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8 guilders for each soldier and that of this transportation-money 3/4 th

shall be paid out to the said cap ns , viz. : half down and the balance on arrival of
the recruits, who must be able-bodied men of arms, properly armed, conform to
regulations, also with side-arms, and the musketeers with muskets ; the muskets
to be of full length and 4 feet long, shooting balls of 12 in the pound ; no boys
or elderly men shall pass muster, and the servants and boys of the Colonels
shall no longer be counted as belonging to the Companies, for them they have to
provide from their pay as Colonel.'

1 P- 272. , 2 p 39

3 Order Book of Lord Drumlanrig's regiment. — Kinmundy Papers.


had the gift of ' second-sight, 1 and that those who were taken
prisoners testified to the accuracy of his description, seeing the
troops, ' some being clad with red coats, some with white coats
and grenadier caps, some armed with sword and pike, and
some with sword and musket. 1 x The author of Strictures on
Military Discipli?ie, comparing the position of the Scots with
that of the Swiss, observed, 'They enjoy no privilege as British
troops, except the trifling distinction of being dressed in red,
taking the right of the army when encamped or on a march,
and having twopence a week more pay for the private men
than the Dutch troops have.''

' The question of rank,' says the author of the ' Historical
Account,"* ' which in military affairs is a serious matter, seems
to have been decided between the English and Scots by the
antiquity of the regiments, perhaps rather by the seniority of
the colonels, but as royal troops, both always ranked before
the troops of the United Provinces or those belonging to
German princes, which right never was contested with regard
to the Scots Brigade until the year 1783.'' Dr. Porteous the
chaplain, in his ' Short Account," 1 takes higher ground and says :
* Being royal troops, they claimed, they demanded, and would
not be refused the post of honour and the precedence of all
the troops in the service of the States. Even the English
regiments yielded it to the seniority of the Scots Brigade.
This station they occupied on every occasion for two hundred
years, and in no instance did they appear unworthy of it.
They never lost a stand of colours ; even when whole battalions
seemed to fall, the few that remained gloried in preserving
these emblems of their country.'' 2

1 Lord Archibald Campbell's Records of Argyll.

2 Vol. ii. will contain illustrations of two occasions on which the matter
of precedency was raised in questions with allied or temporarily serving troops,
one being with Danish and one with electoral troops.



There were always elements of difficulty and delicacy in an
arrangement by which the subjects of one state served in a
body as soldiers of another. The Netherlands looked to
Austria, to France, and to England in succession for a ruler
whom they might substitute for the King of Spain. Queen
Elizabeth was too astute to accept the sovereignty; but through
the substantial aid she afforded, the impignoration to her of
the cautionary towns, and the appointment of her favourite as
Governor-General and Captain -General, she as nearly as possible
in fact annexed the Netherlands after the death of William
the Silent. But the rule of the Earl of Leicester, ineffective
in the field, and productive of heartburnings and jealousies in
the council and the camp, rendered the States very suspicious
of further foreign interference. Thus when, in 1592, King
James asserted his position as equivalent to that of his haughty
cousin of England — whose idiosyncrasies he is found palliating
to the representatives of the States, as weaknesses of her sex —
by granting a commission to Colonel Balfour to command all
the Scots troops in the Dutch service, the States refused to
recognise it, and affirmed their determination that none could
serve in their lands on any other commission than that of the
States- General. 1 In 1604 they again refused to receive Lord
Buccleuch as 'general of his nation ' as recommended by King
James, although it was pressed as due to Scotland, and appro-
priate, there having been a general of the English troops, and
the Scots being raised to an equal strength with the English. 2
In 1653 the complete conversion of the British troops into
' national Dutch , was canvassed, and in 1665 it was carried out ;
but after the reorganisation under William Henry of Orange,
when the new English Brigade was formed, and the old Scots
was increased and resumed its own national character, the
combined British Brigade was definitely placed under the com-

1 Pp. 106-113. 2 Pp. 1S8-193


mand of a British officer, whose rank, pay, and precedence were
clearly fixed by the capitulation of January 1678, entered into
by the Prince of Orange as Captain-General and the Earl of
Ossory. It was expressly stipulated that the general should be
a natural subject of the King of Great Britain, and that, should
his Majesty call the regiments to his service at home, the States
should allow them to be embarked at a port to be selected.
When, however, the critical occasion arrived and the king
sought to exercise the right of recall in 1688, the States refused
to let the regiments go, or to recognise the binding character
of the capitulation, founding with some special pleading on
what appears to have been a failure on the part of the Dutch
government to fully carry out its terms in reference to the
increase of the pay. But the troops were recognised in Britain
as a part of the British army, and the officers'' commissions sub-
sisted in spite of a change from the one establishment to the
other. ' While, 1 says the ' Historical Account, 1 ' the British
regiments were in the pay of Holland, the officers 1 commissions
were in the name of the States, and it was not thought necessary
they should have other commissions, even when they were
upon the establishment of their own country, until vacancies
happened, in which case the new commissions were in the
king's name. Thus when Colonel Hugh Mackay came over to
England on the recall of the Brigade in 1685, King James
promoted him to the rank of major-general, not considering
him the less as a colonel in his army that his former commission
was in the name of the States. And when the same General
Mackay, who held his regiment by a Dutch commission, was
killed, the regiment was given a few days after to Colonel
iEneas Mackay, whose commission 1 is English, and in the
name of King William and Queen Mary. 1

1 This commission is said in a note to be now(i794) in possession of his grandson,
Colonel ^neas Mackay, with several other commissions of officers of the Brigade
in the same form and style.

Colonel Hugh Mackay, who had received a commission as Major-General


The officers of the Brigade had to take an oath on receiving
their commissions as captains or in higher rank. In 1588,
thev were also required to sign a declaration stating their
acquiescence in the system of pay. In 1653, during the war
with the English Commonwealth, a new form of oath was
devised, and again in 1664 in the war with Great Britain,
when the regiments were temporarily converted into ' national
Dutch, 1 the officers were required ' in addition to the usual
military oath,'' to take one to the effect that they were under
no obligation to obey, and would not obey any commands
except those of the States-General, and the States their pay-
masters, or others indicated in the said oath of fealty, and that
they acknowledged none but the States as their sovereign rulers.
It is also noted that the new commissions then issued were in

Upon the reorganisation of the Brigade under William
Henry of Orange, and General Mackay, it was placed on a
more distinctive footing as British troops than ever before.
The British standing army was in its infancy, and the Scots
and English Brigades in Holland formed a very large pro-
portion of its strength. Their position in the Netherlands
was analogous to that of Douglas's (the Earl of Dumbarton's)
regiment, now the Royal Scots, and of others in the service of
France. As Douglas's regiment became the 1st of the Line,
and two of the English-Dutch regiments that were formed in
1674 and came over in 1688, the 5th and 6th, so the three
Scottish regiments, had they remained in British pay after
1697, would have ranked very high in the British army list.

from King James in 1685, took oath on Feb. 9th, 1686 on a commission as
Major-General of Infantry before the President of T. H. M. For the terms of
the commission at this period, see Two Scottish Soldiers (App. ), where three of
General Ferguson's are printed. While he commanded the Cameronians, to which
he was transferred from the Scots-Dutch in 1692, in virtue of a commission in
English form granted by William and Mary in 1693, ne received one in Dutch
in 1698 as captain of a company, that regiment being temporarily in Dutch pay
in 1697-99.


It may indeed be questioned whether the old regiment dating
from the days of William the Silent might not have claimed
precedence even over the Royal Scots, on the ground that
while that regiment's descent is clear and continuous from the
union of a Scots regiment in France with the survivors of
Gustavus Adolphus's Scots troops, its earlier traditions, though
august and ancient, are more or less mythical. Certainly the
old and the second regiments would have been at least on an
equal footing with the 3rd Buffs — formerly the old English
Holland regiment — while the third was entitled to rank along
with the fifth and sixth.

In the eighteenth century the position of those serving in
the Brigade as entitled to all the privileges of British subjects
was emphatically recognised. ' Even the children,' says Dr.
Porteous the chaplain, in his ' Short Account,' ' born in the
Brigade were British subjects without naturalisation or any
other legal act. The men always swore the same oaths with
other British soldiers, and by an Act of Parliament, 27 Geo. n.
the officers were obliged as members of the British state
serving under the Crown to take the same oaths with officers
serving in the British dominions. The beating orders issued
by the War Office were in the same terms with those for other
regiments : "' To serve His Majesty King George in the regiment

of Joot commanded by " accordingly all the men were

enlisted to serve His Majesty, not the States. Their colours,
their uniform, even the sash and the gorget were those of their
country, and the word of command was always given in the
language of Scotland. '

Such was their footing, until in 1782 the States-General
resolved, ' That after the first of January 1783, these regiments
shall be put on the same footing in every respect with the
national troops of Holland, and the officers are required to
take an oath of allegiance to the states of Holland and renounce
their allegiance to Great Britain for ever on or before the above-
mentioned day. Their colours, which are now British, are to


be taken from them and replaced with Dutch ones, and they
are to wear the uniform of the Provinces ; the word of command
is to be given in Dutch ; the officers are to wear orange sashes,
and carry the same sort of spontoons as the officers of other
Dutch regiments. 1 By the oath prescribed for the officers they
were bound to affirm that during their service they would 'not
acknowledge any one out of these Provinces as their sovereign. 1
This time there was no recovery for the Brigade. Fifty-five of
the officers refused to take the oath, resigned their commissions
in March 1783, and came over to Britain. They were placed
on half-pay without delay, and in 1793 His Majesty King
George in. ' being pleased to revive the Scots Brigade, 1 a
regiment of three battalions, ' the Scotch Brigade 1 of the
British service, subsequently numbered as the old 94th regi-
ment of the line, was raised, to which they were appointed.


In one respect the Scots Brigade was peculiarly Scottish.
Probably no military body ever existed in which members of
the same families were so constantly employed for generations.
' The officers, 1 says Dr. Porteous, ' entered into the service very
early ; they were trained up under their fathers and grand-
fathers who had grown old in the service ; they expected a slow,
certain, and unpurchased promotion, but almost always in the
same corps, and before they attained to command they were
qualified for it. Though they served a foreign state, yet not
in a distant country, they were still under the eye of their
own, and considered themselves as the depositaries of her
military fame. Hence their remarkable attachment to one
another, and to the country whose name they bore and from
whence they came ; hence that high degree of ambition for
supporting the renown of Scotland and the glory of the
Scots Brigade. 1 The discipline of the Brigade, enforced with
far less severity than was customary in the German and
Swiss regiments in the same service, was acknowledged, and the


author of the ' Historical Account 1 observes that ' the rule
observed in the Brigade of giving commissions only to persons
of those families whom the more numerous class of the people
in Scotland have from time immemorial respected as their
superiors, made it easy to maintain authority without such
severity."' The Scots officers also took care to let the foreigners
under whom they served know that the methods of enforcing
discipline in vogue in Continental armies would not do with
Scottish soldiery, 1 for i Scotsmen would not easily be brought
to bear German punishments.'' ' Gentlemen of the families,"'
says the writer of the Strictures, ' of Balfour Lord Burley, Scott
Earl of Buccleuch, Preston of Seton, Halkett of Pitfirran, and
many of different families of the name of Stewart, Hay,
Sinclair, Douglas, Graham, Hamilton, etc., were among the
first who went over,"' and a glance through the States of War
shows how repeatedly many of these names recurred in the
Brigade throughout its service. These lists indicate that the
counties on the shores of the Forth, and in particular Fife,
had the closest connection with the brigade, but Perthshire,
Forfar, Aberdeenshire, and the Highlands, more especially after
General Mackay entered it, and other parts of Scotland had
their representatives under its colours. No name was more
honourably or more intimately associated with its fortunes
than that of Balfour, which in the first century of its existence
supplied at least seventeen or eighteen captains, among whom
were Sir Henry Balfour and Barthold Balfour, both colonels
of the old regiment in the sixteenth century, Sir David Balfour
and Sir Philip Balfour (son of Colonel Barthold), both colonels
of the second and third regiments during part of the Thirty
Years'" War, and another Barthold Balfour, who fell in command
•of the second regiment at Killiecrankie. In the later years
four Mackays, Major- General Hugh of Scourie, killed at Stein-
kirk ; Brigadier-General iEneas, his nephew, who died, as the
result of wounds received at Namur ; Colonel Donald killed at

1 Strictures on Military Discipline.


Fontenoy, 1 son of the Brigadier ; and Colonel Hugh Mackay,
held at different times the command of the same regiment.
The second regiment had three colonels of the name of
Halkett, and the third one. Two Hendersons, brothers, in
succession commanded the second regiment, and another, a
generation later, the third. The names of Erskine, Graham,
and Murray occur twice, and those of Douglas, Stewart,
Scott, Colyear, and Cunningham thrice among the command-
ing officers. To enumerate the other members of these
and other families, such as Coutts, Livingstone, Sandilands,
L'Amy, Lauder, who held commissions, would be endless, but
at one time the colonel, lieutenant-colonel, and major of one
regiment were all Kirkpatricks, being probably a father and
his two sons. Twice the colonel and lieutenant-colonel of one
regiment were both brothers of the name of Mackay. That
this family character was not confined to the old regiments, but
extended to those temporarily in service in 1697-98, is shown by
the fact that when Colonel Ferguson's regiment left the Dutch
service in 1699, there were five of his name among its officers, 2
while another was, in 1694, promoted a captain in Lauder's.


Scarcely less remarkable was the Brigade as a training
ground for officers who gained reputation in after-life in the
service of Great Britain and of foreign countries. Some of the
Dutch officers served in the civil wars ; several of Marlborough's
major-generals and brigadiers came over as captains and
field-officers in 1688, and it is remarkable what a proportion
of those serving under the colours in that fateful year after-
wards attained to high commands. 3 But the phenomenon was
marked in later years. Writing in 1774 the author of the
Strictures enumerates Colonel Cunningham of Entricken,.

1 Or Tournay.

2 List of Officers in 'Abstract of the Money due to Colonel Ferguson's.
Regiment on the Establishment from the I4'.h April 1699 to the 1st December
1700.' — Kinmundy Papers. 3 Pp. 479-481.


' whose behaviour at Minorca and on other occasions did him
much honour, 1 General James Murray, brother of Lord
Elibank, Governor of Quebec after the death of Wolfe, and
known as ' Old Minorca,'' from his gallant defence of that
island, Sir William Stirling of Ardoch, General Graham of
the Venetian service, Colonel (then Lieutenant-General)
Graham, secretary to the Queen of Great Britain, Lieutenant-
Colonel Francis M'Lean, Lieutenant-General in the Portuguese
service, Simon Eraser, Lieutenant-Colonel of the 24th regiment
and Quarter-Master-General in Ireland, who fell as a General
at Saratoga, Thomas Stirling, Lieutenant-Colonel of the 42nd,
the Honourable Alexander Leslie, Lieutenant-Colonel of the
64th, James Bruce, David Hepburn, the Honourable John
Maitland, brother of the Earl of Lauderdale, James Stewart,
son-in-law of the Earl of Marchmont and Lieutenant-Colonel of
the 90th, Major Brown of the 70th, James Dundas of Dundas,
Sir Henry Seton, Bart., and Colonel Sir Robert Murray Keith.
To these should be added Robert Murray of Melgum, after-
wards General Count Murray x in the Imperial service.


The general character of the service, and the conditions
under which the Scots lived, fought, and were paid in the Low
Countries can only be gathered from a perusal of the papers
themselves. It has been shrewdly said that the Dutch were
more careful to record matters of money than feats of arms, and
to the actual services in the field the official papers contain
only few direct references. But here and there such references
occur, and the date of a widow's petition, or a marked change
in the personnel of a State of War, dots the Ts and strokes the
t*s of a dry allusion in an old folio to some forgotten skirmish
or the carnage of a great battle. The pension lists, and the
applications of widows (among whom those of Sir Robert

1 Count Murray was either Robert Murray or his son. The son was certainly
j in the Austrian service. Whether the father was is uncertain.


Henderson and Lieutenant-Colonel Allan Coutts were most
importunate), also illustrate how the Scottish officers inter-
married with the people among whom they lived, and occa-
sionally with Italian and Spanish gentlewomen and noble
ladies of Brabant and Flanders. Specially interesting also are
the letters of the Scottish sovereigns, — particularly that of
King James on the battle of Nieuport in 1600, 1 — and King
Charles's solicitude for the ransom of the Scottish prisoners
taken at Calloo in 1638. 2 The appointment by the States-
General of two of their number to attend the funeral of
Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson, ' with the short mantle,' in
the same year, indicates exceptional gallantry on the part of
one of a family which had already shed its blood and given
its life for the cause of which Holland was the guardian. 3 Now
and then a flash of humour enlivens the story of eager spirits
and niggard paymasters, as when ' to this suppliant the
answer must for the present be " Patience. - " ' A pleasant
feature is the occasional recommendations by some of the
provincial municipal authorities of the Scottish captains
stationed in their cities, and although there are occasional
complaints of the conduct of the troops, — owing generally to
the pay being in arrears, — and a warning by an English com-
mander, in 1615, as to the feeling getting up between a Scots
and a Dutch company, two of whose soldiers had had a fracas, 4
the general relations of the Scots with the Dutch population
seem to have been consistently friendly and cordial. Indeed,
during the Twelve Years' 1 Truce one of the complaints of the
inspecting officers was the extent to which the soldiers left
their garrisons to work for the country-people ; while another
subject of animadversion was the occasional enlistment of
Dutchmen to fill vacancies in the companies. A frequent
offence was the passing off of outsiders to bring up the
numbers of the company, in order to pass review at full
strength on a sudden inspection, and one unfortunate, Robert

1 P. 1 80. 2 p. 449. s p. 449. « p. 279.


Stuart, was sentenced to be hung in 1602 for too successfully
thus passing off six sailors in the ranks of an infantry com-
pany. 1 The absence of officers in Scotland for too long a time
is also commented on, and the result of John de Witt's report
on Captain Gordon's company in 1609 was its being disbanded. 2
A melancholy account is given of the state of Erskine's
cavalry squadron in 1606, 3 and among the papers is an apology
for insubordination by some of Wisharfs troopers tendered to
a court-martial. 4 The proceedings of the court-martial on
Sergeant Geddie, charged with murder in 1619, are also
interesting ; 5 and the spirit of the old Scottish family feud is
illustrated by David Ramsay's energetic protest, in 1607,
against the slayer of his relative ' coming in his sight, 1 6 as well
as by Lord BuccleucrTs claim for justice in respect of the
slaughter of Captain Hamilton. 7 The experiences of the
surgeon are indicated by Dr. Balcanqual's petition in 1618 ; 8
and the regard of the troops for their chaplain is shown by
the Reverend Andrew Hunter's long service, his receipt of an
increase of pay in 1604, his Latin memorials of 1611 and 1618,
and the interesting and honourable letter of the colonels in
1630, in which they ask a further allowance for his widow, and
state their readiness ' to provide for our own minister.' 9 The
divorce of Captain Scott, 10 the marriage of Captain Lindsay
with the released lady, 11 and the lawsuit of Captain Waddell
with the Countess of Megen 12 and the pupil-heir of the great
house of Croy, recalling as it does the happier experiences of
Quentin Durward, all find their way into the national archives.
The claims presented by Scottish officers on account of the
arrears of their pay, or of that due to relatives whom they repre-
sented, and the deliberations of the States upon such claims
constitute a very large amount of the documents preserved.
The main question appears to have been to what extent the
United Netherlands, as constituted by the Union of Utrecht,
were responsible for services rendered to the whole of the

1 P. 185. 2 P. 236. 3 P. 204. 4 P. 272. 5 P. 299. 6 P. 208.

7 P. 199. 8 P. 292. 9 P. 438. I0 P. 291. U P. 351. I2 P. 357.



Netherlands before the separation of the reconciled provinces.
This is the substantial question raised in Colonel Stuart's
claims, and in those of Sir William Balfour as the heir of his
father, Sir Henry. It required the issue of letters of marque,
authorising Colonel Stuart to recoup himself at the expense of
Dutch shipping, to bring the States- General to a serious con-
sideration of his claims for services, which, whether technically
rendered to the ' nobles, Prelates, and burgesses sitting at
Antwerp,' to ' the nearer union, 1 or to the States of Holland

Online LibraryScottish History Society. cnPublications of the Scottish History Society (Volume 32) → online text (page 2 of 59)