Baillie's Daughter in Law
and her exploits in the Prison
The power and rank of the family culminated under Sir
Patrick's son, SIR PATRICK HUME, the second Baronet and first Earl of
Marchmont. This distinguished statesman and staunch Covenanter was born in
1641. He entered public life in 1665 as member for the county of Berwick, and
joined the small but faithful band of patriots who, under the Duke of Hamilton,
offered a strenuous and constitutional resistance to the wretched
administration of the notorious Duke of Lauderdale. In 1674 he accompanied
Hamilton and other leading Scotsmen to London, for the purpose of laying the
grievances of the country before the King, who in reply to their petition for
redress said, 'I perceive that Lauderdale has been guilty of many bad things
against the people of Scotland, but I cannot find he has acted anything
contrary to my interest.'
In the following year Sir Patrick was imprisoned in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh by the Privy Council, on account of his appeal to the Court of Session for protection against the arbitrary and illegal assessment levied for the support of the troops in garrison. This imprisonment, which lasted two years, so far from repressing, only seems to have lent fresh ardour to his patriotic zeal. He was again imprisoned in 1679, and on his release by order of the King, he became a participator in the councils of Russell, Sydney, and other leading Whigs, who were anxious to exclude the Duke of York from the succession to the throne.
On the judicial murder of these eminent patriots, and the arrest of his venerable friend Baillie of Jerviswood, Sir Patrick, knowing that he was a marked man, and that the Government was bent on his destruction, quitted his mansion of Redbraes Castle, and while he was supposed to have gone on a distant journey, took up his residence in the family burial vault underneath the parish church of Polwarth. This ancient edifice stands in a lonely sequestered spot, on a knoll surrounded with old trees and a brawling burn at its foot, with no dwelling near it. The place of his retreat was known only to his wife, his eldest daughter, and a carpenter named James Winter. The only light which Sir Patrick enjoyed in this dismal abode was by a slit in the wall, through which no one could see anything within. As long as daylight lasted he spent his time in reading Buchanan's Latin version of the Psalms, which he thus imprinted so deeply on his memory that forty years after, when he was above fourscore years of age, he could repeat any one of them at bidding without omitting a word.
The duty of conveying food to Sir Patrick devolved upon his eldest daughter, Grizel, a young lady of nineteen. 'She at that time had a terror for a churchyard,' says her daughter, Lady Murray, 'especially in the dark, as is not uncommon at her age by idle nursery stories; 'but her filial affection so far overcame the fears natural to her sex and youth, that she walked night after night through the woods of her father's 'policy' and amid the tombstones of the churchyard, at darkest midnight, afraid of nothing but the danger that the place of her father's concealment might be discovered. The barking of the minister's dog, as she passed the manse on her nightly visits to the sepulchral vault, put her in great fear of discovery. But this difficulty was overcome by the ingenuity of her mother, who by raising a report that a mad dog had been seen roaming through the country, prevailed upon the clergyman to destroy the fierce mastiff which annoyed her daughter.
It was not always easy to secrete the victuals which Grizel conveyed to her father without exciting the suspicions of the domestics, and the remarks of the younger children. Sir Patrick was partial to the national dish of a sheep's head, and one day at dinner Grizel took an opportunity, when her brothers and sisters were busy at their kail, to convey the greater part of one from the plate to her lap, with the intention of carrying it that night to her father. When her brother Sandy, afterwards second Earl of Marchmont, raised his eyes and saw that the dish was empty, he exclaimed, 'Mother, will ye look at Grizzy While we have been supping our broth she has eaten up the whole sheep's head' When Sir Patrick was told this amusing incident that night he laughed heartily, and requested that in future Sandy might have a share of the highly prized viands.
Another of the services which this heroic young lady performed for her father at this period of her life was conveying a letter from Sir Patrick to his friend Robert Baillie of Jerviswood, then imprisoned on a charge of treason in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. Baillie, who was as eminent for his abilities and learning as for his fidelity to his religious principles, had shared in the councils of the English patriots, and it was of the utmost importance that intelligence should be communicated to him respecting the state of affairs since his imprisonment. Miss Grizel readily undertook this difficult and dangerous task, and managed it with great dexterity and perfect success. The son of Mr. Baillie, a youth about her own age, had at this time been recalled from Holland, where he was educated, to attend his father's trial. In a cell in the famous old Tolbooth these two young persons met for the first time, and an attachment then commenced which was destined to lead to their union in happier days, when the Revolution had expelled the tyrant and his infamous tools from the country. Shortly after this interview the Ministers of State, who, as Bishop Burnet says, 'were most earnestly set' on Mr. Baillie's destruction, arraigned the venerable patriot, though he was in a dying condition, before the High Court of Justiciary. In flagrant violation both of law and justice, he was found guilty, on the morning of December 24th, 1684, and, lest he should anticipate the sentence by a natural death, he was executed on the afternoon of the same day, with all the revolting barbarities of the penalties attached to treason.
Meanwhile, on the approach of winter, Lady Hume and Jamie Winter, the carpenter, had been contriving a place of concealment for Sir Patrick more comfortable, and less injurious to health, than the damp and dark burial vault. In one of the rooms on the ground-floor, beneath a bed, Grizel and the faithful retainer dug a hole in the earth, using their fingers alone to prevent noise, and under cover of night carrying out the earth in a sheet to the garden, and scattering it in places where it was least likely to be noticed. The severity of this task is evident, from the fact that when it was finished the nails were quite worn off the young lady's fingers. In the hole thus excavated Winter placed a box large enough to contain some bedclothes, and to afford a place of refuge for the hunted patriot, the boards above it being bored with holes for the admission of air. Sir Patrick lived for some time in this room, of which his daughter kept the key, but an irruption of water into the excavation compelled him to seek another asylum; and the search after him having become keener after the judicial murder of his friend Baillie, he decided on making an attempt to escape from the country in disguise.
A few hours after he had quitted Redbraes a party of soldiers came to the house in search of him. He had set out on horseback during the night, accompanied by a trustworthy servant named John Allan, who was to conduct him part of his way to London. In travelling towards the Tweed, Sir Patrick and his guide accidentally separated in the darkness, and the former was not aware that he had quitted the proper road till he reached the banks of the river. This mistake proved his safety, for Allan was overtaken by the very soldiers who had been sent in pursuit of his master. In the assumed character of a surgeon, Sir Patrick reached London in safety, and thence made his way by France to Holland, where a number of other patriots, Scots and English, had found refuge.
Home | Links | Hall | Writings | Biography