« AnteriorContinuar »
the infantry, but was repulsed by a withering fire. Bravely and well did the old officer execute his commission. He rescued the clansmen before they had ever become aware of the deadly peril of their position.
IV. The General Engagement.
After these desperate sallies and charges the engagement became general. When Montrose saw that Airlie had saved the impetuous clansmen, a load was lifted from his heart, and he now struck at his foe with all the strength he could command. For a time the air was filled with the clangour of the weapons and the shouts of the warriors. The Campbells stood firm, and fell where they fought. The Lowland spearmen made a good defence, but were at length borne back. The horsemen also lost ground before the nimble, shirt-clad Highlanders. At this juncture Baillie rode to the rear to bring up the reserves. The Fife men, instead of answering their general's call, when they saw those in front of them recoiling, deemed the day lost. The fainthearted cowards broke and filed without ever firing a shot. Then began a scene of unparalleled and hideous carnage. The cavalier horse, still fresh, under Sir Nathaniel Gordon, charged forward in a mass. That August afternoon the claymore, the dirk, the clubbed musket, and the Lochaber axe did a fearful and bloody work. The Highlanders were as strong as lions, and in their shirts they were as fleet as deer. Very few foot soldiers escaped. They were butchered in the fields ; they were smothered in the bog. In the heat of the victory fearful acts were committed. A poor Covenanter clung to the stirrup of the venerable Earl of Airlie begging for mercy, but a passing trooper clove him
down. Many peasantry perished. A farmer and his four sons were hacked to pieces. In Kirkcaldy 200 women were made widows. It was a terrible sight on which that August sun set, for over 6000 dead lay strewn on the battlefield.
The only chance of escape lay with the well-mounted horsemen. Even they, however, were not always fortunate. We may be well assured that wherever men are toiling and suffering there will be found many a romantic story of broken hearts and lacerated affections. And the battle of Kilsyth is no exception to the rule. Amongst the thousand horsemen of Baillie there was not one more finely equipped than young Francis Gordon, a cadet of a noble Covenanting family. His burnished armour, his richly-caparisoned steed, awakened the rapacity of one of Montrose’s troopers. Singling him out he gave chase, and lay hard on his track. The pursuit was hot; but, coming up with the young Covenanter near the Bonny-Water, the clansman slew his foeman and appropriated his armour and trappings. The body was buried in the field where he fell, and the year following a slab was placed over his grave. His death was all the sadder that he was about to be married to a young lady of uncommon personal attractions and his equal in station. This lady was unconsolable, and never ceased to bewail her lover's untimely fate. The people of the district cherish the careful tradition, how there came to the locality a young lady, who, during the longest days was to be seen keeping her vigil by the graveside. The long years went by, the bloom faded from her cheek, the form became bowed, her hair became white as snow, she leant on a staff the very picture of tottering decrepitude, but still the peasants saw her keeping her holy watch and intruded not upon her. Then when she had attained an unusually long age, one day she disappeared as quietly as she had come; and no one was ever able to tell who she was, or where she came from, or what had befallen her.
The stone which the young lady erected to the memory of Francis Gordon is now placed within the grounds of Kilsyth Parish Church.
Livingston to Robe-ARCHIBALD GRAHAM-Samuel Rutherford
GABRIEL CUNNINGHAM - Public Worship-Rous versus Barton-JAMES GARTSHORE-WALTER M GILL-LeightonPrelate versus Presbyter-A Parish Riot-Insult and Resigna. tion-Michael Robe-Elected to Easter Lenzie-JAMES HAYParochial Cases and Anecdotes-Cursing the Minister-Assistant to be Appointed.
The period of one hundred years from the translation of William Livingston to the parish of Lanark, to the ordination of James Robe, bridges over that sea of tumult which arose from the steady and unswerving resistance which Scotsmen offered to the sometimes violent, and sometimes insidious efforts of the friends of Episcopacy, to impose upon Scotland that form of church government and discipline. It was an eventful time. The religious liberties of the people were assailed by every kind of political and ecclesiastical enginery from the clansmen of Montrose to the Patronage Act. Often discomfited, often persecuted, the Church in the end was still triumphant, and is seen when the storm is laid riding gallantly on the surface of the waters.
The first of the six ministers who fill up this space in the history of Kilsyth is Archibald Graham, A.M. He was a student of the University of Glasgow, and was admitted to Monyabroch on the rith January, 1615, after the church had been vacant for fourteen months. He took an interest in the welfare of his university, and contributed a sum of money towards the establishment of a college library. During the time he held the incumbency, he followed the traditions of his predecessors, the illustrious Livingstons, and eventually he shared the ecclesiastical fate which befell not only Alexander and William but also John. He was called before the High Commissioner's Court in Edinburgh. The charge brought against him was his opposition to Episcopacy and his disobedience in the matter of the practice of the canons and constitutions. He was found guilty, and deposed. He married Barbara, daughter of Thomas Livingston of Ballinton, who predeceased him. He was minister for twenty-two years, and survived his deposition eighteen years, dying May, 1655, aged 71 years. The incumbency of Archibald Graham, nearly synchronises with the career of the saintly Samuel Rutherford, Professor of Divinity in St. Mary's College, St. Andrews, and so well known amongst readers of devout literature as the author of a serious of singular letters, in which he indulges an exuberant but sanctified fancy, and which “are fraughted with such massy thoughts as loudly speak a soul united to Jesus Christ in the strongest embraces.” He wrote a number of able works, and his “ Lex, Rex: a Dispute for the Just Prerogative of King and People," was eventually ordered to be burned at the public cross of Edinburgh and at the gates of his college. His personal influence was more salutary and more extensive than his books. It filled the Church with what she greatly needed in the midst of her theological and civil strifes, the warmth of a sympathetic evangelical enthusiasm. His simple love of Christ infected his students, and the people heard gladly the preachers who had drunk of St. Mary's Well.