CARSTARES, the Reverend William (1649-1715). A collection of thirty-one autograph letters, mostly unsigned, including seventeen to his wife, Elizabeth, ten to his sister (Sarah Dunlop), one to his 'Dear Sisters' and three to other correspondents ('My Friend' and 'My dearest Cusin'), n.p. [in prison in the Gatehouse at Westminster and the Tollbooth in Edinburgh], n.d. [August 1684], written in pencil on 36 strips of paper, approximately 138 x 160mm (some leaves faded affecting legibility); and 'from the Port', Cleve, Leiden, Edinburgh, Carlisle, 29 December 1679 - 18 May 1700, approximately 25 pages, 8vo, address panels, blanks, traces of seal (seal tears, a few stains), and: DUNLOP, the Reverend William (1649?-1700, from 1690 Principal of the University of Glasgow). Thirty-three documents including accounts, receipts, bills of exchange, discharges and similar, most referring to his domestic expenditure, 1677 - 1699, on 33 leaves, sizes 80 x 90 mm - 170 x 250 mm, address panels, blanks.
Provenance. Sarah Dunlop (sister of William Carstares), and by descent to Graham Dunlop, of Gairbraid (R.H. Story. William Carstares, 1874); subsequently sold.
In 1684 Carstares was arrested on a charge of complicity in the Rye House Plot to overthrow Charles II and exclude the Duke of York (James II) from the succession. He writes (to his wife) of his indictment, reflecting on spiritual matters, warning of 'the keepers being now very watchfull' and (to a 'Friend') that 'Being affraid of a search after my wife's removing from me which is to be tomorrow morning I have sent you this book to lye by you till the next opportunitie you shall have of writing to me, the enclosed paper you must have a speciall care of to send it to my wife for she dare not take it out with her'. Carstares was to be tortured by the thumbscrews in the Tollbooth: 'It seems things rann high, a number of groundlesse reports are spread of me as to crimes for which there is no ground ... things look so dark and god threatens to be so terrible that I am sometimes faint in my spirit'.
The later letters refer to William Dunlop's emigration to Carolina, enjoining his sister to show fortitude and commenting on his own failings ('[I] am very sensible of our comon and your own particular afflictions tho' alas not so christianlie affected with them as I ought ... alas complaining I am affraid is the most of my religion and is not attended with that heart[ie] abhorreance of what is amisse'. One letter discloses that he is 'much perplexed with that call betwixt my tender regard to that place [Glasgow] and my other circumstances that make Scotland a terrour to me. I hope God will direct me as to what concerns my Ministrie in which I desire to serve him.
Dunlop's accounts include his 'Accompt of my expenses about & at my mariage', amounting (in pounds, shillings and pence) to '522-19-09'.