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The Great Historic Families of Scotland 

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Part One

[Part Two]

 

THE MAXWELLS.
page 6


Lord Maxwell, besides the offices of Master of the Royal Household, and Chief Carver to the King, obtained large grants of land in the counties of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Roxburgh, Perth, and Lanark. The extent of his influence is made evident by the fact that he received bonds of man-rent from such powerful barons as Murray of Cockpool, ancestor of the Earls of Mansfield; Douglas of Drumlanrig, ancestor of the Dukes and Marquises of Queensberry; Stewart of Garlies, ancestor of the Earls of Galloway;  Johnstone of Johnstone, ancestor of the Marquises of Annandale; Gordon of Lochinvar, ancestor of the Viscounts Kenmure; and from other influential Nithsdale and Galloway families.


THE MAXWELLS.
page 7


ROBERT, sixth Lord Maxwell, 'appears to have been a man of a courageous, impetuous, and energetic character, but his early death prevented his attaining the conspicuous and influential position which his father held.' His wife, Lady Beatrix Douglas, was a granddaughter of James, the third, and daughter of James, the fourth Earl of Morton, and co-heiress of the earldom. Her younger sister married James Douglas, nephew of Archibald, Earl of Angus, who through her obtained the title, and became the celebrated Regent Morton. As we have seen, Earl Robert, in his father's lifetime, was imprisoned in England, and was permitted to return to his native country only on condition that he would promote the sinister designs of the English King on the independence of Scotland. In return for some pecuniary assistance which Maxwell asked, the emissaries of Henry strove hard to induce him to give up the castle of Lochmaben; but this, it appears, he was unable or unwilling to do. The bloody feud which raged so long between the Maxwells and the Johnstones seems to have originated at this time, in consequence of the Laird of Johnstone having violated the obligations of man-rent, by which he bound himself to assist Lord Maxwell in all his just and honest actions. Wharton, the English Warden, informed the Earl of Shrewsbury that he had used means to create discord between the Johnstones and the Maxwells. He had offered the Laird of Johnstone 300 crowns, his brother, the Abbot of Soulseat, 100, and his followers 100, on condition that he would put the Master of Maxwell into his power. Johnstone, he said, had entered into the plot, but he and his friends 'were all so false that he knew not what to say.' He placed very little confidence in them. But he would be 'glad to annoy and entrap the Master of Maxwell or the Laird of Johnstone, to the King's Majestie's honour, and his own poor honesty.' The Book of Carlaverock, i. p. 213. By William Frazer, LL.D. There was so much double-dealing and treachery on both sides, that it was impossible to put much confidence in any of the leaders. The Master of Maxwell, in order to obtain his father's liberation from the Tower, promised to the English ambassador that he would do his utmost to promote the English interests, but he did 'his Majesty no manner of service.' On the other hand, the Governor and the Lords of the Scottish Council compelled him to give security that he would loyally keep the houses of Carlaverock, Lochmaben, and the Thrieve, for the Queen, from 'their enemies of England.' Douglas of Drumlanrig, Gordon of Lochinvar, Stewart of Garlies, and other influential barons, were his pledges for the fulfilment of his bond. The Master was, however, shortly after, in 1545, taken prisoner in an unsuccessful expedition, and carried to London, where his father had for sometime been in captivity. He remained in England until the year 1549, when he was exchanged for Sir Thomas Palmer.


THE MAXWELLS.
page 10


Lord Maxwell became closely associated with the royal favourites, Esme Stewart, Lord d'Aubigny, andthe profligate and unprincipled Captain James Stewart, afterwards Earl of Arran, the bitter enemies of Regent Morton, by whom he was brought to the block. After Morton's forfeiture and execution Maxwell obtained from King James, no doubt through their influence, a grant both of the title and of the lands of the earldom of Morton. The success of the conspiracy known as the 'Raid of Ruthven,' however, expelled from the Court the worthless favourites of the young King, and placed Maxwell in opposition to the dominant party. Complaints, no doubt well founded, were made regarding the disturbed state of the Borders under his Wardenship, and it appeared that his 'household men, servants, or tenants, dwelling upon his lands, or within the jurisdiction of his Wardenry, many of them being of the name of Armstrong, accompanied by some of the Grahams, Englishmen, and others, their accomplices, common thieves, to the number of nine score persons, went, on 30th October, 1582, under silence, to the lands of Easter Montberengier, and carried off eighteen score of sheep, with plenishing estimated at the value of 290 merks. Immediately thereafter, or on the same night, they proceeded to the lands of Dewchar, from which they stole twenty-two score of sheep, twenty-four kye and oxen, and plenishing worth 100 merks; and the lands of Whitehope they despoiled of two hundred sheep and oxen, and three horses, with plenishing worth 100 merks.' To crown all, they seized upon Thomas Dalgleish and Adam Scott, two of the persons whom they had ruthlessly plundered, and 'forcibly carried them into Annandale, in which, and sometimes in England and in other parts, they kept them in strait prison in irons, and shamefully bound the said  Thomas to a tree with fetters, intending to compel them to pay an exorbitant ransom.' The same course is followed at the present day by the banditti in Greece and in some parts of Italy.
 
THE MAXWELLS.
page 13


Next day the King summoned the castles of Lochmaben, Langholm, Thrieve, and Carlaverock, to surrender. They all obeyed except Lochmaben, which was commanded by David Maxwell, brother to the Laird of Cowhill, who imagined that he would be able to hold the castle against the royal forces inconsequence of their want of artillery. The King himself accompanied his troops to Lochmaben, and having 'borrowed a sieging train from the English Warden at Carlisle,' battered the fortress so effectually that the garrison were constrained to capitulate. They surrendered to Sir William Stewart, brother of Arran, on the written assurance that their lives should be spared. This pledge, however, was shamefully violated by the King, who ordered the captain and four of the chief men of the garrison to be hanged before the castle gate, on the ground that they had refused to surrender when first summoned.
 
THE MAXWELLS.
page 14


It was of great importance that the person of the leader of the rebellion should be secured, and Sir William Stewart was promptly despatched in pursuit of Morton. Finding himself closely followed, the Earl quitted his ship, and taking to the boat, made for land. Stewart having discovered, on seizing the ship, that Maxwell had  left it, followed him to land, and succeeded in apprehending him. He was at first conveyed to Dumfries, but was afterwards removed to the castle of Edinburgh. He contrived, even when in confinement, to take part in a new intrigue for a renewed attempt at invasion after the destruction of the Armada, and along with the Earl of Huntly and Lord Claude Hamilton he signed a letter to Philip, King of Spain, giving him counsel as to the mode in which another effort might be successfully made.


THE MAXWELLS.
page 18


The appointment of Sir James Johnstone in April, 1596, to the office of Warden of the Western Marches in the room of Lord Herries, served, as might have been expected, to increase the disturbances in the district; and it speedily became necessary to replace the chief of the Johnstone clan by Lord Stewart of Ochiltree.


THE MAXWELLS.
page 32


In the year 1715, when Mar raised the standard of rebellion in the Highlands, and the Northumbrian Jacobites took up arms under Mr. Forster and the Earl of Derwentwater, the adherents of the Stewart cause in Dumfriesshire and Galloway joined them on the Borders. As the Earl of Nithsdale was a Roman Catholic, it was deemed inexpedient to place him, as would otherwise have been done, at their head, and the chief command was given to Viscount Kenmure, the representative of the Galloway Gordons, who was a Protestant. The remembrance of the cruel persecutions of the Covenanters was too strong in the district to permit the great body of the people to show any zeal on behalf of the son of James VII. Even the tenants of the Jacobite leaders took up arms in support of the Government, and the Earl of Nithsdale, as he himself stated, was attended by only four of his own domestics when he joined the insurgents. The insurrection was so wretchedly mismanaged that it never had the slightest chance of success. The combined force advanced as far as to Preston, and was there surrounded by the royal troops, and compelled to surrender at discretion. The noblemen and principal officers were conveyed to London, and committed to prison. The Earl of Nithsdale and the other lords were sent to the Tower, and were brought to trial on January 19th, 1710, before the House of Lords, on a charge of treason. They pleaded guilty, no doubt with the hope that a confession of guilt might possibly incline the King to grant them a pardon. Sentence of death was pronounced upon them by the Lord Chancellor Cowper, who acted as HighSteward at the trial, and their execution was appointed to take place on the 24th of February.
 
THE MAXWELLS.
page 44


Although Lady Nithsdale continued to suffer from her great troubles and illnesses, and not least from theim provident and selfish conduct of her husband, several events occurred to cheer her. After long litigation in the Court of Session and the House of Lords, the entail which Lord Nithsdale had executed in 1712 was sustained, and Lord Maxwell, his sole surviving son, would succeed to the family estates at the Earl's death. Practically, he came into possession of them even before that event, since the life interest of his father was purchased from the Government for his benefit. Lady Anne Maxwell, the only daughter of Lord and Lady Nithsdale, was married to Lord Bellew, an Irish nobleman, at Lucca, in 1731, Lord Maxwell, who was now resident in Scotland, had become attached to his cousin, Lady Catherine Stewart, daughter of Lord and Lady Traquair, and made her an offer of marriage. The old connection between the two families, their constant friendship, and their agreement both in religion and politics, rendered the proposed alliance every way suitable, and it appears to have received the cordial approbation of Lady Nithsdale and Lord and Lady Traquair. But for some unmentioned reason—no doubt a selfish one—Lord Nithsdale for a considerable time withheld his consent. The marriage at length took place, however, in the course of the year 1731, and appears to have been as happy as Lady Nithsdale anticipated. As no sons were born from it, the male line of this ancient family terminated at Lord Maxwell's death.


THE MAXWELLS.
page 45


Lord Nithsdale continued to live at Rome in debt and difficulties, still hoping that the exiled Stewart family might be restored to the throne of their ancestors; but he did not live to witness the last enterprise on their behalf. He died at Rome in March, 1744. After his decease his widow was induced, though not without difficulty, to accept an annuity of £200 a year from her son, who then came into full possession of the family estates. Of this annuity she resolved to apply one-half to the payment of her husband's debts, which would by this means be extinguished at the end of three years. When this desirable consummation was attained, in beautiful harmony with her unselfish and generous character, she caused intimation to be made by her agent to Lord Maxwell that 'as his father's debts are now quite extinguish'd, his lady mother will have no occasion for more than one hundred pounds sterling per annum from him henceforth. She is now quite easy, and happy that she is free of what was a great and heavy burthen upon her.' Nothing further is known of Lady Nithsdale's declining years, but she appears to have grown very infirm. She survived her husband five years, and died in the spring of 1749 at Rome, where in all probability both she and Lord Nithsdale were buried, but no trace can be found of their last resting-place. She worthily sustained the spirit of that ancient and illustrious family from which she was descended, and on her may be justly bestowed the well-known eulogy contained in the inscription on the monument of her ancestress, Mary Sydney, third Countess of Pembroke, in Salisbury Cathedral:—


THE MAXWELLS.
page 46


WILLIAM, LORD MAXWELL, her son, succeeded to the family estates the year before the last great insurrection in behalf of the Stewarts. His sympathies were no doubt in favour of that ill-fated race, but his good sense, fortunately, kept him from taking any part in that desperate enterprise. He seems to have led a quiet, retired, and somewhat indolent life. Lady Catherine Stewart, his wife, died at Paris in 1765. Lord Maxwell survived her eleven years. His death took place at London in August, 1776. He had no male issue, and of his two daughters the elder, Mary, died in her fifteenth year; the younger, Winnifred, succeeded to the Nithsdale estates. 'Lady Winnifred,' as she was usually termed, in her twenty-third year married William Haggerston Constable of Everingham, in the county of York, second son of Sir Carnaby Haggerston, and heir of his maternal grand-uncle, Sir Marmaduke Constable, Bart., whose name he assumed. The mother of the young lady was delighted with the match. She described this 'fine English squire,' in a letter to the Countess of Traquair, as 'a very sensible, well-bred, pretty gentleman, and a good Roman Catholic.' She goes on to say that 'Winny was much startled at first at his prodigious size; but now, I think, she seems to have got over that fault, which, indeed, is the only one can be found to his appearance; but that's certain he's among the tallest men I ever saw, so your ladyship may judge what sort of a figure they will make together;' but, as she sensibly adds, 'that is not an essential matter as to happiness.' Lady Winnifred bore to her husband (who on his marriage assumed the name of Maxwell before that of Constable) three sons and four daughters. She became a correspondent of Burns, who wrote to her in high Jacobite terms; and when the present mansion-house was to be built for the permanent residence of Lady Winnifred and her husband, the poet indited a song, entitled 'Nithsdale's Welcome Hame,' which, however, displays more cordial feeling than poetical genius. Mr. Maxwell Constable died in June, 1787, but his wife survived till July, 1801. 'During the time that Lady Winnifred possessed the Nithsdale and Herries estates, which was about a quarter of a century, she resided chiefly at Terregles, where she dispensed a very generous and almost unbounded hospitality. She seldom sat down to dinner without a company of between twenty and thirty friends and neighbours. Terregles in her day was a kind of open house, where friends and neighbours frequently came, and stayed without any formal previous arrangement. Such hospitality became costly, and Lady Winnifred found it necessary to sell the barony of Duncow, the lands of Newlands, Craigley, Deanstown, and other portions of the estates.

INTRODUCTION.
page 4


The most interesting of all the dormant or extinct titles are the peerages forfeited in connection with the 'Fifteen' and the 'Forty-five,' when the last desperate efforts were made to bring 'the auld Stewarts back again,' and gallant gentlemen and noblemen not a few perilled and lost their lives and estates in the Jacobite cause. One of the most noted of the noblemen who were 'spoiled of their goods' and their hereditary honours in 1715 for their adherence to the old Scottish dynasty was the eccentric Earl of Wintoun, the head of the ancient and powerful house of Seton, immortalised by Sir Walter Scott for their fidelity to the unfortunate Queen Mary. The earldom was revived in 1859 as a British peerage in favour of the Earl of Eglinton, but the extensive estates of the Setons have passed into other hands. The Kingston peerage, which was held by a cadet of the Seton family, was also forfeited in 1715, and has not been restored. Viscount Kenmure, the chief of the Gordons of Galloway, whose gallantry is commemorated in the well-known [p.4] ballad 'Kenmure's on and awa', Willie,' was closely associated with the Earl of Wintoun in the Jacobite insurrection, but, less fortunate than that nobleman, he forfeited his life as well as his titles and lands for the sake of the Stewart cause. The estate was bought. back by his widow, and the family titles were restored in 1826, but became extinct on the death of the eleventh viscount in 1847. The Earl of Nithsdale, the chief of the powerful Border house of Maxwell, was to have suffered along with Viscount Kenmure, but escaped from the Tower through the agency of his heroic wife. His estates were regained, but the earldom has not been recovered. The titles and estates of the Keiths, hereditary Grand Mareschals of Scotland from the twelfth century downwards, were also lost in the fatal rising of 1715. A similar fate befell the Livingstons, descended from the Chancellor of James II., who possessed the earldoms of Callendar and Linlithgow. The gallant Seaforth, 'High Lord of Kintail,' chief of the powerful clan of the Mackenzies, was exiled and forfeited for his share in 'the Fifteen.' The titles and estates, however, were recovered, but the former became extinct on the death of the last Earl of Seaforth in very painful circumstances in 1815. Another great Jacobite noble who took part in that rebellion was the Earl of Panmure, who was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Sheriffmuir, but was rescued by his brother Harry Maule, worthy descendants both of that brave Sir Thomas Maule, who in the War of Independence gallantly held out his castle of Brechin against a powerful English army and lost his life in its defence. The earldom has not been restored, but the Panmure estates were purchased from the York Building Company by the earl's nephew, and are now in the possession of the Earl of Dalhousie, the representative of the Maules in the female line.
 
INTRODUCTION.
page 4


The forfeitures incurred in consequence of the rebellion of 1745 were much fewer and less important than those of 1715. Pitsligo, the prototype of the immortal Baron Bradwardine in 'Waverley,' lost his title and estates, but succeeded in making his escape to the Continent. The Earl of Cromarty's life was spared out of compassion for his numerous family, but his associates—Lovat, Kilmarnock, and Balmerino—lost their lives as well as their titles and estates in the Stewart cause, and were the last peers who were executed in this country for treason.
 
THE ANCIENT EARLDOM OF MAR.
INTRODUCTION.
page 5


The original earldom of Mar has been pronounced by the Ulster King-of-Arms, the most ancient title in Great Britain, perhaps in Europe. The learned and accurate Lord Hailes remarks that 'this is one of the earldoms whose history is lost in antiquity. It existed before our records and before the era of genuine history.' It has been held in succession by members of the great historic houses of Douglas and Stewart, Drummond and Erskine; has been borne by the hero of Otterburn and by the victor in the critical battle of Harlaw, which finally decided the protracted struggle for supremacy in the Highlands between the Saxon and the Gael; by the sons of two of the Scottish kings, and by three rulers who governed Scotland with vice-regal authority, one of the three being the most sagacious and energetic statesman that ever held the reins of government in our country.
 
THE ANCIENT EARLDOM OF MAR.
INTRODUCTION.
page 8


Thomas, the ninth earl, or, according to another mode of reckoning, the thirteenth who enjoyed that dignity, was one of the most powerful nobles of his day. He held the office of Great Chamberlain of Scotland, and was repeatedly sent as ambassador to England. He died in 1377, leaving no issue, and in him ended the  direct male line of the Earls of Mar. His sister Margaret was, at the time of Earl Thomas's death, the wife of William, Earl of Douglas, nephew and heir of the 'Good Sir James,' the friend of Robert Bruce. On the death of his brother-in-law he obtained possession of the historical earldom of Mar and transmitted it, along with his own hereditary titles and estates, to his son James, the hero of Otterburn, 'the dead man that won a fight'—one of the most renowned in Scottish history. The Douglas estates were inherited by Archibald 'the Grim,' the kinsman of Earl James, while the earldom of Mar passed to his sister, Isabella, wife of Sir Malcolm Drummond, brother of Annabella, Queen of Scotland, wife of Robert III. About the year 1403, Sir Malcolm was suddenly surprised by a band of ruffians, who treated him with such barbarity that he soon after died, leaving no issue. This outrage was universally ascribed to Alexander Stewart, natural son of the Earl of Buchan, the 'Wolf of Badenoch,' fourth son of Robert II. After the death of her husband the Countess was residing quietly and in fancied security at her castle of Kildrummie, when it was suddenly attacked and stormed by Stewart at the head of a formidable band of Highland freebooters and outlaws, and either by violence or persuasion the young Countess was induced to become the wife of the redoubted cateran, and to make over to him, on the 12th of August, 1404, her earldom of Mar and Garioch, with all her other castles. In order, however, to give a legal aspect to the transaction, Stewart presented himself, on the 19th of September, at the gate of the castle of Kildrummie, and surrendered to the Countess 'the castle and all within it, and the title deeds therein kept; in testimony thereof he delivered to her the keys to dispose of as she pleased.' The Countess, holding the keys in her hand, declared that deliberately and of her own free will she chose Stewart for her husband, and conferred upon him the castle, pertinents, &c., as a free marriage gift, of which he took instruments. It appears that even this formal transaction was not deemed sufficient to give validity to the transaction, for on the 9th December following, the Countess, taking her station in the fields outside her castle, in the presence of the Bishop of Ross, and the sheriff and posse comitatus of the county, along with the tenantry on the estate, that it might appear that she was really acting without force on Stewart's part or fear on hers, granted a charter to him of her castle and estates duly signed and sealed.
 
INTRODUCTION.
page 10


Strange to say, this lawless freebooter afterwards rendered most important services to his country by repressing the disorders of the northern counties and repelling the attacks of English invaders; and he obtained high renown, both in England and on the Continent, on account of his valour and skill in the exercises of chivalry. He was repeatedly sent on embassies to the English Court, and, at one time, held the office of Warden of the Marches. His restless spirit and love of fame carried him abroad in quest of distinction; and Wyntoun states that, during a residence of three months in Paris he kept open house, and was highly honoured for his wit, virtue, and bravery. From the Court of France he proceeded to Bruges, and joined the army which the Duke of Burgundy was leading to the assistance of his brother, John of Bavaria, the bishop-elect of Liège, 'a clerk not of clerk-like appearing,' who was in danger from the rebellion of the people of his diocese. The subsequent victory at Liège was mainly owing to the skill and courage of Mar, who slew in single combat Sir Henry Horn, the leader of the insurgents. He was the 'stout and mighty Earl of Mar' who gained the battle of Harlaw, in the year 1411, defeating Donald of the Isles with terrible slaughter, though outnumbered by ten to one, and thus terminating the protracted contest for superiority between the Celtic and the Saxon races. The ostensible and immediate cause of this sanguinary conflict was the claim to the earldom of Ross, which had been held by the Earl of Buchan, Mar's father, in right of his wife. Alexander, Earl of Ross, the son of the Countess by her first husband, married Lady Isabel Stewart, eldest daughter of the Regent Albany. The only issue of this marriage was a daughter, named Euphemia, who became Countess of Ross at her father's death. She afterwards entered a convent, and entrusted the management of her estate to her grandfather, the Regent, with the intention, it was supposed, of resigning it in favour of her mother's brother, the Earl of Buchan, Albany's second son. Donald, Lord of the Isles, who had married Euphemia's aunt, Margaret, the only sister of the deceased Earl Alexander, insisted that Euphemia, by becoming a nun, must be regarded as dead in law, and demanded that his wife should be put in possession of the earldom. The Regent, however, refused to accede to the claim, and Donald took up arms to enforce it. At the head of ten thousand men, he suddenly invaded and took possession of the district. He was encountered at Dingwall by Angus Dow Mackay of Farr, at the head of a large body of men from Sutherland. The Mackays were routed with great slaughter, their leader was taken prisoner, and his brother was killed. Elated with his success, Donald pressed on through Moray, laying waste the country with fire and sword, and penetrated into Aberdeenshire, for the purpose of executing his threat to burn the town of Aberdeen. He was encountered at a place called Harlaw, in the Garioch, about fifteen miles from that city, by the Earl of Mar, at the head of the chivalry of Angus and Mearns—the Ogilvies, Maules, Lyons, Lindsays, Carnegies, Leslies, Leiths, Arbuthnots, Burnets, &c., who, though few in number, were better armed and disciplined than the Highlanders of whom Donald's host was composed. In the words of old Elspeth's ballad, in the 'Antiquary'—
 

INTRODUCTION.
page 12


The battle, which was fought on the 24th of July, 1411, was long and fiercely contested, and night alone separated the combatants. The Earl of Mar lost one half of his force, and among the slain were Sir James Scrymgeour, Constable of Dundee; Sir Alexander Ogilvie, the Sheriff of Angus, with his eldest son; Sir Thomas Murray; Sir Robert Maule of Panmure; Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum; Leslie of Balquhain, with six of his sons; Sir Alexander Straiton of Lauriston, and Sir Robert Davidson, Provost of Aberdeen. The Earl of Mar and the survivors of his little army were so exhausted with fatigue that they passed the night on the battlefield, expecting the contest to be renewed next morning; but when the day broke they found that Donald and the remains of his force had retired during the night, leaving a thousand men, with the chiefs of Macintosh and Maclean, on the battlefield, and, retreating through Ross, they gained the shelter of their native fastnesses. 'It was a singular chance,' says Sir Walter Scott, 'that brought against Donald, who might be called the King of the Gaels, one whose youth had been distinguished as a leader of these plundering bands; and no less strange that the Islander's claim to the earldom of Ross should be traversed by one whose title to that of Mar was so much more challengeable.' The battle of Harlaw was long remembered in Scotland on account of the number and rank of the slain in Mar's force. It was commemorated in contemporary verse: the 'Battle of Harlaw' is one of the old ballads whose titles are given in the 'Complaint of Scotland' (1548). Mr. Laing, in his 'Early Metrical Tales,' speaks of an edition printed in the year 1668, as being 'in the curious library of old Robert Myles,' but no copy is now known to exist of a date anterior to that which was published in Ramsay's 'Evergreen.' A tune of the same name, adapted to the bagpipes, was long extremely popular in Scotland. After the death of the Countess of Mar, the title and estates should have devolved on the heir of line, Janet Keith, wife of Sir Thomas Erskine, and great-granddaughter of Earl Gratney, but Earl Alexander, who had only a life interest in the earldom, resigned it in 1426 into the hands of the King, James I., and received a grant of the titles and estates to himself for life, and after him to his natural son, Sir Thomas Stewart, and his lawful heirs male. Earl Alexander died in 1435, and his son having pre-deceased him without issue, the earldom, in terms of the recent charter, reverted to the Crown. Sir Robert Erskine, the son of Sir Thomas and Lady Janet, claimed the earldom in right of his mother, as second heir to the Countess Isabel, 22nd April, 1438, before the Sheriff of Aberdeen, and, in the following November, was invested in the estates. He assumed the title of Earl of Mar, and granted various charters to vassals of the earldom; but, in 1449, James II. obtained a reduction of his service before an assize of error, and took possession of the estates, no doubt in order to carry out the favourite policy of himself and his father, of weakening the dangerous power of the barons. It was subsequently conferred on John, second son of James II., who was put to death in 1449 for alleged treason against his brother, James III. The next possessor of the earldom was Cochrane, one of the favourites of that monarch, who was hanged over the bridge at Lauder in 1482. It was then granted, in 1486, to Alexander Stewart, Duke of Ross, a younger son of James III. On his death it reverted to the Crown, and in February, 1561-2, it was conferred by Queen Mary on her natural brother, Lord James Stewart, afterwards the celebrated Regent; but he speedily resigned it, preferring the dignity of Earl of Moray. The Queen then, in 1565, bestowed the title on John, fifth Lord Erskine, the descendant and heir male of Sir Robert Erskine, who had unsuccessfully claimed it a hundred and thirty years before. From that period downwards the Mar honours have followed the varying fortunes of the family of Erskine, one of the most illustrious of the historic houses of Scotland. The greater part of the extensive estates which in ancient times belonged to the earldom had, by this time, passed into various hands, and could not be recovered; but the remnant which still remained in the possession of the Crown was gifted to the new earl.
 
INTRODUCTION.
page 13


On the death of John Francis, sixteenth Earl of Mar and eleventh Earl of Kellie, in 1866, his cousin, Walter Coningsby Erskine, inherited the family estates along with the earldom of Kellie, which were entailed on heirs male; while the ancient earldom of Mar was claimed by John Francis Goodeve, the only son of the late earl's sister, who thereupon assumed the name of Erskine. His claim was at first universally admitted. He was presented at Court as Earl of Mar, his vote was repeatedly received at the election of representative peers, and his right to the title was conceded even by his cousin, Walter Coningsby Erskine, the new Earl of Kellie. By-and-by, however, Lord Kellie laid claim also to the earldom of Mar, but he died before his petition could be considered by the House of Lords. It was renewed by his son, and was in due course referred to the Committee for Privileges. In support of the claim it was pleaded that the title of Earl of Mar, conferred by Queen Mary on John, Lord Erskine, in 1565, was not the restoration of an ancient peerage, but the creation of a new one; that the original earldom of Mar was purely territorial, one of the seven ancient earldoms of Scotland, and was therefore indivisible; that this dignity terminated at the death of Earl Thomas in 1377; that William, first Earl of Douglas, his sister's husband, must have obtained the earldom by charter and not by right of his wife, as at his death the title and estates descended to their son James, second Earl of Douglas, while his mother was still living; that her daughter, Isabella, became the wife of Sir Malcolm Drummond, who was styled Lord of Mar and of the Carioch, not earl; that her second husband, Alexander Stewart, obtained possession of the territorial earldom of Mar in right of his wife, but did not become earl until he obtained seizen under the Crown; that he survived the Countess for many years, and acted, and was treated by the Crown, as the owner in fee of the earldom, and that on his death the Crown entered into possession of the estates in terms of the charter granted to the earl by King James I.; that from this period downwards the lands had been broken up and disposed of by the Sovereign at his pleasure, different portions of them having been granted at various times to royal favourites, and that the title had been conferred in succession upon several persons who had no connection with its original possessors. The territorial earldom, it was asserted, was indivisible, and could not be separated from the title, and as the former had ceased to exist, the ancient dignity could not be revived. It was, therefore, contended that Queen Mary must have created a new dignity when on her marriage to Darnley in 1565 she raised Lord Erskine to the rank of an earl; that the fact that throughout Queen Mary's reign he ranked as the junior and not the premier earl, as must have been the case if the title had been the old dignity revived in his person, shows that his earldom was a new creation, and that as there is no charter in existence describing the dignity conferred upon Lord Erskine, the prima-facie presumption is that it descended to heirs male.
 
INTRODUCTION.
page 19


Soon after the new government was established, the national party lost their leader. He died suddenly, without male issue, in 1258, and it was believed that he had been poisoned by his wife, in order that she might be free to marry an English knight, named John Russell. There was no satisfactory evidence adduced to prove her guilt but her marriage to Russell, which took place shortly after, gave colour to the charge. She was in consequence deprived of her earldom, and imprisoned, along with her new husband, and was ultimately expelled the kingdom in disgrace. The Countess appealed to the Pope (Urban IV.) against the injustice which she alleged had been done to her, but the Scottish King and his nobles indignantly repelled the interference of the Roman Pontiff with the affairs of the kingdom. Isabella, daughter of the Countess by Walter Comyn, married her cousin, William Comyn; and after long contention a compromise was effected in the year 1285, and the vast domains of the earldom were divided between the Lady Isabella and the husband of her mother's youngest sister, WALTER STEWART, a son of the High Steward of Scotland, who obtained the title. The new Earl of Menteith, surnamed Bailloch, or 'the Freckled,' was a famous warrior. He joined the disastrous expedition under St. Louis of France, called the Third Crusade, for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, and fought with great distinction at the battle of Largs in 1263, at which his elder brother defeated the Norwegians under King Haco. He took a prominent part in the proceedings connected with the contest for the Scottish crown after the death of the 'Maiden of Norway,' and was one of the commissioners nominated by Robert Bruce in his competition with John Baliol. The Earl left two sons, who dropped their paternal surname of Stewart, and assumed that of Menteith. The younger of the two, Sir John Menteith of Ruskie, is the 'false Menteith' who is branded by Scottish tradition and history as the betrayer of the patriot Wallace. Lord Hailes, who sometimes carried his scepticism respecting the statements of the old Scottish historians a great deal too far, discredits the story, which he asserts rests only on tradition and the allegations of Blind Harry. Sheriff Mark Napier, a descendant of Sir John Menteith, has made an elaborate defence of his ancestor from the charge of betraying Wallace; and Mr. Burton designates it as a part of the romance of Wallace's career that he was betrayed by a fellow-countryman and an old companion in arms. 'Menteith,' he adds, 'held the responsible post of Governor of Dumbarton Castle, and it seems likely that he only performed a duty, whether an agreeable one or not.'
 
INTRODUCTION.
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ALEXANDER MENTEITH, sixth Earl of Menteith, elder brother of the 'false Menteith,' fought on the patriotic side in the War of Independence, and in consequence lay for a considerable time in an English dungeon. His son, ALAN MENTEITH, seventh earl, a staunch supporter of Robert Bruce, was taken prisoner at the battle of Methven, in 1306, when the fortunes of the patriot king were at the lowest ebb, was deprived of his estates by Edward I., and died in an English dungeon. He was succeeded by his brother, MURDOCH STEWART, who was killed at the battle of Dupplin, 12th April, 1332. His niece, LADY MARY, only daughter of Earl Alan, who appears to have been under age at the time of her father's death, now became Countess of Menteith. She married Sir John Graham, who is supposed to have been the younger son of Sir Patrick Graham of Kincardine, ancestor of the Montrose family, and became Earl of Menteith apparently by courtesy through his wife. He accompanied David II. in his invasion of England in 1346. He was present at the battle of Durham, and, when the archers were almost within bowshot, earnestly urged the King to send a body of cavalry to charge them in flank. His advice was unhappily disregarded, and when the archers were about to direct their deadly volleys on the serried ranks of the Scottish spearmen, the Earl exclaimed, 'Give me but a hundred horse and I engage to disperse them all; so shall we be able to fight more securely.' His appeal was, however, unheeded, and hastily leaping upon his horse, and followed only by his own retainers, he rushed upon the advancing bowmen. But his gallant attack was not supported. His horse was killed under him, and after bravely, but vainly, striving to arrest the advance of the enemy, he was compelled to retire to the main body of the Scottish army. After a stout battle, which lasted for three hours, the Earl was taken prisoner, along with his sovereign, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. By the direct orders of King Edward, he was tried and condemned as a traitor, on the plea that he had at one time sworn fealty to the English King, and was drawn, hanged, beheaded, and quartered.
 
THE EARLDOM OF MENTEITH.
INTRODUCTION.
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'The true reason for this action,' says Mr. Frazer, 'is no doubt to be found in the fact that the Earl of Mar, naturally desirous of having children of his own to succeed to his old and historical earldom of Mar, and finding himself disappointed in this after his union with Lady Margaret Graham, as it is recorded that  there were no children of the marriage, separated himself from her, in the hope that by a new matrimonial alliance he might have an heir. He afterwards married Lady Margaret Stewart, Countess of Angus, who was the eldest daughter and heiress of Thomas Stewart, second Earl of Angus. But he was again disappointed, and he died without issue in 1377.

THE EARLDOM OF MENTEITH.
INTRODUCTION.
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Lady Margaret, who was still little more than twenty years of age, was induced to take for her third husband, in 1359, John Drummond, of Concraig, for the sake of healing the fierce feuds that raged between the Menteiths and the Drummonds. He died, however, probably in 1360, for his widow married again in 1361. Her fourth and last husband was Sir Robert Stewart, third son of Robert Stewart, Earl of Strathern, Hereditary High Steward, afterwards King Robert II. of Scotland; and by this marriage she carried the earldom of Menteith back to the race of her maternal ancestors, the Stewarts. ROBERT STEWART was created Earl of Menteith on the 26th of March, 1371, the day on which his father was crowned, and on the 30th of that month the Lady Isabella, Countess of Fife, recognised the Earl as her true and lawful heir-apparent in virtue of the entail made by her father, Sir Duncan, Earl of Fife, in favour of Alan, Earl of Menteith, grandfather of Earl Robert's wife, and of the entail made by Lady Isabella herself and her late husband, elder brother of Sir Robert, in his favour. A meeting of Parliament, held at Scone in April, 1373, ordained that, failing the eldest son of the King and his heirs, the succession to the Crown should devolve on the EARL OF FIFE AND MENTEITH, who was to take precedence of the younger sons of the sovereign. He received numerous grants of land from his father, with whom he seems to have been a favourite, and he was appointed in 1382 to the office of High Chamberlain, left vacant by the death of Sir John Lyon of Glammis.
 
THE EARLDOM OF MENTEITH.
INTRODUCTION.
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The earldom of Menteith, on the execution and forfeiture of Earl Murdoch, became vested in the Crown, and a moiety of it was conferred in 1427 upon MALISE GRAHAM, son of Sir Patrick Graham and Euphemia, granddaughter of Robert Stewart, as some compensation for the loss of the earldom palatine of Strathern, one of the oldest and most illustrious of Scottish dignities, which he had inherited from his mother, and which the King had appropriated on the plea that it was a male fief. The other portion was reserved to the Crown, and was afterwards known as the STEWARTRY OF MENTEITH. The second son of Earl Malise, named 'Sir John with the Bright Sword,' upon some displeasure having arisen against him at Court, retired with a large number of his kindred and clan to the English Border, during the reign of Henry IV., where they became the most formidable of the freebooters resident in the Debateable Land. 'They were all stark moss-troopers and arrant thieves,' says Sandford, 'both to England and Scotland outlawed, yet sometimes connived at because they gave intelligence forth of Scotland, and could raise four hundred horse upon a raid of the English into Scotland.'
 
THE EARLDOM OF MENTEITH.
INTRODUCTION.
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WILLIAM GRAHAM, seventh Earl, who, like his father, succeeded to the family title and estates while in his boyhood, was the most distinguished of all the earls of the house of Graham. Unlike his father and grandfather, he was a staunch Royalist and a great favourite of Charles I. He rose rapidly from comparative obscurity to be the most influential nobleman in Scotland, and held the important offices of President of the Privy Council, Justice-General, and an Extraordinary Lord of Session. Charles placed great confidence in the tact and capacity of the Earl of Menteith, and consulted him freely on all the questions which then disturbed the northern part of the kingdom. A considerable number of the letters which the Earl received from the King have teen brought to light and published in the second volume of the 'Red Book of Menteith,' and serve to show both the state of the country at this time and the feeling which his Majesty cherished towards his faithful servant. The Earl was served heir-of-entail in 1630 to David, Earl of Strathern, eldest son of Robert II. by his second wife, and in the following year the King ratified by patent this service to the Earl, and authorised his being styled Earl of Strathern and Menteith. The other nobles, however, seem to have regarded the favoured nobleman with great envy and jealousy, and one or two of their number appear to have been actuated by apprehensions that some of their own estates which had formed part of the ancient earldom might be reclaimed. They, therefore, organised a cabal against the Earl, of which Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet, Director of Chancery, 'a busy man in foul weather,' was the guiding spirit, and they contrived by false and insidious accusations to excite the suspicion of the King against the potent and ambitious nobleman. The validity of the marriage of Robert II. to Elizabeth Mure, his first wife, from whom the royal Stewart family are descended, had been long and keenly disputed; and if it had been set aside, David, Earl of Strathern, the ancestor of the Menteith family, would have been the eldest legitimate son of that sovereign. In allusion to this claim the Earl of Menteith is alleged (though he affirmed untruly) to have boasted that he had 'the reddest blood in Scotland.' The hostile intriguers, among whom it is matter of regret that Drummond of Hawthornden, the poet, was included, succeeded in persuading Charles that the Earl of Menteith had uttered certain treasonable speeches, claiming to have a better right to the throne than the King himself. Drummond had previously stated to the king that 'a more serious blow could not be given to the Earl of Menteith himself than allowing his descent and title to the earldom of Strathern;' and so it proved. The unfortunate nobleman was deprived by Charles not only of the earldom of Strathern, but also of his hereditary title of Menteith. To aggravate the injustice thus done to him, he was at the same time stripped of all his offices. As some small compensation for the grievous wrong inflicted on him, he was in 1632 created Earl of Airth, and he was subsequently allowed to resume his family title of Menteith, but he passed the rest of his days in poverty and obscurity.
 
THE EARLDOM OF MENTEITH.
INTRODUCTION.
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LORD KILPONT, the eldest son of this ill-assorted couple, was the young and gallant nobleman whose exploits occupy a prominent place in the 'Legend of Montrose.' Sir Walter has, however, considerably softened and altered the catastrophe, for Lord Kilpont unfortunately did not recover, but was struck dead on the spot by Stewart of Ardvoirlich.
 
THE EARLDOM OF MENTEITH.
INTRODUCTION.
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Various accounts have been given of the causes which led to this murder, but all that is known with certainty is that, though his family had certainly no great reason to support the royal cause, Kilpont, who, like his father, had steadily refused to subscribe the Covenant, or to take part with the Covenanters, joined the Marquis of Montrose with a body of five hundred men, when he took up arms for the King in 1644, and at the battle of Tippermuir commanded the left wing of the Royal forces. A few days after, while the army was lying in the fields, near the Kirk of Collace, the young nobleman was assassinated by Stewart of Ardvoirlich, his intimate friend, whose tent and bed he had shared on the previous night.
 
THE EARLDOM OF MENTEITH.
INTRODUCTION.
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Wishart, the chaplain and biographer of Montrose, states that Stewart had resolved to abandon the Royal cause, and to assassinate Montrose, and tried to induce Lord Kilpont to be 'accessory to the villainy. Therefore, taking him aside into a private place, he had discovered unto him his intention, which the nobleman highly detested, as was meet. Whereupon the murderer, fearing he would discover him, assaulted him unawares, and stabbed him with many wounds, who little suspected any harm from his friend and creature. The treacherous assassin by killing a sentinel escaped, none being able to pursue him, it being so dark that they could not see the end of their pikes. Some say the traitor was hired by the Covenanters to do this, others only that he was promised a reward if he did it. Howsoever it was, this is most certain that he is very high in their favour unto this very day, and that Argyle immediately advanced him, though he was no soldier, to great command in his army. Montrose was very much troubled with the loss of that nobleman, his dear friend, one that had deserved very well both from the King and himself; a man famous for arts and arms and honesty; being a good philosopher, a good divine, a good lawyer, a good soldier, a good subject, and a good man.' Wishart's account of this tragic incident is in part corroborated by the Act of Parliament, passed in March, 1645, confirming the pardon granted by the Privy Council to James Stewart, for the slaughter of Kilpont. It stated what was no doubt the murderer's own story, which there is little doubt was framed in such a way as was most likely to conciliate his new friends, and obtain an amnesty for his foul deed. The Act sets forth that James Stewart of Ardvoirlich, along with his son and four friends, 'repenting of their errors in joyning with the saides rebbles, and abhorring their cruelty, resolved with his saide freendes to foirsake their wicked company, and impairted this resolution to the said umquhile Lord Kilpont. Bot he, out of his malignant dispositione opposed the same, and fell in struggling with the said James, who for his owne relieffe was forced to kill him at the Kirk of Collace, with two Irish rebells who resisted his escape.'

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INTRODUCTION.
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A few days after the battle of Tippermuir an entertainment was given by Montrose to his officers, in honour of the victory which he had gained. Kilpont and his comrade Ardvoirlich were present, and on their return to their own quarters Stewart began to blame the young lord for the part he had taken in the quarrel with Colkitto. Kilpont of course defended himself, till the argument came to high words, when Stewart, who was a man of violent passions, and was probably heated with wine, broke out in great fury, and with his dirk struck his friend dead on the spot. He immediately fled, and, under cover of a thick mist, escaped pursuit, leaving his eldest son Henry, who had been mortally wounded at Tippermuir, on his deathbed.
 
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INTRODUCTION.
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Stewart's followers immediately withdrew from Montrose, and no course remained for him but to throw himself into the arms of the opposite faction, by whom he was well received. His name is frequently mentioned in Leslie's campaigns, and on more than one occasion he is referred to as having afforded protection to several of his former friends, through his interest with Leslie, when the cause became desperate. James Stewart of Ardvoirlich was the prototype of Allan McAulay in the 'Legend of Montrose,' and the story which Sir Walter ascribes to that moody and partially insane Highlander actually occurred in the case of Ardvoirlich. His mother was sister of one of the Drummonds, surnamed Drummond-Ernoch, who was royal forester in the forest of Glenartney, in the reign of James VI. About the year 1588 he was murdered by a party of the MacGregors, known by the title of MacEagh, or 'Children of the Forest.' They cut off his head and carried it with them, wrapped up in the corner of one of their plaids. They stopped at the house of Ardvoirlich, and demanded refreshments, which the lady (her husband being absent) was afraid, or unwilling, to refuse. She caused bread and cheese to be placed before them, and went into the kitchen to order more substantial refreshments to be made ready. On her return to the room she saw on the table the bloody head of her brother, with its mouth filled with bread and cheese. The poor lady, horrified at the sight, shrieked aloud and fled into the woods, where, notwithstanding strict search, she could not be found for some weeks. She was at length discovered in a state of insanity, but, after giving birth to a child of which she had been pregnant, she gradually recovered her faculties. The boy—James Stewart—grew up to manhood, uncommonly tall, strong, and active, but with a moody, fierce, and irascible temper; and there is every reason to believe that he was not free from a taint of insanity. He led a hard life after his murder of Lord Kilpont, as the Grahams held him at mortal feud. He had often to be in hiding, and even when he died his friends were obliged to conceal his body for some time till they could bury it safely in an old chapel.
 
THE DOUGLASES.
INTRODUCTION.
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Douglas continued to take an active part in the measures adopted after Bannockburn to clear the country completely of the English, and during the expedition to Ireland, undertaken by King Robert and his brother, Edward Bruce, the government of the kingdom was intrusted to Sir James, in conjunction with Walter Stewart, Bruce's son-in-law. Hostilities between the two kingdoms at this period were for the most part confined to occasional Border forays, in which the Scots were almost always successful, mainly through the activity and skill of Douglas. He inflicted a severe defeat on the Earl of Arundel at a place called Linthaughlee, near Jedburgh. The line of march of the invading army lay through an extensive wood, and Douglas having twisted together the young birchtrees on both sides so as to form a kind of abatis impenetrable by cavalry, posted a considerable body of archers in ambush at the narrowest part of the pass. The English advanced in careless security, and on reaching this spot they were assailed by the Scots both in front and on the flanks, and driven back with great slaughter. In the first onset Sir Thomas de Richemont, one of the English leaders, was slain by the hand of Douglas, who took as a trophy of victory a furred hat which Sir Thomas wore above his helmet. The estate of Linthaugh, which King Robert bestowed upon Douglas as a reward for this victory, is still in the possession of the family.
 
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INTRODUCTION.
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The coast of Galloway was at this time infested by bands of Irish catterans, who ravaged and spoiled the country; and shortly before the battle of Otterburn Sir William resolved to punish them for their piracies. Having collected a force of five hundred spearmen, he effected a landing near Carlingford, and was proceeding to assault the town when the inhabitants offered him a large sum of money to ransom the place. Having thus obtained an armistice they secretly despatched a messenger to Dundalk and procured the assistance of eight hundred horse. Douglas, meanwhile, unsuspicious of treachery or fraud, was engaged on the shore in victualling his ships, when he perceived the approach of this strong body from Dundalk, and the inhabitants of Carlingford at the same time sallying out from the town to assist them in the assault upon his men. He immediately divided his troops into two bodies, and sent Sir Robert Stewart with the one to repel the attack of the citizens, while he with the other encountered the auxiliaries. After a stubborn conflict the Scots, though greatly outnumbered, completely defeated their assailants, ravaged and burned the town, demolished its castle, and loaded with their plunder fifteen merchant vessels which lay at anchor in the harbour.

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INTRODUCTION.
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The earldom was then bestowed upon Sir John Stewart, of Bonkil, who was descended from the second son of Alexander, High Steward of Scotland. On the death of Thomas, third Earl of Angus of the  Stewart family, in 1377, without issue, the title devolved on his sister, Lady Margaret. She resigned it in 1389, and King Robert II. then granted the earldom of Angus, with the lordships of Abernethy, in Perthshire, and of Bonkil, in Berwickshire, to George Douglas, her illegitimate son by William, the first Earl of Douglas, her brother-in-law.
 
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INTRODUCTION.
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GAWAIN DOUGLAS, Bishop of Dunkeld, was the third son of Earl Archibald, and at an early age was presented to the rectory of Hawick. Some time before the year 1509 he was appointed by James IV. Provost of the Collegiate Church of St. Giles, Edinburgh. A few months after the battle of Flodden he was nominated by the Queen-Dowager, Archbishop of St. Andrews, in the room of the King's son, Alexander Stewart, who fell in that disastrous conflict. He was fiercely opposed, however, by Hepburn, Prior of St. Andrews, who had been elected by the canons, and by Forman, Bishop of Moray, who had obtained a grant of the benefice from the Pope, and Douglas withdrew in disgust from the unseemly contest. In the following year he was appointed by the Queen to the See of Dunkeld, and obtained a papal bull in his favour. But he was imprisoned for more than a year, on the charge of having violated the laws of the realm by procuring bulls from Rome. After his release, a rival candidate, the brother of the Earl of Athole, attempted to keep possession of the episcopal palace and cathedral by force of arms. Douglas in the end obtained possession of the See without the effusion of blood, and discharged the duties of the office with most exemplary diligence and fidelity. He was distinguished also for his acts of charity and munificence, and his efforts to preserve the peace of the country. He made a praiseworthy but unavailing attempt to mediate between the rival factions of the Douglases and Hamiltons before the famous skirmish of 'Clear the Causey,' in Edinburgh, 30th April, 1520. At the request of Angus, his nephew, he waited upon Archbishop Beaton, the Chancellor, whose niece Arran, the head of the Hamiltons, had married, and entreated that prelate, both as a churchman and as the official conservator of the laws of the realm, to act as a peacemaker. Beaton, however, had actually prepared for the encounter by putting on a coat of mail under his linen rochet; and in answer to the appeal of Douglas he said, 'Upon my conscience I know nothing of the matter,' at the same time striking his hand upon his breast, which caused the armour to return a rattling sound. 'My lord,' replied Douglas, with merited sarcasm, 'your conscience clatters' (tells tales). After this pointed rebuke he hastened back to his nephew and told him that he must do his best to defend himself with arms. 'For me,' he added, 'I will go to my chamber and pray for you.' 'The conflict terminated in the complete defeat of the Hamiltons, who were the aggressors, and Archbishop Beaton, who took refuge in the church of the Blackfriars' monastery, was assaulted by the victorious party, and would have been slain on the spot but for the prompt interposition of the Bishop of Dunkeld.
 
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INTRODUCTION.
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ARCHIBALD DOUGLAS, eighth Earl of Angus, only son of Earl David, was only two years of age when he succeeded to the titles and estates of the family. His character differed greatly from that of most of his predecessors, for he was styled the 'Good Earl' on account of his virtuous and amiable disposition. He held the office of Warden of the Marches for several years, and discharged its duties with great diligence and fidelity. During the regency of his uncle, the Earl of Morton, who was his guardian, he took part with him in the siege of Hamilton Castle and in the overthrow of the Hamilton family. After the execution of Morton in 1581, Angus retired to England, the usual refuge of Scottish exiles. He was honourably received and hospitably entertained by Queen Elizabeth, and during his residence in London contracted a close fellowship with the illustrious Sir Philip Sydney. In 1582, after the Raid of Ruthven, he was permitted to return home, and joined the nobles connected with that enterprise. When the worthless favourite, Stewart, Earl of Arran, regained his ascendancy over the King, Angus retired for safety beyond the Spey. He was privy to the plot of the Earl of Gowrie to seize the person of James in 1584, but its sudden collapse in consequence of the capture of the Earl and the approach of James at the head of a powerful force, caused Angus and his associates a second time to throw themselves on the protection of Elizabeth. At the meeting of Parliament, August 22nd, of that same year, Angus was attainted and his estates forfeited. Though in exile he still continued to exercise great influence in Scottish affairs, and was particularly obnoxious to James and his advisers on account of his opposition to the efforts made by the King to subvert the Presbyterian form of Church government, and a plot was concocted by Arran and Montrose for his assassination. But the apprehension of the person hired to perpetrate this foul deed, who was seen lurking about the neighbourhood of Newcastle, where Angus was living, brought the whole plot to light and prevented its execution. He returned to Scotland in 1585, along with the other banished lords, who expelled Arran from the Court, and obtained a revocation of their forfeiture and the pardon of their offences. Angus, towards the close of his life, was offered, but declined, the office of Chancellor of Scotland. He died in 1588, and leaving no male issue, he was succeeded by—
 
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INTRODUCTION.
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The Duke had an only sister, Lady Jane Douglas, whose life was most unhappy, but is chiefly memorable on account of its connection with the celebrated DOUGLAS CASE. She was one of the handsomest and most accomplished women of her age, but her happiness was unfortunately ruined in early life by the rupture of her engagement to the Earl of Dalkeith, afterwards Duke of Buccleuch. From that time onward she persistently rejected all offers of marriage until she had attained the mature age of forty-eight, when, in August, 1746, she secretly married Mr. John Stewart, second son of Sir Thomas Stewart of Grandtully. Mr. Stewart had no fortune or profession, or income from any source, and the whole resources of the pair consisted of £300 a year, paid to Lady Jane by her brother the Duke, with whom she was not on good terms at the time of her imprudent marriage. Immediately after her union Mr. Stewart and Lady Jane went abroad, and resided principally in France from 1746 till the end of 1749. On their return to England they brought with them two male children, of whom they alleged Lady Jane had been delivered at one birth in Paris in the month of July, 1748, when her ladyship was in the fifty-first year of her age. Her brother [p.92] the Duke of Douglas had stopped her allowance when her marriage was made public in the summer of 1749, and her husband and she were in consequence reduced to the greatest distress. Mr. Stewart was besides deeply involved in debt, and his creditors threw him into gaol. In this deplorable condition some of her old friends obtained for Lady Jane from Government a pension of £300 a year. But this boon failed to relieve the wretched pair from want, and Lady Jane was obliged more than once to sell her clothes to support her husband, who was still living within the rules of the King's Bench Prison, in Southwark. In 1752 she visited Scotland, and attempted to obtain a reconciliation with her brother; but he refused even to see her. She returned again to London, leaving the two children in Edinburgh, under the care of a woman who had formerly accompanied her and her husband to the Continent as a servant. The younger of the two, who was named Sholto Thomas Stewart, died in May, 1753, and, shortly after, Lady Jane returned to Edinburgh and made another fruitless effort to be reconciled to her brother. Her health was now completely broken down, and in the following November the unfortunate lady died at Edinburgh, destitute even of the common necessaries of life, and was interred in the Chapel Royal at Holyrood.
 
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After the death of Lady Jane, Archibald, the survivor of the two children, was befriended by Lady Schaw, who, pitying his destitute condition, supported and educated him. In the year 1759, when he was eleven years of age, Mr. Stewart succeeded, by the death of his elder brother, Sir George, to the family estate and baronetcy, and executed a bond of provision in Archibald's favour for £2,500, designating him in the document as his own son by Lady Jane Douglas. The Duke of Douglas, however, continued obstinate in his refusal to acknowledge the boy as his nephew. But the Duchess was most zealous in his behalf, and advocated his cause so warmly as to lead to a quarrel between her and the Duke on that account and a separation, which, however, was not of long duration. In 1754 the Duke executed a settlement of his estate upon the Duke of Hamilton, failing heirs of his own body, and in 1757 he executed a second deed in favour of the same heir, in which he declared it to be his intention that the son of his sister should in no case succeed to his estate. But in the year 1760 the Duke revoked and cancelled these settlements. In the summer of 1761 his Grace was taken with a serious illness, and believing that his end was near, he executed, on  the 11th of July, an entail of his whole estate, settling it upon the heirs whatsoever of his father, with remainder to Lord Douglas Hamilton, brother of the Duke of Hamilton. On the same day he executed another deed appointing the Duchess of Douglas, the Duke of Queensbury, and other persons to be tutors to Archibald Douglas, or Stewart, son of his deceased sister, who was to succeed him in his estates.
 
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INTRODUCTION.
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On the death of the Duke, which took place on the 21st of July, the dukedom of Douglas became extinct; but the other titles of this great old house passed to the Duke of Hamilton. The guardians of young Stewart took the usual steps to put him in possession of the Douglas estates, and he was sworn heir to the late Duke before a jury, according to the form prescribed by the law of Scotland. The guardians of the Duke of Hamilton, however, who was also a minor, were not convinced by the evidence laid before the jury, that Archibald Stewart was really the son of Lady Jane Douglas; and Mr. Andrew Stuart, one of their number, was dispatched to Paris for the purpose of investigating the statements which had been made on that point. The discoveries which Stuart made were, in his opinion, and that of the other guardians, sufficient to warrant the conclusion that the whole story of Lady Jane's delivery was a pure fiction. Proceedings were, therefore, immediately instituted by them before the Court of Session to set aside Stewart's claim to the Douglas estates.
 
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INTRODUCTION.
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1st. The depositions of several witnesses that Lady Jane appeared to them to be with child while at Aixla Chapelle and other places. 2nd. The testimony of Mrs. Hewit, who accompanied Lady Jane to Paris, that she was delivered of twin boys at Paris upon the 10th of July, 1748. 3rd. The depositions of other witnesses, with regard to the claimant being acknowledged by Lady Jane and her husband to be their child. 4th. A number of letters which had passed between Sir John Stewart, Lady Jane Douglas, Mrs. Hewit and others, respecting the claimant's birth. 5th. Four letters said to have been written by Pierre la Marre, who, it was alleged, was the accoucheur that officiated at Lady Jane's delivery. The solemn declaration was also adduced of Sir John Stewart, emitted a few days before his death, in June, 1764, in the presence of two ministers and a justice of the peace, affirming that Archibald Stewart and his twin brother were both born of the body of Lady Jane  Douglas, his lawful spouse, in the year 1748. Mrs. Hewit, who was charged with being an accomplice in the fraud, died during the suit, and to the last persisted in declaring that all she had sworn respecting the birth of the children was truth.
 
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INTRODUCTION.
page 94


1st. That Lady Jane Douglas was not delivered upon the 10th of July, 1748, by the evidence of various letters written by her husband and Mrs. Hewit upon the 10th, 11th, and 22nd of that month. 2nd. That Lady Jane was not delivered, as was asserted, in the house of a Madame la Brune, nor in the presence of a Madame la Brune and her daughter. And various circumstances were adduced to show that no such persons as the Madame la Brune in question or her daughter ever existed. 3rd. That Lady Jane Douglas could not have been delivered, either upon the 10th of July or in the house of a Madame la Brune, because that upon that date, and upon several days preceding and subsequent to the 10th of July, Lady Jane, with her husband and Mrs. Hewit, resided at the Hotel de Chalons, kept by Mons. Godefroi, where it is acknowledged she was not delivered; and that it was clearly shown that this was the case by the testimony of Mons. and Madame Godefroi, as well as by the 'book of expenses' and 'ledger book' kept by them. 4th. Great stress was laid upon the studied concealment and mystery observed at Paris in July, 1748, when Sir John and Lady Jane, with their confidante, Mrs. Hewit, carried with them from Paris to Rheims one child, and on their repetition of the same concealment and mystery upon their return to Paris, in November, 1749, when the same three persons brought from Paris to Rheims a second child. 5th. Proof was brought that at Paris, in the month of July, 1748, a recently born male child was carried off from his parents of the name of Mignon, and that in the month of November, 1749, another male child, born in the year 1748, was in like manner taken from his parents, of the name of Sanry. It was asserted that both of these children were, under false pretences, carried off from their parents by British residents at Paris, and that the persons who did so were Sir John Stewart, Lady Jane Douglas, and Mrs. Hewit. It was also affirmed that no such person as Pierre la Marre, the alleged accoucheur, existed, and that the letters said to have been written by him were proved, and indeed admitted to be, a forgery.
 
THE ANGUS DOUGLASES.
INTRODUCTION.
page 95


A variety of other circumstances were pleaded in confirmation of [p.95] these statements. On the 21st of May, 1748, Lady Jane and her husband left Aixla-Chapelle, where they had resided upwards of a year, giving various contradictory and untrue reasons for doing so. They stopped for some time at Liege and Sedan, and then proceeded to Rheims, travelling all the way in the stagecoach. They remained at Rheims for a month, and then set out for Paris, leaving behind them their two female servants, and accompanied only by Mrs. Hewit. The excuse for leaving their servants at Rheims was that they had no money to carry them to Paris, which was proved to be untrue, and the reason given by Lady Jane for undertaking this long, tedious, and fatiguing journey at a time when she professed to be very far advanced in pregnancy was that she had been told that the medical practitioners in Rheims were unskilful; and yet the accoucheur who was said to have delivered her in Paris, according to Sir John Stewart's own story, was a person of a very humble class, with whose place of residence he was not acquainted. On the ninth day after her alleged delivery, the husband and wife appeared at the Hôtel d'Anjou, without either nurse or child. They went next day to the country and returned with a child and a nurse, the child looking much older than the date assigned for its birth, and almost starved to death for want of milk, and the nurse a poor wretched creature, officially branded as a thief, who had no milk to give the child. It was at this very time that the son of the peasant Mignon disappeared. With regard to the other boy, Sir John affirmed that it was so weak and sickly that the accoucheur baptised him as soon as he was born, that it was left at nurse with a woman of whom Lady Jane and he knew nothing, and under the care of Pierre la Marre, whom they themselves acknowledged they did not know where to find. They admitted also that for a whole month they made no inquiry about the child. Great stress was laid by the judges who were adverse to the claim of young Stewart upon the numerous contradictions in the declarations made both by Lady Jane and her husband, and on the fact that not a few of their statements were proved to be false.

THE ANGUS DOUGLASES.
INTRODUCTION.
page 96


The case excited extraordinary interest not only in Scotland and England, but throughout the Continent, on account of the great importance of the interests at stake, and it is probably the most remarkable case of the kind ever litigated. In Scotland the people were ranged into two hostile parties, who argued the question at issue with as much asperity and zeal as if the fate of the kingdom  had been dependent on the issue. Popular opinion ran strong in favour of young Stewart, as the Hamilton family at this time had fallen into disrepute.

THE ANGUS DOUGLASES.
INTRODUCTION.
page 96


The case came on for judgment in the Court of Session on the 7th of July, 1767, and so important was the cause deemed that the fifteen judges took no less than eight days to deliver their opinions. The result was that eight of the judges, including the Lord President and the Lord Justice Clerk, voted in favour of the Duke of Hamilton, and the other seven for Stewart.
 
THE ANGUS DOUGLASES.
INTRODUCTION.
page 97


This decision, however, was reversed by the House of Lords, it was alleged on political rather than on legal grounds; but the judgment of their Lordships has not been ratified by public opinion in subsequent times. In his own district the general idea was that Mr. Stewart closely resembled a Frenchman in his personal appearance, and it is a significant fact that when Lord Shelburne met him he formed and expressed the same opinion. Be this as it may, no one can doubt that on social and economical grounds it was much better for the country that the Douglas estates should have been awarded to young Stewart, whether he was the son of Lady Jane Douglas or of a French peasant, than that they should have been merged in the vast possessions of the house of Hamilton. The fortunate youth proved himself to be one of nature's noblemen, most exemplary in all his relations in life, public and private —a model landlord, generous and hospitable to his neighhours and retainers, and especially esteemed and loved for his kindness to the poor. George III. raised him to the peerage by the title of Baron Douglas; but though a supporter of the Tory Government, he does not appear to have taken any prominent part in political affairs. He was twice married. First, to Lucy Graham, daughter of the second Duke of Montrose; and, secondly, to Frances Scott, sister of the third Duke of Buccleuch. They bore to him eight sons and four daughters, all of whom, except two sons, reached maturity. Four of his sons died unmarried, and a fifth left no family. Two of his sons by his first wife, Archibald and Charles, were the second and third Lords Douglas. James, the son of his second wife, was in holy orders, and on his death without issue, in 1857, the title became extinct. Jane Margaret, the eldest daughter of the first Lord Douglas, married Henry James, Lord Montague, brother of the second Duke of Buccleuch, and bore to him four daughters, but no son. Her eldest daughter became the wife of Cospatrick, eleventh [p.97] Earl of Home, who was created, in 1875, Baron Douglas of Douglas, in the peerage of the United Kingdom, and bore to him six sons and three daughters. On the death of her mother, the Countess inherited the Douglas estates, which are now possessed by her eldest son, CHARLES ALEXANDER, twelfth Earl of Home, and second Baron Douglas of the new creation.
 
THE KEITHS.
INTRODUCTION.
page 97


THE Keiths are among the oldest and most illustrious, as they were at one time among the most powerful of the historical families of Scotland. During five centuries they took a prominent part in all the important public events—political and ecclesiastical—in their own country, and obtained great renown 'in far lands ayont the sea.' They were distinguished for their diplomatic ability as well as for their warlike achievements, and were munificent patrons of learning, which they promoted both by their wealth and their pen. Though they ultimately forfeited their titles and estates by their adherence to the cause of the ill-fated Stewart dynasty, the Keiths, throughout nearly the whole of their career, were not only zealous patriots but staunch supporters of civil and religious liberty.
 
THE KEITHS.
INTRODUCTION.
page 104


WILLIAM, fourth Earl, whose mother was a daughter of Archibald Bell-the-Cat, succeeded him in 1530, and raised the family to its greatest height of wealth and power. He was selected by James V. to accompany him when he went to France, in 1530, for the purpose of marrying a lady belonging to the royal family; and after the death of that prince he was appointed, along with other six of the most influential nobles, to take charge of the person of his infant daughter. He was present at the sanguinary battle of Pinkie, in 1547, where his eldest son was taken prisoner. He seems at that time to have been favourable to the project of marrying the infant Queen to Prince  Edward, for Sir Ralph Sadler mentions him as one 'who hath ever borne a singular fond affection' to King Henry, and his name appears for 300 marks on the list of that monarch's pensioners. The Earl is believed to have been, at an early age, favourably inclined towards the Reformed faith, and was a friend of George Wishart, the martyr. He is said by Tytler to have been one of the persons associated with the Earl of Cassilis in the conspiracy to murder Cardinal Beaton. He seems to have retained the respect and confidence of the Queen-Dowager, Mary of Guise, though opposed to her policy, for along with the Earls of Argyll and Glencairn, and Lord James Stewart, he was summoned to the deathbed of that princess, when she expressed her great sorrow for the distracted state of the country, and earnestly recommended them to dismiss both the French and English forces, and to adhere firmly to their lawful sovereign.
 
THE SETONS.
INTRODUCTION.
page 125


THE Setons are among the most ancient and illustrious of the great houses of Scotland, and are proverbially said to have the reddest blood in the kingdom. In consequence of a remarkable number of other families of the highest rank having sprung from their main stock, the heads of the house are termed 'Magnæ Nobilitatis Domini;' and from their intermarriage upon four different occasions with the royal family, they obtained the addition to their shield of the royal or double tressure. Their earliest motto, 'Hazard yet forward,' is descriptive of their military ardour and dauntless courage. They were conspicuous throughout their whole history for their loyalty and firm attachment to the Stewart dynasty, in whose cause they perilled and lost their titles and extensive estates.
 
THE SETONS.
INTRODUCTION.
page 129


The elder son, SIR JOHN SETON, who married a daughter of the tenth Earl of Dunbar and March, carried on the direct line of the family, and was the ancestor of the Earls of Wintoun and Dunfermline, and the Viscounts Kingston. His only son, Sir William, accompanied the Scottish auxiliaries under the Earl of Buchan and Archibald, Earl of Douglas, who went to the assistance of Charles,  the Dauphin of France, then hard pressed by the English; and who gained the famous battle of Beaugé, in which the Duke of Clarence, the Marshal of England, and the flower of its chivalry, were left dead on the battlefield. But in the following year Sir William fell, along with the Earls of Buchan and Douglas, and the greater part of the Scottish contingent, at the bloody battle of Verneuil, in the lifetime of his father, 17th August, 1424. His son, GEORGE SETON, was created a peer of Parliament in 1448, and was the husband of Lady Margaret Stewart, daughter and heiress of John, Earl of Buchan and High Constable of France, son of the Regent Albany, and grandson of Robert II.
 
THE SETONS.
INTRODUCTION.
page 131


The greatness of the family reached its highest point under the fifth lord, who bore their favourite name of George, and who has been immortalised in tradition and history, and, above all, in Sir Walter Scott's tale of 'The Abbot,' as the staunch supporter of the unfortunate Queen Mary, during all the mutabilities of her career. He entered upon public life at an early age, and in 1557 was nominated one of the commissioners appointed by the Scottish Parliament to proceed to Paris for the purpose of being present at the marriage of their young queen to the Dauphin of France. He seemed at first to be favourably inclined towards the Reformed faith, and was one of the nobles who went to hear John Willock, the Protestant preacher, explain from his sick-bed the doctrines of the gospel; but he ultimately adhered to the Romish Church, and joined the party of the Queen Dowager against the Lords. This step was naturally regarded with great displeasure by the Protestant party. Calderwood says: 'The Erle of Argyll and Lord James Stewart entered in Edinburgh, the 29th June, 1559. The Lord Seton, the Provost, a man without God, without honestie, and oftentimes without reason, had diverse times before troubled the brethrein. He had taken upon him the protection of the Blacke and Gray Friars, and for that purpose lay himself in one of them everie night and also constrained the honest burgesses of the town to watch and guarde these monsters to their great greefe. When he heard of the suddane coming of the Lords he abandoned his charge.' Lord Seton held the office of Grand Master of Queen Mary's household, and was concerned in not a few of the most momentous events in her history. The night after the murder of Rizzio, when Mary fled from Holyrood, her first halting-place was Seton House, where Lord Seton was in readiness at the head of two hundred horsemen to escort his sovereign to the strong castle of Dunbar. A few days after the murder of Darnley, Mary repaired to Seton House, where she was entertained by its owner in person, and spent her time in hunting and shooting. On the Queen's escape from Lochleven, Lord Seton was waiting in the vicinity of the lake with fifty of his retainers, and attended her in her rapid flight to his castle of Niddry, on his Winchburgh estate in West Lothian, where she first drew bridle. He fought on her side and was taken prisoner at the battle of Langside, in 1568, which ruined her cause in Scotland. The Regent Moray, who seems to have respected Lord Seton for his fidelity to his sovereign, set him at liberty and permitted him to retire to the Continent, where he was indefatigable in his efforts to induce the French and Spanish Courts to interfere on her behalf. He was reduced to such a state of poverty in his exile that at one time he was obliged to drive a waggon in Flanders for his subsistence. A painting of him in his waggoner's dress, in the act of driving a wain with four horses, which he caused to be made, long adorned the stately gallery in Seton House. He appears to have been fond of the fine arts, for he had himself painted also as Master of the Queen's household, with his official baton, and the following characteristic motto:—
 
THE SETONS.
INTRODUCTION.
page 136


The Earl fought with great gallantry at the barricades of Preston, but was at last obliged to surrender along with the other insurgents, and was carried a prisoner to London, and confined in the Tower. He was brought to trial before the House of Lords, 15th March, 1716, and defended himself with considerable ingenuity. The High Steward, Lord Cowper, having overruled his objections to the indictment with some harshness, 'I hope,' was the Earl's rejoinder, 'you will do me justice, and not make use of "Cowperlaw," as we used to say in our country—hang a man first and then judge him.' On the refusal of his entreaty to be heard by counsel, he replied— 'Since your lordship will not allow me counsel, I don't know nothing.' He was of course found guilty, and condemned to be beheaded on Tower Hill. 'When waiting his fate in the Tower,' says Sir Walter Scott, 'he made good use of his mechanical skill, sawing through with great ingenuity the bars of the windows of his prison, through which he made his escape' See ADDENDA, vol. ii., p. 426.* He ended his motley life at Rome, in 1749, aged seventy, and with him terminated the main branch of the long and illustrious line of the Setons. Male cadets of this family, however, came by intermarriage to represent the great historic families of Huntly and Eglinton, besides the ducal house of Gordon, now extinct, and the Earls of Sutherland, whose heiress married the Marquis of Stafford, afterwards created Duke of Sutherland. The earldoms of Wintoun and Dunfermline, the viscounty of Kingston, and the other Seton titles were forfeited for the adherence of their possessors to the Stewart dynasty, and have never been restored; but the late Earl of Eglinton was, in 1840, served heir-male general of the family, and, in 1859, was created Earl of Wintoun in the peerage of the United Kingdom.
 
THE SETONS.
INTRODUCTION.
page 142


ALEXANDER, SETON, Earl of Dunfermline, was the fourth son of George, the fifth Lord Seton, the 'defender of the beauteous Stewart.' He was born before the Reformation, and was the god-child of Queen Mary, and he survived the union of the Crowns (1555—1622). From his godmother he received, as 'ane God bairne gift,' the lands of Pluscarden, in Moray. 'Finding him of a great spirit,' his father sent him to Rome at an early age, and he studied for some time in the Jesuits' College, with the view of entering the priesthood. It seems probable that he did take holy orders, and it was thought that if he had remained at Rome he would have been made a cardinal. The overthrow of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland probably induced young Seton, as his biographer conjectures, to abandon his ecclesiastical pursuits, and to betake himself to the study of the civil and the canon law; and he passed as an advocate before James VI. and the Senators of the College of Justice in the Chapel Royal at Holyrood in 1577. The Setons had hitherto been more distinguished in warlike than in civil pursuits, but in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries no less than six members of the family obtained seats on the Scottish Bench. Alexander Seton, the most illustrious of these legal luminaries, was created an Extraordinary Lord of Session in 1586, obtaining in the following year a gift of the revenues of Urquhart and of the Priory of Pluscarden. With all their attachment to the old Church, the Setons, like the rest of the Scottish nobility of that day, seem to have been by no means unwilling to share in its spoils. Two years later Alexander Seton became an Ordinary Lord of Session under the title of Lord Urquhart, and in 1593 he was elected by his brethren to the president's chair at the comparatively early age of thirty-eight. He was appointed one of the Octavians—a committee of eight persons to whom the King, in 1596, entrusted the management of public affairs, and who introduced a number of important administrative reforms, though they were regarded with great suspicion and distrust by the clergy. These councillors, indeed, were so unpopular that to satisfy the fears of the Presbyterian party, James promised that he would not meet them in Council, 'at least when the cause of religion and matters of the Church were treated.'
 
THE SETONS.
INTRODUCTION.
page 146


JAMES SETON, was the fourth and last Earl of Dunfermline. Though he served in his youth under the Prince of Orange, at the Revolution he adhered to the cause of the Stewarts, and commanded a troop of horse under Viscount Dundee at the battle of Killiecrankie. He followed King James to St. Germains, and in 1690 he was outlawed and forfeited by the Scottish Parliament. The Earl was a Protestant and in common with the other Protestants who espoused the Stewart cause he was exposed to continual insults and contumelious treatment both from the fugitive monarch himself and from his Roman Catholic adherents. He had sacrificed everything to his principle of loyalty to the exiled family, had as a military commander rendered the most valuable service to their cause, and was a person of stainless character, obnoxious to James and his courtiers solely on account of his firm adherence to the Protestant faith. And yet when he died, in 1694, of a broken heart, the ungrateful and heartless bigot would not permit him to be buried in consecrated ground, but the body of his faithful follower was flung at midnight into a hole which had been dug in a neighbouring field, and was covered up as if it had been so much carrion. A similar course was pursued with every Protestant attached to the wretched court of St. Germains who refused to conform to Popery.

THE RUTHVENS OF GOWRIE.
INTRODUCTION.
page 149


PATRICK, the third Lord Ruthven, has acquired an unenviable historical notoriety as a principal actor in the murder of Rizzio. He was not, however, as has been commonly supposed, a savage barbarian, but a man of literary tastes and accomplishments, who had received a learned education at the University of St. Andrews, and could use his pen as readily as his sword. Like his father, he was a zealous supporter of the Protestant cause, and was one of the leaders of the Congregation in their contest with Mary of Guise, Queen-Regent. Along with the Earl of Argyll, Lord James Stewart (afterwards Regent Moray) and other prominent Reformers, he took part in the capture of Perth, the siege of Leith, the deposition of the Regent, and other proceedings of the Protestant party, and was one of the most active and courageous in the efforts made by them to drive the French troops out of the country. His last public appearance was on the memorable night of Rizzio's murder, 9th March, 1566. He had for some months been confined to bed by an incurable disease; but at the urgent and reiterated request of Darnley, whose great-uncle he was, he agreed to assist that foolish profligate to make away [p.149] with 'the villain Davie.' The most shocking and memorable feature of that tragic scene is the appearance of Ruthven, 'scarcely able,' as he himself says, 'to walk twice the length of his chamber,' clad in a coat of mail covered by a loose gown, and brandishing a drawn sword in his hand; his form attenuated by wasting disease, his pale and haggard countenance showing under the helmet like that of a corpse tenanted by a demon; his vindictive purpose lurking out at his flashing eyes; his hollow, sepulchral voice; his whole appearance more like that of a fiend than a man, suddenly appearing in the Queen's closet and coolly superintending the bloody deed. The savage reproaches which he heaped upon the poor Queen, after the perpetration of the murder, added not a little to the horror which the scene was fitted to inspire, and account for the vindictive reply of Mary, 'I trust that God, who beholdeth this from the high heavens, will avenge my wrongs, and make that which shall be born of me to root out you and your treacherous posterity' —a denunciation which was strikingly fulfilled in the total ruin of the house of Ruthven in the reign of Mary's son.

[Part Two]

 
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