William Fraser.

The earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 1) online

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specially of the non-payment of his salaries. He says that his old salary
was £600 per annum, and that he never was an adviser for too large salaries
for Scotch ministers, these havmg, during his long memory, been the great
motives, if not the great causes, of factions and the disquiet of the Court.
He begs the salary of his office for its honour, although, from his age, he
cannot expect to enjoy it long, and his stock, which was never increased
by the public, cannot now be much so. In allusion to the length of his
letter to the Treasurer on this subject, Lord Cromartie adds, " I am like
these impertinent visiters who, being seldom admitted, doe revenge them-
selves by staying too long." ^

He writes to Lord Mar : — " If I thought old Tarbat or new Cromarty
were worth your nottice, or his litle concerns capable to be favourd, I would
adventur to mind the Earle of Marr of them. But I suspect old springs
gives no price." ■*

Wearied out with vain applications. Lord Cromartie at length appealed

1 Letter of 28th Nov. 1705, vol. i. pp. 299, 300. ^ Letter, vol. ii. pp. 63-66.

- Letter, vol. ii. p. 45. ^ Ibid. p. 85.

1714.] ARREARS OF SALARY. clxv

directly to Queeu Anue ou the subject of his arrear of salary. His two
letters to her Majesty are printed in the second volume.^ These letters were
written only a few months before the death of Lord Cromartie, and they are
very interesting, as they recount many of the services which were rendered
by his Lordship during the long period of sixty years. One very important
fact is mentioned by him which is not generally known, that it was he who
advised General Monck to attempt the restoration of King Charles the Second,
and that he had advanced £1000 to Monck to assist him in the enterprise.
It was for the money so advanced that King Charles the Second awarded a
pension to Lord Cromartie.

In one of his letters to Queen Anne, his Lordship maintains that he
had served faithfully in all his stations, and never failed in his duty to his
Prince. Nor did ever any man accuse him, except one miscreant, who, with
his accomplices, could only have been pardoned by her Majesty's clemency.
Lord Cromartie adds, that in place of pardon he holds sufficient approbations ;
nor did he ever fear the want of pardon, so bold is innocence even in its low
situation. '■^

Even to the close of his long life Lord Cromartie retained his original
vigour and terseness in writing. He also maintained his cheerfulness, as
appears from his correspondence with his step-son-in-law, the Earl of

Two letters, which were written to Lord Northesk by Lord Cromartie
shortly before his death, show his happy and cheerful state of mind in his
old age. The first is as follows : —

My dear Lord, — It is now very near to eight years since that Fellow, ordi-
narly call'd Good-luck, did, with a sevei^e gripe, shake hands with me ; and I think
never to meet until 1 the randevouze at the valley of Jehosophat, where I hope to

' Letter, vol. ii. ]). 139 et seq. '' Ibid. p. 140.


meet with good friends and good company. I would not have you in the same
indifference with me, either as to the publick affaires or private interests on the
earth, but leave you in these to your better conduct, than by experience I have
known mine to be : witness all who love me, and all who laugh att me. Plots
and parties I ever abhorred; projects I have sometimes been upbraided with : but
now I say to all of them (whether they had effect or no effect),

Sterilesque valete Camoense.

I shall willingly give them a pass and recommendation to the shipwright at the
signe of the South Sea ; and, if he please, let him add them to the South Sea cargo.
Perhaps they Avill make a return of a Highland militia, or a Chancellor, or so, and
may be plenishing, either for use or ornament, in his closet.

But, my Lord, I deal not so with the fishery which you recommended to me.
Eeceive herewith one of these Bastards. I cannot give it a name, for I could
never as yet find a Godfather who would give them a godbairne's gift ; and I was
so poor myself, having no mettale, but some gold from the philosopher stone,
which the smiths of my acquaintance said always that it could not bide the anvil,
tho' I alleadg'd that either they never tryed it, or that they wanted fire and ham-
mers. But if that Brat, now sent to you, can be brought to thrive, I shall be
glad of it. A coathouse in Auchmuty, with a twenty or thirty Tune Bark, and a
fishing-yole or two to attend her, is all the patrimony I do propose for him ; and
if he will not thrive at that, it is but to send him to the shipwright, and 100 to 1
he may make something of him, though it should end in nothing, which is an
omen which I am far from wishing or expecting from his manufactory. But if
your Lordship have a furnace by you, pray try the mettale of this letter in it ;
but as to the print, read it and use it or not as you please ; it may have many
Staines. But I think that if it be scured for half a year in the deepest water near
Redhead, it may be made a clean, clear cloth. If T be disappointed, yet a good
intention may have some merit, as our Sister Church of Rome says. If you stay
any while at Edinburgh (as I wish your Lordship may), we may speak more fully
on these serious matters.

Valeat quantum valere potest

Ast valeas Tu, Tuique. Amen.^

To E[arl of] N[orthesk] 1 October 1713.

^ Contemporary Copy Letter at Tarbat House. Original at Etliie.

The second letter of Lord Cromartie to Lord Northesk referred to is as

follows : —

My Lord, — I am now here, and going aboard (God willing) for Cromartie ;
and the best fjirewell or legacy that I can give you is my blessing, and to pray for
God's on you and yours. I assure you they are and will l)e dear to me. I have
taken leave of all publick affairs ; my wishes for them is, that they may be well
and serene. I wish it strongly, but my fears are stronger. I say with Sir John
Scot, God make all well ; but as the children say, so do I think, ill stuf to make
it of, God make it better. It 's like I may see Reidhead this day, but with deep
regrait of not seeing those who lay near it ; yet, as old Buckingham jested with
Prince Rupert, I in good earnest do say, —

I hope to live to see, if I die not,
The Palatinate, the Pala-Tinat.

My Lord, my kindness wishes that you might visit all the north ; for I did,
and I do, think our nobility defective in not knowing their own country. But
my discretion smothers my wish, for indeed it arises from self-love, I leave this
with the good and very kind Lord Haddo. Would I did live near you both ! I
would neither envy the statesmen at Edinburgh, nor representatives at London.
I did not hinder, but, as I could, did rather premove your essaying to be in the
publick affairs ; but I will not advise a pertinacy in essaying. Martha was gentily
imployed in many things, but Truth itself has told that Mary did chuse the better
things. My Lord, my motive for this indifference is from my certain perswasion
that there is no great use for great estates, or of those things which perish in the
using. They may tickle our fancy, but wee will get to our own proper use meat
and cloaths. Wee may foolishly enough make it our delight to be stewards to
others Avhat wee cannot make use of for ourselves, and perhaps get the divell to
our thanks at the hinder end. But, on the other hand, there are goods Avhich are
truly useful for us, and if wee bestow our time and our care for acquiring of these,
they will certainly make us happy, and that eternally ; and I hope, even then, to
be, my Lord, everlastingly your friend and servant, Cromartie.^

The Right Honourable The Earle of Northesk.

One of Lord Cromartie's sons, apparently the eldest, either actually left
1 Oriifinal Letter at Ethie.


tlie Protestant communion, in whicli he was educated, or proposed doing

so, and embracing the Eoman Catholic religion. This caused considerable

anxiety and regret to Lord Cromartie, who wrote the following letter to his

son on the subject : —

Deare Sonne, — Albeit my haveing educat yow in a true religion, and my
indeavours to perswade your continuance in it have hitherto failed of the ex-
spected successe, yett my duty to yow as your father, and the superaddition of a
solemn vow, wherby I am bound to instruct yow in our true Catholick faith,
oblidge me uncessantly to doe Avhat lyes in me for so good ane end ; nor can I
despair but that some good meane shall, by God's blessing, dissipat your clouds
of passion, or clear up your mistakes, which the false argueing of the Romish
emissaries have ledd yow in, and I will ever pray that it may be so. I am not
now to fall in argueing against there so oft and so fully defeated sophisms, wher-
with they made many people of the earth drunk. I did proferr to yow and desyr
that, or yow determined your change, yow wold hear me and other to reasone against
any motives which yow could offer for to induce in yow to change your religion.
I feared (what now I find) that these prevaricators would not easily allow yow to
stopp the carreer downward into which they had secretly puld yow ; but there
shameless doctrine prohibiting there converts, and all there flocks, to try and
examine there doctrines and tenets, should, methinks, raise true groonded suspi-
tiones against tenets which these doctors propose to be taken on trust. Those
preachers, whom God sent to preach against the corruptiones of a church who had
farr surer and clearer documents for their being God's visible and true church, and
farr stronger divine statutes oblidging the people to take the law from there
mouth, under severer paines then the Roman Church can pretend to, did call ther
hearers to search in the old way, in the law and the testimony, and to examine
ther religion. Our blessed Saviour, tho' God man, and who could and did confirm
his holy truths with evident miracles, did yett desyre his hearers, in order to
there religion, to search the Scriptures, and he submits his great self to there testi-
mony : how much then should yow and all men suspect, at least, [those] whose cheeff
(and indeed most sheltering) doctrine is to search none, to examine none, espe-
cially by that dark thing the Scripture, which is useless as Christ and his Apostles
preached it, untill it be drest up in there gloss. I leave all the grosse absurdities
and damnable consequences, which most be produced by this mother error, to


more tyme and particular tryall, if yow will be so just to yourself as to take it.
I shall now only, in the name of a father, who have been ever indulgent to yow,
and (which is forr more weighty), in the name of the great God, desyre yow
earnestly to consider that, as the religion is the greatest thing under God, so to
choose, and yett more to change it, is of the highest imj^ortance to yow. To
change from error is a glory, but to change till the utmost tryals be made by yow
is a shame ; to conclude in naturall and politick matters on short veiwes and un-
examind app[e]arence is foolish, but in religion it is impious. I'm sure yow have
whole numbers of means for tryall unessayed ; yow have read litle, conversed
with learned men on both sides litle, and with me, who am your parent, yow have
never consulted the pretences wherby yow are now ledd, and, alas ! deceaved :
yow have given too litle tyme to that which deserves long and serious considera-
tion ; and tho' no tyme should be lost from religious duties, yett I know not if
any on can be more so then what our Saviour calls His converts too, viz., to
search the Scriptures, and to examine His doctrines by them. The noble Bereans
did so. Dear child, it will be no disgrace for yow to obey him, and imitate them.
What needs precipitation 1 Yow are in duty whilst yow hover to try. The
matter is weighty : wisdom cals aloud to consider what yow leave, what yow goe
to. To illustrate these would require a volumn : it is not my designe to illustrate
ether in this letter : this is to begg that yow would give tyme to search for truth
in both. I shall be plaine in very few words, and lay before yow my request :
it is that yow would consider that I describe the religion which yow are design-
ing to leave to be that religion which is contained in plain and express scripture,
conformed to the rule which wee beleeve, and Eome dare not deny to be
God's rule ; other rule wee doe not acknowledge. A call to leave this rule can-
not but sound horridly in any Christian eare. The symboll of our Church,
or Confession of our faith, is that which wee know, and Rome confesses, Avas
handed downe to us from the blessed Apostles of our Saviour, and ever owned as
such by the Catholick Church : this religion then most appear truly Catholick. It's
hard, if not Avorse, to leave those whom all most confess to owne divine and
Catholick truths, to pretend that wee are not a true Church who owne not on error
in all our Confession. And Ave declare that this is the confession yoAv are in-
treated to retain. If there be other truths alleadged and ingrost Avith these by
others, that Avill not make ours fals ; and Avhen they are found true by the
samne rule, and by as catholick consent, Avee Avill not hinder nor dissAvade



there admission, but lett the prooff goe before the conchision ; and, however,
all that wee say is true, and our resohition to admitt all tryed truths is
just ; no reasone then to leave us ; and no Christian prudence will allow*
the ingrossing of other tenets into the Christian symboll Avithout exact and
very exact tryall of them by our rule ; so what yow are now to leave is to
the Romish Church demonstratively good ; but, on the other hand, think whither
yow goe. I doe not love severe expressiones, nor anything that may restrict
allowable charity.; but I'm sure I am no scolder when I forwarn my child
that yow are goeing to joine with a society who have added such doctrines
to the Christian faith as the greater part of the Eomish Church are ashamed
to owne, tho' they dare not repell, but partake in and of these impieties,
and whose morals have renversed these in the Gospell, and shaken Chris-
tianitj^ as weell as mankind into confusion. May yow not be frightned to
leave a church which ownes only to be guided by the oracles of God and confest
by all to be His oracles, and to joine a church who ownes that there cheeff tribunal
is above these oracles in so farr as they teach it as the first and principall doctrine
of ther religion, that this rule cannot instruct so Aveell as what they give, that
Christ either could not or did not preach so plainly, nor what could be so eff"ectuall
to convert to Christianity, as they doe. If the Temple of God be the place of
teaching, and the Eoman Church pretend to be in it, then if they be not that
which was fortold to sitt in the Temple of God as God, and to exalt themselfs
above God in exalting there rule of religion above his, I doubt it will be hard to
find this evill on. Bot, however, my sonne, this should fright yow from a hastj^
conjunction with so ill ane appearance, and perswad yow yett to delay at the call
of a father who thinks he can fully clear this, and if he cannot, others both can
and will. Especially I perswade my self this will hinder yow from that new
impiety of abjuring a religion which ownes truth, and nothing but truth, for our
rule and symboll : tho' yee might lawfully beleeve more then wee doe, yett why
abjure that which yow most againe beleeve ? It will be hard to shew a Christian
primitive practise that evne heathens at there entry to Christianity did make any
other vow then that of baptism ; yow have that upon yoAV already, and the Romans
dare not deny that your baptisme stands good (tho' that concession destroy most
of there great boastings, and is inconsistent with there beeing the sole true
Church). Vows are not to be multiplied without necessity. If the baptismall
vow was enough to enter a pagan, a worshiper of the divell, to Christianity,


what needs more to yow who was not in so remote a state from the doctrine
of Christ] Allow me to say I know not another society who requires such a
solemnity on this side of the witches, as is said; but if evry oath should be made
in truth and with judgment, so cheeHy that wherin so high a subject as the
Gospell and Apostles' Creed, or a Church who ownes them, is abjured. I conjure
you, in the name of the blessed Jesus, to evite that horrid act. The Donatists'
error and condemned herisy was but to have ane oath or vow renewed at the
receaving of penitents, how farr grosser most it be not only to renew, but to
abjure, your former truths, for companies sake only, with alleadged errors ? Dear
Sonne, lett these and the feare of the God of Truth prevail with yow to stopp to
consider, to examine and re-examine, and to acquaint me with any thing that
induces yow to leave us, or yow consumate it, since in that delay (as I said at
first) yow are in a religious duty comanded by Christ and jiractised by his saints.
That this may be the more welcome to yow I have sent it by the hand yow love
best in the world, whose greefF for your course should add to the perswasion both
for your delay and consideration, and it is againe desyred by your affectiouat and
greeved father." "^

In connection with the matter of the letter now quoted, it may be noted
that Lord Cromartie wrote short essays on particular subjects in religion. A
short essay by him may here be given : —

Secret Rocks in the Clirlstian Voyage.

In CREDENDO. In beleeving beware of beleeving too litle, for that is a defect
in faith, — a reflection on what God reveals, a branch of atheism. To conclude
your judgment on that silly thing, human reasone, and not on God's veracity, is
on the matter to give the ly to God, and so is a dreadfuU sinne, tho' oftymes litle
adverted to. By it yow extend the limits of the invisible church, since yow allow
these to be such who beleeve not the articles necessare, which is a conditionall
charecter of church membership in the invisible church which none can dispence
with, and is Antichristianisme. Beware also of beleeving too much, i.e. ought
with a divine faith, as unfallible, but what God hath revealed to yow, for that
were to sett reasone, or man's authority and veracity on a levell with God's : it is
Antichristianisme to give such legislative power to any but God, and it narrowes

1 Original Letter, holograph (without date), at Tarbat House.


the invisible church hj prescribing more conditional! charecters then God hath
determined ; and therfore the extending of confessions of faith to articles not of
infallible divine antority, or to cutt off fundamentall articles, are equally danger-
ous, both founded on implicit atheism, — the one on bold presumption, the other
on foolish superstition. Such was, " yow may eat a forbidden fruit, why it's a
triviall transgression, and yow will find it may have pleasant effects, and such a
trivial! cannot reasonably be judged a fundamentall article and condition of God's
favour, so cut it of from the category of the necessarly credenda." Such also was,
" offer your children to Moloch," i.e. to what yow beleeve to be God ; for it will
shew much love, zeal, and respect to God so to doe : tho' he hath not expresly
comanded it, yett reason saj'es it should be acceptable, a good effect of a devot
temper, and therfor wee should seriously examine if what yee put in the cata-
logue of things to be beleeved or practised, on the cer[ti]fication of damnation to
our selfs, or on the exclusion of others from the comunion of saints, or church-
membership, be things infallibly revealed or comanded by God; if they be, then
place them in the memoriall of your undoubted duties, and, above all humane
dispensation ; if they be not, but are only asserted such by logicall undemon-
strative inferences, or by human autority, whither be practise or precept, then
they may be lawful!, they may be laudable, they may be fitt, but not so adopted
as to bind in among the necessar divine truths and comands, and so no groond to
cutt of a member of Christ's body from the so much praised and comanded
vnity by charity among all the members ; for this were to sett thy owne reason, or
fallible autority, or example, on equal! foot with the Eternal! — a dreadful! sinne.

By this I wish wee examine if modes of worship, whicli differ in evry nation,
disciplin, and churcli government in evry point, that is not expresly commanded
by God, and wherin all churches in all tymes and all places doe differ each from
other ; and so, if true church membership, or to be members of Christ's mistical!
body, depend on church discipline or church governments in things and points
which are so farr from being expresly comanded that all the churches of Christ
have differed in, it were ane uncharitable position, and fals under the evil of be-
leeving too much ; wheras these tolerable and lawful! opinions may be practised
safely, but most be pernitious if joined to the conditions and qualificationes of
Christian vnion and comunion.

By this also wee should bound our opinion concerning tlie Sabath, for a tyme
is comanded for God's peculiar worship by the primitive law of nature, a specifi-

17U.] DEATH OF LORD C ROM ARTIE, 1714. dxxiii

cation of tlie sevnth day of evry Aveek by Moses law, the first day of ilk week by
apostolick and ecclesiastick practice. Calvin thought that the specification of the
day, tho' lawfull, by comeing to be judged necessar and a condition of Christian
vnity, was become a superstition, and therfore he wisht that it might be changed
to another day of the week, that so a tyme, according to the law of nature and
end of . . . [end].^

Worn out with long and assiduous service in many important offices,
Lord Cromartie retired to his native county of Eoss, where, in the ancient
castle of INIilnton, the former seat of the Monros, and which had been created
by him into another New Tarbat, he died, on Friday, the 27th of August
1714, in the 84th year of his age. In a contemporary letter, which men-
tions the event, it is stated that upon hearing of the death of the Queen
he shut himself up in his closet for three hours, was very melancholy when
he came out, went to bed, and never rose again. He had become extremely
weak before.^

Lord Elibank writes that everybody will regret the death of Lord Crom-
artie who was so happy as to be acquainted with him ; and the Earl of Mar
heartily condoles with the second Earl of Cromartie on the loss of his good
friend.^ The Earl of Seaforth, the chief of the Mackenzie family, expresses
his regret for the death of his cadet, who was also his granduncle.*

Dr. George Mackenzie, who afterwards became the historian of the ]\Iac-
kenzie family, thus expressed himself on the death of Lord Cromartie, in a
letter, without address, but written apparently to the second Earl : —

Edinburgh, September 27, 1714.
My Lord, — I cannot express how much I am grived for the loss of your
Lordship's father, my noble and worthy friend ; but if it please God that I live
but a few years, I am hopeful to make known to the world the grateful acknow-

^ Original, holograph of Lord Cromartie, at Tarbat House.

2 Letter of 2d September 1714, vol. ii. p. 154.

3 Letter, vol. ii. p. 155. * Ibid. p. 157.


ledgements that I owe to his memory by rankeing him amongst the other worthy
persons that deserved so well of our nation ; and if your Lordship, amongst his
peapers, can feind any thing worthy of his memory that deserves to be communi-
cated, either in relation to his own public transactions, or to what concerns the
commonwealth of learning, I doubt not but you will favour me with a copy of them.
In the meintime the bearer of this has shown me his thoughts upon this occassion,
and I am of the oppinion that though they be far short of what he deserves, yet it
may give many people a better idea of his worth then what is vulgarly known of
him, and that it will recommend the bearer to your Lordship's protection and
goodness, and I am hopeful! that he will acquite himselfe so as to deserve it ; and
I hope you will believe me to be.

My Lord, your Lordship's most aflfectionat and most humble servant,

George Mackenzie."^

In a preceding chapter it has been shown that on the death of Lord