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were intercepted. Melvile and Cochran escaped BOOK to Holland: Ferguson, the celebrated plotter, was traced to Edinburgh; but when the gates were shut to prevent his escape, he found a secure asylum in the common gaol; the place which was least likely to be suspected or searched. The rest were secured, and remanded to Scotland to be tortured or condemned. But the Scottish conspirators had acted with more circumspection than the English, though impatient of their delays; and from the evidence of Holmes and Shephard, nothing but hearsay reports had transpired. To extort a discovery of their guilt, Gordon of Earlston, attainted in his absence, and intercepted with credentials from the Cameronians to their friends abroad, was ordered by Charles to be tortured after a sentence of death; but at the sight of the instruments of torture, instant madness was produced by his horror and despair 52.

1684. Cesnock's

But in state offences, nothing more than the forms of justice was observed in Scotland, and trial. even from these the justiciary court was impatient to recede. Sir Hugh Campbell of Cesnock, an old and venerable gentleman, was first arraigned. As there was no proof of his participation in the conspiracy, he was accused of abetting the insurrection at Bothwell, by reprimanding or exhorting the deserters to return. His defence, that he was

52 Dalrymple's Mem. i. 57. Wodrow, ii. 311. Fount. Dec. i. 245.


BOOK then in his own house, remote from the place where the supposed words were uttered, was overruled as contrary to the indictment, inferring perjury against the evidences for the crown. His proof, that the witnesses were actuated by revenge, and suborned by rewards, was also rejected. But when the first witness was produced, and his own condemnation appeared inevitable, he checked him in the midst of his evidence, and adjured him solemnly; "Look full in my face, "and by the perilous oath you have sworn, take "heed to what you say; for I declare, at the peril "of my own soul, that to the best of my remem"brance I never beheld your face before." Though tutored by previous examinations, the witness was struck with this impressive address. He acknowledged that he knew of nothing against the pri soner; and a loud shout expressed the sympathetical emotions of the public mind. His companion faultered and confessed the same ignorance; confounded by a low and indignant murmur, "What! would you swear away the honest old "gentleman's life?" Perth, the justice general, whose brother had obtained a previous gift of the expected forfeiture, endeavoured repeatedly to pected ac- prompt and to direct the evidence; but the jury for once interposed, and acquitted the prisoner, after a violent altercation with the bench. But the witnesses were loaded with chains till they retracted their evidence: the jury were prosecuted

and unex



for a riot in court; and old Cesnock, though acquitted by their verdict, was detained in prison during the remainder of his life 53.

wood's trial


His acquittal was fatal to Baillie of Jerviswood, Jerviswhose life was the more eagerly sought, to con- and execuvince the people, by a public example, of a real conspiracy to assassinate the king. Every discovery was expected from Argyle's letters, which required a double key; for the explanation of the cyphers, and for the collocation of the words. Spense, Argyle's secretary, who had been detected in England, was repeatedly exposed by Perth to the torture. After enduring the common engines of torture with fortitude, he was deprived of sleep for a week, till a new instrument was invented, the excruciating torments of which he was unable to sustain 54. Yet in this extremity he was careful to stipulate, before he consented to decypher the letters, that his evidence should never be judicially employed. Carstairs, subjected to the same tortures, yielded to the same conditions. The discoveries thus extorted, revealed the correspondence with the earl of Tarras and his friends, whose evidence against Jerviswood was procured by threats, or by the hopes of life. He was pro

53 Fount. Dec. i. 286. Wodrow, ii. 382.

54 Id. 387. Burnet, ii. 425. Carstairs. The thumbikins small screws of steel that compressed the thumb and the whole hand with an exquisite torture; an invention brought by Drummond and Dalziel from Russia. Fount. Dec. i. 300.

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BOOK duced for trial in the last stage of decay, when the Vill. rigours of a long imprisonment had left him few 1684. days, or even hours to live. The day after his indictment, he was arraigned at the bar. The defective testimony of his nephew, the carl of Tarras, was supplied by the extrajudicial confession of Carstairs, which was perfidiously read, and sustained, not as legal evidence, but by a judicial sophism, as an adminicle of proof. His condemnation was to be expected on the most imperfect evidence; but he was conducted on the same day, and within a few hours, from the bar to the scaffold, lest his execution should be prevented by a natural death. Notwithstanding the enfeebled and dying state to which he was reduced, his deportment is described as a mixture of Roman *greatness, and Christian resignation; and, during the trial, the sanguinary Mackenzie, the king's advocate, shrunk from his keen reproaches with compunction and shame. His declaration on the scaffold was interrupted, as usual, by the noise of drums. But his speech was diffused in writing, attesting the common principles of the whigs, his attachment to monarchy and the king's person; but asserting the right of resistance, in order to preserve the constitution and the protestant faith, and to prevent the judicial effusion of innocent. blood. His sister-in-law, a daughter of Wariston, who had voluntarily shared his imprisonment, supported his exhausted frame on the trial. She

Dec. 24.


attended his last moments on the scaffold, and · BOOK with more than female fortitude, contemplated the melancholy execution of an horrid sentence; his head affixed to the city gates, his body dismembered, quartered, and preserved; the mangled remains to be distributed among the principal towns in the west 55.



purpose of

The remainder of this atrocious reign exhibits Justice little else than a cruel and oppressive despotism; for the from the most unprincipled extortion, to the most extortion. frantic and sanguinary excesses of revenge. The attainder of Blackwood, instead of remaining a barren éxample, was improved into a fruitful precedent against all who had harboured rebels, or inadvertently communed with persons secretly guilty, as suspected of treason. A general inquisition was made by the clergy, and the officers of justice, in each county, and almost in every parish of the west and south. A voluminous and secret roll of delinquents was prepared in each, for the approaching circuits of the justiciary court 56. There the test was invariably tendered, to supplant the covenant; and among the means by which it was enforced, gibbets were erected in some villages to intimidate the people 57. The

SS Wodrow, Addenda, vol. i. ii. 394. Fount. Dec. MS. Burnet, ii. 427. State Trials, vol. iii.

56 The porteous rolls for Air contained three hundred, for Lanerk, above two hundred sheets. Few gentlemen were emitted; in Renfrew none. Wodrow, ii. $17, 57 Wodrow, ii. 412-66.

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