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near his brother's house in the parish of Sorn. His persecutors getting information where he was, sought the house in vain. At length the stern presbyter, somewhat softened by the prospect of eternity, died on the 28th of January, 1686, and was privately buried in the church of Auchinleck. The dragoons, however, informed of his death and burial, pulled his corpse out of the grave after it had lain six weeks, and being prevented hanging it in chains, they buried it at the gallows' foot at Cumnock. As Peden foretold his death, so Wodrow says, “ This raising him after he was buried, Mr. Peden before his death did very positively foretell before several witnesses, some of whom are yet alive who were present, from whom I have it, else I should not have noticed it here.”
Yet Wodrow, who relates this, and Lord Grange, according to the Rev. James Anderson, call the authenticity of these prophecies ascribed to Peden in question. They are, moreover, scarcely more than what might be expected from a mind highly excited by the fervour of fanaticism, and most deeply moved by years of gloomy and incessant persecution. As Mr. Anderson justly remarks, there is every reason to believe, that individuals have had presentiments of events which afterwards befel both themselves and others, however this may be accounted for.
James Mitchell, known to the readers of Scottish history chiefly from his bold but unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Archbishop Sharp, who was afterwards slain by John Balfour of Burley, was also a prisoner of the Bass. Previously to his being conveyed to the Bass, he was subjected to the torture of the “boots,” an instrument which consisted of four pieces of wood very firmly fastened together, so as to form a kind of box capable of admitting the leg. Into this were inserted moveable staves, between which and the box a wedge was driven, so as to squeeze or compress the leg to almost any degree, according to the number of strokes given to it.
Bishop Burnet observes that the common torture was only to drive the wedges between the instrument and the calf of the leg, but that he had been told that they were sometimes driven in between it and the shin bone.
Mr. Anderson narrates the circumstances of Mitchell's torture as follows :
Upon the 24th (January, 1676), according to the appointment of the council, the committee of council and lords of justiciary, in their robes, constituted into a court, assembled in the Parliament House, where the justiciary court was ordinarily held. The executioner was also present with the boots. Mitchel} being brought before the bar, was asked by the Lord Preses if he would yet confess before he was put to the torture. Ile still declined ; and after protesting before God and their lordships, that whatever might be extorted from him by torture, should not be made use of against him or any other person in judg. ment, nor have any force in law, he said, “ You may call the man whom you have appointed to your work.” A macer was instantly ordered to call upon the executioner and two officers, who bound him in an arm-chair, and bringing the boots, inquired which of his legs they should take. The lords bade the executioner take any of them ; upon which he laid the left leg in the boot. But Mitchell, lifting it out, said, “Since the judges have not determined it, take the best of the two, for I freely bestow it in the cause ;" and put his right leg into the engine. After the torture was begun the king's advocate lectured him upon the sovereignty of the magistrate, and on the sinfulness of lying upon any account. Mitchell replied, “ I would say more than the advocate' ; I would say that the magistrate whom God hath appointed is God's deputy, and that both the throne and the judgment are the Lord's while he judges for God and
according to the law of God, and that a great part of his office is to deliver the oppressed out of the hand of the oppressor, and to shed no innocent blood; and that not only lying is sinful, but that a pernicious speaking of the truth is a dreadful sin before God, when it tends to the shedding of innocent blood.” During the torture, npwards of thirty written questions were put to him, and his answers were taken down from his mouth. The executioner at every stroke inquired if he had any more to say, to which Mitchell answered, “No more, my lords !" At the ninth stroke he fainted through the extremity of pain, upon which the executioner exclaimed, “ Alas! my lords; he is gone, he is gone.". Then the torture was stopped. Recovering in a short time, he was carried to prison in the chair on which he suffered.
It was proposed to subject the other leg to the same treatment, but some of the Covenanters having sent a letter to Sharp, assuring him that if he persisted in torturing the panel, he should have a shot from a steadier hand, nothing further of the kind was attempted. But the revenge of Sharp could be satisfied with nothing less than the death of his enemy, and Mitchell was ultimately executed on the Grassmarket, Edinburgh, on the 18th of January, 1678.
Among the last of those who were immured in this Scottish bastile, were Sir
Hugh Campbell and Sir George Campbell, of Cesnock, James Fithie, A. Dunbar, J. Greig, Peter Kid, A. Sheilds, W.Spence, J. Stewart, and John Blackadder ; to the latter of whom great interest attaches itself, from his advanced years and tried virtues. This estimable man was placed for ever beyond the reach of persecution by his death, which took place on the rock, in December, 1685. All these imprisonments, it is to be observed, occurred before 1688.
On the 10th of December of that year, the scene shifted. Beacons might have been observed on the Bass, North Berwick Law, and other adjacent heights, erected by the Scottish council on their first alarm of the invasion of the Prince of Orange. But the prince had landed in England, and the government of James fell without a struggle. The inhabitants of Edinburgh rose that day in a tumult, and 4001. were offered for the chancellor, the Earl of Perth, dead or alive. Meanwhile, a small suspicious-looking sloop might have been observed making its way down the Firth. That vessel contained the obnoxious earl, who, taking the alarm, had embarked for France “ with all imaginable secrecy, himself in woman's habit, and his wife in man's apparel,” ?-a sad plight for the Popish chancellor, who had ridden rough-shod for so many years over the liberties and religion of his country. Following hard in the wake of the sloop, was a light war-boat, manned with thirty-six bold sailors, fully armed, under the command of one Wilson, who had once been a buccaneer. By a strange coincidence, the pursuers overtook the fugitive just as he was passing the Bass, and the bardy sailors seized upon their prey opposite that castle into which he had committed so many guileless men.
Again the scene changed. The rock, after holding out under Charles Maitland, the deputy governor, in the name of the exiled king, till 1690, was surrendered up to government, but strangely enough, it fell again into the temporary possession of the adherents of James. A few daring young officers, who had been taken prisoners at Cromdale, and had been sent to the Bass, formed a plan for surprising the place, which succeeded. Being supplied with provisions by their friends on shore, and receiving reinforcements from abroad, they contrived to keep their ground for several years. They plundered various merchant vessels, made all of them pay tribute that came within reach of their guns, and craning up their boats to the rock, bade defiance to all attempts to dislodge them. One Mr. Trotter having been condemned to be hanged for conveying to them supplies, they discharged a gun-shot among the crowd met to witness his execution opposite the island, where the Covenanters had also received in former times a gun-shot when assembled at prayer, and dispersed them, though it did not prevent the execution at a different place. At length, King William despatched two ships of war, which aided by smaller vessels, cut off their supplies and reduced them to the necessity of capitulating in April, 1694. Thus the Bass was the last place that held out for James in Scotland. After the surrender an order was given to demolish all the fortifications and buildings on the Bass, and to remove the cannon and ammunition, which was finally carried into execution in 1701, since which time the Bass has remained in its present untenanted and uncared-for condition.
With the revolution a new generation sprang up. A marked difference might have been observed even in the immediate descendants of the Covenanters. It was persecution that made prophets of Alexander Peden, of Thomas Hog, and of Donald Cargil. Adam Blackadder, second son of the martyr of the Bass, made merry at the remembrance of the hardships to which in early youth he was subjected on his father's account. But on the 21st of April, 1713, a grave, military-looking man, might have been observed standing by the sea-beach of Dunbar, his eyes intently fixed in the direction of the Bass. This was Colonel John Blackadder, the younger son of the same worthy sufferer ; who, after distinguishing himself under the great Duke of Marlborough, had come to revisit the scene of his father's martyrdom, with the feelings at once of a brave soldier and a devout Christian.
In 1789, a pedlar, laden with pieces of muslin and verse, and with the prospectus of his first publication in his pocket, stood on the same coast, wondering at what he describes as “ a large rock rising out of the sea to the dreadful height of 600 feet (420 in reality), giving the spectator an awful idea of its Almighty Founder, who weigheth the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.” This poor literary pedlar was Alerander Wilson, the author of the “American Ornithology,”—a work completed by a fervent admirer of the pedlar's genius, Prince Charles Lucien Buonaparte.
Who will deny the interest of romance to the Bass Rock ? It is a pity that its historians,* instead of giving a coloured lithograph of the well known “Lavatera Arborea,” did not give one good sketch of the “ auld crag.” The two woodcuts in the body of the work are contemptible.
The Bass Rock : its Civil and Ecclesiastical History, Geology, Martyrology, Zoology, and Botany. Its Civil and Ecclesiastical History, by the Rev. Thomas M'Crie. Its Geology, by Hugh Miller. The Martyrs, by the Rev. James Anderson. Its Zoology, by Dr. John Fleming. Its Botany, by Professor Balfour. TIME-TABLE OF A RICH SEPTUAGENA RY.
God will not take this for a good bill of reckoning-
Ten minutes to midnight! In that short space of time, for I have been told that I was born as the clock was striking, I shall exactly have completed my seventieth year: I shall have lived the threescore years and ten which, according to the Psalmist, are the days of man's age, “so soon passeth it away and we are gone.” Even when ensconced in this safe and sheltered study, a midnight storm has ever oppressed me with a feeling of awe, not unmingled with a sense of indefinite danger. That invisible giant the wind, howling as if in triumph for the shipwrecks and ruin he has occasioned, and shaking the earth with his footsteps as he rushes on to spread wider terror and destruction ; the lightning flash; the deafening peal of thunder ; the violent plashings of the stormdriven rain; the fury of the elements fighting together in the dark, can seldom be heard, even by the bravest, without a deep and anxious emotion. To me, however, sitting as I now am in the very centre of England's mighty metropolis, infinitely more affecting, more soul-subduing is the intense silence which at present reigns around me. A million and a half of human beings simultaneously enjoying peace, fellowship, and oblivion, by the single touch of Nature that makes the whole world kin;" old and young, rich and poor, the beggar and the peer, the sleeper upon straw and upon eider down, the happy and the wretched, all brought to an absolute equality when once they have “steeped their senses in forgetfulness,” forms a consoling fact, which may
well reconcile us to the apparent inequalities of human condition. During one-third of their lives, for such is the average portion of our sleep, the whole of mankind are on a perfect level.
Hist! hark! the parish clock is striking. How slowly and with what a thrilling solemnity does the sound vibrate through the still night air, as if every pulsation were conscious that many a human pulse was simultaneously and finally ceasing to beat. Yes, so it is. With the throb of every new second scores of human hearts are throbbing for the last time. Dong! dong! dong! Surely there is something unusually mournful and funereal in the tone: it seems to strike upon my heart and chill it: I could almost fancy that I am listening to my own passing knell. How the clock lingers, as if the hammer were afraid to strike the bell. Twelve at last. Thank Heaven that is the final blow. Midnight has come and gone, and I am seventy years
old. Incontestable as is the fact, I can hardly realise it to my mind, so easy is it with a single backward glance, and in half a second of time, to recall the whole of my long life-infancy, childhood, manhood, old age, with all their myriad hopes, fears, and changes. Strange! that we can thus compress an entire lengthened existence into a passing thought ; nay, not only our own individual history, but that of the whole human race. In a moment, the mind's eye runs over six thousand years, yet we cannot look forward even for a day, an hour, a minute. What power over the
past, what impotence as to the future; what illimitable retrospective vision, how absolute our prospective blindness!
This utter stillness, the midnight stillness of a vast metropolis, the living death, as it were, of its countless inhabitants, is more than solemn, it is awful. It is not so much the total absence of sound as the actual presence of a silence so deep that it is felt-I had almost said is heard by the thrilling heart. Ha! was that a cricket's chirping ? No, nothing so cheerful. 'Tis the expiring fire clicking its own death-watch. See ! a fresh coal flares up for a moment, casting spectral gleams that flutter about the books as if they were the spirits of authors, hovering around the volumes in which they are entombed. A library is a cemetery of intellects, and if disembodied ghosts may haunt our churchyards, why may not this burial-ground of minds be visited by similar apparitions. Now they flit away ; they melt into the gloom ; but methinks I am still surrounded by spiritual emanations.
A man's seventieth birthday is seldom a very cheerful one, and upon mine, at the present moment, every thing conspires to cast a gloom not less depressing than if my last hour were come. It cannot be far off. I have passed life's customary limit, and am now a trespasser on the domain of death, whose steel-traps and spring-guns are lying in wait for every foot-fall. Nor are these bis only weapons. He may be flying towards me on the wings of invisible miasmata ; he may be secreted in my veins ; an apoplexy may smite me in this arm-chair, and so the anniversary of my birthday may be my day of death. How can I resist the contagion of such fears when I look around me ?
The dim and waning lamp seems to intimate that its last hour is at hand; that, like myself, it has nearly reached its allotted bourne. There is a mournful significance in the warning, and, lo! behold! I see two gigantic numerals darkly shadowed on the opposite side of my study ; they are the figures 70! Well, I know that I am threescore and ten ; I have just been recording it; there needs no ghost to tell me this. Why then, is it shouted to mine eyes with such Stentorian rudeness? And what portends this preternatural handwriting on the wall? Perchance, to apprise me that the empire of my life is about to pass away: but, why am I to be bewildered and appalled by so miraculous a notification ? Pshaw! how the doubtful light has befooled mine eyes! I now see that the imagined numerals are only the shadows of the chains that sustain the lamp. What a relief to discover the real nature of these phantom figures, for their aspect was startling and fearful: and yet, what weakness, what cowardice, to be thus overcome !
To shake off such idle and unmanly apprehensions, I arose from my arm-chair, and walked away from the table by which I had been sitting; but at the
very first step, the disturbance and alarm of my confirmed, instead of being allayed, for, as I looked downwards, methought I stood
grave, at the bottom of which i could discern the faint gleam of a coffin-plate. So palpable did the yawning aperture appear, that I cautiously put forward one of my feet, to assure myself of its existence; but, feeling the soft carpet beneath me, I slowly ventured to take three successive steps, the grave appearing to recede as I advanced. At the third movement, my foot thrust away the supposed coffin-plate : it did not give forth a metallic sound, and as it
my own dark