than to Jamaica, where the captain had proposed to take them)— Pitlochie himself and his wife being among the dead. On landing, the prisoners seem to have been left at large, and the inhabitants of a town, not named, a little way up the country, hearing of their circumstances, invited all who were able to travel to come and live with them, and sent horses for such as were not, and entertained them that winter freely and with much kindness. In spring Pitlochie's son-in-law sought to claim them as his property, and sued them before the court of the province. The governor sent the case before a jury, who found that the accused had not of their own accord come to the ship, and had not bargained with Pitlochie for money or service, and therefore, according to the laws of the country, they were free. Most of the prisoners retired to New England, where they were very kindly entertained. "So," concludes Wodrow, "Pitlochie proposed to be enriched by the prisoners, and yet he and his lady died at sea on the voyage. He sold what remained of the estate to pay the freight, and much of the money remaining was spent upon the law-suit in New Jersey. Thus it appears to be but a hazardous venture to make merchandise of the suffering people of God."―ED.]
IN the same year thirteen more were sent to Barbadoes. Their names are not in the hands of the publishers, if they be at all recorded.
[Wodrow does not mention this exact number, but under November 26, 1685, he gives an extract from the Council registers, which sentences David Paterson in Eaglesham, William Freugh there,