Sunday, November 2, 2014

1685 - The Henry and Francis

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

December 1685

This is the date on which the ship Henry and Francis with its cargo of banished Highlanders landed in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

1685 was a disastrous year for Presbyterians, Covenanters, and Campbells.  King James II had set himself up as head of the church, required all to take an oath recognizing him as such, and persecuted any dissenters.   The head of Clan Campbell had been executed.  His heir was in hiding and many other prominent Campbells were again self exiled in Holland.  Many Covenanters, who only recognized Christ as the head of their church, were also in hiding or self-exiled.

The disastrous journey of the ship, Henry and Francis, from Leith, Scotland to Perth Amboy, New Jersey was in keeping with the theme of 1685.  The fateful voyage of over fourteen weeks included sickness, death, storms, cruelties by crew perpetrated on the passengers, leaks, and an attempted kidnapping foiled only by the weather gods.

The records of this voyage are amazingly good for a 17th century adventure.  This is largely due to the prolific yet overzealous historian, Robert Wodrow, whom I will let tell the majority of the story later. [Parts of his version have been refuted.  See Whitehead in the Bibliography.]

The Henry and Francis was ship of three hundred and fifty tons with twenty great guns.  Perhaps it was a "barque" as shown in this 1798 painting of the Leith Harbor?

Leith Harbor in 1798
The boat had been chartered out of  Newcastle by George Scot of Pitlochie with Richard Hutton as its Captain.  Its 125 passengers were made up of prisoners, paying customers, crew, and Scot's family. It is likely that the prisoners varied in background from rebels forced into service against their will, to over-principled Presbyterians who refused to take the oath, to vandals and thieves.   It was likely not as bad as the editor of the Privy Council Register stated when he observed Scot's ship in the harbor as “being about to sail for East New Jersey with a cargo of criminals, wastrels, and malcontents...”

We do know that Scot had been planning this voyage for awhile (unlike Lord Neil Campbell) and had been actively recruiting prisoners with the desired skills for his passenger list.  We also know that a Robert Campbell from Canongate Tolbooth had been assigned to Scot's care by the Privy Council.  This Robert was the grandfather of the subject of this blog, JoelCampbell1735.

When the ship arrived in Perth Amboy in December 1685, thirty one (~60 according to other accounts?) of the 125 passengers were dead, including Scot and his family.  The remaining 94 survivors were likely not in good health as they came ashore in a new land to start a new life.  So ended 1685.

This link contains a nicely organized list of passengers.

Most accounts of the journey are taken from Wodrow's book, but Woodrow is seldom produced in its entirety (probably because it is very long).   I have reproduced it here.

An account of the ship Henry and Francis as recorded by Wodrow, Robert, A History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland…Volume IV, p. 331, Chapter IX Section XII , Blackie & Son, Glasgow, 1833. (
"Having in the former section given the history of the sufferings of these good people who were taken to Dunnottor this summer, I am now to follow a good many of them to America.  Argyle's invasion being now over, and no more fears from that airt, the council began to weary of the prisoners at Dunnotter, and brought them back to Leith, as we have seen, where another essay was made to bring them to comply with the impositions now put on people in their circumstances; and upon their refusal, they resolved to send good numbers of them to the plantations, and so rid themselves of any more trouble about them. Accordingly, after near three months' severe treatment at Dunnotter, they come to Leith, two of them were left behind as dying men, of which Quintin Dick, so frequently mentioned, was one, and in his remarks formerly cited, he hath some sweet observations upon providence timeing his sickness at this juncture. He recovered in some time, and was overlooked, and got safe home to his own house, and lived some years to reflect with pleasure, and record the Lord's wonderful steps of kindness to him, and his goodness under, and after all those sore troubles he underwent. Not a few who were in the great vault were sick, and allowed horses upon their own charges. The Reverend Mr Frazer was very infirm and weak, and yet the captain by no means would permit him to have the benefit of a hired horse, as several others had. The foot had sixty-six miles to travel, and their hands tied behind their back with small cords. From Dunnotter they were carried to Montrose tolbooth the first night, from thence to Arbroath, from thence to Dundee, from thence, upon the Sabbath, to the Cowpar of Fife, from thence to  Burntisland, and thence to Leith.
The council were pleased to come down to Leith, and sit in the tolbooth there, and spent some time in the re-examination of the prisoners. It was but very few complied with their impositions, and they were dismissed. Others, who were very weakly, and had some friends to intercede, got off upon a bond of compearance when called, as Mr William McMillan, who gave bond as above, under the penalty of five thousand merks. The most part of them refusing the oaths, and to satisfy in other particulars, were perpetually banished to America, and many of them were gifted to the laird of Pitlochy, to be carried thither. William Hannah, formerly mentioned, in the parish of Tunnergarth, when brought before the lords, and refusing the oath of allegiance with the supremacy, was threatened with banishment. He told them, that he was now too old to work, or go to war, and he reckoned he would be useless there. Old general Dalziel took him up very bitterly, and replied, he was not too old then to be hanged, and he would hang well enough. That same day, as my information bears, August 22d, the general died suddenly, and William's age and sickness prevented his being carried away with the rest. In a few weeks he fell very ill in prison, and appearing to be in a dying condition, he was liberate, and got home, after very hard sufferings for three years and more.
The names of as many as are come to my hand, who were banished, shall be insert just now. Let me only remark, that such who had not to pay their freight, were gifted to George Scot laird of Pitlochy, who freighted a Newcastle ship, Richard Hutton master, bound for New-Jersey; and all the persons now banished were committed to his care. I cannot give an account of all the names of such as were banished with Pitlochy ; the reader hath not a few of them above, section 4th. Several of their testimonies and letters they wrote to their friends toward the end of August are before me; and particularly an original letter, from about twenty-eight of them, dated Leith Road, August 28th, 1685, directed to their friends, too long to be here insert. ln short they signify, "That now being to leave their own native and covenanted land by an unjust sentence of banishment, for owning- truth, and holding by duty, and studying to keep by their covenant engagements and baptismal vows, whereby they stand obliged to resist, and testify against all that is contrary to the word of God and their covenants ; and that their sentence of banishment ran chiefly because they refused the oath of allegiance, which in conscience they could not take, because in so doing, they thought they utterly declined the Lord Jesus Christ from having any power in his own house, and practically would, by taking it, say he was not King and head of his church, and over their consciences ; and on the contrary', this was to take and put in his room a man whose breath is in his nostrils, yea, a man that is a sworn enemy to religion, an avowed papist, whom by our covenants we are bound to withstand, and disown, and that agreeably to the scripture, Deut. xvii. 14, 15." They go on to leave their testimony against the evils of the times, and for the preaching of the gospel in the fields and houses, and sign as follows.
"John Kincaid, George Muir, George Johnston, Robert Young, Thomas Jackson, Andrew Paterson, John Harvey, John Foord, Christopher Strang, William Spreul, Peter Russel, Robert McEwen, John Henderson, John Seton, John Gilfillan, Charles Honyall, James Grierson, James Forsyth, Walter McIgne, John McGhie, Adam Howie, James Muirhead, Annabel Gordon, Margaret Leslie, Agnes Steven, Margaret Forrest, Jean Moffat, Annabel Jackson." 
Besides those I have before me letters of John Arbuckle, .John McQueen, a letter signed I. D. and K. G. and another signed Janet Symington, all of them banished at this time, with many others whose names are not come to me; we shall just now find some of them among those who died at sea in the voyage. In the same ship likewise were Mr John Frazer, and that excellent gentleman Robert McLellan of Barmagechan, of whom more just now, William Niven in Pollockshaws, with a good many others who had endured Dunnotter cruelties. And it is mostly from Mr Frazer and Barmagcchan's account of this voyage, that I am to frame the following narrative of it. 
Several others were likewise in the vessel, who retired from their native country to settle in America, as the reverend Mr Archibald Riddel, whom we had in the former part of this history, and his wife, and several of the relations of such who went over.
The prisoners lay some time in the road of Leith, before all was ready, and sailed the 5th of September. Informations before me bear, that Pitlochy tampered with some of them, particularly James Forsyth, to get money before they sailed, offering for five pounds sterling paid now, to set him at liberty as soon as they came to land. But James answered, he would give him no money to carry him out of his native land, adding he had done nothing worthy of banishment. 
After they had turned the land-end, the fever began to rage in the ship, especially among such who had been in the great vault of Dunnotter. Not a few of them were sick when they came aboard, and no wonder, considering the barbarous treatment they had met with ; besides, much of the flesh which the captain of the ship had provided for the prisoners began to stink before they sailed out of Leith road, and in a few days it was not eatable.
In a month's time the fever turned malignant, and few or none in the ship escaped it ; in so much that it was usual to cast over board three or four dead bodies in one day. Most of the ship's crew, except the captain and boat-swain, died. Pitlochie who had freighted the ship, with his excellent lady, died likewise, and so enjoyed nothing of the produce of near a hundred prisoners gifted him by the council; and near seventy persons died at sea. 
I have before me a list of the passengers and prisoners who died at sea. It concerns the design of this history only to record the names of the prisoners, and they are as follows ; Thomas Graham, Gilbert Monorgan, John Smith, William Cunningham, John Muirhead, Thomas Jackson, Kathrine Kellie, Andrew McLellan, Thomas Russel, John Hodge, Thomas Gray, John Ramn, John Swinton, John Kippen, William Sprat, James Wardrope, John McKenman, Thomas Finlater, John Hutchison of Wardlaw, William McMillan, Agnes Cohalh, John Kirkland."
Perhaps several of the passengers might be likewise sufferers, but able to pay their freights ; but I have not set them down, for shortness. I find further in the list, Mr John Vernor and his wife, Pitlochy and his lady, and the lady Aitherny, Mrs Riddel, Mrs Eupham Rigg lady Aitherny's daughter, William Rigg, her son, Mr William Ged, and Mr William Aisdale, minister. 
Notwithstanding of this raging sickness, and great death, much severity was used toward the prisoners at sea, by the master of the ship and others : those under deck were not allowed to go about worship by themselves, and when they essayed it, the captain would throw down great planks of timber upon them to disturb them, and sometimes to the danger of their lives. We have heard of the badness of their provisions already.
Many were the disasters of this voyage. The ship was at the utmost hazard by the breaking up of a leak at two several times. They had several calms, and some pretty severe storms. The captain, after Pitlochy's death, began to tamper with Mr Johnston his son-in-law, who now had the disposal of the prisoners ; and it was projected to carry  them into Jamaica or Virginia, and the master offered to take all the prisoners there from him, and pay him in bulk. It was urged for this, that the markets were much better there for servants than at New Jersey. When they are thus treating, and near an issue, very much for the advantage of the passengers and prisoners, the wind turns straight for New Jersey, and they were forced to sail with it. There they arrived about the middle of December, after they had been about fifteen weeks at sea. At their landing many of them were sick ; and Mr Frazer observes, that a worthy gentleman from the west of Scotland died among their hands as they were carrying him ashore. The same person observes, that " partly of such who voluntarily offered themselves to go abroad from the kingdom of Scotland, and partly of such who were persecuted by banishment, there were upwards of 60 died at sea, whose blood (adds he) will be found in the skirts of enemies, as really, as if they had died at the cross and Grass-market of Edinburgh."
Before the prisoners came ashore, it was once intended byMr Johnston, to whom Pitlochy had made them over, to stop their getting out of the ship, till they should all of them, under their hand, sign a voluntary declaration, as it was called, that they offered four years' service at that place. But this they would not yield unto ; yea, a considerable number of them joined in a protestation against their banishment, with a large narrative of the hardships they endured during their voyage, and formerly, for conscience sake.
When the prisoners came ashore, the people who lived on the coast-side, and had not the gospel settled among them, were harsh enough to them, and showed them no kindness. A little way up the country there was a town where there was a minister settled, and the inhabitants there were very kind to them. When they had information of the prisoners' circumstances, they invited all who were able to travel, to come and live with them, and sent horses for such as were not, and entertained them that winter freely, and with much kindness. In the following spring, Mr Johnston, upon his father-in-law's gift of the  prisoners, pursued them, and got them all cited before the court of that province. After hearing both sides, the governor called a jury to sit and cognosce upon the affair. They found that the pannels had not of their own accord come to that ship, nor bargained with Pitlochy for money or service, and therefore, according to the laws of the country, they were assoiled; upon which most of the prisoners retired to New England, where they were very kindly entertained, and employed according to their different stations and capacities. Pitlochy proposed to be enriched by the prisoners, and yet he and his lady died at sea in the voyage. He sold what remained of the estate to pay the freight, and much of the money remaining was spent upon the law-suit in New Jersey. Thus it appears to be but a hazardous venture to make merchandise of the suffering people of God. 
A good many of the passengers and prisoners died in the plantations, the rest returned to their native country at the happy revolution,—Mr Riddel, William Nivenand others, and particularly the laird of Barmagechan, of whose sufferings I come now to give a more particular account from a narrative I have from his nearest relations.
Robert McLellan of Barmagechan, in the parish of Borg, and stewartry of Kirkcudbright, was born of parents who were presbyterian, and carefully educated in the principles of the church of Scotland. In his younger years he profited much under the ministry of that excellent person Mr Adam Kay minister at Borg. After he was forcibly removed from them, and a curate obtruded, Mr McLellan, with the godly and religious people in that parish, found it their duty to disown the episcopal minister, as neither called of God to the place, nor invited by them. Great was the oppression of all that country as hath been noticed, for their faithful adherence to presbyterian ministers, and Barmagechan had his own share. In February 1666, Sir James Turner sent a party of soldiers to his house, and there they lived at discretion, till he paid the exorbitant sums of money Sir James was pleased to demand for his nonconformity. After they had eaten up what he had, and destroyed much of his plenishing, and taken away what they could not destroy, and were still coming back in parties, Mr McLellan was advised to go and wait upon Sir James, and seek an order for removing his soldiers. Sir James, instead of this, seized his person, and confined him in his court of guard, till he should pay his fines for nonconformity, and the cess likewise imposed at this time for maintaining the army. Here Barmagechan continued some time, till the soldiers, having no more subsistence about his house, were removed ; and they were next sent to that of his mother-in-law, a worthy old  gentlewoman, till she should pay her fines for nonconformity, and her share of the cess.
All this time. Sir James had not let him know what sum he would take for his fine ; at length, after his house and goods had been destroyed, he liquidated the fine to six hundred merks, and sent a party of horse to quarter upon him, and ordered him to pay to each of them two shilling sterling a day, as long as they lay upon him, which was till he paid his fine. This heavy oppression put Mr McLellan to rise with others of his neighbours, against Sir James, and he was with that party who were defeat at Pentland; after which he fled to England, and lived privately four years. His estate was forfeited, and a friend of his compounded the forfeiture for two thousand merks, which he paid. 
The severities of the government slackening a little, he returned to his own house, and lived privately for some years. Yet not so privately, but the curate and others about knew he was there ; and because now and then he went and heard presbyterian ministers, the soldiers were hounded out upon him, and he was sadly harassed for several years, so that he scarce had any liberty to live at his own house.
He joined again, with others in his circumstances, at Bothwell rising, after which he retired a second time into England, and was a second time forfeited, as we have heard. The violences done to his family and friends about this time, were many and inexpressible. Claverhouse came with a party to his house, and after he had seized the corns and cattle, he was going to take away all his moveables, but a composition was made, and a hundred pounds paid him. The lady Nithsdale, a bigotted papist, got a gift of his forfeiture, as likewise of many others in that country, and miserably oppressed his tenants, drove their cattle, and exacted much more than their rent. His family was thus scattered, and he upon his hiding in England, where, towards the end of the year 1684, Squire Dacres seized him, with several other Scotsmen lurking thereabout, and sent them prisoners to Dumfries. 
Mr McLellan never disowned the king's authority, as several about this time did, yet was as harshly dealt by as any of them. He was close confined in the castle of Dumfries, and laid in the irons for several days. From thence he was carried to Leith with the rest of the prisoners, and in a little time brought up to Edinburgh, and put in close prison, with fetters on his arms. Thus he continued from November till May this year, when he was sent to Dunnotter, and had his share of the severities of that place.
When they came hack to Leith, he was banished to America, and three of his children went with hm in Pitlochy's ship. His wife, with three other children, were left in Scotland upon the care of providence. It pleased the Lord to preserve him and his three children in the voyage. He himself was extremely weakened by sickness, and behoved to be carried in men's arms out of the ship, when they landed. However, in a little time after he was ashore, his health returned, and he with his family set up in a plantation at Woodbridge in New Jersey, which he purchased. In this place he had the advantage which he very much valued, of having the gospel preached to him and his family, by Mr Archibald Riddel, who stayed with him at Newbridge, having a call from the congregation there, as likewise from Long-island, where he might have had a far greater encouragement; but Mr Riddel chose Woodbridge, and it was well he did so, otherwise probably he had scarce returned to Britain, where all his losses were made up, and he and his four children were in better circumstances than he had conformed to prelacy. There Barmagechan continued from December this year till June 1689, when they had accounts of the comfortable turn of affairs in Britain ; upon which he resolved to return to his native country."

1 comment:

  1. This is a blessing to see! George Scot is my 7th great grandfather. I have just recently been able to locate information on the Scotts in Scotland that led me to this information relating to Henry and Francis etc.!!

    Emmett Scott