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[John Brown of Priesthill was known in the district as the Christian carrier. He was of more than ordinary piety and knowledge, and possessed unusual skill in communicating to others what he knew. He had never attended the services of the curates, but in other respect had given no offence to the government, yet he found it prudent to hide in the moorlands. His long exemption from molestation had evidently emboldened him to return home, when he speedily fell into the hands of the destroyer.
On the morning of the first of May 1685, between five and six o'clock, after he had made worship with his family, he was on the way to cut peats with his spade in his hand, when in the thick mist he was surrounded by Claverhouse and three troops of dragoons on the road from Lesmahagow. Whether Claverhouse had any knowledge of his character is not known, but he brought him from the peat ground to his house, a bleak, desolate spot, fully four miles to the north of Muirkirk railway station, and from which at the present time, not a hut, not even a tree is to be seen. Here he was examined, and gave his answers distinctly and solidly, which made Claverhouse ask his guides through the muir if ever they heard him preach. “No, no," was the reply, "he was never a preacher." "Well," said Claverhouse, "if he has never preached, much has he prayed in his time. Go to your prayers,” he added to John Brown, "for you shall immediately die."
The carrier prayed with great fervour. Thrice Claverhouse interrupted him. On one of these times John Brown was pleading that the Lord would spare a remnant and not make a full end in the day of His anger, when Claverhouse said, "I gave you time to pray, and you are begun to preach." John Brown calmly turned round about on his knees, and said, "Sir, you know neither the nature of preaching nor praying that call this preaching;" and then continued without confusion.
When he was ended, Claverhouse said, "Take good-night of your wife and children," for she stood by with a child of his former wife clinging to her, one of her own in her arms, and was soon to give birth to another. Now, Isabel," were his words to her, "the day is come that I told you would come, when I spake first to you of marrying me." "Indeed, John," she replied, "I can willingly part with you.” "That is all," he said, "I desire. I have no more to do but die. I have been ready to meet with death for years past." He kissed her and his children. He gave them his blessing, and wished
purchased and promised blessings to be multiplied upon them. Claverhouse now ordered six of his soldiers to fire on him; but such had been the effect of the martyr's prayers, that not even one of these men, long used to deeds of violence, would obey his command, and in a rage he shot him with his own hand.
"What thinkest thou of thy husband now, woman?" was his question to the widow, as she gazed on the lifeless body. "I thought ever much good of him, and as much now as ever." "It were but justice," was his reply, "to lay thee beside him." "If ye were permitted," was her heroic answer, "I doubt not your cruelty would go that length; but how will ye answer for this morning's work?" "To man," the murderer replied, "I can be answerable; and as for God, I'll take Him into mine own hand." But this was empty bravado, for even on his seared conscience the dying words of his victim left an impression that he could never wear off.-ED.]
HE said Claverhouse authorised his troops to kill Matthew Mickelwrath without any examination, in the parish of Colmonell in Carrick, anno 1685.
COLONEL JAMES DOUGLAS, now Lieutenant-General, brother to the Duke of Queensberry, together with Lieutenant John Livingstone and a party with them, surprised five men in a cave at Ingliston, in the parish of Glencairn, betrayed by Andrew Watson. Their names were John Gibson [brother to James Gibson of Ingliston, heritor of the ground], Robert Grierson [from Galloway], Robert Mitchell [from Cumnock], James Bennoch [from Glencairn], John Edgar [Robert Edgar; he fled from his house for refusing the abjuration oath]-all which were at the command of the said Colonel Douglas brought forth and immediately shot dead, without giving them so much time as to recommend their souls unto God. One John Ferguson, sometime a professed friend, thrust one of them through, supposing he was not dead. This was
done in the year 1685.
[Wodrow's account of this murder is taken from a narrative written at the time. He says, directed by Watson, Colonel James Douglas and Lieutenant Livingstone came suddenly on the cave and surprised the five in it. The soldiers shot in on the cave, wounded one, and then rushed in. Without any examination, or the slightest form of trial, Colonel Douglas immediately ordered them to be taken
out and shot, though nothing could be laid to their charge but that they were found in the cave. John Gibson was first shot. He was suffered to pray, which he did to the admiration and conviction even of the soldiers themselves. He sang part of Ps. xvii., and read John xvi. His sister got forward to him by the compassion of some of the soldiers. He told her this was the joyfullest day ever he had in the world. His mother, too, managed to get to him, and he charged her not to give way to grief, but to bless the Lord upon his account, who had made him both willing and ready to suffer for His cause and interest. After again praying, he was despatched. The other four were shot all at once without being permitted to pray separately. They had great peace and consolation. The volley killed three of their number, while one was sorely wounded but conscious. When this was observed by Ferguson, a renegade, he drew his sword and thrust him through the body. When the martyr was weltering in his blood and that of his fellow-sufferers for Christ, he said, "Though every hair of my head were a man, I am willing to die all those deaths for Christ and His cause," and with these words he died. The inscriptions over the graves of John Gibson, Robert Mitchell, James Bennoch, and Robert Edgar, are in the Appendix.—ED.]
HE said Colonel James Douglas and his party shot to death John Hunter, for no alleged cause, but running out from the house of Corehead (in the parish of Moffat) the same year,
[John Hunter was a native of the parish of Tweedsmuir, in the south of Peeblesshire. He had a neighbour, Welsh by name, usually called, however, in the district, "The Babe of Tweedhopefoot," probably from his great bodily strength. Welsh had often sheltered the persecuted, and had himself suffered much because of his sympathy with them. He heard that Colonel James Douglas was in the neighbourhood; and, expecting a visit from him, he determined to withdraw to the wilds for concealment. John Hunter, a good man, of like mind with him, accompanied him. They retired to Corehead, near the source of the water of Annan. Colonel James Douglas got notice of their flight, and pursued them with his soldiers. He soon gained ground on them. When they saw they were being overtaken, they made for the "Straught Steep," which, from its inaccessibility to cavalry, they hoped would give them a safe retreat. But as they were reaching it, the dragoons began to fire, and a ball
struck John Hunter, as he was scrambling over the rocks, and he was shot dead. His remains were laid in the churchyard of Tweedsmuir. The inscription over them is in the Appendix.-ED.]
HE said Colonel or Lieutenant-General James Douglas, with Lieutenant Livingstone and Cornet Douglas, surprised six men at prayer at the Caldunes, in the parish of Minniegaff -viz., James Dun, Robert Dun, Andrew Macaulay, Thomas Stevenson, John M'Clude, and John Stevenson, in January 1685.
["Nothing," says Wodrow, "was charged upon them but that they were persons hiding, and at prayer. Whether the Oath of Abjuration was offered or not, my information doth not bear; but without any further process, they were immediately taken out, and shot to death."-ED.]
HE said Colonel or Lieutenant-General James Douglas caused take Andrew M'Quhan out of his bed, sick of a fever, and carry him to Newton of Galloway, and the next day shot him dead, the foresaid year 1685.
[M'Quhan was unable to answer the questions put to him by Colonel James Douglas, and so the soldiers took him, ill as he was, out of bed, carried him with them to the Newton, and next morning (May 11, 1685), shot him dead, without process or trial.—ED.]
THE said Colone. or Lieutenant-General James Douglas commanded Thomas Richard, an old man of seventy years, to be shot in time of prayer (he was betrayed and taken by Peter Inglis), Anno, 1685, at Cumnock, in Kyle.
[Thomas Richard was a farmer in Greenock Mains, a farm to the west of Muirkirk parish, Ayrshire. Wodrow calls him a good man, near eighty years of age. He had been in hiding in the high moorlands, to the north of the parish, where it touches Lanarkshire, when Peter Inglis, a cornet, and son to Captain Inglis, of evil notoriety for his cruelties, and four or five others, came to him in his hidingplace, in the guise of friends. They had each Bibles, and asked Thomas to read and pray with them. The good man, suspecting no deceit, readily complied with their request. After prayer, they talked with him about an attack they proposed to make on a neighbouring garrison. They asked him if he knew where any of the honest party Still fearing no guile, he told them he knew not of any at pre
sent, but that he had lodged some of them a few days ago, and was not unwilling to give them any entertainment he had. At last one of them betrayed himself by an oath, when all threw off the mask, and, to the astonishment of the old man, made him their prisoner, and carried him to Colonel Douglas, then at Cumnock, who, on this confession, without trial of any kind, next day ordered him to be shot.-ED.]
APTAIN DOUGLAS finding one Mowat, a tailor, merely because he had some pieces of lead belonging to his trade, took him, and without any further trial, shot him dead, between Fleet and Dee, in Galloway.
THE said Captain Douglas and his men, finding one
Auchenleck, a deaf man, for not making answer, through defect of his hearing, instantly shot him dead off horseback, near Carlinwark, anno 1685.
IR ROBERT DALZIEL, and Lieutenant Straiton, having apprehended Daniel M'Michael, not able to flee, by reason of his being sick, and detained him four hours prisoner, took him out, and shot him at Dalveen, in the parish of Durrisdeer, in Nithsdale, January 1685.
[Daniel M'Michael was the brother of James M'Michael. lived in Lurgfoot, now Blairfoot, in Morton parish, Dumfriesshire, and his house was a well-known resort of the pious people in the neighbourhood. In July 1685 he was confined to bed with fever. Some of his friends had met in his house for religious exercises, and they had stationed a watchman, to give notice in case of danger. It was not long until he saw a party of soldiers, in the distance, approaching. They had been told by an informer of the meeting. The watchman immediately gave the alarm, when all prepared for flight. Ill as he was, Daniel was not forgotten, for they knew his illness would not ward off from him the cruelties of the soldiers. They wrapped him in the warm bed-clothes, and conveyed him to a cave, not far from his house, where he and his friends had often concealed themselves. They were not long there until one of their number left the cave. On the way, he called at the smithy, where he learned the hiding-place had been betrayed. He hastened back, and told them the cave was known to their enemies, who