Fair Sunshine

Fair Sunshine 6 The wordy indictment set forth against James Guthrie gives some vivid idea of his amazing activity. ‘He did contrive, com- plot, counsel, consult, draw up, frame, invent, spread abroad or disperse—speak, preach, declaim or utter—divers and sundry vile seditions and treasonable remonstrances, declarations, petitions, instructions, letters, speeches, preachings, declama- tions and other expressions tending to the vilifying and con- temning, slander and reproach of His Majesty, his progenitors, his person, majesty, dignity, authority, prerogative royal, and government.’ Shortly after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, Guthrie, with others, was apprehended and cast into prison. In February of 1661, he was tried, and in April of that year he made a de- fence before the well-named Drunken Parliament. It concludes with these words, ‘My Lord, my conscience I cannot submit. But this old crazy body and mortal flesh I do submit, to do with it whatsoever ye will, whether by death, or banishment, or imprisonment, or anything else; only I beseech you to ponder well what profit there is in my blood. It is not the extinguishing of me or of many others that will extinguish the Covenant or work of the Reformation since 1638. My blood, bondage or banishment will contribute more for the propagation of these things than my life in liberty would do, though I should live many years.’ At the close of this speech, some members with- drew, saying that they would have no part in his death, and one made a strong appeal urging banishment. But his judges were baying for his blood, and he, with Captain William Govan, a fit companion, was sentenced to be hanged at Edinburgh Cross on 1 June 1661. The head of Guthrie was to be stuck on a pike high above the Netherbow Port, his estate confiscated, and his family arms torn. The head of Govan, pike-stuck, was likewise to be high up on the West Port. On receiving this sentence, Guthrie said to the members of the Drunken Parliament, ‘My Lords, let never this sentence affect you more than it does me,