Monday, October 14, 2013

Queensferry Paper

Photo: Flickr James B. Brown
Whilst leaving Dalmeny Station last week I noticed on a map that there was a street in Queensferry called Covenanter Lane. This rang a few bells in relation to the Queensferry Paper. It appears that this was the location from which Donald Cargill was nearly captured on 3 June 1680 while Henry Hall of Haugh Head was seized together with a draft document that came to be known as the Queensferry Paper. Hall later died of the wounds that he sustained. They were originally betrayed by the curates of James Hamilton and John Park, Ministers at Bo'ness and Carriden who notified the governor of Blackness Castle, Middleton. Park was deposed from the ministry some years later.

John Howie devoted a chapter to Hall in the Scots Worthies. He describes how when the persecuting governor discerned "the house where they alighted, he sent his servant off in haste for his men, putting up his horse in another house, and coming to the house to them as a stranger, pretended a great deal of kindness and civility to Mr. Cargil and him, desiring that they might have a glass of wine together. -- When each had taken a glass, and were in some friendly conference, the governor, wearying that his men came not up, threw off the mask, and laid hands on them, saying, they were his prisoners, and commanded the people of the house, in the king's name to assist. But they all refused, except one Thomas George a waiter; by whose assistance he got the gate shut. In the mean while Haugh-head, being a bold and brisk man, struggled hard with the governor, until Cargil got off; and after the scuffle, as he was going off himself, having got clear of the governor, Thomas George struck him on the head, with a carbine, and wounded him mortally. However he got out; and, by this time the women of the town, who were assembled at the gate to the rescue of the prisoners, convoyed him out of town. He walked some time on foot, but unable to speak much, save only some little reflection upon a woman who interposed, hindering him to kill the governor, that so he might have made his escape more timeously. At last he fainted, and was carried to a country house near Echlin; and although chirurgeons were speedily brought, yet he never recovered the use of his speech any more. Dalziel, living near-by, was soon advertised, and came quickly with a party of the guards, and seized him; and although every one saw the gentleman just a-dying, yet such was his inhumanity, that he must carry him to Edinburgh.

Photo: Flickr James B. Brown
But he died, on their hands, on the way thither; and made an end of this his earthly pilgrimage to receive his heavenly crown. His corpse was carried to the Cannongate tolbooth, where they lay three days without burial; and then his friends conveened for that end, to do their last office to him; yet that could not be granted. At last they caused bury him clandestinely in the night; for such was the fury of these limbs of antichrist, that after they had slain the witnesses, they would not suffer them to be decently interred in the earth; which is another lasting evidence of the cruelty of those times". A week later Margaret Wauchope was brought in  as a prisoner from Queensferry "for being accessory to Mr Cargill's escape". It seems likely that this was the lady who tended to his wounds and brought him to a nearby house where he sheltered in a barn for the night. Another man who took Cargill to a doctor, William Punton of Carlowrie was imprisoned in Edinburgh and heavily fined. Three days later Cargill was preaching in the fields in Lanarkshire.

A drawing of the house where the incident took place is available. The house was demolished in the 1930s but a photograph of it exists. It was called The Palace or Covenanters' House.

The Queensferry Paper is extensive and considered to be quite detailed and advanced. It is also said to contain republican political views. It was also called "The Fanaticks New Covenant". It was also called "Cargill's Covenant". There were no signatories and it seems likely that much though not all of it was the work of Donald Cargill. Cargill could not readily consent to all of its content, however. It was indeed expressed as a Covenant and was resolute in its language:
we cannot but with much trembling of heart renew our covenant, or engage anew, especially considering our own weakness and hazard; yet the clear conviction of duty, zeal to God’s glory, and love of Christ’s reigning, which is the highest duty that a man can perform to God, trusting in his mercy, who knows the integrity and rightness of our intentions, will both instruct, enable, accept, preserve and prosper us: we go on declaring those, and nothing but those to be our present purpose

It can be read here and here. Its key points have been summarised as follows.

1. To covenant with and swear acknowledgement of the Trinity and to own the Old and New Testaments to be the rule of faith.

2. To advance God`s kingdom, free the church from Prelacy and Erastianism, and remove those who had forfeited authority.

3. To uphold the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, with her standards, polity, and worship, as an independent government.

4. To overthrow the kingdom of darkness, ie Popery, Prelacy and Erastianism.

5. To discard the royal family and set up a republic.

6. To decline hearing the indulged clergy.

7. To refuse the ministerial function unless duly called and ordained.

8. To defend their worship and liberties, to view assailants as declarers of war, to destroy those assaulting, and not to injure any but those that have injured us