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EORGE JACKSON belonged to Eastwood parish, in the
neighbourhood of Glasgow. He was at Bothwell Bridge,
and carried a halbert-staff, but he was then only in his sixteenth year. Sometime in 1683, says Wodrow, this fervent, zealous countryman was taken at Glasgow, being overheard praying in a house. Soon after his apprehension, he was examined, as related in the interrogations that follow, by Ross, Archbishop of Glasgow. After examination, he was sent back to prison, where he lay all winter in irons, and without fire.
In the month of May 1684, he was taken to Edinburgh, where he was examined before a committee of Council, as he again relates in his interrogations. For seven more months he lay in prison, until, December 8, he was tried before the Court of Justiciary. Along with him were indicted James Graham, whose testimony follows, Thomas Wood (who was taken along with Thomas Harkness), Thomas Robertson, and six others.
Their indictment specially charged them with emitting the Declaration which the Societies had issued the preceding month. Of this declaration, George Jackson could truly say he knew nothing, for he had been in prison on December 9. The Lords of Justiciary found the libel relevant, that the accused own, or refuse to disown, the traitorous proclamation. The six tried with George Jackson and his three fellow sufferers disowned the proclamation, and the charge was deserted against them. The jury found George Jackson and his three companions guilty, and they were sentenced to be hanged that day at the Gallowlee, between two and five of the afternoon. Woarow says, that Jackson died in much comfort and serenity.—ED.)
HE INTERROGATIONS of GEORGE JACKSON, tenant
to [Sir George Maxwell of Nether) Pollock, who was apprehended at Glasgow, and suffered at the Gallowlee, December 9th, 1684.
At Glasgow, after he was taken, and had been asked some few questions by them who apprehended
him, he was brought before the Archbishop of Glasgow, who interrogated him thus :
Q. “What now, Mr Jackson ?”
“Will ye say, God save the king ?"
you were the man you profess to be, you would not ask such a question at me; it belongs only to God.”
Q. “Do you own the authority as it is now established ?"
A. “No; but I own all authority, so far as it is according to the written Word of God.”
Q. “Do you own the king and inferior magistrates ?"
A. “In so far as they are a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well."
Q. “ Are they not that?”
A. “When the Lord Jesus Christ shall sit judge, they and ye, and the like of you, will count for it, whether ye be or not?"
Q. “Is the Bishop's death murder or not?"
“If your questions be upon those matters that I am not concerned with, I will keep silence.”
Then the Archbishop asked him concerning some papers that were found in the room where he was apprehended; he refused to answer any further anent them, having answered the same question in the guard to these who took him. Whereat the Archbishop, enraged, said, “Sir, the Boots will make you free.” To which the said George replied, " If my Master think me worthy of them, I will get them, and if not, it is in His power to preserve me.”
Q. “Will ye subscribe what ye have said ?”
After this he was transported from Glasgow to Evandale, on the Lord's day. He relates in his letters what sweet joy and consolation he had by the way. After his having gone about the worship of God, in presence of the soldiers, who at first kept on their hats, but afterwards, ere he had done, discovered [i.e., uncovered], in came one Bonsay, their commander, and said, “ Prepare you for a bare horseback to-morrow, and your head and feet shall be bound hard and fast together." George answered, “ It is not in your power to do it.” Bonsay said, “I will let you know, it shall be in my power," and offered him the king's health ; he refused, saying, “ I am not dry to drink healths, especially on the Lord's night.” To-morrow when they were set on horseback, Bonsay caused sound a trumpet, holding it to George's ear, and said, “Sound him to hell," at which the martyr smiled.
So they came to Edinburgh upon the 13th of May 1684. Being called before a committee of the Council, he came with his Bible in his hand.
The Advocate jeeringly said, “There's him and his Bible. Come away, let's see where that text is."
George answered, “I was never a seeker out of texts; that is the proper work of a minister.”
Then the Advocate said, “ Put up your Bible, for we are not for preaching at this time.”
He answered, “I am not come to preach, for I never could; but, sir, this is the Word of God, whereby I am come here to be judged; and I charge you, and not only you, but all of you, that as ye shall answer in one day before our Lord Jesus Christ, when He shall sit and judge betwixt the just and the unjust, that ye judge me by what is written in this holy Bible; otherwise remember, ye, and the rest of you, shall make account for it in that day, when our Lord shall sit as judge, and ye shall stand naked and bare before Him; and if ye do it not, I shall be a witness against you.”
To this they returned, that he was come to be judged, not to judge; and after a while's silence, when he demanded who were his accusers, the Advocate replied, “I am your accuser," and interrogated him thus
Q. “Were ye at Bothwell ?”
I allow myself to be among no rebels; but whom call you rebels ?”
The Advocate said, “These that are rebels to the king."
George answered, “If they be not rebels to God, the matter is the less."
Q. “Do you approve of them ?”
A. “I have warrant in the Word of God to rise in arms in defence of the Gospel and work of Reformation, according to our solemn engagements; wherein we are sworn to uphold and defend, to the utmost of our power, the work of Reformation."
Q. “What! are you engaged to be against your king ?”
A. “You heard not me say that; but I said I am for the king and all authority as far as they are for the work of God, but no further."
Q. “Do you own the present authority ?"
A. “ I own ao unlawful authority.”
Q. “Will you take the Bond of Regulation, and ye shall win your way [i.e., get free]
A. “I will have nothing to do with you or your bonds either.”
Being desired to subscribe what they had written down as his confession, he refused.
At his second compearance before the Council, after they had read to him, and several other prisoners, the Declaration emitted at Sanquhar, they asked if he approved of that paper, which casts off the king, and all his authority and laws, and declares open war against him, and approves to murder his soldiers, militia, gentlemen, or intelligencers, wherever they can have the occasion ? swered, " I disown all murder."
Q. “But do you approve of that paper ?"
of it before ?" A. “I knew not of it this morning when I arose, no more than the child unborn."
Q. “Who set it out?”
A. “You have it there; perhaps it has been yourselves for aught I know.”
Q. “Were you never in these meetings called Societies or General Correspondences ?”
A. “Since ever the Lord made me to hate sin and follow duty, it was my desire to be in the company of the godly, and to go where I might have edification to my soul.”
Q. “Would ye think it lawful to kill the soldiers if they were going to take you?"
A. “Yes, in self-defence."
This account is abstracted out of his own letters. As for his large testimony, it hath not been thought necessary to publish it ; for these answers which he gave, were his testimony before the enemies; these were the grounds of his indictment and sentence of death ; these are the chief points of truth upon which he enlarges in his testimony; and, moreover, it appears from the many repetitions of the same matter, that the severity of his persecutors has occasioned his large testimony to be writ with less accuracy than he would. He insists much in praising God, for calling him to, and strengthening him under his sufferings; professes a great cheerfulness in laying down his life for the cause of Christ; exhorts others to for