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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


Parliament House. days again awaited the latter, when the insane Cavalier persecution began in a cruel and retributive spirit. For in the same place where he had been so nobly feasted the royal duke was compelled to preside to try by torture, with the iron boot and thumb-screws, the passively heroic and high-spirited adherents of that Covenant which the king had broken, while one of Scotland?s most able lawyers, Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh. acted his enemies without form of trial, and hundreds of less note courageously endured the fury of their persecutors.? Lord Fountainhall gives us one scene acted in this chamber, which will suffice as an illustration, and so powerfully shows the spirit of the time that we are tempted to quote it at length. It refers to the trial or examination of a man named Garnock and five other Covenanters on the 7th of part of -King?s Advocate with such unpitying 1 October, 1681 :- THE OLD PARLlAMENT HOUSE. (Fuc-rimiL of Gmdon of Rothiemny?s Vim.) zeal as to gain him the abhorrence of the people, among whom he is still remembered as the ?Bluidy Mackenzie.? The rooms below the Parliament Hall, which are still dark-one being always lighted with gas, the other dimly and surrounded by a gallery-were the places where the Privy Council met, and torture went on, too often, almost daily at one time. Though long dedicated now ? to the calm seclusion of literary study, they are the same that witnessed the noble, the enthusiastic, and despairing, alike prostrate at the feet of tyrants, or subjected to their merciless sword. There Guthrie and Argyle received the barbarous sentence of their personal ?The King?s Advocate being in Angus, sent over a deputation to me to pursue; but God so ordered it that I was freed, and Sir William Purves eased me of the office. In fortification of what they said before the Duke and Council, they led the clerks and macers as witnesses, who deponed that they uttered those or the like words : ?They declined the king, denied him to be their lawful sovereign, and called him a tyrant and covenantbreaker.? And Forman had a knife with this posie graven on it-This is to cut the throafs of 4zants; and said ?if the king be a tyrant, why not also cut his throat, and if they were righteous judges, they would have the same on their swords,
Volume 1 Page 160
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