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

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to sustain a lybel against the first principall lybell befor wee did take tlie
principal lybell in consideration, and heard whither the truth of it was proved
or not. The Lords made Gordon also enter the pannel, which makes men to
thinke that whoever is persued criminally wil, in example of this precedent,
draw all persuers in to the pannel with the criminals, and oblidge him to find
caution. Wee are next day of court to hear them on the principall cause.
This I think new, else it had not been sent yow.


293. The Same to [The Same].^

6 December 1707.
]\Iy Lord, — Tho I have so litle to say that its a sham[e] to trouble your
Lordship with writing, yett I am unwilling to be forgott by yow, tho I find T
am by many : and, or very long, wee will be forgott on this litle stage, wluch
now appears great, but to the considerers it is indeed but few degrees from
nothing, which is a comfort to ns who are made uneasy in it. I beleeve
your Lordship knows from many all that passes heer. And without much
information, it is easy to guess that many, yea those who are weel pleased
with changes and sinking of courts and offices, will yett exclaim against
what is, or will be done. Wee are alread[y] talking of futur elections, and its
probable the cast made of putting severall elections in some hands to the
prejudice of others, will bring foorth fruit, litle perhaps to the satisfaction
of those who put them in the capacity. And indeed many of these who wish
weell, and would doe no ill, are not fond of beeing elected, yea refractory ;
and such think that, after serving zealously enough for the vnion, yet seeing
novo-converties most cares'd, and good rewards for short service and litle for
older, and that these whom they assisted are sett on the ascending spocks
of the wheel, they will look on till they see how the motion pleases those
who placed them there. My Lord, ther is a case fallen out wherin the
Earle of Butes sonn, and perhaps my futur grandson may have a plea, tho
without breach of freendship ; and so each will doe for themselfs. If any gift
of the non entries be sought, I intreat to be heard ere it be so ; and, if I
may presume, I intreat yow to offer this short desyre to herr JMajesty that
shee may ordor at herr pleasure : for it is, tho no great matter in itself, yet

1 Original Letter in Mar Charter-chest.


as to these concernd, of great importance, beeing for Sir George M'^Kenzie
of Eosehaachs estate, I have taken the liberty to inclose with this a coppie
of Sir Georges nomination, "Wlio pleases to read it, should advert that,
generally in all taylies, and very carefully is it cautioned in this, that ^vhere
there are steps and degrees, the prior is to faile and be extinct or the suc-
ceeding cann come under consideration ; and therfore, if there be any thing
or condition or quality adjoined to any one degree or branch, these doe not
affect the subsequent, much less the antecedent, unless it [is] so expressly
provided. As in this nomination, the eldest sonne of the eldest daughter can
never come in to prejudge any second sonne of the second daughter, for the
"whole course of the taylie [is] in favour of second sonns, and since the eldest
sonne of the first daughter can never hinder the succession of the second
sonn of the second daughter, and vhen the second daughter shall have no
second sonne, then the eldest sonne of the eldest daughter comes in. But
then its strictly provided that it shall goe to the second sonne of that eldest
sonne. But at evry other senctence its expressely provided that the generall
ordor of the severall degrees be ahvayes strictly observed, so that the pos-
terior in any degree can never come in but on a totall failure of the prior
and preferable degree.

Xor does Sir George take any regard to actuall existence as to the suc-
cession in the heritage ; but, on the contrare, he pro\'ides that, tho the
second sonne of the second dauo-hter should be existent at Sir George's death,
and so might be put in possession as a nearest of kinn, yet if therafter the
eldest daughter should have a second sonne, then the second sonne who did
exist at the tyme of Sir George's death most presently denud in favours of
the fostnatus, tho it were severall years therafter. And in that case he pro-
vides that the second sonne of the second daughter, who might have been in
possession because the second sonne of the eldest daughter did not exist, yet


he provides that the possessor shall have and retain the fruits during the
yeares that he was in possession. But this allowance of the fruits pcrccpti
is provided to be retain'd in no other case. And to evidence that Sir George
did not meane any advantage to ane existent in prejudice of a prior degree
afterwards existing, the said mentiond provision of its reverting to a prior
degree existing therafter is as clear as words can make it, and so does also
the provision to the eldest daughters second sonne, and 3d, 4th, 5th, etc.
sonnes. And in case of failur of all second sonnes, then in the next
place its provided to the second sonne of the second daughter, and to the
3d, 4th, 5th, etc., of herr body. Yet some lawers put these imaginations
in the Earl of Butes head, tho his best advocat, viz., the Queen's Advocat,
laughs at it. However, my daughter-in-lawe herr beeing with child setts
a stopp to possession and all pretences, till that come to appear. But least
advantage may be taken by obtaining a gift of nonentries from herr Majesty,
as Sir William Bruce did in the action twixt the Chancier Eothes and the
Earl of Leven, which gift did put both to a vast expence — 3^ett the Lords
decieded against the chanclers gift, and put the existing heir in possession,
but on caution to refound all the fruits, — which made Sir George expressly
provide against the restoring of the fruits. My Lord, I confess this is ane
impertinence to take up so much of your tyme with a law lectur on my
sonnes effaires ; but he is of ane Erskine, and of a family which owes to
yow and yours all the service they can pay, else they will not be hawks
of the right nest, nor of the fixt inclinations of,

My Lord,
Your Lordships most obedient faithfull servant,


cK -yh S-r^jt

9 - ^Jr^


^oB~ a^^ 4^tiij ^^y frr^<







294. The Same to [The Same].^

13 December 1707.
My Loed,— I am of a company at Arthur Keeds, viz., Earl Northesk,
Lord Anster, Lord Grange, James Erskine and David, both of Dunn, Boysack
(in his prime as a Fyfe man), and your Lordships servant, writter heerof.
They are not all, nor any of them (for ought a poor mortal can discern), alto-
gether for the measures of the squadroni. For me, I am not resolved. But
it is as yow drink me. But this is my temper in a merry meeting — if yee
fill me full, I will be very stout, if not, proportionably. Your battalions
servant and freend, and for others as occasion offers to C.

Northesk bids me tell your Lordship that as closeing of this the whole
glass gunns are fyred at your hea[l]th.

295. The Same to [The Same].-

17 Januar 1708.
My Lord, — Haveing wearied my freends with fruitless complaints as to
my self, and therfor left that trade, I now come to act in another scene, and
to intreat for my freends, vaU que vale, as old Squire Meldrum did sing in the
dayes of yore. My Lord, I have a nephew, Mr. Colline Campbell, sonne to
the late Lord Arburcliill (who in the geuerall opinion is a very pretty young
fellow, and who spils good likly if he be not), and hatli tlie honor to be re-
lated to your Lordship. He hath strong inclination to be a sojour. There
is ane opportunity to doe him a good office and ty him to your Lordship's
service for ever, viz., if he can be preferd to be Captain Lewtenant to the

^ Original Letter in Mar Charter-cbest.
2 Original Letter in Mar Charter-chest.


Lord Polwart, a place now vacant. Amongst other better arguments, allow
at least a cipher to add to number, and sometymes (on the matter) to weight ;
that is the earnest sollicitation of, my Lord,

Your Lordships most obedient humble servant,

My Lord, I hear that my (no very invidious) office as justice generall is
talkt of as ambulatory. I'm sure that in law it is not, without a crime ; and
if the Claime of Eight be a hedge, it is fiirr benn in it.

296. David Finch, second Earl of Nottingilvm, to George first Earl of


London, February, 170-|.

My Lord, — I understand by my Lord Wems that I still live in your Lord-
ships memory, and have the honour of some share of your friendship. I hope
I shall not presume too much upon it, if I take the liberty to ask that as a
favour \vhich probably your own inclinations would lead you to ; which is,
that the Duke of Eoxburghe may have your assistance to be in the number
of peers to be returnd to the next parliament. I am so proud of his alliance,
and so pleasd with his generous resolutions of promoting the welfare of
Brittaine, that I think my selfe obligd to serve him, and very happy that in
this I shall serve my country too, if you can make it his duty to be here,
where I shall have the satisfaction of his company.

I believe you may have as many partyes in Scotland as we have here, and I
do not know their different views and interests. But methinks all good men
should agree in this — that those are fittest to serve their countrey who preferre
the publick interest of Brittaine before the private advantage of themselves
or any party. I am so assur'd of your Lordship's zeal for the happinesse of


these united nations, that you will take such measures as shall most promote
it ; and this gives you so iust a creditt with so many of your country that
your favour will be as valuable as it is obliging to those to whom you shew
it. And therefore, besides what I have already askt, I must also beg for my
selfe the continuance of your good opinion, and to be esteemd ever, with great

Your Lordship's most obedient humble servant,


iiarl 01 Cromarty.

297. [George first Earl of Cromartie to James Duke of Queensberry.]


9th March 1708.
I HAD the honor of your Graces letter this morning, wherin yow nottice
my former zeal for the fishing as a consequent of what I had for the Vnion.
My Lord, I owne both ; and the first as ane effect of the Vnion, if prose-
cuted ; which (if prosecuted by right methods) will prove to be the best
appropriated foond which Brittain can have, to establish a lasting trade
which depends on no other prince or state, and a trade that none can
take from us, and wee without unjustice or strugle can take from others.
But much of our successe in it will depend on this — that Brittain give all
the immunities to fisheries which Holland doe[s] give. Yett if this be a hard
paw at present, at least great incouradgment should be given to all salt-
makers for their makeing of salt upon salt. Of tliis I did writ to a salt-
master and ane admiral; and your Grace may beleeve it is of a nationall
import. Allow me to touch what is perhaps of higher concern. I came to
the advocat's lodgings on the 1st of March, knowing nothing nor hearing of
councell, wlier were letters directed to the advocat in some things relating to
the feared descent. Severall things were proposed for security against it ; as.


takeing security of Highlanders and Borderers against robberies, depreda-
tiones, and breack of peace by bands, mostUy consisting of 200/. sterling or
under it ; and that the forces should be drawn together ; and that the meeting
houses, especially in Edinburgh, should be shutt up. This had made me
think the matter was a jeast, but that I saw by the secretars letters and the
Queens proclamation, that there was more in it then service book or no
service book. I wanted not hopes of the enimies designs beeing of no great
danger, if they were to land in Scotland. Yett I feared greater evils, since
England and Holland were so alarumd by it, and therfor I humbly thought
that the securing of sevn or 8 would disappoint the descendants more
then a whole Synod. AVhat I said was as litle notticed as my self, and
(I'll sweare) few things can be less. So care and strict inquiry was appointed
for the meeting houses, and some matters of inferior rank were spoke to.
But as to invasion, this called to my mind what I hear ane honest gentl-
man with yow above said— that our councell served for some use against
episcopall clergy. I did writ my litle opinion of securing persons of more
danger then dominees, to a great man in court ; whither with nottice or not,
I know not. This day the Queen's and secretar's letter did advance my poor
advice ; severall things were said not worth repeating, and partly by me.
But the minits, which I doubt not the persones trusted will send, will
inform more as my letter should. I condiscended on 4 or 5 of my relations
to be secured, and I confess I think they were as dangerous as the three
Lothians. But I differd from some in the method of securing them. I would
have had it done by a surer method then a paper billet ; but the billet
way would render them more criminall, tho perhaps the design less efiectuall.
However, what is done, the minuts (no doubt sent) will inform. My lord, a
French descent is of high danger ; and to irritat people who have taken
alleadgance, and without some evident default, may irritat many and oblidge


none ; and so will the closeing up of the meeting houses, which are as thrang
as Edinburgh kirks. But I was for shutting up all who did not pray nonii-
natim for herr Majesty. But it was plainly told they were not the worst
curats, and that there was more danger from these who did take the oath to
Queen Ann, and did not take it to King William, then from any others.
However, if these named be effectually (tho civilly) secured [and] be taken,
there will be litle if any stirring in the Hig[h]lands. If privat or factious
pieks be the ruell of judgment, I should be in England, and will else wher.

I assure your Grace I am for the Vuion and in its compleatt capacity, and
against the persecuting, i.e., the designs that are contrar to its fundamental!
design of vniting the interests and hearts of all Brittains, as much as can be.
And I am against the keeping up of what will keep up clubb governments
and bones of contention heer. I shall add to this long letter, that the matter
of the accounts of Excheker, with its tacksmen and the conveyance of that
anecdodot may be the subject of another letter, if I did know your Graces
generall sentiments, or the probability of just effects by the inquiry. Adieu.
Excuse so short a close so unsuitable to your Grace's character, tho perhaps
fitt for one who was a true freend and servant to your family and yow.

I was goeing up to London to pass in quiet some of my melancholy
houres ; but the publick circumstances doe not now permitt it, nor my pre-
sent ones weell allow it.

298. [The Same] to James first Duke of Montrose.

Edinburgh, 24 March 1708, 6 a' clock.

May it please your Grace to accept my service and best wishes : the

matter of fact yow have from better hands (and deservedly) more trusted

then mine. This whole effaire of the invasion is a mistery to me. It seems

probable that the French King hath devoted this cargo to a diversion, to


advance his designe on Spaine. Its weell (at least as to us) that Sir George
Bing did hast to force the invasion from landing at Aberlady ; for, had the)', I
had left Edinburgh, and so had others of more import. For what would they
not have done untill force had come from England ? Wee have no account
of wher Eourbin is. If he land on the east sea and farr north, the farther
the better : England's forces will stopp or ruin them or they can come farr
south. For, in my litle opinion, all benortli Tay cannot furnish them 600
horse, but they may 10,000 foot, at least — too hard for us, till south Brittaine
help us. So our hopes are owed to the vnion, whoever gett the thanks for it.
But, no doubt, the King of France had two strings on his bow : if Forth faile,
goe north or west wdiere yow can best make a diversion, and so yow make a
diversion, burn your ships, loss your 5000. But ships and more men, at least
as many as will make your retreat, shall meet yow on the west sea to give
yow retreat, and no expense nor travel lost. For all the English sea forces
are drawn to the north east coast of Old Scotland, which will [have] a long
march ere they reach Aire, or Cumberland, or Irland. My Lord, of this I did,
by the second sight, forewarn the D[uke] of Marlburrow, above 14 dayes ago ;
but I know not if my letter came to his hand. If my notions be groondless,
if the King of France hath sent to come down again e, none shall be glader
then your Graces most humble servant. I had trucled up to\vards Tunbridge,
had not this grand effair occurr'd, tho God knows of litle use, heer or there.

But out stept ane old knight,

Call'd Lockart of the Lie ;
And he did swar —

A step he would not flee.

I have no tyme to read this over.
To his Grace the Duke of Montrose.


299. John Earl of Mar to [George first Earl of Croivlartie].

Whitehall, 20th April 1708.
My Lord, — I beg leave by this to acquaint your Lordship that the parlia-
ment is dissolved, and that the writts for a new parliament are speedily to be
issued, so that there will be a new election of the peers. There are severall
of us who are your Lordships friends necessarly detaind here longer than
we expected, but we are resolved to be in Scotland as soon as possibly we
can ; and, therefore, it will be a verry great favor to us all, if yow would
keep your selfe intirely free of all engadgements for your vote, untill we have
the good fortune to meet att Edinburgh, where we may concert our lists to
all our satisfactions. I am, with all respect, my Lord,

Your Lordships most obedient and most humble servant,


300. [George first Earl of Cromartie to James second Duke of
QuEENSBERRY, Lord High Treasurer.]

8 June 1708.
]\1y Lord, — Patience and silence is some tymes a just debt, but by being
perpetuall they may come to be nothing. This moves me yet once to trouble
your Lordship with a complaint. And since I doe tliis more for redress than
for revenge against those who are the apparent instruments in my wrong, I
shall name none — no, not those whose early and deep malice did with great
industry prevent my being called to attend the Queen, or wait on your Lord-
ship in the first British parliament ; grudging me the honour to trade a stage
in whose erection I did at least work with as great diligence and zeal as they


did, or could doe : which hade been far above their power to have hindered,
if I hade not first, by assisting their impotence, disobleidged my friends, who
were unhappily no friends in tyme to the union, and then obleidged their
friends to be my adversars. But, if they have attained their aim and rewards,
I have mine in the union. My Lord, I shall not pretend to merit, but would
think my self very unhappy if, either by my own demerit or my enemies
undeserved malice, I should fall utterly in oblivion with my gracious Queen, or
under any misconstruction with your Lordship. I am not altogether sunk to
that dispair, but cannot help some fears of my being in some worse state than
I wish, and (excuse the vanity) than I deserve. I gather it from this, that of
what her Majesty was graciously pleased to order for me as her secretar,
whilst I was in that office, and by reiterated commands since, I have not as
yet received one farthing thereof to this day. And her Majesty having
honoured me with my present post in her service, since her royall goodness
was such that, I presume, it frighted my enemies to remove me from her ser-
vice, yet they have made me as uneasy as they could : for, of all my sallaries
since I was justice generall till the commensing of the union, they offered
me only 300/., treating me thus both with injury and contempt, telling me
in scorn that the equivalent would repair all my loss. And no doubt it would
readily have pay'd me my hundreds, if Golia's hade not swallowed so many
thousands. My Lord, I will hope that your former tho undeserved kindness
will excuse my passion ; for I did suppress it when I might have made some
noise, but perhaps with some publick inconvenience, at which rate I would
not buy my redress, much less my revenge. I fear I have done too much
when I have touched on such a subject to the Queen, and enlarged so much
upon it to your Lordship. I cannot but be glade that these former dispensers
of the Queen's money are now no more so ; and I hope that her Majesty wdll
look to my reimbursement (for I can swear it was all expended in her service,



and is a debt on my little fortune) ; and I shall be glade to find that the re-
maining equivalent can doe it, or the money which former tacksmen and
managers have retained (as I am informed) contrare to their commissions and
to the lawe, which many wish were inquired after, but by inquisitors who wei-e
not their patrons, nor by those who are angry at them, whereby I exclude my
self, and would be a complainer rather than a judge. My Lord, when my
payment as justice generall commences on the British treasury, I know not ;
and that when others are pay'd and I am not, I iraput it to my self, who did
not put your Lordship in mind of it. It is 600/. per annum. I was never
ane adviser, as I presume your Lordship may remember, for too large sallarys
to Scots ministers ; these having, during my long memory, been the great
motives, if not the great causes, of our factions, and the courts disquiet. But,
at the same tyme, allow me to represent to your Lordship that the justice
generall is not only a post of the first rank ever since we was a nation, but
also of great trust and importance, he being the first judge in that court which
is intrusted to the concerns of the crown, of the government, and of the lives
and fortunes of the subjects, whilst the session is only intrusted with common
pleas and privat affaires. He cannot goe oft nor far from Edinburgh, since
that court sits weekly for 6 months in the year, and important emergents doe
oft occur to that office. And now twice in the year it is his duty to go on
circuit, a method which I alwayes approved and advised, and the ommis-
sion whereof was of ease to the judges, but of disadvantage to Iving and
country. And the crown should not grudge the charge, since this court is
most properly the crown's court. iNIy Lord, pardon me to represent that, if
sallaries be augmented, to wish that a proportionable consideration may be
hade of this office for its honour, and that [tlie] officer in it may not lose,
whilst others which have not half his trust, nor half his traivell, are great
gainers ; tho the justice generalls seldom residence at court was a cause that,


when others were advanced in sallaries, he did stand still. My Lord, this is
selfish, but it is also for the station and the shame of ane under value. My
age can not allow me to enjoy it long; and my stock, which was never
eucreassed by the publick, cannot now be much so. I am like these imperti-
nent visiters who, being seldom admitted, doe revenge themselves by staying
too long. My Lord, what I have represented, I hope you will lay it before
her Majesty, as far as you think proper : and I beg your pardon for all the
indiscretions of this tedious letter, for I am

Your Lordship's most obedient and most humble servant.
Indorsed : '"' Letter to the Lord Treasurer."

301. [James second Duke of Queensberry to George first Earl of
Cromaetie.] Copy.

Whitehall, August 25th, 1708.
jNIy dear Lord, — I'm now a long time and severalls in your debt. You
know I'm pritty leasie at writeing ; but beside, I never like to write but
when I can tell some thing worth the wheile, which I cou'd not doe since I
cam here till now. The doeing of things depends upon others who have a
vast dale to doe, and that both putts our affairs out of their head and keeps