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mentioned in them ; also Lady Colston's plaster, which Mrs. Pitcairne always
made for her. It is the cmplastrum de minio curn sapone. The Nuremberg
plaster is said to be better, being an improvement of the other.

In a letter, dated September 1699, Dr. Pitcairne mentions that he is in
haste going out of town, to be assistant at the death of James Borthwick of
Stow, last male of the royal line of the surgeon-apothecaries.^

Notwithstanding the care of these eminent physicians, and their anxiety to
save their patient, Lady Tarbat did not survive this attack of illness, having
died in September or October 1699, Her Ladyship, as already stated, was
Anna, daughter of Sir James Sinclair of Mey, Baronet, ancestor of the later
Earls of Caithness, and Elizabeth Leslie, second daughter of Patrick Lord
Lindores. The marriage of Lord Tarbat with Anna Sinclair took place in
July 1654, a few weeks before he succeeded to his father as the second
Baronet of Tarbat. The contract for the marriage is dated at Lochsline, on
6th July 1654. His father. Sir John Mackenzie, is a party to the contract,
along with his son George ; and Sir William Sinclair of Canisby, Baronet,
is also a party for his sister, to whom he agrees to give a tocher of 12,000
merks ; and Anna Sinclair was to be infeft in Meikle Tarrell.^ Lord and
Lady Tarbat had a family of four sons and four daughters, whose names are
all given in the pedigree.

In all the Peerage books, it is stated that Lord Tarbat had three sons,
John, Kenneth, and James ; but it appears that he had another son, Eoderick,
who was his first-born son. In a signature or warrant for a charter by
King Charles the Second, the name of Eoderick Mackenzie appears. The
signature is in favour of Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbat, Knight Baronet,
in liferent, and Eoderick Mackenzie, his eldest lawful son, and the heirs-
male of his body ; whom failing, to John Mackenzie, his second son, and the

' Letter, vol. i. p. 143. ^ Original contract, Bundle 3 K, No. 14, at Tarbat House.


lieirs-male of his body ; whom failing, to return to the said Sir George
Mackenzie, of the lands of Inchrory, etc., in the shire of Ross. That signature
is dated 9th June 1665.^

Eoderick Mackenzie was the eldest son of Lord Tarbat, who was married
in 1654, or eleven years previously, and may have been about ten years of
age at the date of the signature in 1665, in which he is named for the first
time. He had probably died soon afterwards unmarried, and under age, as
no other mention of him has been found in the family muniments. John
Mackenzie, who is named as the second son in the above signature, is in
documents of a subsequent date called the eldest son. The sons of Lord
Tarbat appear to have been named, successively, Roderick, after Lord Tar-
bat's own grandfather ; John, after his father ; Kenneth, after his chief,
Kenneth Earl of Seaforth, his uncle by marriage ; and James, after his
maternal grandfather. Sir James Sinclair.

In a letter from Lady Ann Stewart to Lord Tarbat, dated 1 6th October 1699,
reference is made to the death of Lady Tarbat, and to her Christian virtues.'

The next letter in the collection shows that Lord Tarbat did not long
remain a widower. His sister, Isabella Mackenzie, Countess of Seaforth,
writing to him on 9th September 1700, refers to his marriage.^ The second
wife of Lord Tarbat was Margaret Countess of Wemyss, a Peeress in her
own right. She was herself a widow, having married Sir James "Wemyss
of Burntisland, who was created Lord Burntisland for life. He predeceased
Lady Wemyss in 1685. The mother of Lady Wemyss was Lady Margaret
Leslie, sister of John Duke of Rothes. Lord Wemyss was her third husband.
Her first husband was Alexander Lord Balgonie, son of the first Earl of
Leven. Of that marriage the noble family of Leven and Melville is de-

1 Original signature, Bundle IX., No. 9, at Tarbat House.

2 Letter, vol. i. p. 145. ^ ma^ p_ 145.



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scended. The second husband of Lady ^Margaret Leslie was Francis second
Earl of Buccleuch. Of that marriage there were two daughters, Mary Countess
of Buccleuch, and Anna Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth, from whom
the noble house of Buccleuch is descended. Lady Margaret Leslie was thus
the common ancestress of the three noble houses of Leven and jMelville,
Buccleuch, and Wemyss. Tlie Duchess of Buccleuch was the sister uterine of
Margaret Countess of Wemyss and Cromartie. Owing to that connection, the
Duchess was a constant correspondent of Lord Tarbat, and also of his son, Lord
Eoyston. Many letters from her Grace are printed in the present collection.

The marriage of Lord Tarbat and the Countess of Wemyss, the one being a
widower of seventy years, and the other a widow, much younger — she having
been born at the Castle of AVemyss, 1st January 1659 — and both having chil-
dren and grandchildren, caused much amusing talk among their friends.

A love letter from Lord Tarbat to Margaret Countess of Wemyss, relates
to the negotiations for marriage then going on : —

2d March 1700.
MadAjNI, — I cannot refuse to write, when you command it ; but, on the contrar,
as to be commanded is my honour, and to obey is my duty, so in both I have
an extraordinar satisfaction : my fear is, that I fail in writting as I should, and
so you may have the trouble of reading with more pains then profit ; but if my
obedience be acceptable to you, that is a happiness which I covet in all that I doo
or am ; and your Ladyship will crown all your great favours that I desire on
earth to the ful, if you hast to give what is so much desired by,

Right honourable, yours, or else little better than nothing,

I shall explain the few Latin words when I have the happiness to wait on you.

The following distich specially refers to the marriage : —

■' Thou sonsy auld carl, the world has not thy like,
For ladies fa' in love with thee, though thou be ane auld tyke."

The marriage of Lord Tarbat and the Countess of Wemyss was celebrated


in April 1700,^ or about six months after the death of his first wife, which
occurred in September or October preceding. The formal contract of marriage
made by Lord Tarbat and Lady Wemyss is dated at Elcho and Edinburgh, on
26th April and 24th June 1700. They thereby accept each other as husband
and wife. Lord Tarbat's youngest son, James, is a consenter to the contract,
for his interest in the barony of Eoystoun, which, with other lands, is thereby
provided to the Countess of Wemyss in liferent.^ They scarcely announced
their marriage to some of their nearest relatives. The Duchess of Buccleuch,
sister of the bride, thus alludes to the marriage in a letter to Lord Melville :
— " Tarbat wi-ott a bantering letter to me, and I writt just such another to
him, but my sister did not naim him in her letter to me, so I shall mak no
serious answer to him till he owns it, for I think it should have bene from
herself that I should first have heard of it. Every body here that know^s
them both laughs at it."^

In another letter from her Grace she writes : — " At last I had a letter
from my sister Wemyss, dated the 28 of April! The last line of it was she
belived she should be marryed to-morrow or next day. A hansom warning
for a sister of a thing of that consequence ! It shews such kindness to me :
but I shall hear the busines is over befor I wish joy. I did answer all letters
he " (Lord Tarbat) " wrott of it to me, but I sopos he did not lick my letters,
so say'd they miscarey'd."^

In a note holograph of Lord Cromartie, he mentions that the Countess of
Wemyss, being young at the time of her first husband's death, for the good of
her family she would not marry for above seventeen years, although incited
by all possible motives.^

J Cramond Parish Register. in Leven and Melville Charter-chest.

2 Contract of Marriage, Bundle 3 L, No. 9, •* Original Letter, dated 9th May 1700, in
at Tarbat House. Leven and Melville Charter-chest.

3 Original Letter, dated 28th March [1700J, ^ Original note at Tarbat House.


In the same note, Lord Cromartie states that Lady Wemyss was veiy
kind to her children. Before her son was major, she procured for him the
greatest match in the kingdom. This refers to the marriage of David Lord
Elcho and Lady Anne Douglas, eldest daughter of William first Duke of
Queensberry, and sister of the second Duke, and of the first Earl of March —
a union which ultimately resulted in the inheritance of the March or Neid-
path estates, in the county of Peebles, by the Earl of Wemyss and March.
Lord Cromartie also notes that Lady Wemyss had given a considerable
tocher to her eldest daughter, Anne Countess of Leven, who was married in
1691. Four years after the marriage of Lady Leven, her mother writes to
her in 1695 : — " I long to hear if you be grown bige yet, and if you keep
your meat well. I hope you will grow stronge, and be better and better with
every child till all your twenty be born that you used to wish for." ^

Although Lord Tarbat was seventy years of age at the time of his second
marriage, his Lordship carefully provided for the eldest son who might be
born of the miarriage, by arranging that the lands of Lochsline should be dis-
poned to him as soon as he existed.^

The death of King William, and the accession of Queen Anne, brought
Lord Tarbat again into official life, although he was now far advanced in
years. He was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland, by patent dated
21st November 1702," and soon afterwards he was created Earl of Cromartie.

1 Original letter in Leven and Melville at Royston, 27th July 1700. Bundle 2 N,
Charter-chest. No. 300, at Tarbat House.

2 Obligation by Mr. Roderick Mackenzie of ^ Original Commission, Bundle 3 N, No. 11,
Prestonhall, then owner of Lochsline, dated at Tarbat House.





S a reward for his long public services. Queen Anne was pleased to
advance Lord Tarbat to the dignity of Earl of Oroniartie, Viscount of
Tarbat, Lord Macleod and Castlehaven, by patent dated 1st January 1703.
The patent recites the constant fidelity and affection of Lord Tarbat to the
Queen and her Government in the many offices and appointments intrusted
to him by five of the Queen's royal predecessors. The new dignities were
given to him and his heirs-male and of taillie.^ In reference to this grant
of honours to heirs of taillie, and to an entail of them, made by the grantee,
a late learned author remarks that —

" lu the entail made June 24, 1714, by George first Earl of Cromarty, ' his
honours and dignities' (that had been created in 1685 and 1703), according to an
old form, as we have seen, are put on the same footing with the lands and family
representation, being carried together, and specially included in the irritant and
resolutive clauses fettering the heirs. It may be superfluous to observe that this
nobleman was a most competent authority in the matter, having been a Lord of
Session in 1661, Justice-General in 1678, and afterwards Lord Eegister and Secre-
tary of State, besides an able and experienced statesman. He had been, further
still, a warm promoter of the Union, with whose articles and bearings, in all their
phases, he must have been well acquainted, having both largely written and
descanted upon the subject, and hence would have been the last to have thus
attempted what was confessedly nugatory in every view, if the proposition I main-
tain had been unfounded. The entail affecting the honours in the above case,
however, appears to have been in virtue of their last limitation in 1703, ' hseredi-

1 Patent, vol. ii. ].p. 351-353.


l)us musculis, et tallite,' hcfore the Union, which will be kept in view in reference
to that of Stair, to be afterwards stated. In like manner, William Earl of Glen-
cairn, by his entail, dated October 15, 1708, conveyed his ' title of honour,'
created as early as the reign of James IV., his ' arms and surname' in favour of a
nim series of heirs, by whom they were to be forfeited on infringement of its
terms ; and, independently of these, there are other instances." ^

On his appointment to the office of Secretary, which had been formerly
so long held by his old antagonist, the Duke of Lauderdale, Lord Cromartie
received many warm congratulations from liis friends. Eobina, Countess of
Forfar, thought it fortunate for the nation that so great and wise a man
should be in such a post, although he could not expect to raise his character
higher than it already stood. ^

The Archbishop of Glasgow also warmly congratulates Lord Cromartie on
his promotion as Secretary of State, in which he can so well serve the Queen
and the country.^ He and other Bishops were much pleased to see his Lord-
ship in office, as lie had always endeavoured to protect them and forward
their interests.

Lord Cromartie was soon engaged in an extensive correspondence with
many persons on subjects connected with his office, as well as on many matters
of a more personal nature. He urged the young Marquis of Montrose, after-
wards Duke, to come into public life. He said that his quality might pre-
tend to any service under the Crown, and his age would give him a fair
entry. Lord Cromartie, as an old grammarian, quoted a Latin adage, —
est post occasio calva. He added, that tliere is very little room and very many
pretenders, and albeit few give the stakes to keep to such as desire them toii
earnestly, yet they are seldom given to those who shun to be concerned.'*

His cousin, Lord INIelville, appears to have been superseded in office

1 Riddell's Peerage Law, p. 270. ^ Letter, vol. i. p. 159.

2 Letter, vol. i. p. 158. * Ibid. p. 168.


somewhat unceremoniously, and a correspondence ensued between him and
Lord Cromartie. Lord Melville took his affront easily, and coolly remarked that
he M'as too old to take the " dorts," which seldom did a " pettit bairn" good.^

Amongst many pressing letters for favours at his hand, both by laymen
and churchmen, particularly the latter, Lord Cromartie was solicited by the
Earl of TuUibardine for the title of Duke of Athole for his father, the Marquis
of Athole. The Earl writes (February 1 1, 1703),—" As for the title of Duke,
my father is very sensible of the Queen's goodness and favour in granting it."
For the narrative of the patent. Lord TuUibardine suggests a statement that
the first of the family of Athole of which they were descended, was James
Stuart, called the Black Knight of Lorn, who married the relict of King
James the First. Their son, John Stuart, was created Earl of Athole by his
brother on the mother's side. King James the Second : and for the family
of TuUibardine, their antiquity and loyalty are remarkable. There are
charters to them from King William and King Alexander, in the year 1100.^

Notwithstanding that Lord TuUibardine urged despatch in completing
the creation, that others might not pretend to the same, the Marquis of
Athole died before the patent was completed, and the creation of Duke was
made in favour of the Earl of TuUibardine himself as his son and successor.

The bishops of the Episcopal Church relied upon the friendship of Lord
Cromartie. The Bishop of Edinburgh sent him a " Memoir," for the purpose
of getting an increase to his allowance, owing to the expense of living in
Edinburgh, which is represented by the Bishop as by far the dearest place
for living within the kingdom.^

The second Duke of Queensberry, the Union Duke, was on very intimate
terms with Lord Cromartie. While j)laying at cards with Lord Eenfrew,
his Grace sent Lord Cromartie an offer of his coach to be at his command ;

^ Letter, vol. i. p. 178. ^ Ih'i<l. \>. 185. ^ Original Memoir at Tarbat House.


and if he would come to liis Grace that night, he was promised a little broth,
a glass of good wine, and half-an-hour's laughing. He adds an old saying,
that it is easier to keep old friends than to make new ones.^

Lord Cromartie, while attending to his duties in London, suffered a
severe bereavement in the death of his second wife, the Countess of Wemyss,
which occurred at Whitehall, London, on 11th March 1705.^ Their marriage
was a very happy one, and it appears from her letters that they were much
attached to each other.^ When she was absent from him on visits to her
daughters, she seems to have been unhappy till her return. She writes to
him — " The Lord send us a happy meeting ! My dearest love, be carfull of
the best parte of me, and do not fast long, nor sitt up late. There is great
care taken of me here, but I fear there will be some tears att parting, tho
none from me, my dear."'*

Soon after the death of the Countess of Wemyss and Cromartie, Lord
Cromartie entered into agreements with several artists for monuments in
memory of his beloved Countess. In 1705 he made a formal written agree-
ment with Eobert Kidwells, of the parish of St. Margaret's, Westminster, to
erect and finish a monument of good white vein marble, according to certain
specifications. The Earl agreed to furnish the artist with the picture of the
face of the deceased lady, and the inscription and coat of arms, in their
proper colours.

The following Latin inscription was written by Lord Cromartie for his
Countess : —

spectantium quicquid est, attendite tarn verendo seri.

Margarita Comitissa heereditaria de Weems antiquissimis M'^Dufiis Fifensibus

^ Letter, vol. i. p. 210. forces, who received £25 for tis trouble.

2 Her body was transferred from WliitebaU [Discharge dated 6th June 1705, vol. viii., Xo.

to Leith Eoads, for interment at the burial- 198, Cromartie Papers, at Tarbat House.]
place at Wemyss, under the care of George ^ Letter, vol. i. p. 201.

Prestone, Surgeon-Major to her Majesty's * Ibid. p. 207-


oriunda : quae vere Margarita Christiana, omnibusque turn aiiimi turn corporis
dotibus pr£e aliis ornata : Pia, proba, prudens, provida ; parentum turn spes turn
solamen ; utrique marito decus et solatium ; liberis et natura et cura, mater ; rei
familiaris autrix notabilis ; sacrorum antistitum, alumna et nutrix ; pauperum,
asj'lum et tutamen : Ut cognatis suis ita et omnibus enatis deliciae, quibus vita
prius grata.

Mors vero, ultra citraque gentem, perdite deplorata. Sed perditissime fieri
consorte a deplorabili, Georgio Comite de Cromartie vicecomite de Tarbat : salvo
tamen ejus certissimae beatitudinis gaudio, et futuri et interminabilis felicisque
congressus spe.

Quo non, dum fueras, fuerat felicior alter;

Fecisti juvenem ; sed moriente, senem.

Hoc 'nip moerens posuit tibi pignus amoris,

Xec debitos luctus comprimet ille suos.

Lectissima et delectissima fseminarum, nata ad Castrum de Weems Calend.
Jan. ann. 1659. Denata quinto Id. Mart. 1705 adregiam Whitehall. AVemisianse
familiae per filium David ex priori marito, Jacobo domino Barone de Bruntisland ;
Levini^e vero et Noresscie per filias Annam et Margaritam, fortunata mater.

Tnmdatlort .

all ye beholders, regard this statue so much to be revered.

Margaret, hereditary Countess of Weems, sprung from the ancient MacDufFs
of Fife. Truly she was a Christian Pearl (Margarita), adorned in an extraordi-
nary degree with every gift of body and mind : Pious, upright, prudent, provi-
dent ; the hope and comfort of her parents ; an ornament and solace to each
of her husbands ; a mother to her children both by nature and her solicitude ;
a remarkable manager of her domestic affairs ; a benefactress and liberal support
of the holy clergy ; a refuge and protection to the poor ; the delight of her
relatives and of her off'spring, to all of whom her life was dear.

Her death, moreover, was deeply deplored both within and beyond the nation :
Init most deeply to be lamented by her spouse to be pitied, George Earl of Cro-
martie, Viscount of Tarbat : the joy arising from the assurance of her blessedness
being nevertheless left to him, and the hope of a future and never - ending happy


Whilst you lived, there was not another more blessed than he.
Living, you made him young, but, by your death have made him old.
He mourning has raised this tomb to you as a pledge of love,
Nor will he restrain the grief due to you.

This choicest and most delightful of women was born at the Castle of Weems
1st January 1659. Died 11th March 1705, at the Palace of Whitehall. The
happy mother of the AVemyss family, by her son David, of her first husband,
James, Lord Baron of Burntisland ; of the Leven and Northesk families, by her
daughters, Anna and Margaret.^

In the year 1710 another agreement was made with Josias Iback, of the
parish of Saint Martin's-in-tlie-Fields, London, figure-maker, who agreed to
make and finish the statue of a woman lying along, five and a half feet in
length, to be cast in lead, with an angel at the foot standing two and a half
feet high, with a lion next to the foot, all of lead.

Next year an additional agreement was made with the same artist, t(j
cast an angel in hard metal, after the pattern in St. James' Church over the

Although Lord Cromartie had erected for himself, in his lifetime, a stately
monument at Dingwall, and was afterwards really buried there, he was
anxious, after the death of the Countess of Wemyss, to have it arranged that
on liis own death his body should rest beside hers. This appears from an
obligation granted on 30th May 1705, by her son, David Earl of Wemyss.

" Be it knoAven to all men be these presents, us, David Earle of Wemyss, doe
bind and oblidge us, our airs and successors, upon our faith and honour, to allow
the body of George Earle of Cromerty to lye in our buryingplace at Wemyss
next to, or as near as possi1)le, to the body of Margaret Countess of Wemyss and
Cromerty : And likewayes I bind and oblidge me and mine, in manner forsaid,
not to allow any grave to be made that may hinder the said Earle of Cromerty's

^ Original Inscription, Cromartie Papers, - Thiee agreements, vol. i. Nos. S4-S0 of

vol. xxi. Ko. 116, at Tarbat House. Cromartie Papers, at Tarbat House.


coffiii to be as near as possible to the said Countess, and that under the penalty of
five hundred pound sterling. In wittness whereof, I have written and subscribed
thir presents with my own hand att Edenbrugh, the thirtieth day of May 1705.

" Wemyss." ^

Notwithstanding this formal arrangement, it will afterwards be seen that
it was not carried into effect. When Lord Cromartie died in the year 1714,
he was buried on the south side of his monument at Dingwall, and close to
the foundation.

At the time of his bereavement Lord Cromartie was seventy-five years
old. He had shortly before felt that the active duties of Secretary of State
were rather too arduous for his advanced age, and had resigned the office,
obtaining in exchange that of Lord Justice- General,^ the duties of which were
more easily performed, and from former experience, quite familiar to him.
On resigning his office of Secretary of State, Lord Cromartie addressed the
following letter to Queen Anne. It is without date, but the terms of it leave
no doubt that it had reference to his change of position from Secretary of
State to Justice-General : —

I am now goeing from beeing near to your Majesty, and it's probable I am not
to be much longer whither I am goeing, for I am now ane old man, and I doubt if
any Prince hath many older servants, and this late sad stroak from God hath
render[ed] me much older : in which God was just, and I deservd it, for I have
been ane unfaithfull servant to God, and to your Majesty a very useless one. This
is ane additional trouble. But I Avill be so bold as to say that my conscience does

Online LibraryWilliam FraserThe earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 1) → online text (page 15 of 53)