Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/321

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WILLIAM PATERSON. U5


tools and implements of husbandry taken away, they were at a loss what to do. A general cry was raised in the ships to be conducted home, which was encou- raged by Mr James Byers, one of the new councillors, who seems to have been himself deeply impressed with that dejection of spirit which, as a councillor, it was his duty to suppress. Veitch, however, assisted by captain Thomas Drum- mond, who had come out in the Olive Branch, and had taken up his residence among the natives till the fleet which he expected should arrive, succeeded in persuading the men to land. As the Spaniards had already shown their hos- tility, and, having been defeated by a detachment of the colonists in the pre- ceding February, were preparing for another attack encouraged, no doubt, by the treatment which the colony had met with from the English government Drummond proposed an immediate attack on Portobella, which they could easily have reduced, and where they might have been supplied with such things as they were most in want of. In this he was cordially seconded by Veitch, but was prevented by the timidity of his colleagues, and the intrigues of Byers, who at length succeeded in ejecting him from the council. Two ministers, Messrs James and Scott, went out with the first expedition, but the one died on the passage, and the other shortly after landing in New Caledonia. The council having written home to the directors, regretting the death of their ministers, and begging that others might be sent to supply their place, the com- mission of the General Assembly of the church of Scotland, at the particular desire of the board of directors, sent out the reverend Messrs Alexander Shields, (the well-known author of the "Hind let Loose," "Life of Renwick," &c.,) Borland, Stobo, and Dalgleish. These persons sailed in the last fleet. They were instructed, on their arrival, with the advice and concurrence of the govern- ment, to set apart a day for solemn thanksgiving, to form themselves into 8 presbytery, to ordain elders and deacons, and to divide the colony into parishes, that thus each minister might have a particular charge. After which it was recommended to them, " so soon as they should find the colony in case for it, to assemble the whole Christian inhabitants, and keep a day together for solemn prayer and fasting, and with the greatest solemnity and seriousness to avouch the Lord to be their God, and dedicate themselves and the land to the Lord." The church of Scotland took so deep an interest in the colony of Darien, that the commission sent a particular admonition by the ministers, of which the fol- lowing may be taken as a specimen : "We shall, in the next place, particularly address ourselves to you that are in military charge, and have command over the soldiery, whether by land or sea. It is on you, honoured and worthy gentle- men, that a great share of the burden of the public safety lies. You are, in some respects, both the hands and the eyes of this infant colony. Many of you have lately been engaged in a just and glorious war, for retrieving and defending the protestant religion, the liberties and rights of your country, under the conduct of a matchless prince. And now when, through the blessing of the Lord of hosts, his and your arms have procured an honourable peace at home, you, and others with you, have, with much bravery, embarked yourselves in a great, generous, and just undertaking, in the remote parts of the earth, for advancing the honour and interest of your native country. If in this you acquit your- selves like men and Christians, your fame will be renowned both abroad and at home." The ministers found the colony in circumstances very different from what the address of the commission naturally supposed ; and it was but few of their instructions they were able to carry into effect. Two of them, however,