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The earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 2) online

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pardon these addresses from, and because from, my dear Lord,
Your most humble and obedient servant,


275. [George first Earl of Cromartie to Sidney Godolfhin, Lord
GoDOLPHiN, Lord High Treasurer of England.]

15 February 1707.
My Lord, — -Now I look on the vnion of Brittain as done, and as ther was
no politick good I so much desyred, nor to which I did constantly use my
litle indeavours, so, as to all publick concerns, I consider them so safely lodged


in our glorious Queen and with a Brittish parliament, that, by God's blessing,
I nether feare forreign foes nor homebred factiones, which I lookt on as a
great evill, and more constantly and frequently so then the forreign. Among
my now litle fears, there is none I deprecat more then that the ghosts of our
departing factions may yett appear ; for as that propertie in our humor was
both begott and nursed by our governments makeing places and pensiones —
the prizes to be gained by turbulent or cabaling spirits — so nothing can
make thes now dead bones revive so readily as the samne kind of nourishing.
But my feares evanish by the perswasion that now clubs and parties will be
for the future so absolutly useless, and are in their nature so hurtfull, that I
hope the governments prudence in this will farr outdoe what I wish. My
dear Lord, smce probably this may be the last that ever I shall trouble yow
with, and that the very samne zeal which inflamd me with Brittains great
good, doth continue to w^ish a safty from some evils which, if it cannot
anihilat vnion, yett may hurt it, at least obstruct in some measure its happy
effects, and that I must be a dull creature if I know not a good deall of the
old Scottish distempers, after 56 years imployment in our publick effairs, be
pleased to put a gentle construction on wdiat I now say. Buying of servants
heer, by enlarging sallaries, hath seldome made any of them better servants,
but hath made many others worse subjects. But in place therof, if the gener-
ality of the people find the easines and equality, which is the natural conse-
quent of the vnion, that will influence all, and afford more security then
all factious combinations, when the usurping English, who invaded us as eni-
mies, by liveiug amongst [us], produced a great vnion in the affections of both.
What and how soon may it produce ane better effect when they — I mean
your regiments — may abide heer, and ours with yow. I doe not speak of this
as to be done by precipitation. But after some of the advantages of our vnion
shall appear, especially by the serene and kind proceedings of our Brittish


parliament, another inconvenience may arise from useless offices, for they can
hardly be useless and not hurtfull, and prove only bones of contention. I doubt
not but self-interest will forge reasons for continueing some such, ether as
alledging use for them, or as a debt to persones who have servd so weell in this
great effaire. But as that was duty, and it promising good to us and our
posterity, will abundantly reward the most deserving ; so that obligation doth
justly spread so farr that almost none or all should expect it. For, as all who
were not against us in that, were for us, on good information, none can pretend
to supererogation, and I most wish that its vniversall good effects may make
our opposers penitent and pleased rather then to move envy and farther anger,
which may arise from too great largesse. And this the more, that all are turnd
pretenders to great merits, whilst very few appeard hero's in it to us poor mor-
tals, and none pretends lowder then these undiscernd operators. Some other
particulars I referr to the inclosed papers. I perhaps consider them more
important then they are, but the nature of the thing and the consequences
magnify them to me : and tho they be no great things compard with English
estimat, yet they were great integrant parts of a lesser crown, and I cannot
but think them but considerable with respect to the remot extreams of the
whole isle. However, my Lord, it is to the Queen and yourself only that I
desyre to nottice it as from me. I hope the surplus of the equivalent will
be putt under inspection of such persons as will seriously and impartially
mind the comon good, and on as litle privat design as honesty requires, and
with particular provision that the whole or major part of them be not of a
partie. For as to our representatives, I hope they will deserve kind treat-
ment, and England will give, and that both in concourse may doe what will
be esteemd good by all Brittains, and may for ever shutt the mouths of gain-
sayers. If those who were not of late very kind to me, and in whom as yett
I have litle change in that, doe what I think doth justly call for complaint, —


that one occasion may force a letter to your Lordship from one who would
gladly, as much as in me lyes, live at peace with all men, and, on any account, as
Your Lordships most obedient humble servant/

276. George fikst Earl of Cromartie to [John Earl of Mar].-

4 April 1707.
My dear Lord, — If yow allow me to trouble yow with recomendations,
I shall wish rather to exerce it in my freends nor in my own concerns ; for
I wish that my owne may not much need them, Yett, when they doe, your
Lordship cannot hope to escape the attack. My Lord, this is to recomend the
bearer, a gentlman of a good family,^ but litle oblidged to his predecessors
frugality, which forct him to educat himself in the late most profitable trade
in our country, viz., the publican. His education in it hath fitted him for it :
he yett wants a patron to fitt it for him. It would oblidge many of his
freends, and amongst them

Your Lordships most faitlifull and most humble servant,


277. The Same to [The Same].

22 April 1707.

My Lord, — This is the 2d to your Lordship ; the last was on the parti-
cular of Babugies debt. This is to tell that the treasury, in place of giveing
ane attestation to evry one of the civill list, as the act of parliament requires,
wherby evry on[e] may have action as is there prescribed for their debt on the

^ The sigiicature has been torn away.

2 The originals of this and the following fourteen letters are in the Mar Charter-chest.

^ T. Urquhart of Craighouse.


equivalent — its said that they have resolved to put all iu one list. If so,

evry one may construct this as a method to embarras all, and disappoint

whom they please ; and seems to be a very odd entry in the first Brittanick

administration. I was goeing north, but I most, on this [account], stay till

I see whither I most attend this effair heer or at London. I hope my bad

usage had been at ane end, and I shall think so yett, till work witnes that it

is not. My Lord, principiis ohsta, and be pleased to remember that I am

Your Lordship's most faithfull ser^^ant and freend,


278. The Same to [The Same].

Eoyston, 28 Aprill 1707.

My dear Lord, — I correspond with few [but] with yow, which make[s]

the load heavier on your Lordship. I crave leave to recomend the bishop

of Ross Youngs relict to your Lordship's favour, and evn care, for he was ane

honest moderat man (a rare vertue in clergy). The former papers in herr

favour (I presume) will be sent yow. I long to hear what scheame as to us

yow will establish, but am constant in wishing it a good establishment. A

la mod, I am to send up a signatur for chang[ing] my litle lairdship to blensh.

Since I see them refused to none, I hope it will not be to, my Lord,

Your faithfull freend and most humble servant,


I just now, at 2 aclock, was called to meet at 12 in councelL

279. The Same to [The Saaie].

Edinburgh, 17 May 1707.
My Lord, — I adventur'd last yeare to represent to your Lordship, and
likwise to the Duke of Queeusberry and lord chancier, that two (indeed


rascals) Scots men, who were exorbitantly oblidged to Collonel Villars at
Tinmoth Castle, did (I presume) malitiously and falsly accuse him of importing
of forbidden goods from Scotland. The groond of my presuming the malice
and falshood is, that I had occasion to know to a demonstration that one of
the two, called Thomas Forrest, was condemnd, on proof and confession, of
foro-ino- of false writs heer ; and, tho the association with such a person was
a presumption against his accomplices, yett I have from a good hand that the
other, called David Scotland, was convicted of larcenie, and escapt from goal
in England. Now, my Lord, these beeing the only accusers of a person of
Collonel Villars honor, and one who ever was a forward freend to all of our
nation, and particularly to these very persones, I humbly say that its evry man
of honors concern on occasion to resent it. The notable infamy of the witneses
could not possibly be known to the collonel befor in course that their deposi-
tions were taken, so that sentence (they say) was past ; but that, ex equitate,
the judges recomendation hath on conviction (by the judges testimony who
condemned the one heer, and the other there) that they were infamous rogues,
hath stopt the prosecution and exaction of the fyne and sentence, except as to
these rogues, who were both (as wee say) theeves and merchants ; and that
yett they insist forsooth for a reward of their villany, whilst they very weell
deserve a different recompense. My Lord, I humbly add my intreaty to
Collonel Villars his many other merits from our nation, for your Lordships
interesting your self against such knaves, and for so worthy a person as the
collonel, in assisting to procure a quiet, [which], as they say, is in such cases
necessare for persones who fall under such injuries ; and to hear that your
Lordship shall doe so, will be a new addition to my many obligations of
beeing, my Lord,

Your Lordships most humble and most obedient servant,



280. The Same to [The Same].

Edinburgh, 31 May 1707.
My Lokd, — I had the honor of your line in company with the councels
comission. Your Lordship heares seldome from me, not that I have not some
privat matters to desyre, but that I judged the publick effairs so heavy on yow
that I would not add to the load till these grow lighter. Wee wish to hear
better news from Spaine and the Rhyne. Prince Louis of Baden is not only
apologized for, hut magnified for his keeping weell and long what his successor
hath so easily lost. I wish wee may hear of ane equivalent for our enimies in
Flanders ; but I suspect Yendosme will talk bigg, but stand on the defensive
there, whilst our weaker sides are therby exposed to them in other posts. I
ever thought our merchants adveuturd too much on the catch of tlie nick of
our conjunction. Yett, my Lord, yow cannot imagine how great advantage
the enimies of our vnion have gott over this old nation generally, by the
ordors for prohibition of import from Scotland not only of return d toliaco
(which none can condemn), and of French wine, but the prohibitory article of
all other customable goods. That hath raised a clamor, and threats of more,
especially in the loyall west country. I gett my share, tho I beleeve my zeal
for the vnion be not so much nottic'd elswhere in my favour as heer it is to
hurt me if they can. I wish those that are crownd with the laurels for that
victory would stand in these gaps of inconvenience. But yett I am no penitent
for what I did, nor will I trouble any with resentment of my treatment. And
enough of this. But, my Lord, I most still wdsh happy effects of our vnion
and its stability, and that nether keeping up the larva of a kingdome deceast
in its vseless officers may fright us, who, by distance, are as children on sight
of these ghosts ; nor by any harsh treatment of our traders, for if no merchan-
dise goe in but what truly belongs to Scotsmen, ne vault Vimne. And other



hidden traders, I beleeve, doe raise the greatest clamours heer. This is in-
trusion enough for a bystander. I hear these sent to oversee the matters of
excise dar not goe to the west till some troups scour the rout : " Weell kens
the mouse," etc. See what it is for a hobby to beginn lettering witli a stats-
man. And for fear of too much faulting, I break of, but not from beeing
lastingly and sincerly

Your Lordships most humble faithfull servant,


Mikle need have I that the equivalent be hasted downe. Amen. .

281. The Same to [The Same].

Eoystoun, 14 June 1707.
My Loud, — I did forwarn that I was resolved to trouble your Lordship,
when I judged some of the throng of your greater effaires were over : but
evn then to burden yow only with such as might be ranked amongst tlios
which herr majesty as granter, and your Lordship as procurer, doe, if not
ordinarly yet frequently, conferr on subjects who are not misdeservers. And
haveing the presumption to arrogat at least that innocence, and seeing that
almost evry exchecker day some change of holding from taxt ward to blensh
are past, I have heerwith transmited ane signatur of that nature for my litle
estate, which holds so ; and intreats and hopes that it may be sent whilst
our present exchecker continues, who are acquaint with these maters. Since
to writt more could give only addition to your trouble, I shal use no further
motive for procuring the favour but this one (which I think considerable),
that it is to be done for

Your Lordship's most humble faithfull servant,




282. The Same to [The Same].

26 June 1707.
My Lokd, — I know yow had some fashions addresses from the poor
daughter of the Bishop of Orkney, Shee is indeed as low as misery of
poverty can throw herr, and so, as it was not possible for me to deny herr so
earnest crying to have herr petition addrest to your Lordship, it is heerwith
inclosed ; and a poor creature's importunity will (I hope) procure me allow-
ance or excuse for the trouble given by, my Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient faithfull servant,


28.3. The Same to [The Same].

30 June 1707.
My Lord, — My particular respect and obligations to Colonel Villars
ingadged me to trouble your Lordship with his concern for once ; but his
beeing always so good a freend to Scotsmen, and his present misfortune arising
from unworthy persons of this nation, whom he had favourd too much
because they were Scots, oblidges me to adventure ev'n on ane indiscretion
in a reiterating of my thrusting in a second and earnest sollistation for your
Lordship's concerning yourself for him. I may add a second argument from
his kindnes shewn to the Lord Sinclair and other coall masters in their fugi-
tive servants. A thrid topick is, that his fyne children are jNIackenzies
bairns : and the last and least motive is as a cipher, Avhich, tho altogether
unsignificant in it self, yett addes above its value to preceeding figures, — the
cipher is, that what your Lordship pleases to doe for him will be ane honor
and favour to, my Lord,

Your Lordships most humble and obedient servant,



284. The Same to [The Same].

Ethie, 10th July 1707.

]\Iy Lord, — This is to acknowledge the honor by your letter, date June 2G,
and of the very great favour in your so much notticeing of my litle concerns.
Xor (under excuse) needed your Lordship make the least excuse for so few
returns, which w^as wdiat I did not expect, nor could with discretion. And,
on the other side, I did and doe exspect kindnes without ceremony, tho I
cannot give a good reason for my pretence, if it ly not in that impulse whicli
ever kindled ane inclination, with great zeall, tho to no effect, for serving your
Lordship and family, if I could, which in part may ly in Arskine, partly
in Mackenzies Ijlood.

]My Lord, when yow please, send my signatur. I beleeve I had not desyr'd
it, if I had not seen such goe in course for these last two years ; and least any
new law may alter that stream, I wish to have it, before a parliament of
Brittaine sitt. My Lord, as to what yow writt of peoples founding misunder-
standing on severall occurrents which cannot be helpt in the begining of con-
stitutions, is farr from noveltie. But rationall men most walk by rules,
especially the rules for publick good, and not by the litle polstarrs of mens
privat interests, and yett farr less by privat humors, which are very oft extra-
vagant. And therefor I pray that yow quite not your fondnes for the vnion,
for I am as much as ever perswaded that it was and is the clieeff politick
good of Brittain. I labourd (and with as much heat somtymes as discretion)
in it for 40 year, through good report and ill report. I was often scornd by
some who now glorie in it. I am farr from repenting it ; it hath in it the
true nature of good ; it is a good in its worst view. But no sublunaiy thing is
at first perfect. It is ane infant as yett, and needs a nurse. It was exposed,
as a Moses, in a ilotting baskett, recovered unexspectedly, and by a king's


daughter ; and now, more then that, I pray God shee may pitch on good
nurses. And I'll tell, under adventure, that I shall never think any to be
such, who, for any particular interest, will keep up a seam of division. Any
thing that will make us look as two, now that wee are one, may, ether on
purpose or by mistake, bring us againe to be divided.

The next thing I fear is, that for some litle politick wee may compliment
the Dutch (not in not hindering them to fish, for that I would not desyre)
with not setting our desygns for outshutting them in their owne bow, For,
allowing them to fish as they did, if wee but fish as wee may, then wee will
undersell them through all the earth ; and so worm our selfs in to what alone
(on examination) will be found to be [the] first and great base whereon their
riches, trade, and power are founded. This I did demonstrat to King Charles,
first on debate in his closet with Mr. Slingsby, anno 1662, and can doe so still.
Therefor, as the best politick wish to one whom I wish very weell, I wish
that the Earl of Marr may work with as great zeall and constancy for estab-
lishing both herrin and codd fishirie in Scotland by Scots hands and English
direction, and Brittish stocks, as I (your Lordship's servant) did for the vnion,
but with more speedy successe. And then I dare prophesy Europ, or any
potentat in it, may envy, but sliall not hinder us from the greatest and best
founded trade in Europe. I doe not think to live to see it — 75 year old is
too low for that — but whilst I live I will wish it, and indeavour it, as farr as
a wearied age can act. I am heer at Ethie, where I receav'd your Lordship's
letter, and, tho I be in full health, yett I think it is the last journey, out of a
chair, that I will make in my lyfe. But good will, good wishes, and sincer
indeavours for these 3 things, viz. : — 1?, no mark to remain of two divided
kingdomes in Brittain ; no faction in Scotland, nor groonds of faction from
places and divided power in Xorth Brittain — (these are two negatives.) Xow
one positive, viz., a vigorous fishery — to shew that wee have a better, that is.


a more mine-full foond in Scotland then the Indies can affoord ; for theirs will
never orow, ours doe evry year ; and meat never wants mercat, and so can
never want vent or vendition : and to fell two doggs with one stone at once,
sett np Eoom, and cause Carthage to fall, by fairly takeing of its base on
which it did rise, and yet without hindering them from the claim of their
greatest man and greatest lawier (Grotius), viz., mare liherum. For tho they
fish with us, they can never equall us, if English purses, Scots hands and pro-
visiones, and l^rittains strength joine cordially and prudently. I wish (I say)
to see this or I goe hence to where these concerns will be litle thought on by,
my Lord,

Your Lordships most obedient humble servant,


Bear with this long letter, for your Lordship will not gett many, and the
fewer, if yow doe not plunge into a Brittish fisherie.

285. The Same to The Same.

14 Agust 1707.
My Lord, — I own such and so frequent troubles are : nor have I other
expiation then confession without amending, and too ordinary repentance.
My Lord, it is for the Countess of Seafort, and for ane Erskines bairn ; and,
which [is] yett greater, it is to hasten (if this can) herr litle signatur, for
without it, shee is driven not to, but from a morsel of bread. She was in
great hopes by a letter a while agoe telling that it was past. Would to God
shee had it, and your Lordship no more troubled on that subject by
Your Lordships most humble obedient servant,



A 'postscript.

j\Iy Lord, j\Ir. Prophet, postmaster, is dead. Keiieth jVriveuzie, sonue
to the Earl of Seafort by the left hand, a very pretty fellow, and in the opinion
of many a man fitt to be a post master, as extraordinar skilfuU in horses and
horsmanship, [is] very desyrous to be recomended to your Lordsliip, and very
resolut to be a devoted servant to your Lordship. The salary is but 30/. ster-
ling per annum, and so the least in Scotland.

For the right honorable the Earle of Marr, principall secretar of state to the

286. The Same to [The Same].

[August Uth, 1707.]
My Lord, — Others prevail with me to writt too often to yow, wliich
trouble to your Lordship I would gladly reserve for acquainting yow with
what I judged fit for your knowledge (and that doth seldome occurr,) or
helpfull for my owne litle concerns, and that calls too oft. Yesterday in ex-
checker there was a debat twixt those concern d in the customes, and severall
merchants, on the merchant giving their oaths on embezilments and false
entries. Oaths (as is said) not beeing required in England, and in all things
our trade beeing on the samne regulations, it was argued that if our merchants
were putt to oaths, it was a hardship in trade, above what English were
lyable to. It was desyred by the merchants (after much pleading) that
their advocats might inform ; and so a day was appointed. My litle opinion
was, and is, that oaths is not a good medium of probation in that matter,
and used by few tradeing people ; and to use so different a probation heer
from what is used in England is choaking to the people. Yett it being a
iiudmm probandi approved and used by our law, and by statut allowed, I



doe not see how the councell or exchecker could refuse it to the customers,
if desyred ; and albeit the regulations as to trade be the samne, yet this would
be a regulation of judicaturs, forms of process, and media jJrobationum, which
is of a natur altogether different from regulation of trade. No doubt, to put
the merchants to their oaths is a faculty allowed by our law to farmers, col-
lectors, or manadgers, and therfor they may exact it. But beeing but a
faculty in favour of the soveraign and the servants, they may forbear to exact
it ; for it is of the nature of (qoi^rdbata a jure, but not of the ivqjcrata. And
if the Queen and treasurer please to dispense with it, it would please much
lieer ; for thes who were and continue enimies to the vnion, take all handles
to stirr up ill will to it,

]My Lord, I am wearied out with troubling herr Majesty with my miserable
litle concerns. I may, and cannot but say that I have been used like a cast
dogg, and particularly in that nnfortunat 1500/., and too too dear bought.
However, some whisper to me that it is not to be allowed with preference, as the
commissioners allowance for equippage ; it is on the like foot, and is not 100 to
the 1000. But my plea for a preference, at least with the first of salaries, is,
that it is for ane onerous cause, and that is gifted by her INTajesty on a locality,
and therfor should be liberal with the first, or els the locality put in my
possession, as the Duke of Ar[gyles] and some others localitys are, tho without
a direct onerous cause but meerly gratuitous ; and the Queen hath been
pleased to renew, or reiterat grant three tymes, tho all hitherto iineffectuall to
me. I am loath to goe up to croake, bot I owe it in London, and I most goe,
if not redrest now ; and if your Lordship find it not unfitt for your Lordship,
I wish this my humble sentiment were once yett told to herr Majesty. I did