To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken.—Jer. 6.10

The Life of the honourable ARCHIBALD

CAMPBEL Marquis of Argyle.

taken from

Biographia Scoticana


John Howie.

According to the 2nd Edition of Mr. Howie,

Without Editorial Eliminations.

ARCHIBALD CAMPBEL having, after a good classical education, applied himself to the study of the holy scriptures, became well acquainted with the most interesting points of religion, which he retained and cultivated amidst his most laborious and highest employments both in church and state ever after.

From his earlier years he stood well affected to the presbyterian interest, and being still a favourer of the puritans (the presbyterians then so called) when Mr. Rutherford was, for his non-conformity, brought before the high commission court anno 1638, he interposed to his utmost in his behalf; concerning which Mr. Rutherford in his letters says,[1] “My Lord hath brought me a friend from the highlands of Argyle, my lord Lorn, who hath done as much as was within the compass of his power.  God give me favour in his eyes.”  And elsewhere to the lady Kenmuir, “And write thanks to your brother, my lord of Lorn, for what he has done for me, a poor unknown stranger to him.  I shall pray for him and his house {240} while I live.  It is his honour to open his mouth in the streets for his wronged and oppressed Master Christ Jesus.”  Nor was this all: for about the same time, he so laboured and prevailed with the bishop of Galloway, that worthy Earlston was relaxed from the sentence of banishment unto which he was assigned for the same noble cause.

And no sooner did our reformation (commonly called the second reformation) begin to dawn anno 1637, than he espoused the same cause himself; for we find next year, that the earl of Argyle (his father dying about that time), though a private counsellor, diligently attending all the sessions of that famous general assembly held then at Glasgow, in order to hear their debates and determinations concerning diocesan episcopacy, and the five articles of Perth, wherein he declared his full satisfaction with their decisions.  And here it was that this noble peer began to distinguish himself by a concern for the Redeemer’s glory, in which he continued, and was kept faithful therein, until he got the crown of martyrdom at last.

At this meeting, amongst many other things, his lordship proposed an explication of the confession and covenant, in which he wished them to proceed with great deliberation, lest (said he) they should bring any under suspicion of perjury, who had sworn it in the sense he had done, which motion was taken in good part by the members, and entered upon in the 8th session of that assembly.  Mr. Henderson the moderator, at the conclusion of this assembly, judging that, after all, the countenance given to their meetings by this noble peer deserved a particular acknowledgment, wished his lordship had joined with them sooner, but he hoped God had reserved him for the best times, and would honour him here and hereafter. Whereupon his lordship rose, and delivered an excellent speech ex tempore, before the assembly, in which amongst other things he said, “And whereas you wished I had joined you sooner; truly it was not for want of affection for the good of religion, and my own country which detained me, but a desire and hope that by staying with the court I might have been able to bring a redress of grievances, and when I saw that I could no longer stay without proving unfaithful to my God and my country, I thought good to do as I have done, &c.——I remember I told some of you that pride and avarice are two evils that have wrought much woe to the church of Christ, and as they are grievous faults in any man, they are especially so in church-men, &c.—I hope every man {241} here, shall walk by the square and rule which is now set before him, observing duty,  1. To superiors.  2. To equals; and  3. To inferiors.—Touching our duty to superiors, there needs nothing be added to what has been wisely said by the moderator.  Next, concerning equals, there is a case much spoken of in the church, i.e. the power of ruling elders, some ministers apprehending it to be a curbing of their power; truly it may be some elders are not so wise as there is need for.—But as unity ought to be the endeavour of us all, let neighbouring parishes and presbyteries meet together for settling the same, &c.  And thirdly, for inferiors, I hope ministers will discharge their duty to their flocks, and that people will have a due regard to those that are set over them to watch for their souls, and not to think, that because they want bishops, they may live as they will, &c.”[2]

After this, when the Scots covenanters were obliged to take arms in their own defence, anno 1639, and having marched towards the borders of England, under the command of general Leslie, this noble lord being set to guard the western coast, contributed very much by his diligence and prudence to preserve peace in these parts, and that not only in conveening the gentlemen in these quarters, and taking security of them for that purpose, but also raised four hundred men in the shire of Argyle, which he took in hand to maintain at his own charges.  Which number he afterward increased to nine hundred able men, one half whereof he set on Kintyre to wait on the marquis of Antrim’s design, and the rest on the head of Lorn to attend the motions of those of Lochaber, and the western isles.  From thence he himself went over to Arran with some cannon, and took the castle of Brodick, belonging to Hamilton; which surrendered without resistance.

He was again, in the absence of the covenanters’ army, anno 1640, appointed to the same business, which he managed with no less success, for he apprehended no less than eight or nine of the ring-leaders of the malignant faction, and made them give bonds for their better behaviour in time coming.  Which industrious and faithful conduct in this great man stirred up the malice of his and truth’s adversaries, that they sought on all occasions to vent their mischief against him afterward.

For, at the very next sitting down of the Scots parliament, the earl of Montrose discovered a most mischievous {242} attempt to wound his reputation, and to set the king at perpetual variance with his lordship; and among other offensive speeches uttered by Montrose, one was, That when the earl of Athol and the other eight gentlemen taken up by him last year (for carrying arms against their country), were in his lordship’s tent at the ford of Lyons, he (viz, Argyle) should have said publicly, “That they (meaning the parliament) had consulted both lawyers and diverse others, anent the deposing of the king, and had got resolution that it might be done in three cases, viz.  1. Desertion.  2. Invasion; and  3. Vendition.  And that they once thought to have done it at the last sitting of parliament, but would do it at the next sitting thereof.” Montrose condescended on Mr. James Stuart commissary of Dunkeld, one of the foresaid eight taken by Argyle, as his informer; and some of his lordship’s friends, having brought the said commissary to Edinburgh, he was so fool-hardy as to subscribe the acknowledgment of the above report to Montrose.  The earl of Argyle denied the truth of this in the strongest terms, and resolved to prosecute Mr. Stuart before the court of justiciary where his lordship insisted for an impartial trial, which was granted, and according to his desire four lords of the session were added hac vice to the court of justiciary.  Stuart was accused upon the laws of leasing, particularly of a principal statesman, to evite the imminent danger of which he wrote to Argyle, wherein he cleared him of the charge as laid against him, and acknowledged that he himself forged them, out of malice against his lordship, &c.  But though Argyle’s innocency was thus cleared, it was thought necessary to let the trial go on, and the fact being proven he was condemned to die.  Argyle would willingly have seen the royal clemency extended to the unfortunate wretch; but others thought the crime tended to mar the design of the late treaty, and judged it needful as a terror to others, to make an example.  At his execution, he discovered a great deal of remorse for what he had done, and although this worthy nobleman was vindicated in this, yet we find that after the restoration it was made one of the principal handles against this noble martyr.

During these transactions, the king disagreeing with his English parliament, made another tour to Scotland, and attended the Scots parliament there; in which parliament, (that he might more effectually gain the Scots over to his interest) he not only granted a ratification of all their former proceedings, both in their own defence, and with respect {243} to religion, but also dignified several of the Scots nobility: and being sensible of the many great and good services done by this noble earl, he was placed at the head of the treasury, and the day before the rising of the parliament all the commissions granted to, and services and employments performed by Archibald, earl of Argyle, in the service of his country were approved of; and an act of parliament made thereon was read and voted, the king giving him this testimony in public, That he dealt over honestly with him, though he was still stiff as to the point in controversy.  And on the same day, Nov, 15th, 1641, the king delivered a patent to the lion king at arms, and he to the clerk register, who read it publicly, whereby his majesty created Archibald earl of Argyle, &c. marquis of Argyle, earl of Kintyre, lord Lorn, &c. which being read, and given back to the king, his majesty delivered the same with his own hand to the marquis, who rose and made a very handsome speech in gratitude to his majesty, shewing that he neither expected nor deserved such honour or preferment.

During the sitting of the foresaid parliament, another incident occurred, wherein a plot was laid to destroy this nobleman, in the following manner: Some of the nobility, envying the power, preferment, and influence that he and the marquis of Hamilton had with the king, laid a close design for their lives.  The earl of Crawford, colonel Cochran, and lieut. Alexander Stuart, were to have been the actors (in which it was insinuated, that his majesty, lord Almond, &c. were privy to the design), which was, that Hamilton and Argyle should be called for in the dead of the night to speak with the king; in the way they were to have been arrested as traitors, and delivered to earl Crawford, who was to wait for them with a considerable body of armed men.  If any resistance was made, he was to stab them immediately, if not, carry them prisoners to a ship of war in the road of Leith, where they were to be confined until they should be tried for treason.—But this breaking out before it was fully ripe, the two noblemen the night before went off to a place of more strength, twelve miles distant, and so escaped this danger, as a bird out of the hands of the fowler. [Psalm 124.7.]  Yet such was their lenity and clemency, that upon a petition from them, the foresaid persons were set at liberty.

After this, the earl (now marquis) of Argyle had a most active hand in carrying on the work of reformation, and uniformity in religion anno 1643.  And while he was busied {244} among the covenanters anno 1644, Montrose and some others associated themselves to raise forces for the king, intending to draw the Scots army forth of England.—To effect which, the earl of Antrim undertook to send over ten thousand Irish, under the command of one Alster M’Donald, a Scotsman, to the north of Scotland.  A considerable body was accordingly sent, who committed many outrages in Argyle’s country.—To suppress this insurrection, the committee of estates April 10, gave orders to the marquis to raise three regiments; which he accordingly did, and with them marched northward, took several of their principal chieftains, and dispersed the rest for some time. But Montrose being still on the field, wherein he gained several victories during this and the following year, and in the mean time plundered and murdered the greater part of Argyle-shire, and other places belonging to the covenanters, without mercy, and although he was at last defeated and totally routed by general Lesly at Philiphaugh, yet such was the cruelty of those cut-throats, that the foresaid M’Donald and his Irish band returned to Argyle-shire (in the beginning of the year 1646) and burnt and plundered the dwellings of the well-affected, in such a terrible manner, that about twelve hundred men assembled in a body under Acknalase, who brought them down to Monteith, to live upon the disaffected in that country, but the Athol men falling upon them at Calendar (and being but poorly armed) several of them were killed, and the rest fled towards Stirling, where their master the noble marquis met them, and commiserating their deplorable condition, carried them through to Lennox, to live upon the lands of the lord Napier and others of the disaffected, until they were better provided for.  And in the mean time went over himself to Ireland, and brought over the remains of the Scots forces, and with those landed in Argyle-shire, upon which M’Donald betook himself to the isles, and from thence returned back to Ireland; whereby peace was restored in those parts.[3]

Again anno 1648, when the state fell into two factions, that of the malignants was headed by the duke of Hamilton; and the other (the covenanters) by the marquis of Argyle, from which it is easy to conclude, that from the year 1643, (when he had such an active hand in calling the convention of estates, and entering into the solemn league and covenant) to 1648, he was the principle agent amongst {245} the covenanters, and never failed on all occasions to appear in defence of the civil and religious liberties of his native country.

And for what was enacted anno 1649, it is well known what appearances he made, and what interest he had in the parliament, and to the utmost of his power did employ the same for bringing home Charles II. and possessing him of his crown and the exercise of his royal authority, and in this he succeeded to good purpose, as long as the king followed his counsel and advice.  But afterwards taking in the malignant faction into places of power and trust, all went to shipwreck together, which was no small matter of grief to this worthy and religious nobleman.

And as the king was well received then by the marquis of Argyle, so he pretended a great deal of regard and kindness for him about that time; as appears from a letter or declaration given under his own hand at St. Johnston Sept. 24, 1650, in which he says, “Having taken to my consideration the faithful endeavours of the marquis of Argyle, for restoring me to my just rights, &c.——I am desirous to let the world see how sensible I am of his real respect to me, by some particular favour to him.——And particularly I do promise that I shall make him duke of Argyle, a knight of the garter, and one of the gentlemen of my bed-chamber, and this to be performed when he shall think fit.  I do further promise to hearken to his counsel, whenever it shall please God to restore me to my just rights in England, I shall see him paid the 40,000 pounds sterling which are due to him. All which I do promise to make good upon the word of a king.

C. R.

But how all these fair promises were performed will come afterwards to be observed.  For this godly nobleman taking upon him to reprove the king for some of his immoralities[4], which faithful admonition, however well it appeared to be taken off the marquis’s hand for the present, yet it appeared afterwards that this godly freedom was never forgot, until it was again repaid him with the highest resentment (such was the way to hearken to his counsel); for if debauchery and dissimulation had ever been accounted among the liberal sciences, then this prince was altogether a master in that faculty[5]. {246}

In the mean time, January 1, 1651, the king was crowned at Scone, where after an excellent sermon by Mr. Robert Douglas from 2 Kings 2.17, the king took the coronation oath, then sitting down in the chair of state (after some other ceremonies were performed), the marquis of Argyle taking the crown in his hands, (Mr. Douglas prayed) he set it on the king’s head; and so ascending the stage, attended by the officers of the crown, he was installed unto the royal throne by Archibald marquis of Argyle, saying, “Stand, &c. fast from henceforth the place whereof you are the lawful and righteous heir, by a long and lineal succession of your fathers, which is now delivered to you by the authority of God Almighty”[6]  Then the solemnity was concluded by a pertinent exhortation, both to king and people, wherein they were certified, that if they should conspire together against the kingdom of Jesus Christ, both supporters and supported should fall together.

But the king’s forces having been before that defeated by Cromwel at Dunbar, and being no longer able to make head against the English, he went for England, and here by his particular allowance the marquis of Argyle (after kissing his hand) was left at Stirling.  But the king’s army being totally routed on the third of September at Worcester, and from thence driven from all his dominions; in the mean time the English over-run the whole country, so that the representatives of the nation were either obliged to take the tender[7], or else suffer great hardships, which tender the marquis had refused at Dunbarton, whereupon they resolved to invade the highlands and the shires of Argyle, being inclosed on all hands with regiments of foot and horse.  Major Dean coming to the marquis’s house at Inverary where he was lying sick, presented a paper, which he behoved to subscribe against to-morrow, or else be carried off prisoner, which (though sore against his will) for his own and his vassals and tenants safety he was obliged to subscribe with some alterations, which capitulation was made a mighty handle against him afterwards.  And although he had some influence upon the usurper, and was present at several meetings wherein he procured an equal hearing to the protestors at London, while he was there anno 1657, yet he was rather a prisoner on demand than a free agent, and so continued until the restoration.

Soon after the king’s return, this noble marquis being very much solicited to repair to court, and no doubt he {247} himself inclined to wait on a prince on whose head he had set the crown, and though some of his best friends used several arguments to divert him from his purpose till matters were better settled, yet from the testimony of a good conscience, knowing that he was able to vindicate himself from all aspersions, if he was but once admitted to the king’s presence.  He set out for London, where he arrived on the 8th of July, and went directly to Whitehall to salute his majesty, but whenever the king heard he was come thither (notwithstanding his former fair promises) he ordered Sir William Fleming to apprehend him, and carry him to the tower, where he continued till toward the beginning of December, that he was sent down in a man of war, to abide his trial before the parliament in Scotland. On the 20th they landed at Leith, and next day he was taken up (the streets of Edinburgh covered) betwixt two of the town-baillies to the castle, where he continued until his trial came on.

On Feb. 13, 1661, his lordship was brought down from the castle in a coach, with three of the magistrates of Edinburgh, attended by the town-guard, and presented before the bar of the house, where the king’s advocate Sir John Fletcher accused him in common form of high treason, and producing an indictment, craved that it might be read.  The marquis himself begged liberty to speak before that was done, but the house refused his reasonable desire, and ordered it to be read, and though he intreated them to hear a petition he had to present, yet that was too great a favour to be granted.  The indictment, which was more months in forming than he had days allowed at first to bring his defence, consisted of fourteen articles, the principal of which were, his entering into the solemn league and covenant with England; and his complying with Oliver Cromwel, &c.; all the rest being a heap of slanders, and perversion of matters of fact, gathered up against this good and great man, all which he abundantly takes off in his information and answers.[8]

After his indictment was read, he had leave to speak and discoursed for sometime to good purpose.  Among other things he said with Paul in another case, “The things laid against him cannot be proven;—but this he confessed, that in the way allowed by solemn oath and covenant, he served his God, his king, and his country; and though {248} he owned he wanted not failings common to all persons in public business in such a time, yet he blessed God that he was able to make the falsehood of every article of his charge appear, that he had done nothing with a wicked mind, but with many others had the misfortune to do many things, the unforeseen events of which had proved bad.”

The parliament fixed on the 27th of February for bringing in his defence, which was too short a time for replying to so many articles.  However, at his request it was put off till the 5th of March, when he appeared before the lords of the articles, who ordered him immediately to produce his defence, whereupon he delivered a very moving speech, and gave in a most affecting petition, remitting himself to the king’s mercy, and beseeching the parliament to intercede for him, which are too long here to be inserted.  March the 6th, he was brought before the parliament—It was reported from the articles, that he had offered a submission to his majesty, &c. but his submission was voted not satisfactory, and he commanded on the morrow to give in his defence to the lords of the articles.  When he came before them, and told his defence was not ready, he was appointed to give them in on Monday April 9th, otherwise they would take the whole business before them, without any regard to what he should afterwards say, but it seems on the day appointed, his defence was given in, which contained fifteen sheets of small print, wherein the marquis’s management was fully vindicated from all the falsehoods and calumnies in the indictment.

Upon the 16th of April he was again before the parliament, where after the process was read, he had a very handsome and moving speech, wherein at a considerable length,[9] he removed several reproaches cast upon him, and touched at some things not in his papers, but whatever he or his lawyers could say, had little weight with the members of parliament.  Some of them were already resolved what to do; the house had many messages to hasten his process to an end, but the misgiving of many of their designed probations against this good man embarrassed them mightily for some time, for it appears that there were upwards of thirty different libels all formed against him, and all came to nothing when they began to prove them, as other lies usually do; so that they were forced to betake themselves to the innocent but necessary compliance with {249} the English, after every shire and burgh in Scotland had made their submission to their conquerors.

In the beginning of May witnesses were examined and depositions taken against him, after which he was upon the 25th brought before the bar of the house to receive his sentence from his judges, who were ſocii criminis (or accomplices, as he told the king’s advocate).  The house was very thin, all withdrawing except those who were resolved to follow the courses of the time.  He put them in mind of the practice of Theodosius the emperor, who enacted that the sentence of death should not be executed till thirty days after it was passed, and added, I crave but ten that the king may be acquainted with it—but this was refused.  Then the sentence was pronounced, “That he was found guilty of high treason, and adjudged to be executed to the death as a traitor, his head to be severed from his body at the cross of Edinburgh, upon Monday the 27th instant, and affixed on the same place where the marquis of Montrose’s head formerly was, and his arms torn before the parliament at the cross.”  Upon this he offered to speak, but the trumpet sounding he stopped till they ended, and then said, “I had the honour to set the crown on the king’s head, and now he hastens me to a better crown than his own.”  And directing himself to the commissioner and parliament, he said, “You have the indemnity of an earthly king among your hands, and have denied me a share in that, but you cannot hinder me from the indemnity of the King of kings, and shortly you must be before his tribunal.  I pray he mete not out such measure to you as you have done to me, when you are called to an account for all your actings, and this amongst the rest.”

After his sentence he was ordered to the common prison, where his excellent lady was waiting for him.  Upon seeing her he said, “They have given me till Monday to be with you, my dear, therefore let us make for it.”  She embracing him wept bitterly and said, “The Lord will require it: The Lord will require it.”  Which drew tears from all in the room.——But being himself composed, he said, “Forbear, forbear. I pity them, they know not what they are doing.  They may shut me in where they please, but they cannot shut God out from me.  For my part I am as content to be here as in the castle, and as content in the castle as in the tower of London, and as content there as when at liberty, and I hope to be as content on the scaffold as any of them all. &c.”  He added, {250} He “remembered a scripture cited by an honest minister to him while in the castle, which he intended to put in practice.  When Ziklag was taken and burnt, the people spake of stoning David, but he encouraged himself in the Lord.”

He spent all his short time till Monday with the greatest serenity and cheerfulness, and in the proper exercise of a dying Christian.  To some ministers, who were permitted to attend him, he said, “That shortly they would envy him who was got before them,”——and added, “Remember that I tell you, my skill fails me, if you who are ministers will not either suffer much or sin much; for tho’ you go along with these men in part, if you do not in all things, you are but where you were, and so must suffer, and if you go not at all with them you must but suffer.”

During his life he was reckoned rather timorous than bold to any excess.  In prison, he said he was naturally inclined to fear in his temper, but desired those about him as he could not but do, to observe that the Lord had heard his prayer, and removed all fear from him, &c.  At his own desire his lady took her leave of him on the Sabbath night.  Mr. Robert Douglas and Mr. George Hutcheson preached to him in the tolbooth on the Lord’s day, and his dear and much valued friend Mr. David Dickson (I am told, says Mr. Wodrow) was his bedfellow the last night he was in time.

The marquis had a sweet time in the tolbooth as to his soul’s case, and it still increased nearer his end, as he had sleeped calmly and pleasantly his last night, so in the intervals of his necessary business, he had much spiritual conversation.  On Monday morning though he was much engaged in settling his affairs in the midst of company, yet he was so overpowered with a sensible effusion of the Holy Spirit, that he broke out in a rapture and said, “I thought to have concealed the Lord’s goodness, but it will not do. I am now ordering my affairs, and God is sealing my charter to a better inheritance, and just now saying to me, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.”

Some time before he went to the place of execution, he received an excellent letter from a certain minister, and wrote a most moving one to the king, and dined precisely at twelve o’clock along with his friends with great cheerfulness, and then retired a little.  Upon his opening the door, Mr. Hutcheson said, What cheer, my lord? He answered, “Good cheer, Sir, the Lord hath again confirmed {251} and said to me from heaven, Thy sins be forgiven thee.”  Upon this tears of joy flowed in abundance; he retired to the window and wept there; from that he came to the fire, and made as if he would stir it a little to conceal his concern, but all would not do, his tears ran down his face, and coming to Mr. Hutcheson he said, “I think his kindness overcomes me.  But God is good to me, that he let not out too much of it here, for he knows I could not bear it.[10]  Get me my cloke and let us go.” But being told that the clock was kept back till one, till the bailies should come,——He answered, They are far in the wrong; and presently kneeled and prayed before all present, in a most sweet and heavenly manner.  As he ended, the bailies sent up word for to come down; upon which he called for a glass of wine, and asked a blessing to it, standing, and continuing in the same frame, he said, “Now let us go, and God be with us.”

After having taken his leave of such in the room, who were not to go with him to the scaffold, when going towards the door he said, “I could die like a Roman, but choose rather to die like a Christian.  Come away, gentlemen, he that goes first goes cleanliest.”  When going down stairs, he called the reverend Mr. James Guthrie to him, and embracing him in a most endearing way, took his farewel of him; Mr. Guthrie at parting addressed the marquis thus, “My lord, God hath been with you, he is with you, and will be with you.  And such is my respect for your lordship, that if I were not under sentence of death myself, I would cheerfully die for your lordship.”  So they parted, to meet again in a better place on the Friday following.

Then the marquis accompanied with several noblemen and gentlemen mounted in black, with his cloke and hat on, went down the street, and mounted on the scaffold with great serenity and gravity, like one going to his Father’s house, and saluted all on it.  Then Mr. Hutcheson {252} prayed, after which his lordship delivered his speech, in which among other things he said,

“I come not here to justify myself, but the Lord, who is holy in all his ways, righteous in all his works, holy and blessed is his name.  Neither come I to condemn others.  I bless the Lord, I pardon all men, and desire to be pardoned of the Lord myself.  Let the will of the Lord be done, that is all I desire.——I was real and cordial in my desires to bring the king home, and in my endeavours for him when he was home, and had no correspondence with the adversaries’ army, nor any of them when his majesty was in Scotland, nor had I any hand in his majesty’s murder.  I shall not speak much to these things for which I am condemned, lest I seem to condemn others.—It is well known it is only for compliance, which was the epidemical fault of the nation; I wish the Lord to pardon them.  I say no more——but God hath laid engagements on Scotland.  We are tied by covenants to religion and reformation, those who were then unborn are yet engaged, and it passeth the power of all the magistrates under heaven to absolve from the oath of God.  These times are like to be either very sinning or suffering times, and let Christians make their choice, there is a sad dilemma in the business, sin or suffer, and surely he that will choose the better part will choose to suffer, others that will choose to sin will not escape suffering.  They shall suffer, but perhaps not as I do (pointing to the maiden) but worse.  Mine is but temporal, theirs shall be eternal.  When I shall be singing, they shall be howling.  Beware therefore of sin, whatever you are aware of, especially in such times.—And hence my condition is such now, as, when I am gone, will be seen not to be as many imagined.  I wish, as the Lord hath pardoned me, so may he pardon them, for this and other things, and what they have done to me may never meet them in their accounts.——I have no more to say, but to beg the Lord that when I go away, he would bless every one that stayeth behind.”

When he had delivered this his seasonable and pathetic speech, which with his last words is recorded at length in Naphtali[11],  Mr. Hamilton prayed, after which he prayed most sweetly himself, then he took his leave of all his friends on the scaffold.  He first gave to the executioner a napkin with some money in it; to his sons in law Caithness {253} and Ker his watch and some other things out of his pocket, he gave to Loudon his silver penner, to Lothian a double ducat, and then threw off his coat.  When going to the maiden, Mr. Hutcheson said, My Lord, now hold your grip sickker [secure].——He answered, “You know Mr. Hutcheson, what I said to you in the chamber.  I am not afraid to be surprised with fear.”  The laird of Shelmerlie took him by the hand, when near the maiden, and found him most composed.  He kneeled down most cheerfully, and after he had prayed a little, he gave the signal (which was by lifting up his hand), and the instrument called the maiden struck off his head from his body, which was fixed on the west end of the tolbooth, as a monument of the parliament’s injustice and the land’s misery.  His body was by his friends put in a coffin and conveyed with a good many attendants through Linlithgow and Falkirk to Glasgow, and from thence to Kilpatrick, where it was put in a boat, carried to Denune, and buried in Kilmunn church.

Thus died the noble marquis of Argyle, the proto-martyr to religion since the reformation from popery, the true portrait of whose character cannot be (a historian says[12] I dare not) drawn.  His enemies themselves will allow him to have been a person of extraordinary piety, remarkable wisdom and prudence, great gravity and authority, and singular usefulness.  He was the head of the covenanters in Scotland, and had been singularly active in the work of reformation there, and of any almost that had engaged in that work he stuck closest by it, when most of the nation quitted it very much, so that this attack upon him was a stroke at the root of all that had been done in Scotland from 1638, to the usurpation.  But the tree of prelacy and arbitrary measures behoved to be soaked when planting, with the blood of this excellent patriot, staunch presbyterian, and vigorous assertor of Scotland’s liberty, and as he was the great promoter thereof during his life, and steadfast in witnessing to it at his death, so it was to a great degree buried with him in Scotland, for many years.  In a word, he had piety for a Christian, sense for a counsellor, carriage for a martyr, and soul for a king.  If ever any was, he might be said to be a born Scotsman.


1. Part 1. letter 4. and part 3. letter 37.

2. See this discourse at large in Stevenson’s history, page 674.

3. See a more full account of these transactions in Stevenson’s history, vol. III. p. 176.

4. Some accounts bear that this was a rape committed by him.

5. See the national covenant.

6. See the coronation of Charles II. page 38, &c.

7. That is, accept the offered terms of peace, involving submission to the infamous usurper Oliver Cromwell.—JTKer.

8. See these articles at large and his answers in Wodrow’s church history, vol. 1. page 43,—52.

9. See the appendix to Wodrow’s history, No. 18.

10. The historian Burnet in the introduction to his history page 30, &c. is pleased to say, “This Argyle was a pretender to high degrees of piety.  Warriston went to very high notions of lengthened devotions, and whatsoever struck his fancy during these effusions he looked on it as an answer of prayer.”  But perhaps the bishop [Dr. Burnet] was much a stranger both to high degrees of piety and lengthened devotions, and also to such returns of prayer, for these two gallant noblemen faced the bloody ax and gibbet rather than forgo their profession, with more courage, and (I may say) upon better principles or grounds of suffering, than what any diocesan bishop in Scotland at least, or even the doctor himself was honoured to do.

11. Or the wrestling of the church of Scotland, page 166.

12. Wodrow in his history, vol. 1. page 56.