Edith E Cuthell.

The Scottish friend of Frederic the Great, the last Earl Marischall (Volume 2) online

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"He wa,a called the King's JB^iend, and was the only one who had
deserved that title, for he always stood high in his favour without
flattering him."— Ddtens.

With a photogravure frontispiece and 16 other illustrations
in half-tone





Published in 1915


V. 2.




September 1754 to September 1755 . . 1

1755 TO June 1756 17

February to July 1756 .... 24

January 1757 to October 1758 ... 43

1758 61

July and August 1759 68





January 1759 to April 1760 .... 76

August to November 1760 .... 91

January to September 1761 .... 100

January to May 1762 113

May to November 1762 .... 125

August 1762 to March 1763 . . . .146

January to May 1763 157

May to July 1763 166

August to October 1763 .... 173



January 1763 to March 1764


. 182


April to June 1764 ....

. 193

July to October 1764 201

Autumn 1764 to February 1765 . . .214

Spring to October 1765 .... 224

September and October 1765 . . . 246

November 1765 to March 1766 . . , 256

July 1766 to March 1767 . . . .265

1766 TO 1768 280



December 1768

TO May 1778



. 292

1780 TO 1820

. 307


. 312


. 317



George, Baron Keith, tenth and last Earl Marischall

OF Scotland ..... Frontispiece

In the Public Library, Neachlltel.


Neuchatel in 1726 4

From an engraving by Nicolet.

Chateau de Colombier ....... 24

Chateau de Cotendard 56

Field-Marshal James Keith 68

By Francesco Trevisani. From a portrait at Keith Hall, in the possession of
the Earl of Kintore

Old Madrid 80

From the collection of A. M. Broadley.

The Gateway, Chateau de Colombier . . . .112

Letter from the Earl Marischall to Jean Jacques

KoussEAU 128

In the Library at Neuchatel.

Jean Jacques Kousseau 152

From the collection of A. M. Broadley.

Keith Hall 172

From an old firescreen in the possession of the Earl of Kintore.

Old Edinburgh ........ 184

From the collection of A. M. Broadley.

Inverugie Castle and the Ugie . . . . .196




The Tenth Earl Marischall of Scotland . . . 200

By Qeorge Mason. From a portrait in the Council Ohambere at Peterhead.

The Schloss, Potsdam 228

David Hume . . . . . . . 252

From an engraving in tlie British Museum.

The last Earl Marischall of Scotland .... 284

From a drawing by Ilbraham, bis valet, in the possession ot the MoiqniB of

Ermetulla 308

From a portrait at Carberry Tower, in the possession of Lord Elpbinston*.




The " canny Scot," before embarking upon his new-
appointment, wrote for full particulars respecting
Neuchatel and the position of its Governor. Madame
de Natalis, the widow of the late Governor, a Prussian
officer of Huguenot extraction, sent him the following
details, which throw light on the principaHty and on
life there.

The Governor of Neuchatel received from the Grand
Directory at Berlin eight hundred livres German a year,
and seven hundred francs from the rent of the salt
tax. During the session of the States he received daily
four silver Neuchatel crowns. Also a petty cash allow-
ance of seventy to one hundred francs a year. For
affixing the greater or lesser seals to legal documents
a fee. Two large fields of hay, one at Corset, and one
at Val de Ruz. No bread, but twelve hogsheads of
wheat, twelve of oats, nine of wine, six red and six
white, of the best vintage. The miller was supposed
to furnish two hundred and twenty-five pounds of hemp,
but only gave two hundred, and it was only fit for
II— 1


servants and kitchen. For his stable the Governor
received three hundred and twenty-five trusses of hay.
He also had two barrels of salt a year, and on New Year's
Day wood and coals. Madame de Natalis forgot what
quantity, " but it was often hardly sufficient." It had
been reduced in 1749 to a hundred and twenty-four
feet of beech-wood, the same of fir-wood, and a hundred
and sixty sacks of coals.

While no milk was provided, all the beef tongues in
the city of Neuchatel were the perquisite of the Governor.
He possessed two vineyards, now farmed out. The
fishing was let, but on all the trout caught two hundred
pounds were due to the Governor. While it was com-
monly claimed that the shooting was free to all, it reaUy
belonged to the Governor, and certainly the partridge
and quail shooting was his alone. Yet Madame de
Natalis complained that he had to pay for what was
brought him, such as a piece of every roe and deer, with
the skin, and all the heads of the wild boar, which were
really his by right. The King paid the gardener, who
was old and might be replaced ; he also paid for the
planting. Only a year after taking up the reins of
government did the Governor's revenue come in ; it was
therefore always a year in arrear.

There were no running footmen in the country, and
no good cooks. The Neuchatelois did not make good
servants, and all servants received food as well as wages.

Linen was made in the country, fine, but dear. No
carriages were made, and no harness, as the leather
was bad. Poultry was dear, especially capons and
turkeys ; the best came from Bern ; the geese were
small. Coffee and sugar were dear, but good ; the land
grew no truffles, nor good vegetables. Those from
Geneva were the best. Every four years it was necessary
to provide new vegetable seed. Figs were good, and


ripened well ; good, also, were the plums, mirabels,
apricots, pears of all sorts, and the apples. But there
were no chestnuts, nor melons, and no oranges nor
pomegranates ripened. A poor prospect, indeed, for
such a vegetarian as old Milord !

H is Excellency arrived at Neuchatel on September 20th,
1754, " as tired as a dog," he wrote to the King, " with
the bad roads and worse weather, though as I came
near here it turned fine."

" The first night that I entered Switzerland they gave me cherries
at the inn, the second strawberries and raspberries. I was some-
what alarmed, as the cherries were not yet ripe ; but in the castle
to which Your Majesty's kindness has invalided me I have had,
up till now, Spanish weather and the finest view in the world. I
have already undergone many speeches, every one privately, and
everyone as a body has harangued me, and I have still many
awaiting me. My grandeur acquits itself very badly in reply ; I
did better in church this morning, where the boredom occasioned
by the sermon doubtless passed for a contrite air. I hope the
' Venerable Classe ' (title given to the Synod) was edified by my
countenance ; I have naturally a sad and Calvinistic phiz. In
eight days the ceremonies will be over, and I beg Your Majesty to
believe that I will do my best in your affairs."

The journal of Abraham Sandol, justice and civil
lieutenant of the mountain village of de Chaux de
Fonds, gives us a description of Milord Marechal's
arrival at Neuchatel to take up the reins of government.

" We followed in the suite of the Council to enter the castle in
procession at ten o'clock. The grenadiers lined the road. After
the townspeople of Landeron had entered, the door of the grand
poele (great hall) was shut and then the President of the Council
explained why the corporations of the State had been convoked,
and he appointed a deputation to introduce Milord Marechal. The
deputation, composed of councillors, mayors, and procureurs, went
out through the crowd and between the ranks of the sentries. Re-
turning with Monseigneur, they conducted him to the dais of the


hall, where M. the President asked him to be seated and showed
the patent of the Kings, which he read, and asked the opinion of the
Councillors of State, who, called by name, approved by a bow.
Monseigneur rose to take the oath, administered to him by the
President, by raising his hand. Then the sceptre was committed
to him, and all were seated. The President made a speech, to which
Monseigneur replied, and the Procureur General dismissed the
assembly. We joined on to the Council to pass the foot of the
dais, and make our bow, and then we went down in procession to
the ' XIII Cantons,' and went to dine with M. Sinnet."

Early in October the Earl Marischall wrote to his
brother already complaining of the climate of a residence
1,400 feet above the sea. " The season had been par-
ticularly cold, and the wines admirable." He enclosed
a letter from Goring. Nor did he forget that other poor
castaway, Elcho. No sooner had Milord settled at
Neuchatel than he hastened to have his friend natural-
ized as a Prussian subject in Neuchatel, and asked for
an appointment for him as chamberlain at the Court
at Berlin. But as Elcho was already attached to the
French Army, though without pay, he could not hold
such a post.

The Prussian Government, as His Excellency soon
discovered, was on better terms with the State Council
than with the Compagnie des Pasteurs. It was the old
story of the struggle between the civil and the ecclesi-
astical authorities. The Venerable Classe arrogated to
themselves the authority in afiiairs of State, wielded in
the Middle Ages by the Canons of the Collegiate Church
on the castle hill. Neuchatel was pastor-ridden. Very
soon after Milord's arrival he had his first bout with
the divines. The State Council desired to confer with
the Classe as to rescinding the somewhat mediaeval
punishment of Public Penances inflicted on fallen
women. The Classe wished to continue them for all
but first offenders. The matter was referred to the



f ^


King. Such methods were naturally not in keeping
with Frederic's enlightened government in Prussia.
Moreover, he misunderstood a remark in one of the new
Governor's letters, and, imagining that the torture of
*' the question," abolished eight years previously in
Prussia, was still inflicted in his principality, was pro-
portionately horrified.

" My dear Mylord, — I am very surprised at the barbarity which
still pertain in the laws of your province, after having abrogated
in the whole land the remains of the savage customs of our ancient
Teutons. You will do me the favour, and I authorize immediately
that the inquisition and the penance of the Magdelens ceases. I
feel that I shall be obliged to send down there someone connected
with justice to put the law on the same footing that I have established
here. I congratulate you on having secured the end of the speeches,
but I hope you will have one to-morrow, and if I did not think it
would importune you I would add a Ciceronian harangue of my
own, although I hope that you will believe, without a speech, that
I wish you a thousand good things on the first of January as on the
last of December, and that I am, with all possible esteem and friend-
ship, your sincere friend.

" Further about Voltaire, my dear mylord. The lunatic has
gone to Avignon, where my sister has sent for him. I fear very
much she will soon repent of it."

A strenuous struggle went on between the Council
and the Classe. It was on a question of morals. A few
years later the Governor had to face a far fiercer fight
between the two authorities over a question of dogma.
It was just at this moment that the latter question
began to arise, a little cloud no bigger than a man's

In the mountain village of La Sagne is shown to this
day a house with seven chimneys, the seventh left
unfinished. The story goes that the workmen began
quarrelling about eternal punishment, and so the build-
ing was never completed. It may well be true, and,


if so, it throws an interesting light on the mental capacity
and intelligence of the peasants of this remote village
in the Jura in the mid-eighteenth century, and explains
the disturbances to which the argument subsequently

Ferdinand Olivier Petitpierre, pastor of Pont de
Martel, near La Sagne, was a deep thinker, an earnest
man of quiet courage. Deeply influenced by Marie
Huber's book on " Religions of the World," which had
recently appeared at Geneva, he began, in 1754, to
preach to his little mountain flock the doctrine of non-
eternity of punishment. At La Sagne, Pastor Prince
upheld everlasting damnation, a fundamental doctrine
of Calvinism to which he had subscribed on entering
the ministry. The divergent opinions were hotly
taken up in the two villages, and, as we have seen, led
to blows. As yet, however, the dispute did not spread,
nor did it come to His Excellency's ears, though from
the following letter to his brother it is apparent that
from the beginning of his appointment he saw that he
would have to reckon with the despotism of the Classe.

"Neufchatel en Laponie, Jan. 18, 1755.

"... I am sorry to hear of your cold, which was not without
asthma. ... I have mine, rhumatisme, cramps, hoarseness . . . the
ice is above 13 inches thick. I suppose it might pass even at Peters-
burg for sufficient : it hinders the cheese from going. You will not
have it as soon as I intended.

" The King mistook what I said, the question has been abolished
of sometime, the stool of repentance shall be as soon as I can ;
but there is management to be used with Venerable Classe, whose
power is too great. A Councillor told them lately, when they were
insisting on the rights of the Church, Je vols done il faut nous reformer
encore, and little by little some reformation will not be amiss. The
King is not master here to do all the good he can ; they have their
privileges, of which they are most jealous, and it is not always easy
to engage them even to their own advantage. They cannot be


persuaded not to destroy the game in pairing time, which is all asked
of them. If I get credit with them by degrees I hope to bring them
to reason, for by force it is not to be attempted, nor to be wished,
for without all doubt it is liberty that makes this country peopled :
the climate is bad, for even in summer it is bad when the evening
comes, cold to the inhabitants. The soil is mostly artificial : rocks,
with some earth laid on them to plant vines, supported by 50
terrasses well built one above another. I defy the power of the
Grand Monarch and his fermiers generaux to the bargain to cultivate
a country as this is, where every one works for himself, and knows
well it is for himself. The industry of the inhabitants of the moun-
tains in different handy crafts is extraordinary ; constraint or
taxes would make them all desert ; they would emediately decamp
to Bern and elsewhere.

"Don't say any more to Comte Podevals of my expence in furni-
ture ; all the Governors have had the same : it is true the last come
has the most, because the bad that was is at an end. I hope in
some time to get above water ; but I own to you I doubt if I can
stand this climate, nor live in prison six months of every year ; tho'
the people are to my liking and their way of living."

" De Lapponie ce 31 jan. 1755.

" Hospidar General, je crois que vous vous repentir du mal que
le froid vous donne a Berlin et aussi de celui que je souffre ici, car
je vous ecris quasi tons les jours, enferme comme je suis depuis
plus d'un mois et mon encrier aupres de moy pour signer ordonances,
passeports &ea. vous serez plus en repos I'ete quand j'iray paitre
mes vaches a Colombier.

" vous avez entendre parler des magnifiques meubles que j'ay
trouve ici, et dont selon mes ordres j'ay envoye une inventaire signe
par le procureur de Eoy et I'lntendant des batiments mais vous
n'auriez pas devine que cela ne suffit pas, et qu'il faut en registret cet
inventaire dans les livres du Conseil d'etat par ordre Expres du Roy
dont il salt autant que le grand Mogol. c'est apparemment pour
empecher un Coquin de gouverneur de s'approprier cet Tresor. il
y a cependant un inconvenient, pace tantorum Virorum dixerim, ce
qu'il faut tous les jours un nouvel inventaire au registres or archives,
puisque tous les jours, quelque morceau perir de vieillesse. Des
douze chaises de parade des mes Predecesseurs, de bois garnis au
font d'un gros drap verd (ce sont les chaises au moins et non pas
les Gouvemeurs qui sont de bois) il y en a deja quelqu'un s'y assoifc


imprudemment, les quatre pieds s'ecartent, et il tombent a terre,
comme hier est arrive au Capitaine Marvel. Or ! Louons a toute
outrance (comme dit Brantome) le Grand Directoire qui veille avec
tant d' attention aux interets de S. M.

" Je vous envoye copie d'une note que j'ay eu d'un bien bon
home, qui avoit entre ses mains un Depositum, Lacradink I'entendra
et vous I'expliquera. vous ne parler pas de lui depuis long tems ;
j'ay peur qu'il ne soit mort, et que qu'Acun de vos lettres ne soit
perdu, dites lui s'il vit encore, que Dozon me fait ecrire souvent :
Entre autres maux qui lui sont arrives un des plus grands est de se
croire au dessu de son metier ; il veut etre ofl&cier. je n'entena
point parler de Faccomplissement des promesses qui lui furent
faits. bon soir.

" notre Tante Lady Betty est tres mal, le Cure lui a refuse le
Sacrament, son mari a eu recours au Parliament, le Cure a ete
decrete deprise de corps, tout cela afflige trop le pauvre M. L.
Edward (Drummond).

" P.S. pour vous donner une Idee du bon etat du chatau, au moins
en partie, je vous diray que j'ay trouve dans une des chambres
le plancbet tellement pourri qu'il etoit deja converti en bon terran,
et est actuellement dans jardin comme tel. Karl assure qu'il est
tres bon pour les melons.

"Fev: 2d.

" Gut Morgen, Bruder Suiss, j'ay a vous envoyer la patente de
Bourgeois de Neufchatel. comme je crois que vous ecriver au 4
Ministraux pour les en remercier et le Corps de la Bourgeosie de
Neufcbatel (non pas de Valengin) j'ajoute leur adresse. A Messieurs
les quatre Ministraux de la Ville de Neufchatel en Suisse."

With but small resources of his own, the new Governor
was in some difficulty as to the furnishing of the Castle
of Neuchatel, where he had taken up his residence for
the winter in a suite of rooms to the south, looking
down over the town on to the lake and the Bernese
Oberland mountains beyond it. He was much attracted
also by Colombier for a summer retreat, and wished to
make habitable the vast old castle, dating from the
fourteenth century, while the extremely fertile grounds
around it, and the beautiful lime avenues, offered great


possibilities in the way of gardening. The King,
hearing of the difficulty, was as thoughtful as ever over
his old friend. Milord wrote to his brother that he had
sent in to Berlin, as the King had specially ordered, an
inventory of all the furniture of Colombier to be regis-
tered in the books of the Council as royal property.

Always interested in his friends' friends, Frederic
wrote sympathetically over Goring's death, which took
place soon after his arrival in Berlin.

" February 20th, 1755.
" My dear Governor, — I am delighted to see you busy with
sucli useful objects for your little province. One perceives that
the laws of all countries bear traces of the time in which they were
promulgated, and there was a mark of barbarism remaining which
at last one will be able to get rid of. We are having a winter here
which outdoes yours. In all my life I have never seen a worse ; it
has proved fatal to many people. Madame de Keyserlingk has
died of it, and your friend Gorin [perhaps Goryn or Goring] after
having struggled for a long time against the infirmities and the
weakness the result of the campaign of young Edward, has at last
succumbed ; he died in four days of an inflammatory fever. I am
very glad that his long illness prevented my really becoming ac-
quainted with him, as it would have made me regret him more. He
has the consolation after his death that every one speaks well of him.
Adieu, my dear Mylord ; I wish you a long life, a warm climate,
heaps of pleasure, and that you may not forget your friends, among
whom I hope you count me."

Social life in Neuchatel, doubtless, seemed dull to an
habitue of Madame Geoft'rin's salon. The Mercure
Suisse gave a false air of intellectual activity. Trade
and manufacture absorbed the minds of the people.
Bouquet, indeed, and Ostervald, had deeply influenced
science and letters during the first half of the century ;
but they had left no disciples. Society imagined itself
cultivated because it danced and sang in excellent
private theatricals, and sent little verses to the news-


papers. But, with the exception of Dupuyron, Escherney ,
and a few others, with whom Milord soon became
intimate, no one cared for anything deeper. " When
it was a question of a book like ' L'Esprit des Lois,' "
wrote a well-born woman, who suffered from this super-
ficiality, " no one took but a passing interest. Cards,
rimperiale [all fours] and the latest news about the
vintage absorb every one.''

There was a kind of club, the Cercle du Jardin, very
exclusive and narrow. Milord seems to have looked
askance at it, as we see by a letter, a few years later,
when Colonel Chaillet was elected a member. He
sarcastically dubbed it the " Sixth Estate."

" So you are received in this noble sixth body, from which I
expect you will retire, for I remember My lord Wemyss said to me :
' Wee will admit no one who does not think as we do,' and at that
time he thought like a Gavocho [Spanish for wretch. Was it a
nickname applied by Mylord Marechal to a set of people ?]. You
will never be orthodox in this society. William Tel [another nick-
name] seems to think that he has some personal grudge against
you, otherwise he is too clever to have opposed your admission all
by himself. You are the best fellow in the world, and you have no
more spite than a lamb, I was going to say a calf, when I thought
of your action in support of the Banneret ; this famous Garden
was founded by Gavochos, and I think it really remains the same.
Never mind, write to His Excellency M. de Haguen about the dues
of the Garden owing to the sovereign, and if he speaks to me about it
I will try and do you service ; I much approve that when favours
are done you that you more than repay them, and if I speak to the
Minister of this affair, it will be entirely out of consideration for

Milord must have imparted his views on Neuchatel
society to Frederic, for the King waxes sarcastic, with, as
usual, a gibe at the priests.

*' I have noticed," he wrote, " that man requires a spectacle, and
is fond of it. Where there is no play or opera, one may be sure that


the sacred Scaramoucli will occupy and influence minds. If your town
kept up a theatre, you could contrast Harlequin with Scaramouch,
and gradually the latter would lose his influence ; but I do not
think that Neuchatel is civilized enough to abandon itself to such
pleasures of polite nations."

His Excellency appreciated the mountaineers more
than the townsfolk. And, indeed, far in advance of the
peasants of other lands were these dwellers on the pine-
clad slopes and in the high valleys of the Jura, as regards
education, intelligence, inventive genius, and technical
training. They turned well to account the long winter
evenings they perforce spent pent up in their substantial,
broad-eaved, stone cottages with the long, sloping gable,
handed down from father to son, and even to-day forming
a contrast to the Swiss chalet with its woodwork. At
the period of which we write they had become apt and
delicate mechanics, and something of inventors. Watch-
making was a great trade, and Neuchatel watches were
famous all over Europe. The people were comfortably

Online LibraryEdith E CuthellThe Scottish friend of Frederic the Great, the last Earl Marischall (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 27)