Constance Charlotte Elisa Lennox Russell.

The rose goddess and other sketches of mystery & romance online

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it, and ordered the coachman to drive after her coach and stop
in Great Queen Street. When she (Miss Wharton) was put
into the coach (as I'm a dying man and now receive the Sacrament)
I could perceive no discomposure in her at all. . . . She began
to talk of My Lord Argyle and told us that she had seen some
of his children at Ham, and asked him (Captain Campbell) if
he were the second brother. Upon some discourse she gave
him her hand that she would marry him. This good humour
continued still with her, so that when the Parson desired her to
say the words after him, she spoke with so audible a voice that
the people in the room heard her louder than the Minister.
After the ceremony it was observed that her wedding-ring was
too big ; her husband told her that it could be changed : she
said, ' No, it is not lucky to change a wedding-ring.' At
supper there was nothing to be observed but an equal satisfac-
tion between both. The next day, about ten of the clock,
Mr. Montgomery asked her if she would go to Mr. Pontaes to
dinner ; she said, ' With all my heart,' where we went and stayed
till four in the afternoon. Then we went to our lodgings and
played at cards till half-an-hour after nine. Then she went to
bed with all the seeming pleasantness imaginable.

"This is the Truth and no more, as I am a dying man.
Neither truly was it ever my intention or design to be a witness
of anything that would look like a Force ; neither indeed was


A Strange Miscarriage of Justice

there any occasion for it, she being so very frank and free of
herself to the marriage."

She wrote likewise to her aunt freely a letter desiring "She
might not be troubled for her, for she was very well with her
husband Captain Campbell, &c."

During his imprisonment after condemnation Sir John sent
for several eminent divines " to assist him to make sure his
peace for an eternal consolation ; " and we are told " he was often
in meditations and prayers expressing his own vileness and un-
worthiness for the sins he had committed against God through the
frailty of youth and the corruption of nature, earnestly begging
that he might be thoroughly washed and cleansed in the blood
of Jesus Christ, and so he continued to wean himself from
worldly things and fix his thoughts upon everlasting joys and
have his eyes upon the place whither he hoped he was hastening."
When the day arrived he was put into a mourning coach followed
by a hearse, attended by two divines, and was so far from fear
of death that he said should a reprieve come it would do him
an injury rather than a kindness.

Having come out of the coach and standing in a cart, he
made a very long speech to the people, and then gave them a
religious exhortation.

A Bill was brought into the House of Commons within

three weeks of the abduction to render the marriage of Miss

Wharton void, and this, although the Earl of Argyll petitioned

against it, speedily passed both Houses. Miss Wharton married

Colonel Robert Bierley, of Midridge Grange, Goldworthy,

Yorks, who had a regiment of horse in King William's service.

No doubt Madam Bierley had always intended this marriage

should take place, and therefore was very irate at her niece

marrying some one else.


A Strange Miscarriage of Justice

The real offender, Captain James Campbell, not only escaped
all punishment but lived prosperously ever after. Nine years
later he was elected member for Renfrew, which he represented
in Parliament till 1702, and from 1708 till 17 10 he sat for the
Ayr Burghs. He also managed to marry another heiress, the
Honourable Margaret Leslie, daughter of David Leslie, first
Baron Newark, by which marriage he became the possessor of
the estates of Burnbank and Boquhan. In a MS. pedigree at
Saltoun House, N.B., there is a notice relating to this marriage,
and "the Burnbank Papers" contain the correspondence of
Colonel and Mrs. James Campbell. He died in 17 13, but his
widow survived till 1755, when she died at a very advanced age.
Her three sons predeceased her, and her daughter Mary never
married, so that none of their posterity exist. Mary Campbell
bequeathed Boquhan to her cousin Henry Fletcher, second son of
Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, Lord Milton, to whose descendant
it now belongs.

If the Honourable James Campbell had any heart he must
often have felt deep remorse at the sad and unmerited fate of
his young friend, who was, through him, the victim of such a
curious miscarriage of Justice.



Horace Walpole, writing to John Chute in 1754, tells the
following ridiculous story : —

" Have you seen young Poniatowski ? ^ He is very hand-
some. You have seen the figure of the Duchess of Gordon,^
who looks like a raw-boned Scotch metaphysician that has got
a red face by drinking water. One day at the drawing-room,
having never spoken to him, she sent one of the foreign
ministers to invite Poniatowski to dinner with her for the next
day. He bowed and went. The moment the door opened
her two little sons, attired like Cupids, with bows and arrows
shot at him, and one of them literally hit his hair, and was
very near putting his eye out and hindering his casting it to the
couch : ' Where she, another sea-born Venus, lay.' The only
company besides this Highland Goddess were two Scotchmen
who could not speak a word of any language but their own
Erse ; and to complete his astonishment at this allegorical
entertainment, with the dessert there entered a little horse, and
galloped round the table ; a hieroglyphic I cannot solve, Ponia-
towski accounts for this profusion of kindness by his great-
grandmother being a Gordon ! "

This Scotch cousin-ship carries us back to the middle of
the seventeenth century, when a daughter of George Gordon,

^ Stanislaus Auj^ustus Poniatowski, who ten years later was elected King of
Poland, was born 1732, died 1798.

* Lady Catherine Gordon, daughter of William, second Earl of Aberdeen, and
widow of Cosmo, third Duke of Gordon, who died in 1752, aged thirty-one; she
married, secondly, General Staats Long Morris, Colonel of the 6ist.


Our Polish Cousins

second Marquis of Huntly, married a Polish lady, and became
the progenitor of innumerable descendants of high degree,
including many illustrious men who made their mark in

George Gordon, Lord Huntly, was himself a fine character,
far in advance of his age in general attainments, and possessed
all the qualities of a brave and brilliant soldier combined with a
great love of learning and learned men. Through his mother,
Lady Henriet Stuart, daughter of Esme Stuart, Duke of
Lennox, he had a great deal of French blood in him, and at an
early age he entered the service of the King of France, and in
1624 commanded the Scottish Guard of Louis XIII., called the
Scottish Gens-d'Armes. Lord Huntly was probably describing
his own sentiments when he composed the distich, which was
placed on the Palace of the Louvre : —

" Non orbis gentem, non urbum gens habit ulla ?
Urbus domum, dominum, nee domus ulla parem,"

which may be thus translated : —

"The world hath not such a nation,
Nor nation a city like this,
Nor city a mansion can boast,
Nor mansion a Lord like this."

Notwithstanding his Gallic predilections, when duty and

loyalty called him Lord Huntly returned to his native country,

" carrying over with him," we are told, " a party of gallant

young gentlemen well equipped." He then threw all his

energies into the cause of King Charles I., raised large forces for

him, fought valiantly, was twice imprisoned, and ultimately

beheaded in 1649, suffering with the greatest courage. His

honours were attained, and his two estates, Bog-of-Gicht (now


Our Polish Cousins

Gordon Castle) and Strathbogie, were taken possession of by the

The following letter, written by him, gives some idea of
his character ; it was a " Reply to certain noblemen, gentle-
men and ministers. Covenanters of Scotland, who sent to
signify unto him that it behoved him either to assist their
designs or to be carried to prison in the Castle of Edinburgh,
20th April 1629."

" To be your prisoner is by much the less displeasing to
me, that my accusation is for nothing else but loyalty, and that
I have been brought into this estate by such unfair means, as
can never be made to appear honourable in those who used
them. Whereas you offer liberty upon condition of my entering
into your covenant ; I am not so bad a merchant as to buy it
with the loss of my conscience, fidelity and honour, which in so
doing I should make account to be wholly perished. I have
already given my faith to my Prince (Charles I.), upon whose
head this crown, by all law of nature and nations is justly fallen,
and will not falsify that faith by joining with any in a pretence
of religion which my own judgment cannot excuse from
rebellion : for it is well known that in the primitive church no
arms were held lawful being lifted by subjects against their
lawful Prince, though the whole frame of Christianity was then
in question. . . . For my own part I am in your power and
resolved not to leave that foul title of traitor as an inheritance
upon my posterity; you may take my head from my shoulders
but not my heart from my sovereign."

Notwithstanding his great loyalty it was said that Lord
Huntly's morbid jealousy of Montrose ruined the King's
cause in Scotland. King Charles, however, wrote a letter from
his prison in Carisbrooke to the Earl of Lanark, entreating him

Oeouci- (}()iu)().\, 2m) .Mak-oiis oi- Ulnti.v.
(From a Picture hy Geo. Jameson helonj.,„o to the Duke of Riehm.Hul)

Our Polish Cousins

to intercede that his life might be spared, which, however, was

Lord Huntly married Lady Anne Campbell, daughter of
Archibald, seventh Earl of Argyll, who was only thirteen years
old at the time, and died at the age of thirty-one, leaving him
with a family of ten children, five sons and five daughters.
The eldest, George, Lord Gordon, was said to have been of
singular worth and many accomplishments. He served in his
youth in Lorraine and Alsace under the Marechal de la Force,
and distinguished himself by his valour. He met his death
at the battle of Alford whilst fighting under Montrose. The
latter, Wishart tells us, " could not command his grief and
mourned bitterly over the fate of his only and dearest friend,
grievously complaining that one who was the honour of his
nation, the ornament of the Scots nobility and the boldest
assertor of the Royal Authority in the north, had fallen in
the flower of his youth. As the report of his death spread
among the soldiers every one appeared to be struck dumb.
Unmindful of the victory or of the plunder, they thronged
about the body of their dead Captain, some weeping over his
wounds and kissing his lifeless limbs, while others praised
his comely appearance even in his death, and extolled his
noble mind, which was enriched with every qualification that
could adorn his high birth." Lord Huntly's second son,
James, Viscount Aboyne, who also fought valiantly for Charles
I., had escaped to Paris, and when intelligence of the exe-
cution of his beloved master reached there, his grief affected

' There is a portrait of George, Lord Huntly, by Vandyke, of which Allan
Ramsay says: "It is perfect, only the background, retouched by Martin, in
my remembrance." It was then at Drummond Castle, and there is another
portrait of him in Pinkerton's "Scottish Gallery." We have here reproduced
the first of these.


Our Polish Cousins

him so greatly that he died a few days after. Lewis Gordon,
Lord Huntly's third son, did not live to get back his estates,
but his son had the act of forfeiture rescinded, and was created
Duke of Gordon by Charles II. in 1684.

Charles, Earl of Aboyne, Lord Huntly's fourth son, was
ancestor of the present Marquis of Huntly. Lord Henry
Gordon, the fifth son, was a child at the time of his father's
tragic death, and of him we shall hear more hereafter.

Of his five daughters, Lord Huntly had managed to

marry three of them the year after their mother's death, to

the Earls of Perth and Haddington and Lord Seton, and a

few years later Lady Mary Gordon, the fourth daughter,

married Alexander Irvine of Drum. There remained the

two youngest of the family totally without means. These

were the little twins, Lord Henry and Lady Katharine, who had

been born in Paris and were there at the time of their father's

death. A good friend came forward in the shape of the learned

Dr. Davidson, who had been devoted to Lord Huntly, and

now took the penniless orphans under his care. Dr. Davidson

was a native of Aberdeen, but had spent most of his life in

foreign parts. He was Physician to the King of France and

Curator of the Jardin des Plantes. He afterwards settled in

Poland and took with him the twins, who became naturalised

Poles. Lord Henry went into the service of the King of

Poland, and remained there for several years in very honourable

military employment. In 1658 he obtained for himself and

his heirs, by an edict of King John Casimir, the right of

Polish nobility. After the Restoration he returned to Scotland,

and Charles II. gave him a life annuity of ;^30,ooo Scots a

year. This was in consequence of a letter which he wrote

to the King in 1665, when he was so much of a foreigner



An\h, Marchioness of Huntly, oaughter of the 7th Earl of Argyll.
(From the picture in possession of the Duke of Richmond)

Our Polish Cousins

that he wrote in French and signed himself " H. de Gordon
d'Huntly." He is said to have died in Scotland, and there
is no evidence of his having left any legitimate issue ; but
we have before us a long pedigree of Polish Gordons, who
are said in Poland to be his descendants, many of them living
in that country. They are descended from John Gordon, a
Colonel in the Polish army, who in 1699 complained that
some persons of the name of Gordon " used his title," and
he obtained from the Polish Parliament a document stating
that he was the only person who might use it ! This title,
which he and all his descendants continued to use, was
" Marques of Huntly," the reason being that, as their ancestor
had been a son of the Marquis of Huntly, all his descendants
were entitled to the name. The English custom of primo-
geniture does not exist in Poland, and rank depends upon the
rank of the father for sons and daughters alike. There
remains, however, in this pedigree a missing link between Lord
Henry Gordon and John Gordon, the Polish Colonel.

Lord Henry's twin sister Lady Katharine Gordon, as soon
as she was old enough, became one of the Maids-of-honour to
Marie-Louise de Gonzague, Queen of Poland. This Queen,
with whom Lady Katharine Gordon was ever after associated,
was a daughter of Charles, Due de Mantoue, and had a " vie
orageuse." Tallemant said of her "Jamais personne n'a eu tant
de hausses qui baissent," Handsome and high-spirited, she
came of a fiery race, and shone for many years at the Court of
Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII. From her earliest youth
her ambition had been to attain the highest rank. When she
was sixteen, Gaston d'Orleans, brother of Louis XIII., who then
seemed destined to occupy the throne of France, was madly in

love with her and tried to carry her off. Some years after her


Our Polish Cousins

love for Cinq Mars,^ immortalised by Alfred de Musset, took
the place of her ambition, and after his tragic death the great
Conde was said to have been her lover. At the age of thirty-
three, when her looks were somewhat on the wane, Marie-Louise
was still unmarried, and the French Government, wishing to
extend their influence with Poland, suggested that she should
become the second wife of the fat and gouty King Ladislas IV.
of Poland. To this proposal she readily agreed.

The fian^ailles by proxy took place privately in the Palais
Royale, in the presence of the young King of France, Louis
XIV,, who was then only eight years of age. Madame de
Motteville says that the Royal bride had " un grand air dans
toute sa personne qui convenait a une reine," but apparently
she had no great good looks at this time. She left France in
November 1645 accompanied by the Marechale de Guebriant,
and by a magnificent embassy, who came over from Poland to
escort her back to that country. The splendour of the dresses,
jewels, horses, and equipages of the two hundred Polish nobles
who took part on this occasion almost defies description. Their
beautiful and picturesque dolmans of satin of every hue, with
mantles of cloth of gold or crimson velvet lined with furs,
of inestimable value — " pointcs de zibelines," and " pieds-de-
pantheres " ; their caps of gold surmounted with aigrettes of
black heron's plumes fastened with *' agraffes " of enormous
precious stones ; and even their horses —

"Instratos ostro alipedes, pictisque tapetis,
Aurea pectoribus demissa monilia pendent :
Tecti auro, fulvum mandunt sub dentibus a aura " —

for they too had headdresses with heron's plumes and agraffes
of gold and precious stones, and saddles of gold brocade sewn

' Henri d'Effiat, Marquis de Cinq Mars, Grand Ecuyer to Louis XHI.


Our Polish Cousins

with turquoises and diamonds, the harness being of pure gold,
so fine that it was as flexible and supple as leather ; even the
horses' shoes of the Palatine were of massive gold, and those
of others in the escort of silver. The swords or scimitars that
hung from the saddles were fine works of art encrusted with
pearls, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones ;
the quivers for the arrows were of shagreen, richly worked in
gold and silver. In short, as an eye-witness writes, nothing
that the Greeks wrote of the richness and luxury of the ancient
Persians came up to this display. Never before had Paris seen
such magnificence !

But If all this splendour threw a glamour over her loveless
marriage, a sad awakening was in store for this poor Princess.
The journey from France to Poland was, as can be well conceived,
an arduous undertaking in those days. And though the bride
made many stoppages by the way, we are told that she was
greatly fatigued by the time she had reached her destination.
When she arrived at Warsaw there was no warm welcome for
her, and the King never even saw her till she was in the church,
where they were to be married, and never excused himself for
not rising from his chair. Marie-Louise knelt before him and
kissed his hand, but the brutal boor made no signs of even
ordinary civility, and, turning to Bregy, the French Ambassador,
said to him quite loud, *'Est-ce la cette grande beaute dont
vous m'avez tant dit de merveilles .? " He then rose from his
chair and went to the altar, where the ceremony took place.
After this a supper was served, and the Marechale de Guebriant
says it looked disgusting and tasted worse. Everything for
the accommodation of Marie-Louise was totally devoid of
elegance or even comfort, which came doubly hard upon her
who was such a Sybarite that Mazarin used to say the Princess's

193 N

Our Polish Cousins

punishment in purgatory would be to sleep on rough sheets
and have bad smells round her ! Altogether the poor thing was
so miserable that she said to her lady-in-waiting she should
return to France. Madame de Guebriant complained of the
King's treatment, and remarked that France would be ill-pleased
when she took back this news. Her complaints brought about
rather a better state of affairs, and Marie-Louise consented to
remain. Mercifully for her. King Ladislas died two years later,
and the year after she married his brother and successor to the
throne, John Casimir. He had been a Jesuit monk and made
a feeble King, but she became virtually the ruler of Poland.
In every Court of Europe her power was recognised, and we even
find the Czar Alexis asking Louis XIV. to intercede on his
behalf with the Queen of Poland so that he should be allowed
to act with regard to that country as he desired. Then came
the war with Sweden, when the King and Queen of Poland had
to fly, and she behaved like a heroine, rallying the nobles and
arming the people.

After they were restored to their throne. Queen Marie-
Louise, having lost her only two children, began to think of the
future, and wished to ensure the succession to some one over
whom she might still wield her influence ; the young Due
d'Enghien, son of Conde, was the candidate on whom she set
her affections (perhaps for sake's sake), and her plan was to
marry him to one of her nieces, daughters of the Palatine
Prince Edward. She persuaded John Casimir to propose him
to the Diet as his future successor, but the Elector William
Frederick soon made it known that he was very much averse to
the occupation of the throne of Poland by any />ro/(/^^' of France.
Marie-Louise was furious, and when the Elector's Ambassador

insisted on the good intention of his master, she replied :


Our Polish Cousins

" J'aime mieux une mauvaise intention avec de bons effets,
qu'une bonne avec de mauvais." At this juncture the Grand
Marechal Lubomirska suggested to the Elector that he should
take the Crown of Poland for himself, saying that the only
preliminary necessary was that he should hear a few masses.
Frederick-William refused to change his religion, and wrote,
" Comment mes sujets pourraient-ils se fier a moi si je n'etais
fidele a mon Dieu ; " but he offered great inducements if the
Diet would waive his religion and elect him King, suggesting
that one of his sons should become the husband of Marie-
Louise's niece.

Louis XIV. urged the election either of the Due d'Enghien
or of his father, the Prince de Conde, and this brings us back
to Lady Katharine Gordon, whom we have seen was Maid-of-
honour to the Queen of Poland. Her upbringing at the
Polish Court seems to have inculcated in her the same ambi-
tious projects and love of power as were the leading character-
istics of her royal mistress, and she therefore gladly accepted as
her husband Count John Andrew Morsztyn (commonly called
Morstein), who though considerably older than herself was
Lord High Treasurer of Poland and a personage of the first im-
portance in that country. He was descended from a very ancient
family, and was a clever and handsome man. He had been
brought up in France, and had a thorough knowledge of the
French language, having translated he Cid of Corneille into
Polish. He was a persona grata at the Court of Louis XIV.
and had considerable influence with that monarch, so much so
that when the Polish Government, at the instigation of Queen
Marie-Louise, sent him to beg the assistance of " le Roi
Soleil " against the Tartars and the Turks, Count Morstein
easily persuaded Louis to promise that he would send to


Our Polish Cousins

Poland ten thousand men, commanded by the Prince de
Conde in person.

The marriage of Lady Katharine Gordon took place at
Warsaw in 1659, the only member of her family present at
the ceremony being her brother, Lord Henry Gordon, who
was, like herself, virtually a Pole. An extraordinary speech
made on the occasion of this wedding by the Vice-Chancellor
of Poland, Leszcrynski, is given in the Appendix.

From the day of her marriage, Lady Katharine, or Katrine
as she was called, mixed freely in the political intrigues of
the Polish Court, and Mylne tells us " Lady Catharine was an
active woman, and had as muche credit among the nobilitie of
PoUand as over her husband's mind anent the election of
the Prince of Conti to be King of Poland."

Suddenly the whole course of affairs was changed by the
unexpected death of the ruling spirit of Poland, Queen Marie-
Louise, which took place in 1667 when she was about fifty-four
years of age. John Casimir, her husband, was broken-hearted at
her loss ; and this, combined with all his other troubles, caused him
to abdicate, and he retired to France to the monastery of St.
Germain-des-Pres, of which Louis XIV. made him the Abbot.
He seems, however, to have mixed with the world, for Madame
de Scudery says, in writing to Bussy Rabutin in May 1670 : —

" Le roi de Pologne agite ici fort nos dames ; il a des
pierreries dont elles ont toutes envie, et quoique il ne soit ni
jeune ni beau ni meme fort spiritual, il est fort recherche, car
depuis votre depart les femmes font encore moins de fa^on de
faire les premiers pas envers les couronnes."

Meanwhile the intrigues a propos of the nomination of the

next king of Poland continued amongst the foreign potentates,

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Online LibraryConstance Charlotte Elisa Lennox RussellThe rose goddess and other sketches of mystery & romance → online text (page 15 of 22)