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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Having encouragement to apprehend some ministers


VI.

Further, they never ceased to express their fear of another rising, (their guilty consciences dictating that they deserved greater opposition.) Hence, to secure themselves, and incapacitate the people from further attempts of that nature, they order all withdrawers from churches, all who did not join to suppress the Lord's people, to deliver up their arms betwixt and such a day, and not keep a horse above such a very mean price, unfit for service.

VII. When force could not do the business, then they try flatteries; and hence contrive that wicked indulgence to divide and destroy the ministers that remained, and to suppress meetings. But when this bait, so well busked, could not catch all, but still there were meetings for administring the ordinances; their flattery turns to fury, and the acceptance of that indulgence by some, and despising of it by others, did both animate and instigate them unto a following forth of their design, by all the cruel acts and bloody executions. And hereby the residue of the faithful of the land were exposed unto their rage, while the indulged became interpretatively guilty of, and accessory to all the cruelties used and executed upon ministers and professors, for adhering unto that way. Hence it was common at private and peaceable meetings, when, without arms of defence, they were disturbed by soldiers, and exposed to all manner of villanous violence, some being dragged to prisons, some banished and sold to French

captains to be transported with rascals, many intercommuned and driven from their dwellings and relations, great sums of money were proffered to any that would bring in several of the most eminent ministers, either dead or alive; yea several at several times were killed, and others cruelly handled: all which, for several years, they patiently endured without resistance. But especially, when not only they were driven to the fields to keep their meetings in all weathers, summer and winter, but necessitate to meet with arms, then they raised more troops of horse and dragoons to pursue them with all rage, as traitors and rebels. Hence what pursuings, hornings, huntings, hidings, wanderings through mountains and muirs, and all kinds of afflictions, the people of God then met with, because of their following that necessary and signally blessed duty; all the lands inhabitants know, the jailors can witness to this day, and the barbarous soldiers, bloody executioners of the commands of their enraged masters, having orders to wound and kill, and apprehend all they could take at these meetings, or on the way suspected to be going to or coming from them, having encouragement to apprehend some ministers, and bring them dead or alive, by the promise of 2000 merks, others valued at 1000, and several professors also with prices put upon their heads. Hence others that were taken of them were sent into the Bass, a dry and cold rock in the sea, where they had no fresh water, nor any provision but what they had brought many miles from the country; and when they got it, it would not keep unspoiled. And others, both ministers and many hundreds of professors, were outlawed; whereby all the subjects were prohibited to reset, supply, intercommune with any of them, or to correspond with them by word, writ, or message, or furnish them with meat, drink, house, harbour, victual, or any other thing useful, under the highest pains. Hence also prisons were filled, and the wives and children of the outed ministers, that were come to Edinburgh for shelter, were commanded to dislodge, within a short day prefixed, under the pain of being forcibly shut up or dragged out. For which and other such uses, to apprehend and seize, on meetings, a major was appointed in Edinburgh, with command over the town guards, and a good salary for that end. Then prisons being filled, they were emptied to make room for others in ships, to be taken away to be sold for slaves, in one of which were sent to Virginia above 60 men, some ministers; who, through the kindness and sympathy of some English godly people, were relieved at London. A greater barbarity not to be found in the reigns of Caligula or Nero.


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