William Fraser.

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

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demonstrate that herr ]\Iajesty doth think me not much worth, ether of
favour or respect, at least in comparaison. But, since herr Majesty is certainly
the cheeff and best judge, I most humbly submitt till shee please to declare
herr royall pleasure ; and I doe regrate that I find it stunns many who hitherto
were tliought loyalists more then it vexes me. But, if your Lordship pleases,
I wish herr ]\Iajesty may know these my humble submissions to her pleasure.
]\Iy Lord, I wanted 500/. of my salarie whilst secretare, and 600/. which herr
Majesty did give me for my doAvncomeing to the last session of parliament, and
return. Your Lordships letter to the E[arl] of Glas[gow] mentions only my
salary, albeit the words may comprehend both. The words are {las dues ichilst
secretare) ; and that expedition and session of parliament were dureing that (to
me) unhappy, tho honorable, imployment ; therefore, if your Lordship pleases,
by another lyne to the E[arl] of Gl[asgow], to explicat it so. Albeit other
salaries be payed, — after that those dues were not only resting to me, but after
herr Majesties particular ordor to pay me 'primo loco, and after the treasuries

^ Original Letter in tbe Mar Charter-chest.


orders, and after the cash keepers hath given recept to the manadgers for it as
payed to me — -yet they have payed posterior precepts : which practise makes
a new classe of dependances to evn officers of state, and much more to all
others, viz., on the manadgers or farmers of the customes, which would appear
to be a litle hetroclit. I have adveiiturd this once more to give yow trouble
in so mean a concern ; and so I thought the like, ever untill I was a secretary;
and I hope your Lordship will pardon it this once. If my London debts chace
me from Edinburgh I will fly to London, and that I resolved ne're to have
done. But if you can safe me the travel, it will be a great favour, for I will
be unwilling to goe to the Queen — to complain of the Queen ; and indeed I
was so proud once as to think I wordd not be put to it. As to the other
effair, I will not add it to this already too long a letter — I mean of my few-
duties. Tho others M'ho have not served the crown the tenth part of the tyme
that I have, and whose family's have not been hereditarly loyall, have gott
their few duties gratis from tyme to tyme for near 60 years, yet I am not so
vaine as to pretend to any such favour. But what I propos 1 presume will
be advantage, and no loss, to the Queen or herr treasury, but of advantage to
herr Majestys government, and not draw much money from it, nor in ane
uneasy method. I will leave the scheam to the next, and end with what
is neither new nor great tydings. It is, that I am, with all my heart.
Your Lordship's most obedient faithfull servant,


My Lord, I pray yow tell my lord treasurer that I presume much on his
assistance in my litle concerns, for as to any great thing I have quitt that


245. [The Same to The Same.]^

[8 December 1705.]
My Lokd, — Haveing shakt a litle of my cropp in my last, in this I per-
form what I promised then. By the bargan proposed, I presum the crown
hath the advantage. For one evil in our government now is, that the lord
chancier, beeing the first wheel in the ministry, and by whose absence the
government is oftymes at a stand, and at best most move unequally — their
haveing the convenience of a convenient house, gardens, and parks, and some
rent at the door, in the seat of the government, with excellent healthfuU
situation, takes away pretence of goeing to his country, tho perhaps at a
distance, or rather will invite the succeeding chanclers to stay more fixtly at
the helm. It will really [be] of more advantage by its profits and convenience
then 200 (nay, as I think) or 300 more of salary, and more honorable for the
chancier to tak, or the King to give, then more specious and more clamarous
donatives of fynes, forfalturs, or crown casualities ; and this casuality to the
chanclers will be perenn and durable, whilst the others are transient, and, oft
ending, are as oft renewd, and are more odious and truly less profitable. And
for this rent there will be yearly safed 200/. of futur chanclers salaries ; and
this 200/., which ever takes so much of the readiest in the treasury, will by
this be payed out of the remotest and worst payed rent which the crown
hath ; and some years they are not able to pay the half of their rentall, as the
very last, 1704, they have not as yet payed a thrid part of it.^

My Lord, hast to overtake the post made me goe wrong, and that also will
not allow me to writ it over, therfor excuse the mischance.

I say that for thes lands, which at worst will pay 12 chalders at 1200/.

^1 Original Letter in Mar Charter-chest. leted by the writer, as is referred to in the

'^ A short passage after tliis has been de- next sentence.


constant rent, and 80/. sterling of money rent for the parks, i.e., 960/. Scots
in all, is 2160/. Scots. I will take rent for rent in Eoss, and the rule to
judge the quota of that rent in Eosse may be thus judged. Take 20 years
bygone, ether the last bygone 20 years or any 20 years successive, and the
midle price twixt the highest and lowest for 20 years to be holden as tho
rentall of these lands, which shall be given me in Eoss in exchange for
my rent heer, and I shall take only such rent as is payable by those who
are my owne vassals, and payable out of lands holden of my self, so that
the crown shall not quit a vassell, nor shall any who holds immediatly of
the crown be oblidged to pay any rent to me ; so that no body can complain on
lesion (as hundreds will, should my Lord Eoss project hold). This as to the
rent ; and this takes no money out of the treasury, but rather keeps some in
it, and gives it more effectuall rents. Now for the building. I value it
willingly a thrid less then it cost, or less then it were possible to build it,
that is, at 4000/. sterling, and I can swear it cost me sex ; and for my payment
of this, I will take 40 chalder of the Eoss rent, or 40 hunder merk rents at
the formentiond rule, in payment of the money, which rent beeing of the
worst bear, meal, and oats in that shyre, is dear enough of 100/. sterling per
chalder ; and by this the crown will safe 500/. Scots of chamberlan fee yearly
there. So that, on the matter, the crown gives only 33 chalders for the 48,000/.
Scots, which is the price of the building ; so that really the crown payes
only 39,000/., or, if money could be gott to pay me, I would take 40,000/. in
place of the 48,000/. My Lord, pardon all the indiscretions and errors in
this letter, which is writ in hast by your Lordships most humble servant.

Indorsed by John Earl of jMar : " E[arl] Cromertie anent Eoiston, December
8^^ 1705."

2 Q


2^6. [The Same to The Same.]^

8 December 1705.

My Lord, — The other letter is writ in hast. Since now in my old age I
am to retire, this bargan, if it can be procured, should be of advantage to me,
and by it I could doe what I proposd as to Stragarive and Lochcaron. Since
the design seems to be of the chanclers concerns, I have writ to him in the
general ; and, if your Lordship judges it fitt, seal and send it, or not, as you
please. I think the terms reasonable, and of advantage to the government,
but it would be very convenient for me ; and as to the exchange of rent for
rent, ^dz., 100 merks in Lothian for 100 merks of miserable ill payed rent in
Eoss, I'm sure the crown gains ; and for the price of the house, it is too
cheap. But if the stopp be ther, or it goe of, I would make the bargan for
rent for rent, i.e., a chalder in Eoyston, which is at least 150 merks, for a
chalder in Eoss for 100 (which is more than ever it amounted to comunibus
annis) ; and for the house, if money, for 3000/. sterling, or, if rent in Eoss
be given for it, for 33 chalders ; and most of all the rent will be out of
lands holden of my self : so this will not trouble the treasury in a farthing

But I lay this on your Lordship as my speciall freend. If the other
hold not, I inclose another litle scheam to be tryed in that case ; and I'm
sure it is both easy and advantagious to the Queen and crown. I referr the
rest to it.

My Lord, deliver my letter to the chancelor, or not, as yow find fitt ; if
yee doe, seal it.

Dorso : " To yourself."

^ Original Letter in Mar Charter-cliest.


[Scheme referred to by the Earl of Cromartie in the foregoing letter.]

The rent of Eoyston is good for 2500 merks Scots.

The equivalent rent of the crown rents in Eoss payable by the Earl of
Cromertie and his vassals in the Eoss crown victuall, which is never valued
above 80 merks per chalder communibus annis, nor never did amount to more
to the treasury, and [this] will appear by inspection of the exchecker rolls for
20 or 40 years backward. Yett the Earl is content to take it at ane 100 merks
per chalder, so that 25 chalders of that rent compenses the rent in Eoyston.
And if the rent of the parks of Eoyston be not liought from him by mone}',
he values them at 40/. sterling per annum ; and he is content to take as much
rent at the forsaid price, viz. 100 [merks] per chalder, as will compense that —
in all, 32 chalders. His house did coast above 6000/. sterling : he is content
to, and for my house, tho it did coast above 6000/. sterling, he is content to
quit it for 3000Z. sterling in money, or for 30 chalder of the Eoss rent, which
is but 3000/. sterling at its utmost value. And to give the Queen more
advantage, I am content to restrict my 400/. sterling per annum, which I
have secure in law during lyfe, and to restrict it to 200/. sterling yearly.

Indorsed by the Earl of Cromartie : " 2*^ scheam," and by the Earl of Mar :
"E. Cromarties 2*^ scheam anent exchanging Eoistoun, December 1705."

247. The Same to [The Same].^

8 December 1705.
My Lord, — The other letters beeing of a singular nature, I woidd not
intermixe other matters with it. This is to intreat your Lordships favour to
one who is a freend both to the Earl of Leven and to me ; but the Earl,

^ Original Letter in Mar Charter-chest.


because of his circumstances relative to the comand heer, he could not so
weel wiit on it. It is that [of] the place of the adjutant in the guards ; and
there is on Leivtenent Neil M'^Leod, whom I doe, and warranded by the Earl
of Leven also, intreats may have that comission. Some Leivtenent or other
in the regiment alwayes have it. If this your Lordship pleases, the comis-
.sion will be found in the record. And since I am in the begging mood
(which I will not oft repeat), I humbly recomend Johne Stuart, sonne to the
late Sir Thomas Stuart of Balcasky, for a pair of colours, when occasion
offei-s. He is a pretty youth, serves as a cadee in the regiment of guards. His
near relation to me oblidgs me to this suit; and his (tho) remot relation
to the Earl of Lowdon, I hope, will procure his concurrence, wherof I will
adventur to writt to his Lordship shortly. All I can say for my excuse in
all these troubles is, that I am, my Lord,

Your Lordship's most humble and obedient servant,


248. The Same to [The Same].^

[December 15, 1705.]
My Lord, — It is with regrate that I should againe trouble yow with my
very silly privat concerns ; but tho my old friend doth say as kindly as ever,
yett I tell him that his influence might gett herr Majesty's letter for my ex-
spended dues payed. I have oft tymes preacht patienza : I find that I most
practise. I am old enough, but not so as that I may not outlive my owne
<l(Avd or others adverse influence. However, my Lord, I give yow my humble
thanks for your kind indeavours. I am fast by the Countess of Seaforts making

' Original Letter in Mar Charter-chest.


up the evident, which they themselfs have lost or destroy'd, and the design is
now almost barefac't, for they shew satisfaction in hopes that my memory will
forgett the security, which many, and amongst them your Lordship, had by
that lost paper ; for in their interrogators they would allow me to remember
what I pleased for my self, and to forget all other peoples securitys. But I
will certainly be just to all, and to the Countess too, in as farr as my memory
can goe ; but I assure your Lordship that the lady and herr advocat, i.e.. The
Advocat, hath given a fatal strok to herr family, and men will think that it
is the sinne of ignorance in both. My Lord, tho I had no mind to writ
more of particulars at this tyme, yet on a persons acquainting me that I was
spoke of as one who could weell begg at court. Indeed I saw good example,
and with their success. But first I do not remember that I ask any thing
but some consideration for abov 2500^. of necessarly depursments for flitting
my family, for horses, coaches, houshold furnitur, at first goeing, for which
herr Majesty gave the 1500/, now stopt; and, my Lord, I intreat yow to
beleeve, and when occasion invites, to say for me, that except the l)are dues
of my office for these two (to me) unhappy years, I liad not 100/. nor 100/.
worth of donation, or direct or indirect purchase ; and of these bare dues I
want 1100/. sterling, and owes it at London, beeing exspended there for what
was absolutly necessar. I'll swear that this is truth : and yet perhaps some
will say, or have said this, who have gott more tlian I gott to my self, or my
dependars, as they are pleased to call them ; and yet I perhaps will find as
many to take my advice without pay, as others have perhaps, for 1000/. 1
grudge not their gaine, sed bona verba qaa:so. My Lord, no faction nor party
will alter to your Lordship the duty of your most humble faitlifull servant,

Indorsed by John Earl of Mar: ■' Cromertie, December l.'»^''. 1705.'"


249. The Same to [Tpie Same].^

18 December 1705.
My Lord, — Sir David Nairn desyrd to know my pretence to 1100/. as
resting of my dues. 500/. is for my last half years salary as secretary, the
600/. is for my expedition-money last up goeing to London, and fatall down
coraeiug from it. This I humbly think should have been payd or now, and it
pinches me that it is not. The 1500 was for my equipage, flitting of my family,
and London furnitur, coaches and horses, by all which I have lost twice as
much. All I shall say is, that if a secretare live at London for 2000 per annum
he manadges weell, or sillily. And this I intreat your Lordship to beleeve ;
and on a fair occasion I intreat you to assert for your old freend that I defy
Europe for on[e] gine[a] besides my salaries and dues of the office whilst I was
secretar, and I doe say the like in what office I ever was in. This I trouble
your Lordship with, becaus I hear its said I was a great seeker from the
Queen, and this sayes, No ; for I nether sought, nor gott, to myself. I did for
some others, who have shewd as litle kindnes to me as good service to herr,
or theu- country ; and I am sorry for it, for her Majestys and our sake. My
Lord, I will no further trouble your Lordship with my trifling abuses, for it is
not mucli in my humor to be a trouble to my patrons and freends. So, if my
dear bought salaries be payd, I shall not trouble the Queens Majesty with
importunity, but shall ever importunatly pray, for herr glory and happines ;
and shall ever continue, and beggs to be esteemd

Your Lordships most obedient and truly faithful! servant,


' Original Letter in Mar Charter-chest.


250. The Same to [The Same].^

25 December 1705.
j\Iy Lord, — Your Lordsliip hath not only done enough, hut too much, in
so small a matter, and for one wlio can so litle requite and who (probably)
is not judged worth half the paines, nor ought else, l;)y others. It is a
chang of my circumstances which made me strugle so much for so small a
prize. Since my bygone service and other just motives works so litle with
them, I nether ought, nor will I, put your Lordship to so ungratfull a task,
as to importune others on my account. I doe not think that the last will
give more success then the others did, and I am weary of their nether
logicall nor legall excuses, viz., that all is exhausted. Which excuse stands
on two leggs : 1. that they are exhausted by paying others befor me, who by
herr Majesties express letter, and by justice, should have been payd after
me ; the other legg is, that the Queen gives more salaries then there are
foonds to reach them. The first is no legg at all to support the wrong, the
other is a lame one ; for at worst there should be a ijro rata, for part faire
might have sav'd all; nor doe my weak mortall eyes Aveel discern the over
ballancing meritt which forces the preference. But tace is good Latin. j\Iy
Lord, this chagrin is ane very unsuitable intertainment for your great kindnes
in beeing so concernd for me. I doe not love misfortunes ; but I love less
to give a share of mine to others. This letter is too lomr in such a straine.
What I have to alleviat my indiscretion, is my sincerity, and true satisfac-
tion I have of feeling your favour to me, and that I presum yow owne me
as your Lordships \

Most humble and most faithfull servant;


1 Original Letter in Mar Charter-chest.


251. George first Earl of Ckomartie to [John Earl of Mae].'

27 December 1705.
My Lord, — By la.gt post I writ iip of a vessel seazed in Catlmes, Since
writing therof I find some of our lawiers of opinion that only a thrid will fall
to the Queen, shee beeing a shipp belonging to ane allie, tho taken and keept
many dayes by the French : and the whole will not be much worth, beeing
but kye and nolt a board. However, if shee be not legall priz, the Queen gives
but uhats legally herrs. The cold keept me close in these 8 dayes, but to-
morrow I hope to see the D[uke] of Q[ueensberry] to take leave of him, and
speak to him of the Royston proposition. I will make it very reasonable ;
and if it hold not, there will be litle skaith, but too much trouble to your
Lordship, which is not easy to, my Lord,

Your most faithfull humble servant,


Braco Duff is dead, and so is the old Countess of Home.

I am informed that there is a kind of vermine, which breeds in the hey
.stacks in Galloway and Airshyre, about 2 inches long, and sex feet on each
side, with a reed heat, so numerous that they consume wliole stacks. I never
.saw sucli unholsom weatlier.

2.i2. [Letter, unsigned, to George Earl of Cromartie.]
[Circa 1705.]

My deakk Lord, — After you left me I grew wors then ever. I have been
several tirns very neare quiting this vain world, but never that I thought
' Original Letter in Mar Cliarter-chest.


just att it until now. Beyond my expectation I'm recouvring, and liops to
see you when the swalows begins to peep out. When I do come out, I most
sett up on another foot. Adeiw goodfeloship for ever, and I beleive all
thoughts of politiks likways for ever. I see few gaine hy eather but seeknes
and repentance. What they'r doeing a'toune, or here, I know no more then my
footman, nor ever desirs to do. If they will mantaine me in what you helpt
to gett me, that I may be free of dunning and noise, I shal compound with
all the statsmen now in, or ever shal be, and work at the yard, and build
the wals three els higher, if I had cash, then ever you heard me speake of ;
but if they wer as high as the tour of Babel, I would keep a wikit to lett in
some verry few frinds, wherof, I asure you, you should be on w4th all my
heart. I found more good of your plaster then all they gave me for my
rumatik pains. I commended it so much [that] somebody did me unkindnes
to steal my rol you sent me, but I hope I'l need no mor att this occation ; and
when I do, II use the freedom with you to get a peice mor, but rather a
recept to make it, for I think its the best I ever saw. Duke Queensb[erry]
is gon, I believe, by this. I wish the Union may prosper, though I should
never find the benifit of it ; but I feare bigotray, self-intrest for places, and a
poor nobility will never lett it go on. Adeiu, my deare Lord.

253. Lady Christian Leslie, Dowager Marchioness of Montrose, to
George first Earl of Cromartie. [Circa 1705.]


My Lord, — I ded muche regratt to mis you att my logengs yesterday, for

Im persuaded non of vs will ever forgett how near relationes we ar, and

whatt way we ar so, and more becaus my good frend, Lady Marie Cocheren,

beleves, as I done, that you layke me. Shi is mostt solisetous that I wrett

2 R


to you ill her behove agenestt ouer relation Collaiielle John Arskean, whom
I done wishe vere weall tone ; but I doue thenke, so far as I am callpeble
to judge, hi heath dealt unjustly and hardly with my Lady Marie ; and
though I do neather disayer you to do unjustis, or do I believe you wold,
though I ded, yett I bege you may considear the matear, for hi trets her
hardly, and if he is not mead senseble of his rayeats to his costt, Im pear-
suaded he will persistt, and unjustly defrad her of her oun, or meke her injoye
it att double carge. So if you will befrend her in counseall, it will muche
oblige, my Lord,

Your obligead humble servant and cowsin,

C. Montrose.
To the right honorable the Earell of Cromertaye.




Instructions by John first Earl of Middleton, commissioner of King
Charles the Second in Scotland, to Sir George Mackenzie, Lord
Tarbat, to inform his Majesty respecting — (1.) The proceedings of the
Parliament, and, in particular, their passing of the Act for the Restora-
tion of Episcopacy ; (2.) the gratitude of Parliament for the Restora-
tion of the House of Huntly, and their earnest recommendation of
those persons who were oppressed by the late Marquis of Argyll, and
of others, his creditors ; (3.) the extent to which disaffection Avas en-
couraged and strengthened in the country by the favours bestowed by
his Majesty on persons of disaffected principles, and to earnestly desire
his Majesty to recall the remission granted to them ; (4.) to urge his
Majesty to except from the Act of Indemnity certain persons (not
exceeding fourteen in number) who were most active against his royal
father and himself, and who still continued in their bad principles ;
(5.) the extent to which his Majesty's service suffered through some
of the best men absenting themselves from Court; (6.) the hazard
that might arise to prince and people through the misrepresenta-
tion of persons and affairs at such a distance, and to impress on his
Majesty the necessity of calling upon some of his council to attend
constantly on him, and advise him in the ordering and disposal of
Scotch affairs ; (7.) to communicate these instructions to the Duke of
York, the Chancellor of England, and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland,
and crave their advice and assistance in all his proceedings thereanent.
[5th June 1662,]




2. John Earl of Middleton to James first Earl of Newburgh, and Lord Tar-

bat, in reference to their mission under the preceding instructions, and

as to Lord Lome's letter to Lord Duffus, etc. 22d June 1662, . . 3

3. John Earl of Middleton to Lord Tarbat, with copy letter by Lord Lome

to Lord Duifus, and information thereanent. 25th June 1662, . 5

4. Sir John Fletcher of New Cranstoun, knight, Lord Advocate, to Lord

Tarbat, in reference to Lord Lome's letter. 25th June 1662, . . 7

5. John first Earl of Middleton to Lord Tarbat, in reference to the mission

of the latter to the King. 25th September 1662, .... 8

6. William Earl of Glencairn, Lord Chancellor, to Lord Tarbat, giving the

political news of the day, and desiring to see Lord Tarbat before the
first of January. 23d November [1662], , » , . .11

7. James Earl of Newburgh to Lord Tarbat, informing him that the Act of

Uniformity would be preserved, and that the Duke of Lauderdale
had not been successful in his exertions for condemning the Act against
the Covenant. February the last [1663], . . . . .11

8. James Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews, to Lord Tarbat, complaining

that the Earl of Seaforth, Lord Tarbat, the Laird of Cromartie, and