lly pronounced illegal by the King and Council; and disobedience to the tyrannous law was punished with imprisonment, torture, confiscation of property, and death. To enforce these penalties the greater part of Scotland--especially the south and west-- was overrun by troops, and treated as if it were a conquered country. The people--holding that in some matters it is incumbent to "obey God rather than man," and that they were bound "not to forsake the assembling of themselves together"--resolved to set the intolerable law at defiance, and went armed to the hill-meetings.
They took up arms at first, however, chiefly, if not solely, to protect themselves from a licentious soldiery, who went about devastating the land, not scrupling to rob and insult helpless women and children, and to shed innocent blood. Our Scottish forefathers, believing--in common with the lower animals and lowest savages--that it was a duty to defend their females and little ones, naturally availed themselves of the best means of do