John Murray Graham.

Annals and correspondence of the viscount and the first and second earls of Stair; (Volume 1) online

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with the king to take his command from him. I am,
with much truth," &c.

Lord Stair continued colonel of the regiment of
Enniskillens for about twenty years. According to
a custom not uncommon in the army at that time, he
provided (by arrangement with Government) winter-
quarters and forage for the men and troop-horses,
when not on duty, in his grounds of Castle Kennedy
in Wigtonshire, where fatigue-parties of the men
were occasionally employed in country labour upon
the estate, f

At a period when the commercial intercourse
between London and Paris was limited not only by
restrictions of trade policy but by the slowness and
difficulty of travelling, the facilities afforded by the
members of the ambassador's suite and special mes-
sengers passing constantly between the two seats of
Government, for executing commissions and carrying
on a little contraband trade, was largely taken advan-

* George Keith, tenth Earl Marischal, afterwards in the public service
of Frederick 1 1. of Prussia, and that monarch's personal friend. He was
captain of the Scottish troop of Grenadier Guards, of which he was
deprived at the instigation (as here intimated) of the Duke of Argyle.

t Stair Papers, passim; Sir A. Agnew's 'Sheriffs of Galloway.'


290 THE STAIR ANNALS. ['7>5-

tage of by the higher class of society in London.
Thus, in April 1715, Colonel Cathcart writes from
London to Lord Stair : " My Lady Loudoun desires
the baron* may send over her gown unmade by some
safe hand, and with it she desires seven English
yards of culbertine (or, as the French call it, mignon-
ette), for a head, and nine yards of the same narrower,
for ruffles." The colonel writes again, in May :
" Lady Loudoun begs your lordship will take the
first opportunity of sending her over the gown and
laces the baron bought for her, since she depends
upon wearing them at the birthday."

To pursue the history of her ladyship's gown,
the next letter informs us that, " notwithstanding all
imaginable precaution was taken, it fell into the hands
of the custom-house officers ; she had to buy it anew,
but will have it to wear on the birthday." In the
same month of May, Colonel Cathcart informs the
ambassador's secretary (Thomas Crawford), " I must
give you the trouble of a commission for his grace
the Duke of Argyle. He wants half-a-cfozen of pairs
of stockings of poil de chevre [goat's hair] of different
colours of grey, some light, some dark, and long
enough of the feet and legs. There is a shop, I think,
at the Palais, between the Rue d'Ardre Sec and that
of St Honore", where I have bought of them. Pray
let me have them by the first sure hand, with their
price in English money."

* The Hon. George Dalrymple, a baron of Exchequer in Scotland,
Lord Stair's younger brother and then residing with him at Paris.
Their sister, the Countess of Loudoun, was a person of great beauty
and accomplishments. In her later life she resided at Sorn Castle,-in
Ayrshire and was an extensive and public-spirited agricultural "im-
prover. She died in 1777, having passed her hundredth year.


In June the colonel thanks Mr Crawford for a
letter he had by the post, " and for his Grace of
Argyle's stockings, which Lord Cobham's valet-de-
chambre brought me : he [the duke] was much
pleased with them, excepting the pair I send you
back to be changed for one of a scarlet colour, if that is
to be had without a mixture of any other colour ; if not,
he desires a pair as near to white as possible : I have
received the money for them ; draw upon me for the
sum, and I'll answer it. The bearer brings you three
dozen of women's gloves, six pairs of stockings, and
two pieces of ribbon. The rest of his lordship's
commissions shall be sent the next occasion going."

The three dozen of ladies' gloves for the ambas-
sador, who had not yet been joined at Paris by Lady
Stair and her daughter, would no doubt be intended
for the hands of Parisian belles, with some reference,
perhaps, to diplomatic considerations.

His Grace of Argyle ("the State's whole thunder
born to wield ") was so satisfied with the execution of
his commission for the silk stockings, that the sec-
retary is asked to undertake another commission.
Colonel Cathcart writes in July: "The Duke wants
three dozen of the large kind of knives, spoons, and
forks of the St Cloud sort of chiney [handles], and
two dozen of a less size for dessert.* Pray let them
be of the finest, and take your money for them and
the stockings from Earl Stair. I shall be accountable
to his lordship for it. If you have any correspond-
ence with the Melfort family [Drummond], pray make
them and M. Saladin my compliments."

* The Potterie dc St Cloud, under the direction of the members of
the Chicanneau family, was already famous for its porcelain.

292 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1715.

Among Stair's most intimate and attached friends
was Sarah Duchess of Marlborough. Although now
verging on old age, her energy and activity of mind
continued unabated, and she entered with equal
keenness into the affairs of society, dress, scandal,
and politics. The following epistle relates to com-
missions of a rather delicate kind :

" LONDON, February 22, 1715.

" MY LORD, The messenger that brought me the
favour of your lordship's letter with the bodyes pro-
mised to give me two days' notice, but he came last
night when I was engaged to company, and said he
was ordered away early this morning ; and in that
hurry I could only give him a pound of tea, which I
thought very good, and remembering that it used to
be very acceptable in France, I took the liberty to
send you a taste of it, that you might employ me in
that or in any thing you care for that is better here
than there. And though I am sure nobody wishes
more to be of any use to your lordship than myself,
I can't perform better in anything than you have done
in my small affairs, for I never had any thing so easy
and so well made in my life as this pair of bodyes,
and Lady Harriott's* is the same ; and since you are
so wonderfully good as to encourage me to trouble
you again, I will beg to have two pair more of
bodyes, both of them of white taby ; that pair that
is for myself I would have quite plain, as the last
were made, but the little pair for Lady Harriott I

* Lady Harriott Godolphin, the Duchess's grandchild, by her eldest
daughter married to Lord Godolphin. Lady Harriott was afterwards
married to the Duke of Newcastle.


would have bound with a little gold braid before only,
as their fashion is to do them ; and when these
bodyes are made, I believe it would be very easy by
them to make a night-gown for me and a monto [qu.
manteau ?] an.6. peticoate for Lady Harriott. I am in
no haste for either? but would have them up on any
occasion that one need not be troubled with the
custom-house people. And now I must beg leave to
tell very exactly what I would have. My night-
gown need have no peticoate to it, being only of that
sort to be easy and warm, with a light silk wadd in
it, such as is used to come out of bed and gird round
without any train at all, but very full ; 'tis no matter
what colour except pink or yellow, no gold nor silver
in it, but some pretty striped satin or damask, lined
with a tafety of the same colour. Lady Harriott's
is to be a monto and peticoate to go abroad in, but I
would not have any gold or silver in it, nor a stuff
that is dear, but a middling sort that may be worn
either in winter or summer. You have seen her, I
believe, but however 'tis not amiss to say she is
above thirteen years old, that they may the better
guess at the length of the monto ; and if they are as
exact as the taylor was in the bodyes, it will not
want the least alteration. I am very much obliged
to Lady Stair for the good offices she has done me to
you. I am sure I was so well pleased with her that
I lamented very much that I had lost so long the
satisfaction of so agreeable an acquaintance ; but if I
live to see you in England again, I don't doubt but
she will return from Scotland, and then I shall take
all opportunities to show that I wish for her esteem.
I have seen several of the French that agree very

294 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1715.

well with what you write. I have known some that
were very complaisant and agreeable in conversation,
but I never had the luck to meet with one woman
that was bred in France that was sincere. I am
sure you will have an account from better hands of
any thing you care to hear of in this country ; but I
can't help saying that I find all people agree that we
have so good a parliament that there is no reason to
doubt of their doing every thing that is good for the
king and the public."

Asa pendant to the Duchess's caustic remark upon
the ladies of France, may be given Lord Finch's
equally severe observation upon those of England:

Viscount Finch to the Earl of Stair.

"September 12, 1715.

"... I hope, my dear Lord, you will make reason-
able allowances to one who forgets every thing he should
remember, and remembers only one woman whom he
ought long since to have forgot, and then you will
the more easily excuse my not having sent this sooner.
. . . With all the ill that you are supposed to have said
of your women in France, I dare say they are as good
as ours are here ; or rather ours are as bad as yours,
and much simpler. Ours are most certainly fond of
nothing but being talked of, and would rather have
scandal cast upon them than not be mentioned ; and
God knows one can't say any good of them. If I
could persuade my father to let me come over to you
for a month or two, I should think myself exceeding

* Stair Papers, vol. iv.


happy. Nothing but the noise and nonsense of Lon-
don for a whole year round is intolerable."

Soon after the death of Louis XIV. Lord Stair
was invested with the full character of ambassador-
extraordinary to the French court. His public entry
as ambassador, a formal and expensive ceremonial
now disused, did not take place till February 1719.

For several anecdotes related of Lord Stair when
at this time at Paris I have discovered no good
authority, as of his frequenting coffee-houses incognito
in order to discover the secrets of the Jacobites, and
his playing for high stakes with political ladies. One
anecdote has it that he was bid by Louis XIV. enter
a carriage before himself, and that he did so as a
piece of good-breeding when the king desired him.
This last has an air of probability, Stair being on all
hands admitted to have been of studied politeness of
manner ; but it is well known that Louis disliked his
ways, and shunned being narrowly observed by him
when dining in public and on other occasions ; so
that their having gone in a carriage together is not
at all probable, while it is never alluded to by Lord
Stair himself. One of his anonymous biographers
asserts that a gift he sometimes, when ambassador,
made to a person of distinction whom he wished to
conciliate, was a pair of Galloway ponies, which, from
his connection with Wigtonshire, may possibly have
been the case, the pure breed of small Galloway
horses being then nearly extinct and highly valued.""

* Marchmont Papers, iii. 345.

296 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1715.


The Chevalier's journey through France, and embarkation at Dunkirk
Memorials by Stair, ami equivocal conduct of the French gwern-
ment The Chevalier in Scotland Notices of the rebellion in letters
of the Duke of Montr ose, the Lord Advocate, and Sir Hew Dal-
rymple Measures of the British government to prevent the Jaco-
bites being harboured in continental states Despatch from Secre-
tary Stanhope.

As the winter of 1 7 1 5- 1 6 advanced, the interest of the
Jacobite insurrection came to centre in the Cheva-
lier's journey through France, and subsequent land-
ing in Scotland. Lord Stair, in November 1715,
memorialised * the Regent in very decided terms on
the subject of the maintenance of the public faith of
France, as engaged by the articles of the treaty of
Utrecht, maintaining that His Royal Highness was
bound to prevent the Pretender passing through
French territory in order to embark for Britain ; and
that he should consider further, whether it was con-
sistent with the national honour (with reference to
that treaty) any longer to afford an asylum to the
Duke of Ormond and Lord Bolingbroke, after the
use they had made of it in having arms and muni-
tions of war sent out of the kingdom for the service
of the Pretender, in order to aid a rebellion against
* November 5, 1715 Stair Papers, vol. iii. B.


the king of Great Britain, who had been solemnly
recognised as such by France. The memorial con-
cluded with expressing Lord Stair's conviction that
the Regent would give orders that the Pretender be
not allowed to pass through France in disguise or
otherwise, and that Bolingbroke be sent away and
forbid to return.

Formal instructions were issued by the Regent in
accordance with Stair's memorial; but it may be
doubted whether they were meant to be obeyed, as
Bolingbroke remained in France, and the Chevalier,
quitting his residence at Bar in Lorraine, travelled
across the whole breadth of France to St Malo, and,
after an ineffectual attempt to embark, rode on horse-
back without molestation from thence to Dunkirk.*

Bolingbroke, now holding the seals of the Preten-
der's Secretary of State, wrote to him from Paris in
November : " The Duke of Ormond's going off has
made Stair redouble his diligence, and his spies are
upon every road near the city ; I have done my utmost
to give him information that may mislead him about
your Majesty, and I hope not without some success."
And in another letter : " Stair did not know in many
days of your Majesty's departure (from Lorraine),
neither can I yet say that he knows certainly the
route which you have taken ; but the length of the
journey, and the delay which you may be obliged to
make on the coast, will probably give him time to
find you out. He has already complained that you

* It is unnecessary to notice the base insinuation in the Memoirs
of the Duke de St Simon of Stair having planned the assassination
of the Pretender, when on his journey from Bar, by the hands of a
Colonel Douglas, an Irishman in the French service. The insinua-
tion, for it is no more, is as malicious as it is entirely unconfirmed.

298 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1716.

are removed from Bar, and has asked to have the
coast visited. The Marechal d'Huxelles sent to me
immediately, and the orders are so given that your
ships will be overlooked. Should he [Lord Stair] be
able to point out the vessels to them, or to say posi-
tively where you are, I doubt the Regent would
think himself obliged to stop both." At the end of
this letter it is added : " Since I wrote thus far, the
Duke of Berwick has been with me ; he just came
from the Regent, who has sent a detachment to stop
your Majesty at Chateau Thierry, where Stair has
received information that you are."

Having escaped the vigilance of Stair, the Cheva-
lier sailed from Dunkirk and landed at Peterhead, on
the east coast of Scotland, towards the end of De-
cember. Making his way to Perth by Feteresso,
Glammis, Dundee, and Fingask Castle at each of
which places he slept a night he arrived at the palace
of Scone on the 8th of January, where he resided till
the 3Oth, occasionally visiting Perth to review the
clans favourable to his cause, then encamped on the
North Inch of Perth.

The two following letters from the Duke of Mon-
trose to Lord Stair,t founded no doubt on the best
information, refer to the state of matters in Scotland
at this point of time :

" LONDON, January 26, 1716.

" MY DEAR LORD, On Sunday morning last I
had the pleasure to receive your letter of the 28th,
N.S. I need not tell you how acceptable your letters

* Stuart Papers, in Appendix to vol. i. of Earl Stanhope's England.
t Stair Papers, vol. vii.


are to me. I am glad to be able to assure you that
the Houses of Parliament show so much spirit, such
confidence in his Majesty, and such a regard for the
liberties and honour of their country, that we were
never less afraid of the Pretender than now when we
have him among us ; and I think it is hardly to be
doubted that we shall soon see the king make as
great a figure abroad as ever any of his predecessors
did. . . . Amidst the satisfaction I have to see the
parliament enter so heartily into the true interest of
the nation, I cannot but have some melancholy re-
flections upon the dismal circumstances our country
is in by this rebellion. What a weight of misery
have some of our unhappy countrymen brought upon
themselves and us ! That they should pay for their
wickedness and folly is but reasonable; yet I heartily
agree with your lordship, that as it is necessary to
make examples, it is to be hoped severity won't be
carried so far as that justice should have the air of
cruelty and, may I add, of national revenge. You
know as well as I how hard it is sometimes to make
neighbours understand our concerns, or think of them
in the manner they ought to do, if, by thinking we
lye open at present, they go on without reflecting on
the consequences. I am of opinion they'll mistake
their measures and make both themselves and us
very unhappy ; but these are speculations more pro-
per for a pipe than a letter, and I am resolved not to
be out of humour, tho' I believe it will be pretty
hard to keep one's temper if there does not appear
as great a disposition to redress grievances as to
punish crimes. It is certain the Pretender's presence
has neither added numbers nor spirit to his part}-. I

300 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1716.

am assured that Mar suffers at both hands : his new
master blames him for misrepresenting things to him,
and desiring him to depend upon numbers which
don't appear; and the Jacobites say he promised
them a prince who should give new life to his affairs
by his personal endowments and the assistance he
was to bring them from abroad ; so, as it seems, both
are disappointed, and will still have more reason to
complain if we may believe that our general will at
last make a visit to Perth. Did your lordship ever
read a famous Scots book called ' Wallace,' in which
I remember is this passage, where Wallace and Sir
John the Graham are deliberating about taking the
castle of Lochmaben

' The wise Knight said,
If that the men be out,
To take the House
There is but little doubt ' ? *

By this your lordship sees I am of opinion there
won't be much blood spilt. I can have no notion
that the rebels will shut themselves up in Perth, and
as little that 4000 or 5000 men, such as they are too,
will venture to make head against 1 1 ,000 regular
troops. You will perhaps be surprised when I make
the number of the rebels so inconsiderable ; but con-
sider that both Huntly and Seaforth are at home and
in no disposition to stir ; the last has submitted, and

* The Duke's recollection of the passage in Blind Harry's metrical
History of Sir William Wallace is sufficiently accurate ; but the castle
was Crawford Castle, in the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, which had
been left unoccupied by its defenders. The lines in the poem read
thus :

" This gud knycht said, an' that ye men war out,
To tak the houss yar is hot lit ill doubt."

'Acts and Deeds of Wallace,' edition 1790, Cook v.


I suppose the Marquis is fully disposed to follow
that example.

" Our general [Duke of Argyle] they say is very
much out of humour ; but as I neither am nor ever
hope to be of his cabinet council, I don't pre-
tend to give you any particular account of him.
Fred is still at Edinburgh, and, as we are told, bows
lower and is civiler than he used to be ; but this
from second hand. I have heard a good deal of
late of what you hint at, that the brothers [Duke of
Argyle and Earl of Islay] have been very sweet
upon some of your friends. I wish some of them
have not been fonder of these douceurs than either
your lordship or I could have wished. ... I am
assured, from very good hands in Scotland, that the
Pretender's behaviour is exceedingly disgusting even
to his friends. He pushes his bigotry so far that he
won't allow a Protestant minister so much as to say
grace to him ; an instance of this they give, when he
was at Brechin, where my Lady Panmure had a par-
son ready before supper, but he was not allowed to
lift up his hands."

"February 3, 1716.

"... About nine last night there came an express
with a letter from the Duke of Argyle, dated Sunday
last, the 2Qth, from Dunblane. The sum of his
letter, for I read it, is this, that the army had ad-
vanced so far on their march to Perth, but that the
roads were so bad by the great quantity of snow on
the ground that they would be obliged to take very
short marches ; that the rebels, to make the march
difficult, had in a barbarous manner burnt down most

302 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1716.

of the houses and villages betwixt Braco and Perth,
so that he should find difficulty enough in lodging
the men under cover at night. On Monday the 3Oth
they were to be at Ardoch, which is but five miles
from Dunblane, and on Tuesday at Tullybardine and
thereabouts ; by that means it would be Thursday be-
fore they got before Perth.* The Duke says that by
the surest intelligence the rebels at Perth don't make
above 6000 men, so that he believes they will not stand
the king's troops. Whether they will retire nearer the
hills or dispute his passing the river of Earn would be
known in a few days ; he wished they would fight.
We may certainly now expect an express from Scot-
land every [any] day ; and as I think we can have
nothing but good news, to be sure the moment we
receive any thing considerable, Mr Stanhope will
despatch your servant."

From the tone and expression of the first of these
letters the Duke of Montrose appears to have antici-
pated (by a sort of second sight) that upon the Jaco-
bite insurrection being put down, the Government
would use measures of undue severity for punishing
the actors in it ; and being possessed by such a feeling,
it is not perhaps to be wondered at that about this
time he resigned his office of Secretary of State for
Scotland. How far the Duke's anticipation was
realised is a point of history upon which the Stair
correspondence, to be referred to in the following
chapters, may throw some additional light.

* General Cadogan entered Perth with a vanguard of 600 dragoons
on the afternoon of Tuesday the 3ist; Argyle and the rest of the army
arriving at midnight.


A letter to Stair from the Lord Advocate"'" nar-
rates one of the closing scenes of the insurrection and
the retreat of the Jacobite force, with the Chevalier,
from Perth :

" EDINBURGH, Feb. 3, 1716.

" MY DEAR LORD, You will have heard that the
Duke of Argyle's army advanced from Stirling to-
wards Perth ; and having, on Monday, taken the
castles of Braco (which was deserted) and Tully-
bardine (which was surrendered), the rebels fled from
Perth in confusion, but in a body, towards Dundee.
The Pretender came for the first time t (from Scone)
to Perth on Monday about twelve at night an
apartment being fitted for him, with furniture brought
from Dupplin ; amongst other things a rich crimson
bed. He went to bed about one, and was called at
two, to acquaint him that the Duke of Argyle was
approaching. This was done by the Earl of Mar,
whom the Pretender blamed (as we are told, with
tears) for bringing him here to his ruin. Whatever
be in that, the fright was great, especially because
of the surprise ; for they had intelligence and easily
believed that it was not possible to march the army
with the train and necessaries; and in this they rested.
It added to their fear that the Duke believing the
troops would be less in hazard to march under the
favour of the moonlight than to lye still, and that
they would rest better under the warmth of the sun
marched chiefly in the night.

" The Duke had notice at Tullybardine of their

* Stair Papers, vol. vii.

t He had been once or twice previously at Perth reviewing t he-
Highland troops.

304 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1716.

retreat, and Generals Cadogan and Witham, with a
strong detachment, undertook to possess the place
[Perth], which they did on the 3ist January, at four
in the afternoon. The Duke followed with the army,
and arrived at midnight. He lay in the fine crimson

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Online LibraryJohn Murray GrahamAnnals and correspondence of the viscount and the first and second earls of Stair; (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 28)