Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745. - Volume I.
by Mrs. Thomson
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The next paragraph of this letter speaks mournfully of disappointment in those on whose aid the Earl had counted.

"It must be a strange infatuation that has gott amongst people, especially those that always pretended to be friends to our cause, many of whom told before the King came that they wad certainly joyn him when he landed, and made his not being with us the only objection, and now when he is come they make some other shift;—I must say such people are worse than our greatest enemies; and if any misfortune should befal the King or his cause, (which God forbid!) I think they that pretended to be our friends have very much to count for, and are more the cause of it than any others, since no doubt the ashourances that many gave to joyn us when the King landed was a chief motive for his comming to us. I hope in God we shall be able to opose them tho' their numbers should be greater, and to their shame and confusion be it if they come against us. I hope very soon the King will have such assistance as will defeat all their designs, and that his affairs will take a sudden turn in other pairts."

The most serious defection from the Jacobite cause was the submission of the Marquis of Huntley and the Earl of Seaforth to the victorious arms of the Earl of Sutherland, aided by Lord Lovat, in Invernesshire. Seaforth had collected, on the Moor of Gilliechrist, twelve hundred men, the remnant of those whom he had been able to save from Sherriff Muir; but finding that Lord Sutherland had resolved to force him into an engagement, he owned King George as his lawful Sovereign, and promised to lay down his arms. This had occurred early in December, and, according to Lord Mar, before the Earl of Seaforth, in those remote regions, could have heard of the Chevalier's landing. Mar therefore regarded it as a temporary cessation on the part of Seaforth and Huntley, for a given period, of hostilities against the Government.

As far as related to Lord Seaforth, the belief of Lord Mar was correct. At the end of the days agreed upon for the cessation of arms, Seaforth drew his people together, the influence of clanship enabling him to summon them at will, like a king; and again appeared in arms. This was the consequence of the news that James had landed having reached Inverness. But Seaforth could not retrieve the cause of James in the North, nor repair the effects of even a temporary submission. Eventually he returned to the party which he had espoused, and escaped to France. The Marquis of Huntley made his own terms with the Government.

At this critical juncture, unanimity still prevailed, according to Lord Mar, among the assembled chieftains at Perth. "I do assure you," he writes, "that since the arms came here, there has not been a quarrel of any kind happened among us—not even among the Highland men, which is very extraordinary; and you may depend upon it there is the greatest unanimity here just now, and all fully resolved to stand to it, let what will come. I pray God preserve our King from the wicked and hellish designs of his enemies! I hope we will be apprized of their motions, so as to be in readiness to receive them."

These expressions were written, but the letter which contained them was not sent, on the twenty-third of January. The postscript, written in a hurried hand, shows that the camp at Perth was not unprepared for the coming attack.

"Since writing of the inclosed, I have two from which I gott last night with the paket; and ane account of that detachment of horse comming out, who we hear came the lenth of Acterardie,[140] upon which account the whole army here were ordred to be in a readyness to march this morning, and we have no account they are returned: we hear it was to vew the roads, and to try if it was practicable to march their army, which they will find very hard to doe while this weather holds. The account you gave in yours of their motions and that detachment was very distinct. The K. read it himself,—it came prety quick. I entreat you fail not to lett us have what accounts you can learn, for what comes from you are among the best we can gett.

"The K. ordered a review of the whole army here this morning, and they are all to hold themselves ready at one half ane hour's advertisment. Lett me hear from you soon. Adieu."

Again, on the twenty-fourth of January:

"What is above should have gone this morning, but was delyed. Six hundered of the clans are gone out this night to reinforce the garison of Braco and Crief. I hear they have orders to destroy the corn-yards and barns about Achterardir and Black Ford, which we hear were revewed by the enemy yesterday. The King signed thir orders, I can ashour you, most unwillingly; and caused put it in the order that every thing should be made good to the poor people, with a gratuity; and if any of them pleased to come to Perth, they should be maintained and all care taken of them. This you may take for truth, for no doubt they will make a great noise about it.

"We have just now got ane account of a ship being come into Montross, but we know not yett what she brings. Adieu,—writte soon. I am in haste."

"Eleven att night."

On the twenty-fourth of January, the Duke of Argyle marched to Dumblane, with two hundred horse, to reconnoitre the roads. The report that the enemy was approaching, was quickly conveyed to Perth; and now was the order to burn and destroy the village of Auchterarder, the contents of the houses, all stores of corn and forage, mournfully and promptly executed. It was supposed by this, that the march of Argyle's forces would be impeded; but it produced no other inconvenience to that army than obliging them to lie one night in the open air; whilst the unpopularity it brought on James and his advisers, was long the subject of comment to their enemies. It is consolatory to those who wish to judge favourably of James to find this declaration in Lord Mar's correspondence.

"The King was forced, sore against his will, to give these burning orders, as all of us were, could we have helped it; but this extraordinary manoeuvre of the enemy made it absolutely necessary. A finger must be cut off to save the whole body. I have ordered some copies of a proclamation to be sent you. There is about two of the places burnt, and there's another ordred about the rest. Adieu.

"It was not amiss that this proclamation were sent to London."

In pursuance of the cruel and impolitic commands to which Lord Mar refers, three thousand Highlanders were sent forth to the act of destruction. Auchterarder, Crieff, Blackford, Denning and Muthel, were mercilessly burned; and the wretched inhabitants turned out at that inclement season to destitution without a roof to shelter them. Many decrepid people and children perished in the flames.[141] Had James sought, in truth, to prepare a way for the Government in the hearts of the people, he could not have adopted a more suitable means. In the Duke of Argyle, he had a generous and humane adversary to deal with,—one whose forbearance laid him under the imputation of a want of zeal for the cause of the Government, and rendered him no favourite at the English Court. The fashion at the Court of St. James's, according to a letter in the Mar Papers, was, to rail against the Duke, and even George the First and those about him joined in the unjust and ungrateful abuse.

Even so late as Sunday, the twenty-ninth of January, when Argyle's troops left Stirling and advanced to Braco Castle, Lord Mar appears to have been in ignorance of their actual movements. Perhaps, like the busy world of London politicians, he regarded the project of an attempt upon Perth in such weather as impracticable. Such was the opinion at St. James's. "Argyle's friends here," writes one near the Court, "speak of the march and the attempt at present as madness." And another individual writes, that "one half of their people must die of cold, and the other be knocked o' the head. So it seems Argyle is dragg'd to this matter. We cannot perceive, by all the letters that come up, any particular certainty as to Lord Mar's number and his designs. The Court are positive he will not stand; and they, as well as Ridpeath, assert strongly that the Pretender is gone already as far as Glammis. The Jacobites fancy that if he went thither, it was to meet and assemble these officers that were landed."[142]

Whilst in this state of perplexity Lord Mar thus writes:

"Jan. 29th.


"I have keept the man that brought yours of the nineteenth and twentieth, from A. W., on Saturday, till now, that I might have a sure and speedy way of writeing to you when anything of consequence happened, which we were expecting every minut last night. I wrote one to you when I belived the enemie's front to be at Auchterarder, and despatcht it; but late at night getting intelligence of that party of the enemie who were marching towards Aucterarder haveing marcht back without comeing the lenth of that place to Dumblain, if not to Stirling, without halting by the way, I stopt my letter and kepp it till they actually march, and then perhaps I may yet send it to you, there being some other things in it necessary for you to know upon that emergance which is needless other wayes.

"In it I told you of my haveing received yours of the eighteenth on Sunday, and last night those of the fifteenth and twenty-first both togither.

"By all appearance the enemie resolve to march against us, as one might say, whether it be possible or not. They sent a party of horse and foot to Dumblain on Sunday, which came near to Auchterarder yesterday, I belive to try if the thing was practicable, but they returned to Dumblain as above. We shall be forced to burn and distroy a good deal of the country to prevent their marching, which goes very, very much against the King's mind, as it does mine and more of us; but ther's an absolat necessity for it, and I believe it will be put in execution this night or to-morrow morning, which grieves me. Could it be helpt? this way of their makeing warr in this, I may say, impracticable season, must have extraordinary methods to oppose it. And I hope in God, any that suffers now, it shall soon be in the King's power to make them a large reparation. After all, when they have no cover left them, I see not how it is possible for them to march. We are like to be froze in the house; and how they can endure the cold for one night in the fields, I cannot conceive; and then the roads are so, that but one can go abreast, as their party did yesterday; and ther's no going off the road for horse and scarce for foot, without being lost in the snow; but if, after all, they do march, we must do our best, and I hope God will preserve and yet prosper the King, who is the best prince I belive in the world.

"As for news in the kingdome of Fife, I suppose you wou'd hear that a party of the M^{c}Grigors some dayes ago from Faulkland attacquet a party of Swise and militia from Leslie and beat them, takeing thirty-two prisoners, wherof eleven horse, as I hear. I have not time to say more, so adieu."

"January 29th, 1715-16."

Again, in another letter on the same day, the Earl still seems to consider the game as not then lost. It is amusing to find how, in the carrying on of his projects, he availed himself of the aid of ladies, and how troubled he sometimes found himself with "busie women." Whilst this letter was being penned, Argyle was employing the country people around Auchterarder in clearing the roads of snow: and on the following day, he had advanced towards Tullibardine, within eight miles of Perth. On that very Sunday, Lord Mar thus writes: it is evident he had at this time formed no plan of retreat.

"Sunday, 11 o'clock forenoon, Janu 29th, 1715-16.


"Since I wrote to you I have got yours of the twenty-second, one of the twenty-third, and two of the twenty-fifth; the last of which, tho' the first wrote, I got not til this morning. I wou'd have wrote to you these two dayes by post, but we have had so many alarms of the enimie's marching towards us, that I had not time, as I have very little to say anything just now, for I expect ivery minut to hear of their being marcht from Dumblain, where a considerable number of them have been these two dayes this way.

"The enclosed you must take care to send by the first post which is opened again on purpose for you to read, but I'm affraid you will not understand it all. As to that paper you sent me which came from England, there can be nothing said to it from hence just now, only that they are to do the best they can; and I hope shortly that country shall have sent them where withall to enable them to make a better figur than they have hitherto done. We are not in a condition here to give them any help just now. Ther's one Mrs. Lawson, who seems to be a diligent body, that complains a little that you do not allow her to see you often enough, which I take to be the complaint of an over busie woman, than which ther's nothing more uneasie; but just now such people must be humoured, and she has really been usefull. Before this goes 'tis very likely I may have occassion to inclose one I formerly wrote to you upon a certain occasion, but did not then send as I told you in another, the thing not then hapning, but we expect it every minut. Deserters of all kinds come in to us pritty fast, foreigners as well as subjects; and if they but give them time, I am perswaded great numbers will.

"'Tis now five o'clock and we have no accounts of any of the enimie being come further than Dodoch, where a partie of them came last night, so I'll detain the messenger. This goes by no stranger. Perhaps they may find the roads impracticable, and by the burning that they can advance no further,—at which, indeed, I shall not be much surprised; and if so, may be forced to delay their extraordinary march til more human weather for making warr. The King was forced, sore against his will, to give these burning orders,—as all of us were, could wee have helpt it; but this extrodinar manuver of the enimie made it absolutly necessary: a fingor must be cut of to save the whole body. I have ordered some copies of a proclamation to be sent you, there is about two of the places burnt, and ther's another order about the rest. Adieu.

"It were not amiss that this proclamation was sent to London. The little young letter enclosed is for Lady Wigton, which pray cause deliver."

On Tuesday, the last day of January, the Duke of Argyle passed the river Eru, and took possession of Tullibardine. It has been stated by several historians that the Jacobites fled from Perth on the same day; but the following letter from Lord Mar, dated the first of February, shows that the flight could not have taken place until the following day. This curious letter, which was written at the early hour of six in the morning, is unfinished. It is the last in the series of that correspondence which has formed of itself a narrative of Lord Mar's life, from his first taking upon himself the office of General and Commander-in-Chief, to the hour when he virtually resigned that command. In the midst of pressing danger his sanguine nature seems not to have deserted him: his love of the underplots of life, the influence of "Kate Bruce," and the arrangements for a coronation, were as much in his thoughts as in the more hopeful days before Sherriff Muir and Preston.

"Wednesday, about six forenoon, ffebruary 1st, 1716.

"On Monday evening I gave you the trouble of a greatly long letter, mostly on indifferent subjects, and sent it off yesterday to A. W. If I was too tedious upon what concerned a woman and a Prince, it was with a good intent, and to make matters plain. By what I hear from R. B., and the Hole, that Argyle's forces were yesterday forenoon at Stirling, and so was the regiments of dragoons there and St. Ninian's, for accounts of motions there and thereabouts, on both sydes of the river,—you may expect it best sent from R. B., the Hole, and a grave gentleman.

"By yesternight's post I sent of M^{c}Quart's letter; and indeed, in most or all letters I write to that quarter for ten weeks past, I alwayes requested that whatever was to be done might be quickly done. I lykeways sent to London between fyve or six, several honest hands, to put off the proclamation declaration about burning, and that paper of which I some days ago sent you two copies. And now I begin to think I have been in the wrong to Mr. S——g, in the short character I gave you of him, at least, if it be true that I am told, that he is not only author of that paper I sent you the two copies of, but has got a very great number of them printed; and tho' I may be an insufficient judge, I must acknowledge I am very well pleased with the paper, for I think it full of plain truths; and besydes other dispersings, I did indeed yesterday cause putt in fiftein copies of it in the Lords of Session's boxes.

"The litle letter to my good Lady W.[143] I caused carefully to be delivered. I wish all women had some share of her good, sweet, easie temper, for, as you will observe, over-busied women are most uneasie; and I have had much experience of it within these four months past in many instances, and with more persons than one or two. The only inconvenience I had by Kate Bruce lodging in the same house with me was, it brought in too many women upon me, and some of these brought in others, and to this minute I cannot with descretion get quit of them.

"A good time ago you were pleased to tell me you could not well conceive how I got myself keept free, but if you now knew what a multitude knows where I lodge, you would wonder more; and indeed it is no litle admiration to myself: but as soon as I have so much strenth, and can fynd a convenient place (which is not easie), I will change my quarters, if it were for no other reason than to be quit of useless people of both sexes, that interrupt me from busieness, or trouble with impertinent questions. And whyle I am accuseing others of indescretion, I wish I am not so myself in so much insisting upon and troubling you with such matters.

"At Perth I have gott a collection of all papers relating to the coronation of King Charles the First and Second, and shall send them whenever you think fitt; but I suppose it may be convenient to lett the present hurrie a little over before I send them to you.

"How the great Generalls can imploy their hors to great purpose in the deep snow, or how men and hors will long hold out in such weather, is what I do not understand. I hope a shorter time than they imagine will destroy, even without the help of an enemy,—at least, make many, both men and hors, inserviceable."

Much had been going on in the meantime, to which Lord Mar, perhaps from the fear of spreading a panic, does not even allude to his correspondent in Edinburgh. When it became known in Perth that Argyle had left Stirling, the advisers of the Chevalier were dismayed and distracted by contending counsels. But the mass of the army expressed a very different sentiment, rejoicing that the opportunity of a rencontre with the enemy was so near: congratulations were heard passing from officers to their brother officers, and the soldiers, as they drank, pledged their cups to the good day near at hand. The council, meantime, sat all night: the irresolution of that body, towards morning, was disclosed to the impatient soldiery: the indignation of the brave men, and more especially of the Highlanders, burst forth upon the disclosure of what had passed in the council. The gentlemen volunteers resented the pusillanimity of their leaders: and one of them was heard to propose that the clans should take the Chevalier out of the hands of those who counselled him to retreat, and added that he would find ten thousand gentlemen in Scotland that would risk their lives for him. A friend of Mar, after remonstrating with these malcontents, asked "What they wished their officers to do?" "Do!" was the reply; "what did you call on us to take arms for? was it to run away? What did the King come hither for? was it to see his people butchered by hangmen and not strike a note for their lives? Let us die like men, and not live dogs."[144]

On the thirtieth of January the Chevalier himself opened another council in the evening, and in a few words proposed a retreat. Lord Mar then addressed the meeting, and advocated the measure with a degree of ingenuity and eloquence which, at that moment, we are disposed rather to condemn than applaud; yet, his reasons for abandoning Perth were such, as in cool reflection were not devoid of justice, and they might be founded upon a humane consideration for the brave adherents of a lost cause. He stated, first, as the cause of his proposal, the failure of the Duke of Ormond's invasion of England. Secondly, the accession of foreign troops to the Duke of Argyle's force. Lastly, the reduced number of the Chevalier's troops, which then amounted to four thousand, only two thousand three hundred of which were properly armed. Even in that weak condition the Chevalier would, according to Lord Mar's subsequent statement, gladly have maintained Perth, or ventured a battle; but when the enemy with an army of eight thousand men were actually advanced near to the place, it was found impracticable to defend Perth, the town being little more at that time than an open village; and the river Tay on one side, and the fosse on the other, being both frozen over, it would have been easy to enter the town at any quarter. Added to this, the mills had been long stopped by the frost, so that there were not above two days' provision in the town. There were no coals to be procured: the enemy had possession of the coal mines in Fife, and wood was scarce. The Earl also contended that the Highlanders, however able in attack, were not accustomed to the defence of towns.

Reasons equally cogent were employed against going out to fight the enemy, and a retreat northwards was at length proposed. But it was no easy task to bring the brave spirits who had hailed the approach of Argyle, to accord in sentiments which might spring from discretion, but which ill agreed with the Highland notions of honour. The council, after a stormy debate, was broken up in confusion, and adjourned until the next morning.

Some hours afterwards, a few, who were favourable to the abandonment of Perth, were summoned privately by Lord Mar; and it was then agreed not to fight, but to retreat. For a time this determination was concealed from the bulk of the army, but it gained wind; and on the evening of the thirty-first of January, eight hundred of the Highlanders indignantly left Perth, and retired beyond Dunkeld, to their homes. That very night, also, the Chevalier, who had far less of the Scottish Stuart within him than of that modified and inferior variety exemplified in the British line of the family, disappeared from the town, and repaired to Scone. He supped and slept in the house of the Provost Hay; and on the following morning, at an early hour, was ready for retreat. To do the Chevalier justice, there was, according to Lord Mar's journal, much difficulty in persuading him to this step: it was found necessary to convince him that it had become a duty to retire from the pursuit of the Government, which, as long as he was in the country, would never cease to persecute his followers, who could not make any terms of capitulation so long as he remained. He was obliged, at last, to consent: "And, I dare say," adds Lord Mar, "no consent he ever gave was so uneasy to him as this was."[145] Of that point it would be satisfactory to be well assured.

On the first of February, four hours after the unfinished letter of Lord Mar was written, the Jacobites abandoned Perth, and crossing the frozen stream of the Tay, took their route to Dundee. They went forth in such precipitation, that they left their cannon behind them,—a proof that they never hoped to oppose again the victorious arms of Argyle. About noon the Chevalier, accompanied by Lord Mar, followed his people towards the North. He is said to have been disconsolate,—and, shedding tears, to have complained "that instead of bringing him a crown, they had brought him to his grave." This murmur and these tears having been reported to Prince Eugene, of Savoy, that General remarked "that weeping was not the way to conquer kingdoms."[146]

The Jacobites marched direct for Dundee, along the Carse of Gowrie. The Duke of Argyle's forces entered Perth only two hours after the Highland army had entirely cleared the Tay, which, happily for their retreat, was frozen over with ice of an extraordinary thickness. At Dundee the Chevalier rested one night only; but leaving it on the second of February, was again succeeded by Argyle and his squadrons, who arrived there on the following day.

The unfortunate Prince pursued his way to Montrose. His route along the sea-coast gave credence to a report which had now gained ground, of his intention of embarking for France. The loudest murmurs again ran through the Highland forces, worthy of a noble leader, and the sight of some French vessels lying near the shore confirmed the general suspicion. This was, nevertheless, somewhat allayed by an order to the clans to march that evening at eight o'clock to Aberdeen, where, in accordance with the crooked policy and deceptive plan of Lord Mar, it was represented that large supplies of troops and arms would meet them from France. But a very different scheme was in agitation among those who governed the feeble James, and perhaps, with right motives, guided him to his safety.

A small ship lay in the harbour of Montrose, for the purpose, originally, of carrying over an envoy from James to some foreign court. This vessel was now pitched upon to transport the Chevalier; the size being limited, she could accommodate but few passengers: and therefore, to avoid confusion, the Chevalier "himself thought fit to name who should attend him." "The Earl of Mar, who was the first named, made difficulty, and begged he might be left behind; but the Chevalier being positive for his going, and telling him that, in a great measure, there were the same reasons for his going as for his own,—that his friends could more easily get terms without him than with him,—and that, as things now stood, he could be of no more use to them in their own country, he submitted."[147]

The Chevalier then chose the Marquis of Drummond to accompany him: this nobleman was lame from a fall from his horse, and was not in a condition to follow the army. He, as well as the Earl of Mar, the Lord Tullibardine, and the Lord Linlithgow had a bill of attainder passed against them. The Chevalier on that account was desirous of taking these other Lords with him; but both were absent: Lord Tullibardine was at Brechin with a part of the foot, and Lord Linlithgow at Berire with the horse. He ordered the Earl Marischal, General Sheldon, and Colonel Clephan to accompany him.

After these arrangements the Chevalier issued several orders which reflect the utmost credit upon his disposition. After appointing General Gordon Commander-in-chief, with all necessary powers, he wrote a paper containing his reasons for leaving the kingdom, and, delivering it to the General, gave him at the same time all the money in his possession, except a small sum which he reserved for his expenses and those of his suite; and desired, that after the army had been paid, the residue should be given to the impoverished and houseless inhabitants of Auchterarder. He then dictated a letter to the Duke of Argyle, in which he dwelt at some length upon his distress at being obliged "among the manifold mortifications which he had had in this unfortunate expedition," to burn the villages. The letter, which was never delivered to the Duke of Argyle, is in the possession of the Fingask family.[148]

Having completed these arrangements, the Chevalier prepared to take leave for ever of the Scottish shores. The hour had now arrived which was appointed for the march of the troops, and the Chevalier's horses were brought before the door of the house in which he lodged: the guard which usually attended him whilst he mounted, were in readiness, and all was prepared as if he were resolved to march with the clans to Aberdeen. But meantime, the Chevalier had slipped out of his temporary abode on foot, accompanied only by one servant; and going to the Earl of Mar's lodgings, he went thence, attended by the Earl, through a bye-way to the water side, where a boat awaited him and carried him and the Earl of Mar to a French ship of ninety tons, the Marie Therese, of St. Malo. About a quarter of an hour afterwards two other boats carried the Earl of Melfort and Lord Drummond, with General Sheldon and ten other gentlemen, on board the same ship: they then hoisted sail and put to sea; and notwithstanding that several of the King's ships were cruizing on the coast, they sailed in safety, and after a passage of seven days, arrived at Waldam, near Gravelines, in French Flanders.

The Chevalier sailed at nine o'clock. Some hours afterwards, Earl Marischal and Colonel Clephan arrived at the shore, but they could get no boat to convey them, for fear of the men-of-war that were cruizing near. The Marie Therese, nevertheless, got out of reach of these vessels before daylight.

With what reflections Lord Mar left his native country a prey to the power of an irritated Government, cannot readily be conceived. That he left it at such a moment, is a fact which for ever stamps his memory with degradation. The deserted adherents of James, being in no condition to make a stand against the Duke of Argyle, betook themselves to holes and caves, mostly in the remote parts of the Highlands, where many lurked until they could safely appear; but such as were most obnoxious took the first opportunity of ships to carry them into foreign countries; and vessels were, to this end, provided by the Chevalier with such success, that many escaped from the pursuit of justice.

James, accompanied by the Earl of Mar, proceeded to his former residence at St. Germains, where, in spite of the wishes of the French Government that he should repair to his old asylum in Lorraine, he wished to remain. In Paris, the Chevalier met two of his most distinguished adherents,—the faithless Bolingbroke, and the popular Duke of Ormond. Although aware of the unsoundness of Bolingbroke's loyalty, James received him cordially. "No Italian," says Bolingbroke, "ever embraced the man he was going to stab with a greater show of affection and confidence."

For some time the Chevalier lingered in Paris, hoping to see the Regent. "His trunks were packed, his chaise was ordered at five that afternoon," writes Lord Bolingbroke, "and I wrote word to Paris that he was gone. Instead of taking post for Lorraine, he went to the little house in the Bois de Boulogne, where his female ministers resided; and there he continued lurking for some days, pleasing himself with the air of mystery and business, while the only real business which he should have had at heart he neglected."[149]

Avignon was now fixed on as the retreat of the Chevalier; and thither, after some delay, he retired, to an existence politically forgotten by the Continental powers, until the war with Spain and the consequent declaration of the Spanish King in his favour recalled him to importance.

Lord Mar, meantime, occupied himself in fruitless endeavours to excite, once more, the struggle which had just ended so fatally. As far as France was concerned, all those schemes upon which Mar successively built were futile: no aid could ever be expected during the Regency. "My hopes," said Bolingbroke, speaking of the Jacobite cause, "sunk as he [Louis the Fourteenth] declined, and died when he expired. The event of things has sufficiently shown that all those which were entertained by the Duke [of Ormond], and the Jacobite party under the Regency, were the grossest delusions imaginable."[150]

Some of the remaining years of Lord Mar's life were, nevertheless, devoted to chimerical projects for which he received in return little but disappointment, ingratitude, and humiliation. One of his schemes was to engage Charles the Twelfth of Sweden on the side of the Chevalier. In a letter to Captain Straiton, the Chevalier's agent in Edinburgh, he signified that if five or six thousand bolls of meal could be purchased by the King's friends and sent to Sweden, where there was then a great scarcity, it would be of service to his master in conciliating the good will of Charles. This proposal was communicated by Mar's desire to Lockhart of Carnwath, to Lord Balmerino, and to the Bishop of Edinburgh. But it was the sanguine disposition of Mar which alone could lead him to suppose such a scheme practicable. It was, in the first place, found impossible to raise so large a sum from men, many of them exiles, or involved in difficulties from the expenses of the recent insurrection. It was also deemed folly to conceive that so large a quantity of Scotch meal as necessary could be exported without exciting the suspicion of Government.

The next plan which Lord Mar contrived was not so fully unfolded as the project of which Charles the Twelfth was to be the object. He wrote to Edinburgh soon after the failure of the first scheme, to this effect: that a certain foreign prince had entered into a design for the restoration of James: that it "would look odd if his friends at home did not assist him;" and he wished they would fall on some means to have in readiness such a sum as they could afford to venture in his cause when a fair opportunity occurred. The hint was taken up seriously by the zealous Lockhart of Carnwath, and assurances were sent from "several persons of honour, that they would be in a condition to answer his Majesty's call." Among these, the Earl of Eglintoun offered three thousand guineas; and the others "would have given a good round sum." The conduct of the English Government to the Duke of Argyle, who had been superseded as Commander-in-Chief in Scotland, and the strong personal friendship between Lockhart and the Duke, emboldened Mar to hope that a negotiation might be entered into with Argyle, and that he might be persuaded to join in their schemes. At the same time, Lord Mar enjoined the strictest secrecy in all these affairs, and with reason, for the letters of the exiled Jacobites abounded in false hopes and plans; many of their correspondents at home had not the discretion to conceal their delight, when the sanguine expectations of their party prevailed over despair.

The agent employed by Lockhart to treat with the Duke of Argyle was Colonel John Middleton. By him Lockhart was, however, assured that his Grace would neither directly nor indirectly treat with Mar for "he believed him his mortal enemy, and had no opinion of his honour; and," added Middleton, "I cannot think Mar does, more seriously now than before, desire to see Argyle in the King's measures, lest he eclipsed him." It was therefore resolved by Lockhart, that the correspondence between the Chevalier and Argyle should be contrived without Mar's cognizance. A letter was written to James, and was forwarded by Captain Straiton, enclosed, to the Earl of Mar, who was, in another epistle from Lockhart, "entreated not to be offended that the contents of the letter were not communicated to him, because he was bound to impart the same alone to the King."

This letter, containing a proposal so important to the interests of James, is supposed never to have reached the Chevalier. Mar, distrustful and offended, is suspected of having broken it open, and given it his own answer in a letter to the Duke of Argyle, which tended to affront and repel the Duke rather than to invite him to allegiance. When, some time afterwards, Lockhart's son spoke on the subject to the Chevalier at home, and represented what a fair opportunity had been lost, the Prince replied, "that he did not remember ever to have heard of it before."[151] Whether Mar was misjudged or not must be a matter of doubt, but this anecdote proves how little respect was entertained for his good faith, or even for his possessing the common sentiments of gentlemanly propriety, when the suspicion of breaking open a letter which had been entrusted to him was attached to his conduct.

In consequence of the difficulty of bringing any scheme to bear, from the want of a head, Lockhart had contrived a plan of having trustees in Scotland to conduct it, to be empowered by James to act during his absence, and in his behalf. This plan had the usual obstacles to encounter among a set of factious partisans, who were only united when the common danger pressed and common services were required, but discordant and selfish in the calmer days of suspense. Mar, perhaps, with greater wisdom than he was allowed to display, did not advance the scheme; his reluctance to promote it was ascribed to his love of power in Scotland; but since the plan was resented by Tullibardine, Seaforth, and Penmure,[152] as infringing upon their dignity, there is as good reason for believing that it was the suggestion of an intriguing ambition on the part of the proposer, as that Mar resisted it on selfish grounds. The notion was excellent, but the difficulty was to find men of sufficient fidelity, honesty, and prudence to exercise functions so delicate.

The spirit of Jacobitism seems scarcely, at this period to have been checked in the bosoms of the resolute people who had suffered so much; and the Netherbow and the High Street of Edinburgh still resounded at times with the firing of musquetry, directed against a harmless rabble of boys who betrayed the popular feeling by the white roses in their hats.[153] Nor was the lingering enthusiasm for the Jacobite cause confined to the lower classes in either country. It is almost incredible that men of Whig principles, who held high offices in the Government, should, at various times, have engaged in correspondence with the agents of James; yet such is the fact.

Among those who were involved in these dangerous negotiations, Charles Earl of Sunderland, the son-in-law of Marlborough, and at that time Prime Minister of George the First, was one with whom Lord Mar treated. Among the Sunderland Papers is to be found a singular letter from the Earl of Mar to the Earl of Sunderland, urging that nobleman to assist in inducing his royal master to accede to a proposal from which he might himself derive a suitable advantage. "We find," says Dr. Coxe, "unequivocal proofs that Lord Sunderland, who was considered at the head of the new administration formed in 1717, was in secret correspondence with the Pretender and his principal agents."[154]

The letter referred to from Lord Mar, on which Dr. Coxe has inscribed the word "curious," began with professions of respect and confidence on the part of his Lordship, to whom it was quite as easy to address those expressions to a man of one party as of the other. It contained also a promise of secrecy, and an exaction of a similar observance on the part of Lord Sunderland. He then alluded to the misfortunes into which the British nation was thrown by the disputed succession, and the violence of party spirit in consequence. The subtle politician next touched on the subject of George the First, whom he delicately terms, "your master."

"Whatever good opinion you may have of your master, and the way that things are ordered there at present, does not alter the case much; his health is not so good as to promise a long life, and he is not to live always even if it were good, nor will things continue there as they are, any longer than he lives at most."

He then suggests that the Earl would have it in his power to prevent the dangers resulting from a disputed succession, "which can only be prevented by restoring the rightful and lineal heir."

"I can assure your Lordship," he continues, "my master has so many good qualities, that he will make the nation happie, and wants but to be known to be beloved; and I dare promise in his name, that there is not any thing you could ask of him, reasonable, for yourself and your friends, but he would agree to. My master is young, in perfect good health, and as likely to live as any who has pretensions to his crown, and he is now about marrying, which, in all appearance, will perpetuate rightfull successors to him of his own body, who will ever have more friends in those kingdoms, as well as abroad, than to allow the house of Hanover to continue in possession of their right without continual disturbance."

The Earl then suggests that George the First should secure to himself the possession of "his old and just inheritance, and by the assistance of 'his master,' and those who would join, acquire such new ones on the Continent as would make his family more considerable than any of its neighbours.

"Britain and Ireland will have reason to bless your master for so good and Christian an action; and Europe no less for the repose it would have by it: and your master would live the remainder of his life in all the tranquillity and splendour that could be required, and end his days with the character of good and just."

Lord Mar was at this time on the borders of France, where he proposed to wait until he received Lord Sunderland's reply, in hopes that the Minister of George the First might be induced to give him a meeting, either in France or Flanders. "If you approve not of what I have said," he adds, "let it be buried on your side, as, upon my honour, it shall be on mine." "I am afraid," he adds in a postscript, "you know not my hand; but I have no other way of assuring you of this being no counterfeit than by writing it myself, and putting my seal to it."

The following remarks on this letter are interesting; they were penned by Dr. Coxe:

"Singular as this overture, made at such a period, may appear, we have strong proofs that it was not discouraged by Sunderland; for he not only procured a pension for the exiled nobleman, but even flattered the Jacobites with hopes that he was inclined to favour their cause. This we find by intelligence given at a subsequent period by the Jacobite spies."

The following addition to the above-stated remark of Dr. Coxe is even yet more astonishing:

"On the death of Lord Sunderland the secret of this correspondence became by some means known to the Regent Duke of Orleans, and he hastened to make so important a communication to the King of England. The letter written on this occasion by the British agent at Paris, Sir Luke Schwaub, and the reply of his friend Lord Carteret, then Secretary of State, are highly curious, because they prove, not only the correspondence, but the fact that it was known and approved by the King."[155]

How near were the unfortunate Stuarts to that throne which they were destined never to ascend!

Upon the disgrace of Bolingbroke, and on his return to England, the Seals had been offered by James Stuart to Lord Mar, who refused them on the ostensible ground that he "could not speak French." The actual reason was perhaps to be sought for in a far deeper motive.[156]

In 1714 the celebrated Lord Stair had been sent as Ambassador to France, chiefly to watch over the proceedings of the Jacobites, and to cement a friendship with the Duke of Orleans, on whom King George could not rely. The brilliant and spirited manner in which Lord Stair executed this commission, the splendour by which his embassy was distinguished, and his own personal qualities, courtesy, shrewdness, and diligence, contributed mainly to the diminution of the Jacobite influence, which declined under his exertions. It was from Lord Stair's address that Bolingbroke, or, as Stair calls him in his correspondence, Mr. York, was confirmed in his disgust to the Jacobite cause.

Between Lord Stair and the Earl of Mar an early acquaintance had existed. Agreeably to the fashion of the period, which led Queen Anne and the Duchess of Marlborough to assume the names of Morley and Freeman, Lord Stair and Lord Mar, in the early days of their confidence, had adopted the familiar names of Captain Brown, and Joe Murray.

Lord Mar had remained in Paris until October 1717; he then went into Italy with the Duke of Ormond; but previous to his departure he called on Lord Stair, and remained in the house of the Ambassador for four or five hours. He appears to have declared to Lord Stair that he then looked upon the affairs of his master as desperate. "He flung out," as Lord Stair wrote, "several things, as I thought, with a design to try whether there was any hopes of treating." Lord Stair, not liking to give an old friend false hopes, declined "dipping into particulars;" adding at the same time, in his account of the interview, "he would not have dealt so with me: but in conversation of that kind there is always something curious to be learned."

They parted without explanation, and Lord Mar proceeded to Rome. The correspondence between these two noblemen ceased for nearly two years.[157] During that interval, James had married the Princess Clementina Maria, a daughter of Prince Sobieski, elder son of John King of Poland. The marriage could scarcely have been solemnized, since it took place early in May 1719, before we find Lord Mar at Geneva, on his way from Italy, resuming his negotiations with Lord Stair.


"May 6th, 1719.

"Good Captain Brown will not, I hope, take amiss his old acquaintance Jo. Murraye's writing to him at this time; and when he knows the occasion, I am persuaded he will forgive him, and comply, as far as he can, with what he is to ask him. My health is not so good just now nor for some time past, as you would wish it; and I am advised to drink the waters of Bourbon for it, as being the likest to those of the Bath of any this side the sea, of which I formerly found so much good. The hot climate where I have been for some time past, by no means agrees with my health; and I am persuaded that where some of our company is gone will still do worse with me.

"The affair in which it might be thought my Captain would employ me being now, I suppose, over for this bout, there needs be, I should think, no objection to what I should ask.

"I am come part of the way already; but I would not go much further, without acquainting you with it. And now I beg that on the consideration of the health of an old friend, you will give me allowance or furlo to go to the waters of Bourbon, and to continue there so long as I may have occasion for them during the two seasons this year; and I promise to you I shall do nothing in any way, the time of my being there, but as you would have me; so that this allowance can be of no prejudice to the service. If you cannot give me the furlo yourself, I imagine your Colonel will not refuse it, if you will be so good as to ask it for me.

"But because the first season of the waters is going fast away, I should be glad you could do it without waiting to hear from your Colonel about it, who, I should think, will not take it amiss when you acquaint him with your having ventured to do so. Do not, I beg of you, think there is any fetch in this, or anything but what I have told you, which, upon honour, is nothing but truth, and all the truth.

"I hope there will be no occasion of your mentioning your having had this trouble from me to any, unless it be to your Colonel and one or two about him, and the person, it is like, you must speak to where you are. There is one with me, an old school acquaintance of yours too, Mr. Stuart of Invernethy, whom you have seen dance very merrily over a sword; and if the allowance is granted me, I hope it will not be refused to him, for whom I promise as I do for myself.

"When I have done with the waters, I hope there will be no objection to my returning to Italy again, if I have a mind; but I judged it fit to mention this to you.

"The person who delivers you this, will get conveyed to me what you will be so good to write."

Whilst he was thus in treaty with his former friend, Lord Mar was stopped on his way to St. Prix, near Geneva, by the orders of the Hanoverian Minister: his papers were seized and sealed up; and among them, a copy of that which was written to Lord Stair as Captain Brown. Lord Mar, who had borne an assumed name, disclosed his real rank, and wrote to Lord Stair for assistance,—again urging permission to go to the waters of Bourbon, or, if not allowed to go into France, the liberty to return to Italy, "where," he said, "I may end my days in quiet; and those, probably, will not be many in that climate." Whilst awaiting the reply of Lord Stair, the Earl was treated with respect by the authorities of Geneva; and "had only to wish that he had a little more liberty for taking air and exercise." He expected that Lord Stair's answer could not arrive in less than a fortnight: in the meantime, he adds, "I shall be obliged, on account of my health, to ask the Government here a little more tether."[158]

His indulgent friend, Lord Stair, was, meantime, urging his cause by every means in his power. "I wish Lord Mar," he wrote to the English Ministry, "was at liberty upon his parole to the town of Geneva, or he had permission to go to the waters of Bourbon. I should be glad to know what pension you would allow him till he be restored?"

Lady Mar was now in Rome, whither she had followed her husband soon after his leaving Scotland. Her jointure, it appears, was stopped by the Commissioners, and she was unable, without that supply, to travel from Rome to Geneva. She was, probably, aware of Lord Mar's intention to leave the Chevalier's service, for the Earl had written a long letter, explanatory of his situation and intentions, to her father the Duke of Kingston. "I have offered him for Lady Mar's journey," says Lord Stair, "credit upon me for a thousand pounds." Yet notwithstanding this liberality, Lord Mar now began to be extremely uneasy at Geneva, and to fear that the Government meant "merely to expose him." In vain, for some time, did Stair plead for him, with Secretary Craggs and Lord Stanhope. They were evidently, from Lord Stair's replies to their objections, afraid to have any dealings with him. "As to Lord Mar," writes Stair, "the things that shock you, shock me; but our business is to break the Pretender's party by detaching him from it, which we shall effectually do by letting him live in quiet at Geneva or elsewhere, and by giving him a pension. Whatever his Lordship's intentions may be, it is very certain, in a few months, that the Jacobites will pull his throat out,—you know them well enough not to doubt of it. The Pretender," he adds, "looks upon Mar as lost, and has had no manner of confidence in him ever since Lady Mar came into Italy. They looked upon her as a spy, and that she had corrupted her husband. This, you may depend on it, is true." Little more than a week afterwards, Lord Stair informed his friends that "Lord Mar was outre at the usage he had met with. He says our Ministers may be great and able men, but that they are not skilful at making proselytes, or keeping friends when they have them. I am pretty much of his mind."

It was, doubtless, as Lord Stair declared, the full determination of Lord Mar at that time to leave the Chevalier's interests. "The Pretender, I know," said Stair, "wrote him the kindest letter imaginable since his [the Pretender's] return into Italy from Spain, with the warmest invitations to return to his post."

The letters which Lord Stair had received, in the course of this negotiation, from Lord Mar, were instantly sent to Hanover. They were in some instances written in his own hand, but without signature, and in the third person. In the first which he wrote to Lord Stair, Mar announced that he had quitted the service of James, and was desirous of making peace with King George upon the promise of a pardon, and the restoration of his estates.

"You are to consider," says Lord Stair, writing to the Secretary of State at home concerning this proposal, "whether it will be worth the while to receive him. In my humble opinion the taking him on will be the greatest blow that can be given to the Pretender's interest, and the greatest discredit to it. And it may be made of use to show to the world that nobody but a Papist can hope to continue in favour with the Pretender. I wish," adds the Ambassador, "you may think as I do. I own all his faults and misfortunes cannot make me forget the long and intimate friendship and familiarity that has been between him and me." It is consoling to find any politician acting upon such good old-fashioned maxims, the result of honest feeling.

Lady Mar having now joined her husband, Lord Mar resolved to make his escape from Geneva. Lord Stair advised him against it; but adds, in his letters to his friends at home, "I could hardly imagine that a man of his temper, and in his circumstances, will refuse his liberty when he sees he has nothing but ill usage and neglect to expect from us."[159]

Thus ended this negotiation, the main conditions of which were, provided Lord Mar kept himself free from any plots against the Government, an offer of the family estate to his son; and, in the interim, till an act of Parliament could be obtained to that effect, a pension of two thousand pounds sterling, over and above one thousand five hundred pounds paid of jointure to his wife and daughter.[160]

It was the fortune of Lord Mar on this, as on many other occasions, to reap the ignominy of having accepted this pension, without ever receiving the profits of his debasement.

During the absence of Lord Mar at Geneva, his Countess, who remained in Rome, received the following letters from the Chevalier and his Princess, Maria Clementina: these epistles show how desirous the Chevalier still was to retain Lord Mar in his interests.[161]

"Montefiascony, Sept. 9, 1719.

"The Duke of Mar's late misfortunes and my own situation for some months past, hath occasioned my being much in the dark as to his present circumstances, which touche me too nearly not to desire you will inform me particularly of them. The last letter I had from him was in the begining of May, from Genua, in which he mentioned to me his ill state of health, and something of your comeing to meet him at Bourbon waters; but the season for them now advanceing, or rather passeing, I reckon that whether he had gone thither or not, he will soon be here on ye receipt of the note I sent you t'other day for him, and by consequence that what measures he may have taken with you about your meeting him will be altered on sight of that. I thought it necessary to inform you of these particulars to prevent any thoughts you might have of a journey so expensive and now useless: for as to his liberty, I make no doubt but that it will immediately follow the certainty of my return to this country. I should think it not prudent to write any politicks to him now, not knowing what fate my letters might meet with; but there is no secret in your sayeing all that is kind from me to him. If you cannot exagerate as to my impatience to see him, after all our mutual misfortunes and adventures, and I am sure he will be glad to know and see me more happy in a wife than I can be otherwayes, in most respects.

"I hope soon to have the satisfaction of seeing you at Rome, when I believe I shall soon convince you that if you and your lord have in the world many false friends, I am and ever shall be a true one to you both.



"Montefiasconi, 23rd. Sept.

[162]"Je vien de recevoire, votre chere letre par Mr. Clepen, et vous sui bien oblige, de l'attention que vous ave eu, de mervoyer dutee, lequell ne sauroit que etre bon venant de vous; vous me marquez avoire de la peine a ecrire le fransoi, mai votre esprit vous, laprendera bientot. Le Roi me charge de vous faire, se compliment et soy et aussi persuadez, de l'estime que j'auray toujour pour votre merite.


"J'ambrase de tous mon coeure la charman petite, J'espere dan peu de le pouvoire faire personnellement, et a vous de meme. Nous nous porton tres bien; l'aire d'icy est foie bonne."

A subsequent letter is addressed "A ma cousine La Duchesse de Mar"—and subscribed "votre affectionee cousine, Clementine;" yet notwithstanding these professions of confidence and affection, the seeds of distrust were, it seems, soon sown between James and the Earl and Countess of Mar. At first the suggestions to their disadvantage were repelled, "There has been enough pains," writes James, "taken from Rome within these few days to do you ill offices with me, but I can assure you with truth they have made no impression upon me, nor will they produce any other effect than to make me, if possible, kinder to you. But when I see you I shall say more on this head, for 'tis fitt you should know your false from your true friends; and among the last you shall ever find me.[163]


An order, dated the ninth of October, 1719, that all such boxes "as are in the Duchesse of Mar's custody should be first naled by her, and then delivered with their keyes to Sir William Ellis," written in the Chevalier's own hand, shews either that Lady Mar was on the eve of her departure from Italy, or that a breach of confidence had taken place.[164]

Lord Mar, with impaired health, and writhing under the rejection of his offers, returned to Italy. There, had he adhered to a resolution which he had formed, of not interfering in public affairs, he might still have closed his days in tranquillity.

Notwithstanding the apparent continuance of the Chevalier's regard, he never forgot the treaty between Lord Stair and the Earl of Mar. The whole of this intrigue, discreditable as it was, has been reprobated by all who have touched upon this portion of Lord Mar's history. His accepting the loan of a thousand pounds from Stair, an old friend, for the purpose of ensuring Lady Mar's journey, has been censured, I think, with too great severity. But, although it be desirable to set to rights matters of fact, yet, it is always unsatisfactory to begin the defence of a bad cause. There is no evidence to show that Lord Mar ever received a pension: he was not thought worth conciliating; but that circumstance, in this case, and after a display of his willingness to receive all that could be granted, assists very little in his vindication, and rather adds to the degradation of one whom no party could trust.

Soon after Lord Mar's return to Rome, the seeds of disunion between James and his young and high-spirited wife began to disturb the minds of all who were really well wishers to the Stuarts.

Maria Clementina, reported by Horace Walpole to have been "lively, insinuating, agreeable, and enterprising," had encountered, soon after her marriage with James, the too frequent fate of many who were sacrificed to royal marriages. She had quickly perceived that her influence was inferior to that of the Prince's favourites: she was shortly made aware of his infidelities: she became jealous, without affection; and her disappointment in her consort was that of a proud, resentful woman, to whom submission to circumstances was a lesson too galling to be learned.

The Prince, after the fashion of his forefathers, was governed by favourites: like Charles the First, he had his Buckingham and his Strafford; and his miniature Court was rent with factions. But the Chevalier had neither the purity of Charles the First, nor the charm of character which gilded over the vices of Charles the Second. His household was an epitome of the worst passions; and his melancholy aspect, his want of dignity and spirit, his bigotry and even his unpopular virtue of economy, cast a gloom over that turbulent region. It was bitterly, but perhaps truly said of him, "that he had all the superstition of a capuchin, but none of the religion of a Prince."[165] Like most of his immediate family, his character deteriorated as he grew older. He did not rise under the pressure of adversity; and his timid, irresolute nature was crushed by the effects of his cruel situation.

Colonel John Hay, of Cromlix, the brother of the Earl of Mar's first wife, and of George, seventh Earl of Kinnoul, succeeded in obtaining mastery over his subdued nature. The lady of Colonel Hay, Margery, the third daughter of Viscount Stormont, was said, also, to have possessed her own share of influence over the mind of the Chevalier. Of the real existence of any criminal attachment between the Prince and Mrs. Hay, there is, however, considerable doubt; and it has been generally regarded as one of those amours raised for a purpose, during the continuance of a fierce contention for power.

Clementina had also her favourites; and a certain Mrs. Sheldon, who had had the charge of Prince Charles Edward, had acquired her confidence. This choice was peculiarly infelicitous.

Mrs. Sheldon was reported to be about as unworthy a favourite as the unhappy Princess could have selected. According to Colonel Hay, she was the mistress of General Dillon, one of the most ardent adherents of the Stuarts, and the spy of the Earl of Mar.[166] For four or five years, nevertheless, after Prince Charles's birth, she continued to be his governess, and to sway the feelings of his mother, in the same manner as confidants and dependants usually direct the angry passions of their mistresses into the most dangerous channels.

During the height of Colonel Hay's favour, the confidence of the Chevalier in Lord Mar visibly declined, as appears in the following letter to one of his adherents in Scotland.

"I have always been unwilling to mention Marr, but I find myself indispensably engaged at present to let my Scots friends know that I have withdrawn my confidence entirely from him, as I shall be obliged to doe from all who may be any ways influenced by him. This conduct is founded on the most urgent, strongest, and most urging necessity, in which my regard to my faithfull subjects and servants have the greatest share.

"What is here said of Marr, is not with a view of its being made publick, there being no occasion for that, since, many years ago, he put himself under such engagements, that he could not serve me in a publick capacity, neither has he been publickly employed by me."

To this it was answered, by the confidential friend to whom the remarks were addressed, "It is some time agoe since your friends here had doubts of the Earl of Marr; and thence it was that I was directed to mention him in the manner I did in my last two letters, it being matter of no small moment to us to know in whom wee might confide thorowly, and of whom beware,—especially when a person of his figure was the object."[167]

Affairs were in this state; the Chevalier distrustful of Lord Mar, and devoted to his rival, Colonel Hay; the Princess heading an opposite faction, nominally commanded by Mrs. Sheldon, but secretly instigated by Lord Mar; when, in 1722, the conspiracy of Atterbury was discovered by the British Government.

The Earl of Mar was at that time in Paris, and Lord Carteret who was at the head of affairs in England, remembering the Earl's former negotiations with Lord Stair, dispatched a gentleman to Mar, with instructions to sound that nobleman as to his knowledge of the plot. Lord Mar happening to be in Colonel Dillon's company when the messenger reached Paris, and soon divining after one interview the nature of the embassy, it was agreed between him and Dillon that they would do James's cause a service by leading the British Government off the right scent. They therefore drew up, in conjunction, an answer to Lord Carteret. What was the nature of that reply,[168] does not appear; but its result was such as to cast upon Lord Mar a degree of odium far greater than that which he had incurred in Lord Stair's business. He was accused by Atterbury with having, on that occasion, written such a letter as had been the cause of his banishment; with having betrayed the secrets of the Chevalier St. George to the British Government; and of several other charges of "base and treacherous practises, discovered by the Bishop of Rochester, that the like had scarce been heard of, and seem'd to be what no man, endued with common sense, or the least drop of noble blood, could perpetrate; and that the King's friends were at a loss in not knowing what credit to give to such reports, tho' they apprehended the worst, from the directions he had lately given of having no correspondence with Mar or his adherents, from whom he had withdrawn all confidence."

Shortly after this declaration the Chevalier declared Colonel Hay to be his Secretary, and created the favourite Earl of Inverness; between whom and the Earl of Mar an antipathy, which had now become open hostility, prevailed. "The Duke of Mar," wrote the Earl of Inverness to Lockhart, "has declared himself my mortal enemy, only because I spoke truth to him, and could not, in my conscience, enter into his measures nor approve his conduct, tho' I always shunned saying any thing to his disadvantage, but to the King alone, from whom I thought I was obliged to conceal nothing."[169]

With respect to the treachery towards Atterbury, the justification of Lord Mar rests upon the testimony of Colonel Dillon, and other persons who saw the Earl's letter to Carteret. It is also certain that James accorded his approval to Mar's conduct in that affair. No positive intention of mischief can be made out against Mar; but his habit of rarely acting a straightforward part, his insatiable love of interference, and his mistaking cunning for policy, brought upon him the mournful indignation of the exiled Atterbury, and fixed upon him a grave imputation which it were almost impossible to wipe away.

Another charge brought by Atterbury against Lord Mar, was his advising James to barter his pretensions to the Crown for a pension. But this accusation is refuted by the two letters, of which vouchers are given in the Lockhart Papers, on which the allegation is founded. These letters were written from Geneva to the Prince and to Colonel Dillon.[170]

Lastly, Lord Mar stood charged with a scheme, discovered to Atterbury by Lord Inverness, for the restoration of the Stuarts, which, under pretence of replacing them on the throne, would for ever have rendered that restoration impracticable. From this allegation Lord Mar justified himself by referring to the scheme itself, which he was declared to have laid before the Regent of France with the intent to ruin James. Of this scheme, the two main features were, first to re-establish the ancient independence of Scotland and Ireland: secondly, that a certain number of French troops should remain in England, and that five thousand Scots, and as many Irish troops, should be sent to France and kept in pay by the French King, for a certain number of years. There is certainly a great deal of Mar's double policy, his being all things to all men, in such a scheme. He declared, however, and proved that he acquainted James with his plan in confidence, and that Colonel Hay sent a copy of it to the Bishop of Rochester. Little as one can approve of Mar's conduct, it is manifest that, by a deeply-laid intrigue, it was resolved for ever to uproot him from the confidence of James.

But the public career of Lord Mar had now drawn to its ignoble close. That he had his partisans, who repelled the charges against him by counter allegations, Lord Inverness soon found; and he began to think that "the less noise that was made about Mar," the better.[171]

During the year 1725, James further evinced his distrust of Lord Mar, by dismissing Mr. Sheldon, his supposed spy, and placing Mr. James Murray, a Protestant, as preceptor to the young Prince.

The retirement of the Princess Clementina into a convent, followed this last step. The correspondence of the royal couple, their recriminations, furnished, for some months, conversation for the continental courts, and even for St. James's, until the dismissal of Colonel Hay and his wife appeased the resolute daughter of the Sobieski, and produced an apparent reconciliation.

From the close of this altercation, and after the disgrace of Colonel Hay, the name of Lord Mar occurs no more in the history of the period. He resided at Paris until 1729, when, falling into ill health, he repaired to Aix la Chapelle, where he died in May 1732.

His wife survived him twenty-nine years, only to be the victim of mental disease, and, as it has been said, of cruelty and neglect. She became insane, and was placed under the charge of her sister, Lady Mary W. Montague, who, it has been reported, from avarice, stinted her unfortunate sister of even the common necessaries of life, and appropriated the allowance to herself. But this statement has been disproved.[172]

The latter years of Lord Mar were passed neither in idleness, nor wholly in the intrigues of the Court at Albano. His amusement was to draw plans and designs for the improvement of Scotland, which he had loved "not wisely," but to which his warmest affections are said to have ever recurred. In 1728 he composed a paper, in which he suggested building bridges on the north and south sides of the city of Edinburgh: he planned, also, the formation of a navigable canal between the Forth and the Clyde. His beloved Alloa was sold by the Commissioners of the forfeited estates to his brother, Lord Grange, who, in 1739, conveyed it to Lord Erskine, his nephew. Lord Mar's children were enriched by the gratitude of Gibbs, the architect, who bequeathed to the offspring of his early patron the greatest part of his fortune.

The Earl of Mar was succeeded by his son, Thomas Lord Erskine, who was deprived of the famed title of Mar by his father's attainder. Lord Erskine was appointed by Government, Commissary of Stores at Gibraltar. His marriage with Lady Charlotte Hope being without issue, the title was restored to the descendant of Lord Grange, and consequently to the children of the unfortunate Lady Grange, whose sufferings, from the effects of party spirit, seem to belong more properly to the page of romance, than to the graver details of history.

The conduct of John Erskine, Earl of Mar, has afforded a subject of comment to two men of very different character, John Lockhart of Carnwath, and the Master of Sinclair. Neither of the portraits drawn by these master-hands are favourable; and they were, in both instances, written under the influence of strong, yet transient impressions of disappointment and suspicion. The mind naturally seeks for some safer steersman to guide opinion than the intemperate though honest Jacobite, Lockhart, or the sarcastic and slippery friend, Sinclair. The worst peculiarity in the career of Mar was, that no one trusted him; towards the latter portion of his life he had even lost the power of deceiving: it had become impossible to him to act without mingling the poison of deception with intentions which might have been honest, and even benevolent. The habits of a long life of intrigue had warped his very nature. When we behold him fleeing from the coasts of Scotland, leaving behind him the trusting hearts that would have bled for him, we fancy that no moral degradation can be more complete. We view him soliciting to be a pensioner of England, and we acknowledge that it was even possible to sink still more deeply into infamy.

With principles of action utterly unsound, it is surprising how much influence Lord Mar acquired over all with whom he came into collision. He was sanguine in disposition, and, if we may judge by his letters, buoyant in his spirits; his disposition was conciliatory, his manners were apparently confiding. At the bottom of that gay courtesy there doubtless was a heart warped by policy, but not inherently unkind. He attached to him the lowly. Lockhart speaks of the love of two of his kinsmen to him:—his tenantry, during his exile, contributed to supply his wants, by a subscription. These are the few redeeming characteristics of one made up of inconsistencies. He conferred, it must be allowed, but little credit on a party which could number among its adherents the brave Earl Marischal, the benevolent and honourable Derwentwater, and the disinterested Nithisdale. When we contrast the petty and selfish policy of the Earl of Mar with the integrity and fidelity of those who fought in the same cause, and over whom he was commander, his character sinks low in the estimate, and acts like a foil to the purity and brightness of his fellow sufferers in the strife.


[7] See Wood's Peerage of Scotland.

[8] Histories of Noble British Families by Henry Drummond, Esq. Preface to Part I.

[9] Robertson's History of Scotland, ii. 32.

[10] Wood's Peerage. The year of his birth is not stated.

[11] Cunningham's History of Great Britain, i. 326.

[12] Dalrymple's Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 100.

[13] Chambers's Biography, art. Erskine.

[14] See Dr. Coxe's MSS. in the British Museum, vol. iii.

[15] Dalrymple's Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 98.

[16] Lockhart's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 114.

[17] Lockhart, vol. i. p. 45.

[18] Granger, vol. ii. p. 31. Somerville's Queen Anne, p. 184.

[19] Of Alloa the following account is given. "Alloa House, situated in the immediate neighbourhood of the town, in the midst of a fine park, the seat of the Earl of Mar, and the subject of a fine Scottish song, is a place worthy of visit. The principal part of the building was destroyed some years ago by fire, and with it the only certain original portrait of Queen Mary existing in the kingdom. The original tower, a building of the thirteenth century, the walls of which are eleven feet thick, and ninety feet high, alone remains. In it James the Sixth and his eldest son, Henry, were successively educated under the care of the Mar family. The cradle of the former, and his little nursery-chair, besides Prince Henry's golfs, were preserved in the tower till a recent period, when they fell into the possession of Lady Frances Erskine, daughter of the late venerable Earl of Mar, who, we understand, now preserves them, with the care and veneration due to such valuable heirlooms, in her house in Edinburgh. The country in every direction round Alloa is extremely level and beautiful, interspersed with numerous fine seats, and abounding in delightful little old-established bower-like villages. Among the latter we would particularize one called the Bridge of Allan as everything which a village ought to be—soft, sunny, and warm—a confusion of straw-roofed cottages, and rich massy trees; possessed of a bridge and a mill, together with kail-yards, bee-skeps, colleys, callants, old inns with entertainment for man and horse, carts with their poles pointing up to the sky, venerable dames in drugget knitting their stockings in the sun, and young ones in gingham and dimity tripping along with milk-pails on their heads.

"Besides all these characteristics as a village, the Bridge of Allan boasts of a row of neat little villas for the temporary accommodation of a number of fashionables who flock to it in the summer, on account of a neighbouring mineral well."—Chambers's Picture of Scotland.

[20] Wood's Peerage.

[21] Somerville's Queen Anne, p. 167.

[22] Somerville, p. 177. Memoirs of Scotland, London, 1714. Defoe's History of the Union, p. 64.

[23] Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 114.

[24] Lockhart.

[25] Lockhart, p. 116.

[26] Daniel De Foe on the Union, p. 64.

[27] De Foe, p. 322.

[28] Lockhart. Letter to one English Lord concerning the Treaty, 1702, vol. i. p. 272.

[29] Memoirs, p. 74. De Foe, p. 321.

[30] Memoirs, p. 74. De Foe, p. 371.

[31] Introduction to De Foe's History of the Union, p. 16.

[32] Memoirs of Scotland, p. 31.

[33] Mackay.

[34] Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 54.

[35] Memoirs of North Britain, p. 113.

[36] Wood's Peerage, vol. i. pp. 714, 717; also Mackay's Memoirs, p. 178.

[37] Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 115.

[38] Wood's Peerage, art. Erskine of Mar.

[39] Memoirs of Scotland, p. 224.

[40] Memoirs of Scotland, p. 340.

[41] Cunningham's Hist. Great Britain, p. 257.

[42] Ibid. p. 61.

[43] Swift's Works, edited by Sir W. Scott, pp. 14, 72.

[44] The motto on Queen Anne's coronation medal.

[45] Cunningham, p. 71.

[46] Memoirs of Scotland. Cunningham, p. 157.

[47] Swift's Letters, vol. ii. p. 488; also p. 487, note by Sir W. Scott.

[48] Wood's Peerage. Swift's Letters, p. 475. See note.

[49] Mackay's Characters, p. 94.

[50] Swift added, in his own hand, to this eulogium, this remark: "He was little better than a conceited talker in company."

[51] The following letter shows that the Duke anticipated the result of the duel.

London, Nov. 14, 1712.

My dear Son,

I have been doing all I could to recover your mother's right to her estate, which I hope shall be yours. I command you to be dutiful towards her, as I hope she will be just and kind to you; and I recommend it particularly to you, if ever you enjoy the estate of Hamilton, and what may, I hope, justly belong to you, (considering how long I have lived with a small competence, which has made me run in debt,) I hope God will put it into your head to do justice to my honour, and pay my just debts. There will be enough to satisfy all, and give your brothers and sisters such provisions as the state of your condition and their quality in Scotland will admit of.

I pray God preserve you, and the family in your person. My humble duty to my mother, and my blessing to your sisters. If it please God I live, you shall find me share with you what I do possess, and ever prove your affectionate and kind father, whilst


I again upon my blessing charge you, that you let the world see you do your part in satisfying my just debts.

Addressed thus: "To my dear Son the Marquis of Chilsdale."

Memoirs of the Life and Family of James Duke of Hamilton.

[52] The Lady Elizabeth Gerrard, the sister of Lady Mohun, and Duchess of Hamilton, is said to have been "a lady of great wit and beauty, and all the fine accomplishments that adorn her sex." Through her the great estates in Lancashire and Staffordshire came into the family of Hamilton.

[53] Wood's Peerage; also "Life of the Duke of Hamilton," a scarce tract, p. 102.

[54] Coxe MSS. 9128. Plut. cxxxviii. H. British Museum.

[55] Ibid. See a Letter in French, dated April 5, 1714, p. 1.

[56] Coxe MSS.

[57] Lord Mahon's Hist. England, vol. i. p. 139. See also a scarce little book to be met with in the Advocate's Library in Edinburgh (Atterbury's Correspondence, with marginal notes by Lord Hailes): "By what accident these Letters have been preserved," says the noble Editor, "I know not: by what means they are now brought to light, I am not at liberty to explain."

[58] See the Letter before quoted.

[59] Cunningham, vol. ii. p. 440.

[60] Lockhart of Carnwath, vol. i. p. 446; also "Notices of Lady Grange," by Dr. Mackay.

[61] See "Notices of Lady Grange," by K. Mackay, M.D., 3rd edition. Glasgow, 1819.

[62] Cunningham, vol. ii. p. 441.

[63] Lord Mahon, vol. i. p. 152.

[64] "A Collection of Original Letters relating to the Rebellion of 1715." Edinburgh, 1730.

[65] Introductory Anecdotes to Lord Wharncliffe's Edition of Lady M. Wortley's Letters, p. 26.

[66] Reay, p. 135.

[67] Reay, p. 152.

[68] Reay, p. 171.

[69] This commission was long doubted, and was even denied by the Chevalier. It is, nevertheless, signed by his Secretary, and is among the valuable papers which, belonging to Mr. Gibson Craig of Edinburgh, have been liberally placed at the service of the author.

[70] Caledonian Mercury, 1722.

[71] Lord Mahon, p. 147.

[72] Lord Mahon; from the Master of Sinclair's MS.

[73] Burke's Peerage.

[74] Buchan's History of the Keith Family.

[75] Buchan's History of the Keith Family; also Scottish Peerage.

[76] See Patten's List of Chieftains.

[77] Secret History of Colonel Hooke's Negotiations, pp. 26, 110.

[78] Patten, p. 232.

[79] Buchan's History of the Keith Family, p. 153.

[80] Colonel Hooke's Negotiations.

[81] See "Genealogie of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Drummond, by the First Viscount Strathallan," Appendix. For this curious and elaborate work I am indebted to the Rev. Arthur Drummond.

[82] MS. Account of Several Clans, by Mrs. Grant, of Laggan.

[83] Brown's Highlands, vol. i. p. 131.

[84] The Rev. Robert Patten, from whose animated narrative many other writers have implicitly copied, was a man of indifferent character, who accompanied Mr. Forster, in the insurrection in Northumberland, as his chaplain. He afterwards turned king's evidence, and appeared against those whom he had served. For this act of treachery his pension was raised (as I find by the Caledonian Mercury for 1722) from 50l. to 80l. a-year. He dedicates his History of the Rebellion to Generals Carpenter and Wills.

[85] Patten, p. 151.

[86] Mar Papers.

[87] Reay, p. 191.

[88] Reay, p. 191.

[89] It seems to have been the custom of that period to write in the third person when in memoirs and statements. Lord Lovat's manifesto is in the same style.

[90] Patten, p. 257.

[91] A copy from the original, for which I am indebted to Mr. Gibson Craig, is given for the confirmation of Lord Mar's assertion:—

"James the Eighth, by the grace of God King of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c., to our right trusty and well-beloved Cousin and Counsellor, John Earl of Mar, &c. We reposing especial trust & confidence in your loyalty, courage, experience, and good conduct, doe by these * * constitute and appoint you to be our General and Commander in Cheif of all our forces, both by sea and land, in our antient kingdom of Scotland. Whereupon you are to take upon you the said command of General and Commander in Cheif, and the better to support you in the said authority, our will and pleasure is, that you act in consert with and by our * * * * We doe likeways hereby empower you to grant commissions in our name to all officers, both by sea and land, to place and displace the same as you shall think fitt and necessary for our service, to assemble our said forces, raise the militia, issue out orders for all suspected persons, and seizing of all forts and castles, and putting garrisons into them, and to take up in any part of our dominions, what money, horses, arms, and ammunition and provisions you shall think necessary for arming, mounting, and subsisting the said forces under your command, and to give recepts for the same, which we hereby promise to pay. By this our Commission, we likeways here empower you to make warr upon our enemies, and upon all such as shall adhere to the present government and usurper of our dominions. Leaving entirely to your prudence and conduct to begin the necessary acts of hostility when and where you think most advantageous conducing to our restoration; and we doe hereby command all, and require all officers and souldiers, both by sea and land, and all our subjects, to acknowledge and obey you as our General and Commander as Cheif of our army; and you to obey such furder orders and directions as you shall from time to time receive from us. In pursuance of the great power and trust we have reposed in you.

"Given at our Court at Bar le duc, the seventh day of September, 1715, and in the fourteenth year of our reign.

"By His Majestie's command, Sic Subscribitur, THOMAS HIGGINS."

[92] Patten, p. 256.

[93] Note in Reay. From the Weekly Journal, Feb. 4th, 1715-16.

[94] Reay, p. 193.

[95] Brown's Highlands, vol. i. p. 129.

[96] Mar Papers. In these there is a copy of this Manifesto; but since it has been printed in Reay's History of the Rebellion, and others, I do not think it necessary to insert it here.

[97] The Chevalier's agent there.

[98] The orthography of this letter is copied from the original, with the exception of the abbreviations usual at that period.

[99] Erskine.

[100] Reay, p. 221.

[101] Mar Papers.

[102] Mar Papers, communicated by Mr. Gibson Craig.

[103] Reay, pp. 236, 237.

[104] The Earl of Mar's Journal, as printed at Paris. At the end of Patten's History of the Rebellion, and addressed by Lord Mar to Colonel Balfour, p. 259.

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