The Annals of the Parish; or, the Chronicle of Dalmailing During the Ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder

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Author: John Galt

Chapter XXXIV. Year 1793

On the first night of this year I dreamt a very remarkable dream, which, when I now recall to mind at this distance of time, I cannot but think that there was a case of prophecy in it. I thought that I stood on the tower of an old popish kirk, looking out at the window upon the kirkyard, where I beheld ancient tombs, with effigies and coats-of-arms on the wall thereof, and a great gate at the one side, and a door that led into a dark and dismal vault at the other. I thought all the dead that were lying in the common graves, rose out of their coffins; at the same time, from the old and grand monuments, with the effigies and coats-of-arms, came the great men, and the kings of the earth with crowns on their heads, and globes and sceptres in their hands.

I stood wondering what was to ensue, when presently I heard the noise of drums and trumpets, and anon I beheld an army with banners entering in at the gate; upon which the kings and the great men came also forth in their power and array, and a dreadful battle was foughten; but the multitude that had risen from the common graves, stood afar off, and were but lookers-on.

The kings and their host were utterly discomfited. They were driven within the doors of their monuments, their coats-of-arms were broken off, and their effigies cast down, and the victors triumphed over them with the flourishes of trumpets and the waving of banners. But while I looked, the vision was changed, and I then beheld a wide and a dreary waste, and afar off the steeples of a great city, and a tower in the midst, like the tower of Babel, and on it I could discern, written in characters of fire, "Public Opinion." While I was pondering at the same, I heard a great shout, and presently the conquerors made their appearance, coming over the desolate moor. They were going in great pride and might towards the city; but an awful burning rose, afar as it were in the darkness, and the flames stood like a tower of fire that reached unto the heavens. And I saw a dreadful hand and an arm stretched from out of the cloud, and in its hold was a besom made of the hail and the storm, and it swept the fugitives like dust; and in their place I saw the churchyard, as it were, cleared and spread around, the graves closed, and the ancient tombs, with their coats-of-arms and their effigies of stone, all as they were in the beginning. I then awoke, and behold it was a dream.

This vision perplexed me for many days, and when the news came that the King of France was beheaded by the hands of his people, I received, as it were, a token in confirmation of the vision that had been disclosed to me in my sleep, and I preached a discourse on the same, and against the French Revolution, that was thought one of the greatest and soundest sermons that I had ever delivered in my pulpit.

On the Monday following, Mr Cayenne, who had been some time before appointed a justice of the peace, came over from Wheatrig House to the Cross-Keys, where he sent for me and divers other respectable inhabitants of the clachan, and told us that he was to have a sad business, for a warrant was out to bring before him two democratical weaver lads, on a suspicion of high treason. Scarcely were the words uttered when they were brought in, and he began to ask them how they dared to think of dividing, with their liberty and equality of principles, his and every other man’s property in the country. The men answered him in a calm manner, and told him they sought no man’s property, but only their own natural rights; upon which he called them traitors and reformers. They denied they were traitors, but confessed they were reformers, and said they knew not how that should be imputed to them as a fault, for that the greatest men of all times had been reformers,—"Was not," they said, "our Lord Jesus Christ a reformer?"—"And what the devil did he make of it?" cried Mr Cayenne, bursting with passion; "Was he not crucified?"

I thought, when I heard these words, that the pillars of the earth sank beneath me, and that the roof of the house was carried away in a whirlwind. The drums of my ears crackit, blue starns danced before my sight, and I was fain to leave the house and hie me home to the manse, where I sat down in my study, like a stupified creature, awaiting what would betide. Nothing, however, was found against the weaver lads; but I never from that day could look on Mr Cayenne as a Christian, though surely he was a true government-man.

Soon after this affair, there was a pleasant re-edification of a gospel-spirit among the heritors, especially when they heard how I had handled the regicides in France; and on the following Sunday, I had the comfortable satisfaction to see many a gentleman in their pews, that had not been for years within a kirk-door. The democrats, who took a world of trouble to misrepresent the actions of the gentry, insinuated that all this was not from any new sense of grace, but in fear of their being reported as suspected persons to the king’s government. But I could not think so, and considered their renewal of communion with the church as a swearing of allegiance to the King of kings, against that host of French atheists, who had torn the mortcloth from the coffin, and made it a banner, with which they were gone forth to war against the Lamb. The whole year was, however, spent in great uneasiness, and the proclamation of the war was followed by an appalling stop in trade. We heard of nothing but failures on all hands; and among others that grieved me, was that of Mr Maitland of Glasgow, who had befriended Mrs Malcolm in the days of her affliction, and gave her son Robert his fine ship. It was a sore thing to hear of so many breakings, especially of old respected merchants like him, who had been a Lord Provost, and was far declined into the afternoon of life. He did not, however, long survive the mutation of his fortune; but bending his aged head in sorrow, sank down beneath the stroke, to rise no more.

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Chicago: John Galt, "Chapter XXXIV. Year 1793," The Annals of the Parish; or, the Chronicle of Dalmailing During the Ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder, trans. Garnett, Constance Black, 1862-1946 in The Annals of the Parish; or, the Chronicle of Dalmailing During the Ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder (London: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1831), Original Sources, accessed April 24, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DKFUX5B8SYIKYUK.

MLA: Galt, John. "Chapter XXXIV. Year 1793." The Annals of the Parish; or, the Chronicle of Dalmailing During the Ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder, translted by Garnett, Constance Black, 1862-1946, in The Annals of the Parish; or, the Chronicle of Dalmailing During the Ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder, London, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1831, Original Sources. 24 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DKFUX5B8SYIKYUK.

Harvard: Galt, J, 'Chapter XXXIV. Year 1793' in The Annals of the Parish; or, the Chronicle of Dalmailing During the Ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder, trans. . cited in 1831, The Annals of the Parish; or, the Chronicle of Dalmailing During the Ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, London. Original Sources, retrieved 24 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DKFUX5B8SYIKYUK.