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Herself, conjoyn'd by so near unity
“ Nor death, nor sleep, nor any dismall shade,
“ Broad open sight, eternall wakefulnesse,
The following picture of the wanderings of a distempered fancy will not appear tame, even after that which has been executed by the wonder-working pencil of a later dreamer:
“ Then the wild phansie from hư orrid wombe
Foul tarry spittle tumbling with their tongue
“And lovingly salute against her will,
She surely deems him her live-walking grave,
“ After a while, tost on the ocean main
She hears, she sees his blazing morn-bright eye:
If here she scape, deep gulfs and threatning rocks
Steel-coloured clouds with rattling thunder knocks,
One more extract, and we take leave of our worthy Platonist :
“ Like to a light fast lock'd in lanthorn dark
The naked light how clearly doth it ray,
What ere in her horizon doth appear :
Art. IV.-Memoirs of Captain John Creichton, from his own
Materials, drawn up and digested by Dean J. Swift. 1731.
The disastrous and disgraceful period of the Anglo-Scottish history, of which these Memoirs principally treat, has been recently rendered familiar to the generality of readers by the admirable novel of Old Mortality, which has transported us back into the administration of Lauderdale and his worthless colleagues-placing before our eyes the wild and fanatic devotions of the persecuted whigs; proscribed, outlawed, hunted down like wild beasts; lurking in dens and caves; and lifting up their voices in enthusiastic devotion on the hill side or the desert, beneath the inclement skies, or amidst the roar of the waterfall; clinging, amidst want, and famine, and torture, to their covenant, with a constancy and single-mindedness which almost tired the malice of their enemies, and which commands our sympathy and admiration, while we detest their fanaticism and the sanguinary spirit which it engendered, Balfour of Burley, Macbriar, Mucklewrath, and Kettle-drumle, are portraits which have all the freshness and verisimilitude of life; and which, having been once contemplated, never fade from the mind's eye. A page of Old Mortality is more instructive than a folio of history. Drumclog and Bothwell Brig are become classic spots; and the dissonant names which ofended the ear of Milton, have been naturalized in our common discourse.
That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp. The memoirs before us are the production of an active and enterprising officer, written in the 83d year of his age, (assisted by an eminent literary character, as we shall afterwards have occasion to mention), detailing his personal adventures in a round, unvarnished manner. Captain Creichton chiefly distinguished himself in Scotland by his zeal and sagacity in hunting the outlawed preachers; and was a worthy imitator and follower of the " bloody Clavérse.” No one, among the subaltern agents of tyranny, appears to have acted his part with a more unaffected love of the pursuit, or to have a greater respect for the honourable employment of hunting and murdering his misguided fellowmen. He relates his exploits in this way with the greatest possible complacency, and exults in the terror and detestation with which his name was pronounced by a considerable part of the Scottish nation. Without any appearance of religious feeling himself, he was a bigot to church and state; and did, from hate, what more ignoble persecutors did for hire. Yet his feelings as a man appear to have been warm and kindly; and where his spirit of military subordination did not interfere, not devoid of liberality.
Captain Creichton was introduced to Dean Swift, then on a visit to Sir Arthur Acheson, as a cavalier who had distinguished himself by his loyalty and bravery in the reigns of Charles II. and James II. but who was now closing an active and honourable life in indigence and obscurity. The Dean made him a handsome present; and, understanding that his adventures were numerous and extraordinary, and that he had preserved a written account of them, suggested the publication of his memoirs as a means of rendering him comfortable for life. The Captain said that he had memoranda of the incidents of his life, but that no one could understand them but himself. Swift desired him to bring his papers to him, and he would prepare his memoirs for the press; which he accordingly did, arranging them in a
regular narrative, and correcting the style. By the Dean's interest and recommendation, the subscription for the work exceeded two hundred pounds, and made the veteran comfortable for the remainder of his life.
Creichton was of a Scotch family, which had settled in Ireland. His father was an officer in the army, and distinguished himself as a brave and zealous soldier for Charles I. against the parliament. The following account is given of his rescuing his relation, Captain Irvin, and Mr. Stuart, who had been taken prisoners and lodged in the gaol in Derry.
“My father having received information that Sir Charles Coote, governor of Derry, had publicly declared that Captain Irvin and his companion should be put to death within two or three days, communicated this intelligence to seven trusty friends; who all engaged to assist him, with the hazard of their lives, in delivering the two gentlemen from the danger that threatened them. They all agreed that my father and three more, at the hour of six in the morning, when the west gate stood open, and the drawbridge was let down for the governor's horses to go out to water, should ride in, one by one, after a manner as if they belonged to the town, and there conceal themselves in a friend's house till night; at which time my father was to acquaint Captain Irvin and his fellow-prisoner with their design, which was to this purpose: that, after concerting measures at the prison, my father should repair to a certain place on the city wall, and give instructions to the four without, at twelve at night; accordingly, next morning, as soon as the gate was open, my father, with his three comrades, got into the town; and the same night, having settled matters with the two gentlemen that they should be ready at six next morning, at which hour he and his three friends should call upon them; he then went to the wall, and directed the four, who were without, that as soon as they should see the gate open, and the bridge drawn, one of them should walk up to the sentry, and secure him from making any noise, by holding a pistol to his breast; after which, the other three should ride up, and secure the room where the by-guard lay, to prevent them from coming out: most of the garrison were in their beds, which encouraged my father and his friends, and much facilitated the enterprise: therefore, precisely at six o'clock, when the by-guard and sentry at the western gate were secured by the four without, my father, and the other three within, being mounted on horseback, with one spare horse, in the habit of town's people, with cudgels in their hands, called at the gaol door, on pretence to speak to Captain Irvin and Mr. Stuart. They were both walking in a large room in the gaol, with the gaoler, and three soldiers attending them ; but these not suspecting the persons on horseback before the door, whom they took to be inha bitants of the town, my father asked Captain Irvin whether he had any commands to a certain place, where he pretended to be going; the captain made some answer, but said they should not go before they had drank with him ; then giving a piece of money to one of the sola diers to buy a bottle of sack at a tavern a good way off, and pretending likewise some errand for another soldier, sent him also out of the way. There being now none left to guard the prisoners but the gaoler and the third soldier, Captain Irvin leaped over the hatch-door, and as the gaoler leaped after, my father knocked him down with his cudgel. While this was doing, Mr. Stuart tripped up the soldier's heels, and immediately leaped over the hatch. They both mounted, Stuart on the horse behind my father, and Irvin on the spare one, and in a few minutes came up with their companions at the gate, before the main guard could arrive, although it were kept within twenty yards of the gaol door.
" I should have observed, that as soon as Captain Irvin and his friend got over the hatch, my father, and his comrades, put a couple of broad swords into their hands, which they had concealed under their cloaks, and at the same time drawing their own, were all six determined to force their way against any one who offered to obstruct them in their passage; but the dispatch was so sudden that they got clear out of the gate before the least opposition could be made. They were no sooner gone than the town was alarmed; Coote, the governor, got out of his bed, and ran into the streets in his shirt, to know what the hubbub meant, and was in a great rage at the accident. The adventurers met with the governor's groom coming back with his master's horses from watering; they seized the horses, and got safe to Sir Robert Stuart's, about four miles off, without losing one drop of blood in this hazardous enterprise.”
John, who was the eldest of twenty children, of whom only three other sons and two daughters arrived to maturity, was born in 1648, at Castle Fin, in the county of Donegal. He went to school at Dungannon; but, when only eighteen, he imprudently married his schoolmaster's daughter, and this engagement compelling him to have immediate recourse to some employment, he determined to embrace the profession of arms. He got admitted into the horse guards, a troop composed chiefly of gentlemen, who were sent to Scotland to assist in putting down the conventicles, and in pursuing the seditious preachers. In this service Creichton particularly distinguished himself; and displayed great zeal, courage, and address in discovering the hiding places of this persecuted race.
We shall extract an account of one of his expeditions in search of conventicles. Creichton and a comrade, disguised in grey coats, travel into the mountains, and observing three men on the top of a hill, whom they conjecture to stand there as spies, to give intelligence to a conventicle, they attack and take them prisoners. The relation then proceeds thus :
“ We then led our prisoners down the hill, at the foot of which there was a bog, and on the other side a man sitting on a rock; when we advanced near him, leaving our prisoners in the keeping of my friend, I ran up toward the man, who fled down on the other side. As