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the sovereignty, the Earl of Morton took the coronation oath for
the infant King, at his inauguration, on July 29th, \5Q7-

In this new turn of affairs the Earl of Morton's share was so
considerable, that as soon as the Earl of Murray had accepted the
regency, the Earl of Morton was declared Chancellor, upon the
removal of the Earl of Huntley, who adhered to the Queen, and
made heritable lord high admiral of Scotland, and sheriff-principal
of Edinburghshire, 1 He held the chancellors place till November
24th, ]572 ; he was by the unanimous choice of the King's party,
elected regent, a month after the death of his predecessor in office,
the Earl of Mar,

" I shall not," continues Craufurd, " here enter upon the de-
tail of the Earl of Morton's administration during his regency ;
that would not consist with the brevity of this work 5 and gene-
rally his proceedings are complained of on one side, or com-
mended on the other, as opinions and party lead men to : I shall
only take notice, that the first motion he made to resign the go-
vernment, in 1378, was accepted in a' general convention of
the nobility, wherein it was agreed to, that the young King

q Charta penes Comitem cle Morton, ad annum 1570.


should take upon him the administration, when he was not fiill
thirteen years of age; and yet the new court kept fair with the
Earl, for they procured a parliament to be called, wherein the late
regent obtained a remi-sion and exoneration during his regency,
in the most ample manner he himself could devise ; and after
that he played his game so well, that he was in a short time again
made president of the council, and was in great credit with his
Majesty; "■ but that being what was not at all acceptable to the
other party, who had the young King in their hands, and who
were willing to be rid of the Earl of Morton at any rate ; for that
end Sir John Maitland and Sir Robert Melvil, his professed ene-
mies, brought about his ruin, by pushing on captain James
Stewart, the Lord Ochiltree's son, to accuse him as accessory to
the murder of the King's father, which the captain did before the
council, where the Earl him«;elf was present, on December 31st,
1580; whereupon lie was committed prisoner to the castle of
Edinburgh, and was thence sent under a strong guard to Dun-
barton ; from whence he was, on the 1 st of June thereafter,
brought to his trial at Edinburgh, and being found guilty by his
peers, of art and part in the murder of the King's father, in so far
as he had concealed and not revealed it when the Earl of Both-
well proposed it to him ; he was condemned to be banged, drawn
and quartered, which the King was pleased to mitigate so far, that
instead of being hanged, he had the favour to be beheaded, which
was accordingly executed on him at the Cross of Edinburgh, on
June 2d, 1581."

The following is perhaps a more impartial account of this
great nobleman.

He makes a memorable figure in the annals of Scotland. He
sal out in favour of the reformation, but fluctuated in a state of
irresolution, and did not act heartily in the common cause. In
1566, " being inferior to no man in that intriguing age, in all the
arts of insinuation and address, he wrought upon Darnley's rulino-
passion, ambition," and instigated him to the murder of Rizio.
The Earl was then lord chancellor, and he " undertook to direct
an enterprize, carried on in defiance of all the laws of which he
was bound to be the guardian." " Tne Queen, who scarce had
the liberty of choice left, was persuaded to admit Morton and
Ruthven into her presence, and to grant them promise of pardon,
in whatever terms they should deem necessary for their own se-

r Melvil's Memoirs.


curity." But " it soon appeared from the Queen's conduct, that
nothing more was intended by this promise than to amuse them,
and to gain time." No man so remarkable for wisdom, and even
for cunning, as the Earl of Morton, ever engaged in a more un-
fortunate enterprize. Deserted basely by the King, who now de-
nied his knowledge of the conspiracy by public proclamations ;
and abandoned ungenerously by Murray and his party, he was
obliged to fly from his native country, to resign the highest office,
and to part from one of the most opulent fortunes in the king-
dom." The Earl, however, and all the other conspirators, soon
obtained their pardon, and leave to return to Scotland. The next
year he had an opportunity of seizing the casket, which is deemed
to contain the evidence of Mary's guilt. The regent Murray
having been murdered in 1570, " Morton, the most vigilant and
able leader on the King's side, solicited Elizabeth to interpose
without delay for the safety of a party so devoted to her interest,
and which stood in such need of her assistance." " Morton,"
continues Robertson, " the ablest, the most ambitious, and the
most powerful man of the King's party, held a particular course
in the state of factions j and moving only as he was prompted by
the court of England, thwarted every measure that tended towards
a reconcilement of the factions ; and as he served Elizabeth with
much fidelity, he derived both power and credit from her avowed
protection." In 1572, on the death of Lennox, no competitor for
the regency ^' appeared against Morton. The Queen of Eng-
land powerfully supported his claim ; and, notwithstanding the
fears of the people, and the jealousy of the nobles, he was elected
regent; the fourth, who in the space of five years had held that
dangerous office." At this time his surrender of the Earl of Nor-
thumberland, to whose friendship he had been much indebted,
was deemed an ungrateful and mercenary action. He now la-
boured to restore peace between the contending parties. He set
himself to redress the relics of those evils, which always accom-
pany civil war ; and, by his industry and vigour, order and secu-
rity were re-established in the kingdom. But he lost the repu-
tation due to this important service, by the avarice he discovered
in performing it ; and his own exactions became more pernicious
to the nation, than all the irregularities which he had committed.
He soon rendered himself odious to the great nobles. A plot was
now formed against him : he discovered it, and resigned the re-
gency, in 1578. " Deserted by his own party, and unable to
struggle with the faction, which governed absolutely at court, he


retired to one of his seats, and seemed to enjoy the tranquillity,
and to be occupied only in the amusements, of a country life.
His mind, however, was deeply disquieted with all the uneasy re-
flections, which accompany disappointed ambition ; and intent on
schemes for recovering his former grandeur. Even in this retreat,
which the people call the Lions Den, his wealth and abilities
rendered him formidable. And the new counsellors were so
imprudent as to rouse him by the precipitancy with which they
hastened to strip him of all remains of power." He continued
to watch tile motions of his enemies, and soon found a proper
juncture for setting to work the instruments which he had been
preparing for the resumption of his former authority. By the in-
tercession of Queen Elizabeth, he was reconciled to his adver-
saries. The King's new favourites soon attempted to undermine
him; and as James had been bred up with an aversion for this
nobleman, who endeavoured rather to maintain the authority of a
tutor, than to act with the obsequiousness of a minister, they
found it no difficult matter to accomplish their design. Morton
endeavoured to counteract them ; but in vain. Even Queen Eli-
zabeth interposed without effect. He was accused of being acces-
sary to the murder of Darnleyj and thrown into prison. " The
Earl of Angus, who imputed these violent proceedings not to
hatred against Morton alone, but to the ancient enmity between
the houses of Stewart and Douglas, and who believed that a con-
spiracy was now formed for the destruction of the whole name,
was ready to take arms in order to rescue his kinsman. But
Morton absolutely forbade any such atlempt, and declared that
he would rather sutfer ten thousand deaths, than bring an impu-
tation on his own character, by seeming to decline a trial." All
those suspected of favouring him were now turned out of office.
He was tried and condemned, after a violent, irregular, and op-
pressive trial. The King appointed that he should suffer death
next day, by being beheaded. " During that awful interval,
Morton possessed the utmost composure of mind. He supped
cheerfully, slept a -part of the night in his usual manner, and era-
ployed the rest of his time in religious conferences, and in acts of
devotion with some ministers of the city. The clergyman who
attended him, dealt freely with his conscience, and pressed his
crimes home upon him. What he confessed with regard to the
crime for which he suffered, is remarkable, and supplies in some
measure the imperfection of our records. He acknowledged that
on bis return from England, after the death of Rizio, Bothwell


had Informed him of the conspiracy against the King, which the
Queen_, as he told him, knew of, and approved ; that he solicited
him to concur in the execution of it, which at that time he ab-
solutely declined J that soon after, Bothwell himself, and Archi-
bald Douglas, in his name, renewing their solicitation to the same
purpose, he had required a warrant under the Queen's hand, au-
thorizing the attempt, and as that had never been produced, he
had refused to be any farther concerned in the matter. " But,"
continued he, "■ as I neither consented to this treasonable act,
nor assisted in the committing of it, so it was impossible for me
to reveal or prevent it. To whom could I make the discovery ? .
The Queen was the author of the enterprize. Darnley was such
a changeling, that no secret could safely be communicated to .
him. Huntley and Bothwell, who bore the chief sway in the
kingdom, were themselves the perpetrators of the crime." These
circumstances, it must be confessed, go some length towards ex-
tenuating Morton's guilt j and, though his apology for the favour he
had shewn to Archibald Douglas, whom he knew to be one of the
conspirators, be far less satisfactory, no uneasy reflections seem to
have disquieted his own mind on that account. When his keepers
told him that the guards were attending, and all things in I'cadi-
ness ; " I praise my God," said he, " I am ready likewise." Arran
commanded these guards, and even in these moments, when the
most implacable hatred is apt to relent, the malice of his ene-
mies could not forbear this insult. On the scaffold his behaviour
was calm ; his countenance and voice unaltered ; and, after some
time spent in devotion, he suffered death with the intrepidity
which became the name of Douglas. His head was placed on
the public jail of Edinburgh ; and his body, after lying till sunset
on the scaffold, covered with a beggarly cloak, was carried by
common porters to the usual burial place of criminals. None of
his friends durst accompany it to the grave, or discover their gra-
titude and respect by any symptoms of sorrow." ^

Upon the death and forfeiture of the regent, the title of Earl
of Morton was bestowed upon the Lord Maxivetl; but his Ma-
jesty having recalled and revoked that deed, and being further
willing and desirous, that all animosities and grounds of conten-
tion among the nobility might be removed, for that end a parlia-
ment was called in 1585, wherein his Majesty passed an act of
oblivion, whereby every body who had been forfeited during the

i Robertson,


troubles in the King's minority was indemnified, except such as
had been accessary to his father's murder : and though the Earl
of Morton had been convicted of that crime, and suffered for it,
yet his Majesty considering, " Eona, fidelia, gratuita Servitia
Nobis facta per quondam Comitem de Morton, in Gubernatione
et Adniinistratione Nostri Regni j nee non alia debita et egregia
Officia Nobis in Nostra Mineritate per ipsum praestita et impensa;
considt^ra.ntes etiam quod dictus quondam Comes de Morton,
nullatenus conscius fuit Artis et Partis dicti Criminis, neque ejus-
dem Facinoris et Credis Perpetrationi uUatenus consensit, sed tan-
tummodo predictam Caedem praecognovit, et celavit-j quam ob
causam praefatus Comes de Morton in Corpore satis superque luit
juxta dictatn Sententiam Forisfacturae contra eum latam et pro-
mulgatam, nnde Legibus et Nostro Honori abunde ex hac Parte
satisfactum fuit.' Nos igitur, &c."

For these and other reasons, his Majesty was pleased by letters
under his great seal, in pursuance of the act of parliament to re-
habilitate the Earl of Morton, in the most ample manner, thereby
enabling his heirs to succeed to his lands and honours; by virtue

Archieald, Earl of Angus, the Earl's nephew, did succeed
as heir of entail to the Earldom oj Morton, and which he accord-
ingly enjoyed till his death, which happened in 1588.

The estate and title oi Earl of Morton, then came to William
Douglas, of Lochleven, " as the next heir of entail.'' This Earl so
succeeding, married Agnes, daughter of George Earl of Rothes j
by whom he had

Robert, his son and heir apparent, who perished going over

t Charta penes Comitem de Morton, data 29 January, 158c;.
u Sir Henry Douglas, of Lugton and Lochleven, third son of Sir John
Douglas, by Agnes Monfode, married Margery, daughter of Sir Walter Stewart,
ofRailston, and had issue Sir Wil li am Douglas, of Lochleven, who by
Elizabeth Lindsay, daughter of David Earl of Crawfurd, was father of Sir
Henry Douglas, of Lochleven, 14+6, who by Elizabeth, daughter of Robert
Lord Erskine, had issue Sir Robert Douglas, of Lochleven, who fell at the
battle of Floddon, 15 13, leaving by Elizabeth Boswell, Sir Robe rt, of Loch-
leven, who dying before 1540, had by Margaret Balfour, Thomas Douglas,
father, by r.lizabcth Boyd, of Sir Robert Douglas, of Lochleven, who was
slain at the battle of Pinkie, 1547, and was father, by Lady Margaret Erskine,
daughter of John Earl of Marr, of Sir Wil li \m Douglas, of Lochleven, who
thus succeeded to the Earldom of Mortoriy 1588, in virtue of the last limitation
in the entail made by James, third Earl, in 1 567.

" Charta penes Comitem de Morton, ad annum 1589.


to the low countries in 1583, ^ leaving issue by Jane, his wife,
daughter of John Lord Glames, ^ a son, William, seventh Earl^
who succeeded his grandfather.

The Earl's second son was James, comraendator of Melross,
the third Sir Archibald Douglas of Kirkness, the fourth Sir George
Douglas of Killour j likewise five daughters.

Christian, married to Laurence, master of Oliphant, and there-
after to Alexander, first Earl of Hume.

Mary, to Sir Walter Ogilvy, of Findlater, first Lord Desk-

Euphame, to Sir Thomas Lyon, of Aldbar, ^ lord high trea-
surer of Scotland, in the reign of King James VI.

Agnes, to Archibald Earl of Argyle,

Elizabeth, to Francis Earl of Errol.

This Earl dying on September 27th, 1 606','^ was succeeded


William, his grandson and heir, seventh Earl, who being a
nobleman of great parts and reputation, was by King Charles I.
called to his council, and thereafter preferred to be Lord High
Treasurer, anno l630, upon the surrender of the Earl of Mar j^
and he continued treasurer till, 1(535, he was removed, and the
white staff given, to the Earl of Traquair; in recompence of which
he was constituted captain of his Majesty's guard, and installed
a Knight of the Garter.

He married Agnes, daughter of George Earl Marischal, and
dying October 7th, 1D48, '^ left issue

First, Robert, his successor.

Second, Sir James Douglas, thereafter Earl of Morton.

Third, John, who was killed in the King's service at Carbers-
dale, in 1650. ^ . .

Fourth, George Douglas, Esq,

Likewise five daughters.

Anne, married to George Earl of Kinoule,

Margaret^ to Archibald Marquis of Argyle.

y Hume's Hist, of Douglas. z Charta in Rotulis Jacobi VI.

a Ibid, ad annum 1589-
b Hist. EcclesisE Scoticanae, Authore Arch. Symson, Pastore Dalkiethensi,
MS. in Bibliotheca Academia; Glasguensis.

c Charta in Rotulis Caroli I. data 13 April 1630.
<l Memoirs of WillL.n Earl of Morton, the Treasurer, penes me.
e Memoirs of the family of Morton,


Mary, to Charles Earl of Dunfermling,
Jane, to James Earl of Hume.

Isabel, to Robert, first Earl of Roxburgh ; and again to James
Marquis of Montrose.

Which Robert, eighth Earl, married Elizabeth, daughter of
Sir Edward Villiers, sister to the Lord Viscount Grandison, and
niece to the great Duke of Buckingham, and dying anno 1649,
left issue, William, his successor.
Second, Robert, died s. p. 166I.

And two daughters ; Anne, married to William Earl Maris-
chal ; and Mary, to Sir Donald Macdonald, of Slate, Bart.

Which William, ninth Earl, married Grisel, daughter of
John, first Earl of Middleton, ^ and had a son Charles Lord Dal-
keith ; but dying without surviving issue, 168I, his estate and
honour devolved on

Sir James Douglas, his uncle, tenth Earl, who dying August
2oth, ]6S6, s left issue by Anne, his wife, daughter and heir of
Sir James Hay, of Smithfield, four sons.

First, James, his successor, eleventh Earl, who was one of the
lords of the privy-council in the reign of Queen Anne, and one of
the commissioners for the late treaty of union, which commenced
in 1707. He died a bachelor, December 10th, 1715.

Second, Robert, the twelfth Earl, a peer of good parts, of
great integrity, and well affected to the crown and protestant in-
terest, as his predecessors were : died unmarried 1730.

Third, Geokge, thirteenth Earl, a member of parliament from
the union till he succeeded to the Earldom.

When a younger brother, he betook himself to a military life,
and served in the army with great reputation, and was raised to
the rank of colonel.

He married, first, Muirhead, daughter of Muirhead,

of Linhouse in the county of Midlothian, by whom he had a son,
who died in his infancy.

He married, secondly, Frances, dangiiter of William Adderley,
of Halstow in Kent, Esq. by whom he had issue.
First, James, his successor.
Second, William, who died young.

Third, Robert, who went into the army young, and was soon
promoted to be a captain of foot. He was elected M. P. for Ork-

f Charta in Rotulls Caroli 11.
; Memoirs of the Earls of Morton,


ney, 1730, and served as a volunteer in the imperial army, 1735.
He was afterwards raised to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and
was killed at the battle of Fontenoy, regretted by all who knew
him, in 1745. He left a natural son, James Douglas.

The Earl dying in January, 1738, was succeeded by his eldest

James, fourteenth Earl, who was made a Knight of the
Thistle 1738 ; elected one of the sixteen peers from 1739 till his
death ; and in 1760, was appointed lord register for Scotland.

His Lordship married, tirst, Agatha, daughter of Mr. Halli-
burton, of Pictur, and by her had.

First, Charles, died young.

Second, Sholto Charles, the fifteenth Earl,

Third, James ; fourth, George ; fifth, Robert, all died young.

Sixth, Frances.

Seventh, Mary, who married, in April 177^, Charles Gordon,
fourth Earl of Aboyne, and has issue.

He married secondly, July 31st, 1755, Bridget, daughter of
Sir John Heathcote, Bart, of Normanton in Rutlandshire, and had
issue by her (who died March 3d, 1805.)

Eighth, John, born July 1st, 1756, married the Hon. Frances
Lascelles, eldest daughter of Edward, Lord Harewood, and has
issue; of which his eldest daughter married, April 21st, 1804,
the Hon. Colonel William Stuart, second son of John, late Earl
of Galloway, Knight of the Thistle.

Ninth, Bridget, born April 28th, 1 758, married, August 4th,
1777, the Hon. William Henry Bouverie, brother of Jacob Pley-
dell. Earl of Radnor, and has issue.

The Earl deceasing October 12th, 1768, was succeeded by
his son,

Sholto Charles, the fifteenth Earl, who married Catherine,
daughter of John Hamilton, Esq. by whom he had issue one son,


And deceasing September 27th, 1774, was succeeded by his
only son,

George, the sixteenth Ear/, who -was, August 11th, 179I,
created a British Peer by the title of Baron Douglas of Loch-


His Lordship was born I'/SQ.

Titles, George £)ouglas. Earl of Morton, and Lord Douglas
of Lochleven.


Creations, Earl of Morton, March 14tb, 1457, and Lord
Douglas of Lochleven.

Arms. Quarterly, first and fourth, argent, a man's heart, gules,
crowned with an imperial crown, or 5 on a chief, azure, three
mullets of the first ; second and third, argent, three piles, gules,
and in chief, two stars of the first.

Crest. A sanglier proper, sticking in the cleft of an oak tree,
with a lock holding the clefts of the tree together.

Supporters. Two savages wreathed about the head and middle
with lanrel, holding a club downward in the dexter hand.

Motto. Lock Sicker.

Chief Seat. Aberdour, Fifeshlre.




This is probably a local name derived from a parish in the county
of Sufiblk. =>

The Rev. Thomas Thurlow, rector ofAshfield in Suffolk,'
left issue by Elizabeth Smith, ofAshfield aforesaid^ three sons.

First, Edward, ^r^^ peer.

Second, Thomas Thurlow, D. D. late Bishop of Durham,
who in 1/79 was appointed Dean of Rochester; from which he
was promoted to the Bishopric of Lincoln, 17- • > and thence
translated in 1787 to the See of Durham. He died May 27th,
I79lj having married Anne, daughter of William Beer, of Lym-
ington, Hants. By her, who died August 17th, 1791j he left
issue, first, Edward, present peer ; second, Thomas, born Sep-
tember 19th, 1787; third, Amelia; fourth, Elizabeth 3 fifth,
Anne, who married, April 12th, 1804, Charles Godfrey, Esq. of
the royal artillery.

Third, John Thurlow, alderman and merchant of Norwich,

•who died March 11th, 1782, having married Josephs, daughter

of John Morse. By her, who died December 10th, 1786, he left

issue a son, the Rev. Edward-South Thurlow, prebendary of

Norwich, and rector of Houghton-le-Spring, com. Durham ; and
also a daughter.

Edward Thurlow, eldest son, first Lord Thurlow, was

born about 1732, and having been educated first at Canterbury

school, and afterwards at Caius college, Cambridge, devoted him-

a The present family does not appear to clainri any alliance with Thurloe,
the secretary of state in the time of Cromwell, who bore different arms.
There is a parish and lordship of Thurlow in this county, long the seat of the
Soame family.


self to the profession of the law, was called to the bar, attained the
rank of King's counsel in November, 1761 ; was appointed So-
licitor General in March, 1/70 j and Attokney General
on June 23d, 177 1. He was returned M. P. for Tamworth in
Staffordshire in 1768, and I774.

On June 3d, 17/8, he was appointed to succeed Lord Apsley,
as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain ; and the same day
was raised to the Peerage by the title of Lord Thurlow of
AsHFiELD in Suffolk. He resigned this high office in April,
1/83, when the seals were put into commission ; and was re-ap-
pointed, when Mr. Pitt was nominated prime minister in De-
cember following. He again resigned them in June, 1 792 j and
on the 12th of that month was created Lord Thurlow of
Thurlow in Suffolk, with a collateral remainder of this honour
to the issue male of his late two brothers, the Bishop of Durham,
and John Thurlow of Norwich.

When a commoner, his Lordship was an able coadjutor of
Lord North in parliament ; and sat on the woolsack during the
whole time he held the seals with great dignity. And even after
his retirement, till a short .period before his death, took an active
part, and had great weight in the house of lords.

His Lordship died at an advanced age, September 12th, I8O6,
without issue male. ^

The following character is given of him in the Biographical

" He was a man, of whose talents opinions have been various.
His faculties were strong and direct ; and the results of his mind
decisive. His nervous manner, and imperious temper, gave an
artificial strength to what he delivered. Whatever he conceived
right, he had no timidity or hesitation in enforcing. A manly
tone of sentiment, and a boldness which was admired while it
was dreaded, gave him almost irresistible weight when clothed
with authority. These qualities, added to a powerful natural

Online LibraryArthur CollinsCollins's peerage of England; genealogical, biographical, and historical → online text (page 26 of 56)