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Broadside entitled 'A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie & John Park'






(From the Liberator.)         

THE Broomlands church has changed its name.    A stone   
has been inserted over the main door, bearing the'follow-
ing inscription:-

MARTYRS' CHURCH,                        

Erected in 1835, by the Friends of the               

Church of Scotland.                              

"Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will      
be still praising thee."

This name is given, ostensibly, as a tribute to the me-
mory of the martyrs who are buried in the adjoining field,
which field is to be included in the new burying ground,
and an clegant mounment is to be created over the precious
remains, from a design by Mr. Drummond, architect,         

The martyrs, James Algie and John Park, were exe-
cuted at the Cross of Paisley, on Tuesday, Feb. 3, l635,
for refusing the abjuration and test oaths, and were buried
in the Gallowgreen, near to the foot of what is now Max-
welton Street. About 50 years ago, what remained of
their bones and dust were removed, and interred in the field
above alluded to, which at that time was intended for a
public cemetry.                                                               

Those patriots who have served their country, who have
died in its defence, or who have laid down their lives for
the cause of truth, ought to be held in ever-honoured re-
membrance. Their heroic deeds, their noble daring, and
their godly virtues, are associated with the best and the
purest feelings of the human heart; and he whose heart
dose not warm, and his puls best his at the recollection
of the stern honour, the indomitable spirit of independ-
ence, and matchless perseverance of the persecuted Cove-
nanters, during trials and perils almost unexampled in the   
annals of civilized life, is neither a true Scotsman, nor the   
friend of the human kind.

Some there are , who consider that the giving of the                                                
church the name of " Martyrs'," arises from selfish mo-
tives, with a view that it will operate as an enthusiastic
charm, thereby securing to the house more general patron-
age and secular attention ; but in a case like this, the pa-
triot and the philosopher cares little for the motives, if
they are founded in honour.    Ere long, the men and the
motives, and the present generation will be gone and for-
gotten, but the church and its inscription will remain to
point out to the patriot pilgrim the path to the martyrs'

The present church of Scotland, however, must retrace
its steps, and a long course of defection, before it can bear
any resemblance to that Church of Scotland for which
these martyrs suffered. The present Scottish Church is
essentially Erastian in its constitution, very unlike the pure
republican form of the ancient church. In its ancient
practice the church conducted its election on the princi
ple of universal suffrage; the minister and the members of
session were appointed by the people. Accordingly, its
presbyteries, its synods, and the General Assembly, spoke
the voice of the people, and in truth shewed the very form
and pressure of the times. Hence their judicatories were
the determined advocates of the rights of the people, both
civil and religious, and hence the hatred in which they
Were held by the aristocracy and by a profligate court. It
was the sage apothegm of Charles II. that a Presbyterian
Church was incompatible with a kingly government, and
these views led to that severe and ruthless persecution of
which the martyrs in question, among many thousands of
others, were the victims. There is one curiosity in this
state of thlings which is noticed neither by Voluntaries nor
Compulsories, viz. a Church firmly established, and yet, so
far from being influenced by the State, always acting
powerfully in opposition to the arbitrary sway of a corrupt

As an elucidation of what we have wrote, and to give
information on a subject that is but partially known, we
deem it proper to give a brief narrative of the" transactions
connected with the apprehension and legal murder of the
two young martyrs, and we hope that the inference drawn
from the whole will shew the absolute necessity for every
individual, whatever his rank in life may be, to be con-
stantly on the watch, least his civil and religious rights
should be invaded.

James Algie and John Park were residents in the pa-
rish of Eastwood, and had, for some time previous to their
arrestment, rented conjunctly the small farm of Kennes-
head,1n the barony of Darnley. They had,however, left
it some short time antecedent to this, which so irritated

the person that had been instrumental in bringing them
into the farm, that, in the vindictive spirit of revenge, he
sent his nephew, upon Sabbath, Feb. 1st, with a letter to
John Cochrane of Ferguslie, at Paisley, baillie of the re-
gality of Darnley, informing him that these two persons
were inimical to the Government, and that he, as judge
ordinary, ought to notice them, as he would be answera
ble. The bearer arrived during the forenoon's service, and
was put into confinement until it was over, when a party
of soldiers were ordered out, and the two young men were
seized in their own house while at worship, and imme
diately carried to Paisley, where they underwent a long-
examination in the afternoon ; but not giving satisfaction,
they were, as was to be expected, committed for trial, which
was appointed, to take place on Tuesday. On Monday
they were visited by a pions Presbyterian minister, one of
the indulged, as they were termed." They appeared to him
to be pious, consciencious men, and that they had latterly
imbibed the doctrines of those who denied the king's auth-
ority. He, however, so far overcame their scruples, that
they consented to take the oath of abjuration ; but when,
in open court, they offered to take the oath, the bloody
minded Hamilton of Orbiston answered, "The abjnration
oath shall not save you,unless you take the test also, you
shall hang presently." The men, having a just abhorrence
of the test, instantly replied, " If to save our lives we must
take the test, and the abjuration will not save us, we will
take no oaths at all. This was about ten o'clock in the
morning, and they were immediately sentenced to be hang-
ed at two in the afternoon. Orbiston was the commis-
sioner of the court of justiciary, and he was bound by the
law, even as it then stood, to liberate them on their taking
the oath of abjuration ; but the truth was, Lord Ross was
the prime mover in all these bloody transactions, and Or-
biston was a mere tool in his hands, and it was determined
that these men should die. Orbiston boasted after the sen-
tence was passed, " They thought to have cheated the
judges, but, by G?d, I have tricked them."    So dreadful
was the thirst for innocent blood in these evil days.

When they came to the scaffold they behaved with great
fortitude, but when they attempted to address the assem-
bled multitude, the drums were beat to drown their voice
They sang the118th psalm, from the 17th verse down,
wards, and when giving out the lines :?
                We shall not die, but live, and shall
              The works of God discover?

the miscreant Lord Ross exclaimed, shaking his head,
" But ye shall dic."
The able and acute editor of Wodrow's history, Dr.
Burns, attempts to extenuate this internal saying of Lord
Ross, (merely, we suppose, because it was the saving of a
Lord), on the grounds that that nobleman alluded to the
chance of a rescuc. But on reading Wodrow's account of
the execution, the very reverse of a rescue is quite ap-
parent and no man can have the least hesitation in saying
that the exclamation proceeded from the black malignant
heart of the wretch.

After singing the psalm and praying, they offered their
bible to any of the crowd that might be pleased to accept
them, but such was, the general fear that no person would
take them.    The martyrs then quietly declared that they,
would die with the word of truth in their bosoms.    Their
waiscoats were accordingly unbuttoned by the executioner,
and the bibles placed nearest their heart,and in a feiv mo-
ments these worthy youths were launched into eternity.

Thus died these noble martyrs ; and well may their sim-
ple epitaph say

                " This shall a standing witness be,
                "Twixt Presbytery and Prelacy."

The miscreant Lord Ross outlived the Revolution, and
received emolument, and was covered with undeserved
honour by the WHIGS; but nothing could allay the horrors
of his perturbed imagination, which peopled his den at
Hawkhead with demons, and other evil spirits,
tan himself was said frequently to pay him a visit; and
often had the pious ministers of the Abbey church to wait
upon him for the purpose of soothing his awakened con-
science. He at length went to his account; the name is
now totally extinct, and the family is merged in that of'
Kelburne. And happy for the world, if any of that gall
and malignity of spirit which characterized Lord Ross be
inherited by his successors, it must quietly evaporate in
the petty persecution of poachers.                  


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Date of publication: 1835   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(115)
Broadside entitled 'A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie & John Park'
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