John Murray Graham.

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

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the exchange of the ratifications. The other articles
related to the French king's engagement to give no
assistance to the Pretender to the engagement by the
contracting parties to give no protection to the rebel
subjects of either to the demolition of the port of
Mardyck the maintenance of the succession to the
crowns of Great Britain and France, as recognised
by the treaty of Utrecht and the furnishing mutual
succours, of a specified amount, in the event of any
of the contracting parties being attacked.

By those who were not in the secret, Stair was
thought to have had more to do in the negotiation of
this treaty than was the case. In November, the Brit-
ish minister at Venice (Cunningham) addresses him
thus : " Having writ to your lordship the 3ist ulto.,

* August 27, 1716 Stair Papers, vol. v.


to wish you joy on the success of your negotiation,
I can only now add that I find the happy effects of it
here, in having the smiles of the French party as
much as if we had never been in war or never were
to be again. Nay, they are so gracious that I can
scarce dine without them ; and as for yourself, you are
in all respects the finest gentleman in Europe. They
ask me if you was not bred in France ; they are
amazed when I tell them, to the best of my memory
you was bred in Holland ; but they own Holland has
produced some polite gentlemen." *

I have been thus particular in noting the proceed-
ings as to this famous treaty, which introduced a
national policy into the counsels of England and
France alien to the traditions of both countries, not
so much from the part Lord Stair had in negotiating
it, as from the influence it exercised upon the mutual
relations of these countries, both at home and abroad,
during the whole course of his embassy. It influ-
enced in the most direct manner the war policy of
France and England in the ensuing contest with
Spain in the Mediterranean ; and also the home policy
of both, with reference to the attempts made to dis-
turb the peace of England on the part of the Jacobites,
and the peace of France on the part of Spain.

As to the farther movements of the Jacobites this
year, a very few notices will suffice. In August,

* In another passage of this letter, Lord Stair is informed that " the
opera at St John Chrysostomo takes mightily ; it is called Ariodante ;
the subject a king of Scotland in a great struggle of passions ; his
daughter Ginevra, young and pretty, performs the best in Italy. The
girl would willingly go to England, were it thought they would give
her good encouragement ; the Venetian minister will do his best to
make the contract." Stair Papers, vol. vi.

320 THE STAIR ANNALS. [17 16.

Lord Stair writes to Mr Methuen,* that "the Earl
of Seaforth, General Gordon, and the principal rebels
that were standing out in the north Highlands, are
arrived in Brittany. They were obliged to send
to Challiot for money to bring them to Paris in
all 52 persons. They came in an open boat round
Ireland, with only two seamen and a boy. So it
appears plain they knew of no formed project of an-
other invasion. The Jacobites have no expectation
from the Duke of Leeds' project, but give way to it
to please him, and think it is no great loss if he fling
himself away."

In the same month, the British envoy at Florence
(D'Avenant) informs Stair that " the Court has been
particularly civil to some of the Pretender's friends
that have passed here viz., the Abbe Melfort, Lord
George Murray, and Mr Cresswell. They have been
admitted to audience, have had the usual presents of
wine and other refreshments, and have been intro-
duced to the assemblies by the Grand Duke's ser-
vants, which seems a disregard to his Majesty, after
the instances I made to his Highness not to receive
the Pretender or any of his adherents. I hinted to
the secretary of state that the civilities shown to these
gentlemen might be taken ill in England, and was
answered that, being people of quality, the Grand
Duke could not avoid being civil to them."t

In October, when the treaty of the Triple Alliance
was substantially concluded, the Chevalier de St
George continued still at Avignon, where he appears
to have had a serious illness ; for Lord Cadogan,

* August 8, 1716 Stair Papers, vol. iii., 13.
t Stair Papers, vol. vi.


writing from the Hague to Lord Stair in the end of
the month, characteristically observes : " Your lord-
ship will easily believe that the news of the Preten-
der's illness was not a little agreeable, and that we
expect with the last impatience to hear what is be-
come of him."

Not only Lord Bolingbroke but others of the
Jacobites who had sought refuge on the Continent
were now becoming desirous of making their submis-
sion to George I. Lord Stair having written for
directions as to his behaviour towards these persons
was instructed " not to hearken to them and be very
cautious to observe all their motions, without having
anything more to do with them." *

Sir David Dalrymple, although continued as Ad-
vocate from his acknowledged ability and his fam-
ily influence, was at this time on no very agreeable
terms with the ministry in London. They were, in
fact, mutually dissatisfied with each other. In a letter
to Stair in June, he feelingly complains of not being
consulted in business, and hardly spoken to when
he goes to London.! A certain alienation of feeling
had been engendered in Scotland, extending even to
the principal officers of the crown, on account of the
measures adopted by Government after the suppres-
sion of the insurrection. The most odious of these
measures were the proceedings had recourse to for the
trial of the Jacobite prisoners, and the Act of Parlia-
ment with reference to the forfeited estates. The fol-
lowing letter from Sir David Dalrymple to Lord Stair,!

* Methuen to Stair, Nov. 12, 1716 Stair Papers, vol. v.
t June 23, 1716 Stair Papers, vol. vii.

In a previous letter from Sir David Dalryrnple, in April, the fol-

322 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1716.

after mentioning a tragic event in the Cathcart family,
proceeds to remark upon public matters :

" LONDON, June 14, 1716.

" I come a very disagreeable errand. It is to
acquaint you that poor James Cathcart [brother of
Colonel Charles Cathcart] was yesterday killed in a
duel near Kensington Gravel - pits by Alexander
Gordon, a brother of Dalfollies.* The quarrel hap-
pened at Old Man's Coffeehouse. Cathcart was tell-
ing the story of a combat between Sir William
Gordon and Lovat, which the town says was disap-
pointed by Sir William's sending people to the place
to prevent them. Gordon, who was in the same
room and pretty near, pretended that Cathcart should
give an author, which he refused in strong terms.
The matter went to words, and the cane was offered,
but the company interposed ; yet nobody pretended
to look after them when they went out ; and people
looking on Gordon as a scoundrel imagined that it
would end in his being drubbed, to which nobody
was willing to oppose himself ; but they went without
seconds and fought. Gordon was six times wounded ;
the last was through the lungs, and the sword, fixing

lowing passage occurs: "Yesterday, Baillie [of Jerviswood] dined at
Earl Sunderland's, where Stanhope and Cadogan both were. Your
lordship was mentioned with much esteem and affection. Earl Sunder-
land said, amongst other things, that when your letters were considered
together, they were the best history that could be of this time, and of
the great affairs which have been transacted for some years." As to
Lord Stair's own letters, the Stair Papers contain comparatively few of
them, and these either drafts or copies.

* Gordon was mortally wounded, and died soon after. He is called
in Douglas's Peerage by Wood, Gordon of Ardoch voce "Cathcart."
James Cathcart, a major in the army, was killed on the spot.


in the backbone, broke. It would seem that the
wound the major got, which is below the right breast,
and pierces quite through to the left side, was given
after his sword was broken, for the palms of both his
hands and his fingers are cut as if he had only de-
fended by endeavouring to force Gordon's sword, as
it is most likely he did when his own was broken.
He is much regretted, for he grew better every day.
No breast could contain more friendship or greater
gratitude. The colonel and his wife are much
afflicted, as indeed we all are.

" The Duke of Marlborough recovers, though the
town says that he never will come to the shape of his
face or to his memory again ; but it is a very lying
town ; his friends do not only assure the contrary,
but give particulars, which are confirmed by many
hands. M'Cartney """ was tried yesterday, and found
guilty of manslaughter ; he was this day at Court.
There are diverse speculations on that subject, but,
for any thing I can learn, the evidence against him did
not agree. Though Hamilton deposed very positively
to the murder, he was contradicted in several par-
ticulars by other evidence ; and in giving the charge
to the jury, his testimony was on the matter set

" The bill empowering commissioners to inquire
into the value of the forfeited estates is by much the
worst I ever saw, and is like to meet with opposition
in the upper House. Men say that the prince [of

* General M'Cartney was Lord Mohun's second in his fatal duel with
the Duke of Hamilton, and was popularly supposed to have himself
stabbed the Duke, the seconds as well as the principals having fought
with swords. He went abroad, but returned to take his trial.

324 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1716.

Wales] is for amending it, and leaving the prerogative
of pardoning for life and estate at large ; and then
the king's concession of the forfeited estates to be
applied to the use of the public will only have effect
to hinder the wasting of such estates by luxury or
grants to courtiers, the only grievances hitherto com-
plained of. Now if any amendment is made, it may
throw off the bill to another session, for being (as we
are pleased to call it) a money bill, we will not admit
of any amendments : God grant no worse. I have
lost my court by opposing it, but cannot repent.
My health is so bad that I am resolved to go to the
German Spa. I own to your lordship it is so much
the more agreeable to me that I foresee, if I go
home, I must act a pretty hard part, under the sus-
picion of the Court here, and under the constant
peevish censures of some judges, not my good friends,
and of our dainty new commissioners of inquiry. I
am sure that the first trials for treason will probably
miscarry, and that our commissioners, having no ex-
traordinary talents for their province, will require a
good deal more assistance than I shall think myself
bound to give, or is even useful to the king's service.
I am blind with sore eyes, but I hope to be more
composed and write more fully next."

* Sir David Dalrymple went abroad as he proposed in this letter,
but was rated for it by some of his countrymen in Scotland. Colonel
Cathcart wrote to Stair in September : " All our Scots rebel prison-
ers, as well those who surrendered themselves [at Preston] as others,
are brought to Carlisle, excepting the peers and Lord Huntly, whose
pardon seems to be at a stand. The hardship of bringing these poor
people into another kingdom to their trial is charged by the
squadrone on Sir David's going abroad for his diversion." This
arbitrary proceeding caused great dissatisfaction in Scotland, and
even the English lawyers appointed on the commission for trying


Within a few days of the date of this letter, the
king's private secretary, Robethon, informs Stair
that M. de Bernsdorff (a Hanoverian much in the
royal confidence) had ordered him to say that Lord
Stair's uncle, Sir David Dalrymple, was conducting
himself in a very strange manner, having spoken in
parliament several times with the purpose of render-
ing the Confiscation Bill entirely ineffectual, and for
rendering valid all the conveyances of estates made
by the rebels till their openly appearing in rebellion ;
that Lord Townshend had said lately that Sir David
had given him a memorial which, if acted upon, would
not have admitted of a single rebel in Scotland being
punished, or a single estate confiscated ; and M. de
Bernsdorff left it to Lord Stair to say if this was pro-
per conduct for a lord Advocate, and if the king
could retain in his office a man who on all occasions
declared against the Government. Stair was there-
fore requested to write strongly to Sir David to make
him act in concert with and under the direction of
the Duke of Roxburgh,"" who had his Majesty's con-
fidence in these matters.!

those prisoners taken on Scottish soil hesitated to award capital
punishments. The Scottish prisoners of inferior rank taken at Preston,
and tried by Commission of Oyer and Terminer at Liverpool, were at
least legally, albeit severely, dealt with.

* The Duke of Roxburgh was now Secretary for Scotland in place of
the Duke of Montrose who had resigned, having in July 1716 accepted
the office of Lord Clerk Register, which in December following he re-
signed for the office which Roxburgh had held of Keeper of the Great
Seal. Records of the Register House of Edinburgh.

t M. Robethon to the Earl of Stair, June 4, 1716 Stair Papers, vol.
vii. Notwithstanding this warning message, the Lord Advocate con-
tinued to hold his opinions and also his office till 1720, when he re-
tired. The Solicitor-General, Sir James Stewart, who probably shared
the Advocate's sentiments, was in 1717 deprived of his appointment,
which was given to Mr Dundas of Arniston.

326 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1716.

I shall conclude this chapter with three family-
letters from Lord Stair's aunt, Lady Cathcart ; from
the dowager Countess of Stair ; and from the Coun-
tess, his wife.*

The Lady Cathcart to the Earl of Stair. \

"CATHCART, October 25, 1716.

" I am imprest with the deepest sense of your
lordship's friendship to this family, and particularly
to my sons; and now that I am unfortunately deprived
of my dear James, and your lordship of a grateful
dependant, I take leave to beg my grandson, John
Whiteford, may succeed him in your lordship's favor.
John is mighty fond to be in the military, but Sir
Adam, having many children, cannot be brought to
purchase for him. Commissions now coming so high,
his importunity, with the concern I am in to have
him provided, forceth me to give your lordship the
trouble of this. My daughter told me that the two
countesses of Stair and my Lord President had
undertaken in summer last to recommend him to
your lordship ; so from the experience I have of
your lordship's former favours to me and mine, I
encourage myself in the hope that your lordship will,
'gin it can be done, remember your friend. He is my
favorite, and I hope shall deserve your lordship's
countenance. I entreat your lordship will pardon
this trouble. My lord offers his most humble duty to
your lordship. I am, &c., ELIZA CATHCART.

* In the appendix to this chapter are several letters of considerable
interest from Colonel Cathcart to Lord Stair, as to his army promotion,

t Stair Papers, vol. viii. Lady Cathcart, wife of the seventh Lord
Cathcart, was the second daughter of Viscount Stair, and consequently
aunt to the ambassador, and sister to the " Bride of Lammermoor."


" To hear from your lordship will be a mighty
pleasure to me."

The Countess-dowager of Stair to Major Skeene (at
this time agent for Lord Stair in London).

"EDINBURGH, November^, 1716.

" Last post I had yours of the 2 yth of October, and
the president hath adjusted with Colonel Charteris
to send up a factory to Mr Middleton* to receive
what money you have in your hand, and the whole
principal so soon as you can make it. I think there
is no loss in selling, because the price is pretty high,
but I. leave that to you to do as you think most
reasonable ; and so soon as he [Colonel Charteris]
gets his whole principal, he is to deliver up his bond,
and upon the receiving his bond the president and I
are to give him our obligation for payment of what
annual rents shall be found due at this Martinmas.
Upon Saturday last the house of Castle Kennedy
was burnt, of which I have no account of the way it
was done, but only that the maid had put on a fire in
the drawing-room for airing the room, and went to
bed after she had put out the fire. However, in the
night it broke out and burnt all, so as they had much
difficulty to make their own escape, and could save
nothing but my son's own picture and two more.
I know he will be concerned, because Castle Ken-
nedy was the favourite house he had in this country ;
but we must all submit to the providence of God,
and acknowledge His justice that orders all things

* Mr Middleton was a banker in London.

328 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1716.

well. And I desire you may transmit this letter to
him, and observe his orders."

The Countess of Stair to tJie Earl of Stair*

"EDINBURGH, November i [1716].

" MY DEAR, I received yours of the 28th to-day.
What you say of your private affairs I shall let your
mother and the president know to-night, for I am
just going to meet with them. The baron has been
in the west for some time, and is not yet returned.
He has got a new mistress, Lady Margaret Car-
michael, but I cannot think he has much ground to
hope, when they have positively refused the Advo-
cate's son.t I must own I have the utmost impatience
to know what is resolved on for you. I have com-
forted myself so much with the thoughts of our
meeting soon, that I'm afraid a disappointment will
be insupportable. The Jacobites here are much
dejected with their accounts of the Pretender. I find
they give him for gone, and I believe it will be the
better for them if it be so. I beg you will mind my
poor friends in Fife ; they are a miserable poor
family, and depend on you for help. My dearest
Life, farewell."

* Stair Papers, vol. xii. This letter is unsigned, but there can be no
doubt of its authorship. It is the only letter from Lady Stair to her
husband I have met with in the Stair Papers. As the year is not given
in the date, I may be wrong in assigning it to 1716 instead of 1715.
In 1717 the Countess and her daughter came to reside with the am-
bassador at Paris.

t Afterwards Sir James Ualrymple of Hailes, IJart., father of Lord





LETTERS of SIR ALEX. HUME (resident in London) to his
Cousin, LORD ARNISTON, a Judge of the Court of
Session in Scotland.

(From the Amis ton Collection.}

Sept. 1 8, 1662.

MY LORD, I have received yours of the loth, which is
most welcome to me in letting me know your health, though
you are pleased to be very sparing in relating public affairs.
But that is supplied by others, who are more free of their
intelligence, and by the weekly prints, which inform us of
most things that pass there. We have heard of a Declara-
tion ordained to be taken by all persons that are already or
shall be admitted to any public charge, disowning the
" National Covenant " and " League and Covenant " as un-
lawful, seditious, and not binding, which may chance to
give some scruple to some who are not yet sufficiently con-
verted from the persuasion they had of the warrantableness
of these. But I hope none of my friends, will be of that
number, especially that friend of yours and mine [Lord
Stair] whom I have formerly mentioned in this subject. I
would myself write to him about it, but know not how to


address my letter directly to the place where he lives. You
may chance e'er long to meet with him, and tell him, if he-
will maturely consult his own judgment, I am confident 1ic
will not wrong himself by adhering to a cause whereof I
am sure he abhors the sad effect. . . . But if it should
chance to be otherways, and that he cannot divest himself
of his former persuasion, then I shall entreat you to desire
him, that without declaring his purpose to any other, he
will send me with all speed a resignation of his benefice,
that I may endeavour to get it for one who is as near to
him as you arc to your most affectionate cousin, &c.


J, 1663.

By my last I gave you notice that I was informed that
the Declaration would now be more strictly urged than
it hath been hitherto. Since that time, I have heard
from a very good hand that there will be no conniv-
ance nor delay in that matter, but all that are in public
charges forthwith put to it, either to take it or to quit,
which makes me again write these, to instruct you that
you will use all endeavours with our dear friend to make
him seriously consult his own judgment and reason, and I
am confident he will find that nothing in conscience or
honour can oblige him to adhere to that which is by law
condemned, or, as I have formerly said, to approve the
cause whereof I am sure he abhors the effect. . . .

WESTMINSTER, Nov. 3, 1663.

MY LORD, Yesternight late I received yours of the 26th
October, with one enclosed for the Bishop of Dunblane
[Leighton], to which, if he hold his promise, you will receive
an answer herewith. I had upon my journey much ill
weather and bad way, yet, thanks be to God, I got safe
hither on Wednesday last, the iSth, without any ill accident,
whereof I should have given you notice sooner, but that I


deferred until I might withal let you know the arrival of
our great men, whom I expected every day, yet they came
not till yesterday about six o'clock. They went imme-
diately to the king, who gave them a very gracious recep-
tion, and talked with them both together about an hour or
thereby. Upon their withdrawing from the king, I waited
upon them at my Lord Lauderdale's lodging in the Court,
but forbore at that time to say anything to them concerning
you, until I should understand from you upon what terms
you left them, whereof your letter that I received afterward
did inform me. So this morning early I went to them both,
and found Lauderdale newly come out of bed, and Rothes*
afterwards still in bed. I spoke to them both very earnestly
concerning your business, and Lauderdale told me of the
signed paper you had sent with him, wherein both of them
have promised at the very first opportunity to speak jointly
with the king this night, if it be possible but seem both
of them to have small confidence of the success, the king
having absolutely refused to accept my Lord Crawford's
subscription with any manner of qualification, but punctually
as the words lye. Upon this answer from them I went and
found out the Bishop of Dunblane, and having given him
your letter, spoke at great length with him of the thing, and
found him, as you described him, very much inclined to
moderation and against all rigid courses, but without any
hope that the king can be moved to dispense in any sort
with the Act made in that behalf; and for his speaking with
the king in it, he declines it altogether, having seldom or
never, as he sayth, taken the freedom to speak with the
king in any business, and rarely made any other address
to him but to kiss his hands at coming or going. All that
he thinks proper for him to do is to speak with Rothes
and Lauderdale, and endeavour all he can, either by his
advice for moderation in general, or by recommending
your person and Lord Stair in particular, to dispose them to

;; The Earl of Rothes had now replaced Lord Middleton as Royal Commis-
sioner, the Earl of Lauderdale continuing Secretary for Scotland.


be earnest with the king for procuring an exemption to you
both from the Act, and to this purpose he sayth he will
make all the haste he can to sec them as soon as he can
possibly absent himself for an hour's time from his brother,
who is at present lying sick of a fever and flux in great
extremity. In his discourse to me he said one thing which
to me seemed very rational, that he thought the qualifica-
tion you desire to insert (of disowning the particulars there
mentioned in so far as they were against law, and disclaim-
ing all endeavours that may lead to the disturbance of the
public peace) is altogether superfluous, seeing the meaning
of the Declaration can be in effect no other, and no actings
can be understood to be thereby disowned but such as were

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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 23 of 28)