John Murray Graham.

Annals and correspondence of the viscount and the first and second earls of Stair; (Volume 2) online

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hero [Cumberland] they lately saw here.

" My wife begs leave to congratulate your Excel-
lency, and all your brave fellow-soldiers to whom she
has the honour of being known, upon this joyful

Lady Murray of Stanhope to the Earl of Stair.

"WOOLER, HAUGHHEAD, July 12, 1743.
" I will make no apology for giving you the trouble
of this to convey the enclosed ; it concerns us all so

298 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1743.

nearly, I am sure you will pardon it. I knew Lord
Haddington would think himself happy to be under
your particular command in a lower rank than he
would accept of in any other regiment ; * and you may
be sure it is what all of us desire most extremely,
since it is the way of life he is fixt upon, which I
cannot but wonder at his choosing in such perilous
times. Both his and our only dependence is upon
you, and there I must leave it. I cannot find words
to tell you our joy and thankfulness for your safety
and glorious victory, though our hearts are far from
being at ease for what is likely yet to come. I pray
God send us good accounts of you. If universal
good wishes could avail, you would ever be safe and
happy, and I hope you are preserved for the honour
of this nation, and to complete your own glory. We
are here for the goat-whey to Lady Binning, whom
it has quite recovered. You have the most ardent
good wishes of young and old of us ; and I am, with
sincere esteem and affection, &c.


The Earl of Hertford\ to the Earl of Stair.

"July 30, 1743.

" I won't begin my letter to your lordship without
congratulating you first upon the victory you have

* Thomas, seventh Earl of Haddington, son of Lord Binning and
Rachel Baillie, Lady Murray's sister, succeeded his grandfather in
1735 upon the death of Lord Binning at Naples. Lord Binning's
eldest daughter, Grisell, was married in 1745 to the second Earl

t Lord Hertford, who commanded the Blues, was the eldest son of
the Duke of Somerset.


obtained at Dettingen, in which you had so great a
share. One reason of my applying to your lordship
now is in behalf of my regiment [the Blues], which lies
under the most barbarous treatment, from a report
that was made by Ower the messenger, as if they had
run away and had refused to obey when your lord-
ship had come to the head of them. This story has
so far prevailed here, all over England, that when I
attempt to justify their behaviour, I am not believed,
but even laughed at. This is carried so far that
without something be done to take off this false
charge, the regiment must never come home, nor
shall I ever be able to recruit it. In these circum-
stances, I know nothing can redress us but a letter or
certificate from your lordship how they did behave.
Therefore I must beg, my lord, that you will send
me such a one as I may publish to the world. I am
satisfied you will readily do this for a corps that has
a right to have the false report made of them taken
off. My officers write me word that they were to
wait on your lordship on this cursed report, and that
you told them you were surprised at the account they
gave you, and that you had never laid anything to
their charge."

There would seem to have been no foundation for
the report complained of by Lord Hertford, as to his
regiment's hesitation in advancing when ordered to

o o

attack the French force. It had suffered consider-
ably from the batteries on the opposite side of the
Mayn, when covering the formation of the allied
troops in order of battle ; but both Lord Stair and
General Honey wood, when appealed to as eye-wit-

300 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1743.

nesses, declared in favour of the conduct of the regi-
ment of Oxford Blues on the day of the fight.

Colonel James Gardiner to - . *

" BANKTON, July 26, 1743.

" MY DEAR SIR, I congratulate you all upon the
late glorious victory, and it has been no small joy to
me that Lord Stair escaped so well, to whom I beg
you will be pleased to make my compliments accept-
able. For my own part, I have been extremely bad
ever since I left you, both upon the road and since I
came home, with my old distemper, an ague in my
head. I was in great hopes the journey would have
cured me, but I grew worse. I met with poor
Johnny Young at Berwick, in his way to Lisbon ; I
was greatly concerned to see him look so ill, and,
poor man, he was much troubled at my illness s I
hope the air of Portugal may recover him. I was
much surprised that when the Hanoverians and
Hessians joined you after the battle, you did not
pass the Mayn and attack the French army. You
would have had a cheap bargain of them, after
having given them such an overthrow, which my
Lord Stair knows well. It is true there may be
reasons to the contrary which I can know nothing
of. ... Mrs Stirling is at present at North
Berwick. All the world agrees your son Bob is as
fine a boy as ever was seen, and his master com-
mends him much for an exceeding good scholar. I
was the other day to pay my respects to my Lady

* The address of this letter is awanting, but it was evidently ad-
dressed to an officer in the allied army, a relative of Lord Stair.


Stair at Newliston, whom I found in very good health,
and Mrs Primrose much fatter than ever I expected
to have seen her. Mr Carlyle has not been at home,
nor his wife, since my arrival. We have heard a
very extraordinary story of Mr Duvernay ; I should
be glad to know the truth of it. I beg you'll be so
good as to make my compliments to General Camp-
bell, Ligonier, and all the rest of our friends."

Truth is brought in contact with fiction in a sin-
gular manner by two letters which Lord Stair re-
ceived in August of this year, when in command
of the army, from Lady Vane, the " Lady of Quality "
whose memoirs, founded on fact, are related in
' Peregrine Pickle.' In the first of these letters, her
ladyship, whose own conduct had not been irreproach-
able, applies to Lord Stair to assist her against the
proceedings of Lord Vane, who, after having, as she
alleged, treated her with great cruelty and to the
danger of her life, had despatched an agent to pro-
cure an order from the queen of Hungary to take
her person. Lady Vane was then residing at Brus-
sels, in the Austrian Netherlands, but afterwards, on
Lord Vane's agent procuring this order, removed to
Paris. From Paris she writes again to Lord Stair,
entreating him to obtain the king of England's
interest that she should be allowed to reside at
Brussels (not being secure from her husband's insults
in England) until her suit for a divorce was decided.

These letters are illustrations of the substratum of
truth underlying so much of Smollett's writing. *

* Stair Papers, vol. xxvii. Lady Vane's husband was the second Vis-
count Vane, whose father William was created Viscount Vane in 1720.

302 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1743.


Lord Stair resigns his appointment of Commander-in-chief " TJie three
Johns" The grounds of complaint on the part of Stair and his
friends in England made the subject of discussion in Parliament
Stair appointed to the command of the forces in South Britain
Letters of Lord Drummore, Duke of Richmond, Lord Cathcart, and

WHETHER owing to the king's preference for his
German advisers or not, there can be no doubt that
Lord Stair's advice after the battle of Dettingen did
not receive that consideration which was due to his
position and experience as a military man. His re-
commendations in regimental matters also were dis-
regarded, and he himself (as he alleged) personally
slighted. Upon the king's return to England, he
presented to his Majesty a memorial complaining of
not having been well treated, and not sufficiently
consulted and deferred to in the military operations
and details of the army, concluding with a request to
be allowed to retire from the command-in-chief with-
out any mark of the royal displeasure.* When
this memorial was submitted to the king, Lord Car-
teret acquainted Stair that his Majesty accepted his
resignation and, though displeased with the Memorial,
would show no further marks of his royal displea-

* Printed in the Appendix to chap. xxv.


sure, if Stair's future conduct should not give occasion
for it.~ ;: ~

Lord Stair had a powerful party in England upon
his side. Their cause of complaint was, no doubt,
partly owing to the anomalous position in which he,
as commander-in-chief, was placed by the king's pre-
sence with the army, not to mention George's known
partiality for the Hanoverian generals. But consider-
ing that before the king's arrival the army had been
moved beyond its proper base of operations, which was
at least a very hazardous if not a blamable step, it may
be doubted whether the dissatisfaction of Stair and his
friends in England was entirely well founded. He had
been out-manoeuvred by the French general, and this
not unnaturally produced some distrust of his counsels.

His grievances, such as they were, met with de-
cided sympathy from many British officers (including
the Duke of Marlborough, his second in command),
who threw up their commissions in disgust at the
alleged neglect of Stair and preference shown for the

The opposition party in England were inclined to
make political capital of these jealousies and discon-
tents, and talked ironically of the warlike foreign
secretary Carteret becoming the new commander-in-
chief. The following doggerel verses on " the three
Johns" (the Duke of Argyle, Earl of Stair, and
Lord Carteret) appeared in the public prints :

" John, Duke of Argyle, we admired for a while,

Whose titles fell short of his merit ;
His loss to repair, we took John, Earl of Stair,
Who, like him, had both virtue and merit.

Coxe's Pclham Administration, vol. i., Appendix.

304 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1743-

" Now he too is gone, Ah, what's to be done !

Such losses how can we supply ?
But let's not repine, on the banks of the Rhine
There's a third John his fortune will try.

" By the Patriots' vagary he was made Secretary,

By himself he's Prime minister made ;
And now to crown all, he is made General,

Though he ne'er was brought up to the trade." i

Lord Stair had now the prospect before him of
returning, as he said, " to his plough." He remained,
however, during the autumn and winter in London,
cheered by the intercourse and letters of his numer-
ous friends, whose constant goodwill and sympathy,
together with his own elastic temperament, made
him proof against all changes of fortune :

Lord Drummore to the Earl of Stair.

" October 13, 1743.

" I fancy it will not be disagreeable to your lord-
ship to know somewhat more particularly the state of
your farms than for some months past ; but before I
begin to entertain your lordship with these amuse-
ments, I cannot help congratulating you upon the
resignation you have lately made of the command of
the army. I am extremely sorry your lordship found

* These lines are quoted from Wright's ' Caricature History of the
Georges,' where also a copy is given of a caricature of the battle of
Dettingen, in which Field-Marshal Stair's eagerness for pursuit, and
the anxiety of the king (represented as the heraldic Hanoverian horse
riding on the famished British lion) to save his German troops, is
brought out with some humour.


yourself in that unhappy situation as either to be
obliged to part with your honour or it. I was ex-
tremely glad to see your lordship, for the public good
of Europe, bear what you have bore so long as you
did. ... I can assure your lordship it is not neces-
sary for you to publish the reasons of your conduct to
the world, which is rather (were it possible) partial in
your favours. I fancy the most of these reasons have
been assigned, and those who wish well to the Pro-
testant succession are very sorry for them. . . .

" The Galloway tenants are such lazy hounds as
deserve no pity ; whether corn is cheap or dear, the
rent is alike ill paid. They trust to favours that have
been done, and expect, when they have eaten and
drunk their rents, they shall meet with a repetition of
them ; and they are so spoilt by the favours already
bestowed, that they are good for nothing. I gave
them fair warning of what would be their fate in
April was a year, and I am sure, if your lordship
turns them out, you will get much better tenants in
their room ; if you keep them, you shall always have
very ill-paid rents.

" I have little to say on the subject of Newliston
than that there is a very good crop of corns and hay,
and a good deal of grass. Your lordship shall need
to buy nothing, and have a good deal to dispose of,
which would make it answer very well, if grain bore
any price. I forgot to tell your lordship that, in the
west country, there is no such thing as buying or sell-
ing grain, nor in Galloway.

" P.S. The garden of Castle Kennedy is in high
splendour and glory ; Thomas [the gardener] in very
ofood health."



306 THE STAIR ANNALS. ['743-

The Karl of Marchmont to the Earl of Stair.

" BATTF.RSEA, Saturday, Oct. 29, 1743.

" Lord Bolingbroke and I sent to your servant a
note saying we should wait on you to-morrow. But
as Lord Chesterfield has invited us to meet your
lordship on Monday to dinner, Lord Bolingbrokc
proposes waiting upon you on Monday morning, be-
cause he dares not cross the river too often in this
cold weather. I am sorry to hear you complain of
ill health ; I hope you will soon be as well as I wish
you, who am hereditarily and sincerely," c.

When parliament met in the end of the year, the
king's Hanoverian leanings, and the slights to which
Lord Stair was alleged to have been exposed, were
the subject of strong invectives by the opposition.
Lord Sandwich concluded a declamatory speech with
a panegyric upon Stair, which even his most partial
friends might think somewhat overcharged. " In
Lord Stair " (said the orator) " were lost all that
nature or that experience had ever furnished to com-
plete a general a mind at once calm and intrepid,
a temper at once active and resolute qualities of
which, if any recommendation could be imagined
necessary, it may with justice be affirmed that they
are recommended by a thousand testimonies of the
firmest adherence to his Majesty, and by sufferings in
the sacred cause of liberty." " The man so long cele-
brated for his courage, his wisdom, and his integrity "
(Lord Westmoreland said, in another debate) " the
man who had so frequently signalised his zeal for the


present royal family was reduced to a statue with
a truncheon in his hand, and was permitted only to
share the dangers and hardships of the campaign, of
which the Electoral Divan regulated the operation."" 1 '"
Stair himself took no active part, nor showed any
resentful temper, upon the score of his so-called
grievances. On the contrary, when alarms of a
French invasion were rife, in the beginning of the
ensuing year, he tendered his services to the king,
and received from his Majesty, in terms of the fol-
lowing royal warrant, the command of the forces in
South Britain :

"Feb. 24, 1744.

" We, reposing special trust and confidence in your
conduct and abilities, have thought proper to appoint
you to command all our forces which are or shall be
in South Britain. Our will and pleasure is, that you
take upon you the command of our said forces accord-
ingly, and that you march, quarter, and encamp the
same in such manner as the exigency of affairs shall
require for the preventing any invasion from abroad,
and for the preservation of our royal person and
government, and of the public peace and tranquillity
at home. And you are to obey such orders as you
shall receive from us from time to time. And all
magistrates, justices of the peace, constables, and
other our civil officers, are hereby ordered to be
assisting unto you in providing quarters, impressing
carriages, and otherwise as there shall be occasion."

with this warrant a list of the general offi-


Jan. 31, 1744. (Quoted from Douglas's Peerage, by Wood.)

308 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1744.

cers was sent, " whom his Majesty hath been pleased
to name to serve under Lord Stair's command."

This appointment went far to soothe the troubled
waters, so far as Lord Stair was concerned. It was
creditable to the government, and a source of congrat-
ulation to his friends.

Colonel James Gardiner to the Earl of Stair.

"EDINBURGH, Feb. 29, 1744.

" I take the opportunity of jny Lord Cathcart to
congratulate your lordship upon your having the
command of the troops in South Britain, at which I
believe all, if lovers of their king and country, rejoice,
especially considering the present situation of affairs.
I need not tell your lordship what real joy it has
given me ; but I can assure you it is by much the
best news that I have heard since the battle of Det-
tingen. I have passed my time very ill since I left
your lordship in Germany, having always had an
ague in my head till within these eight or ten days,
that I find myself a good deal better. I desire to
bless God that He has preserved your lordship's
health so wonderfully. I hope it is for a blessing
to these nations, and to the Protestant interest in

Lord Drummore to the Earl of Stair.

" March 3, 1 744.

" I had wrote to your lordship by Lord Cathcart if
I had had as much time, the whole of which, after he

1 7 44-] SECOND EARL OP^ STAIR. 309

took the resolution to go away so suddenly, I was
obliged to apply to his affairs. He is a young man
of the greatest merit, and surely your lordship must
have the greatest pleasure in making a second dleve
of that family, that cannot fail in doing honour to you
and all concerned in him."" Whatever affects your
lordship's welfare always rejoices me, the rather that
(especially at present, I think) the public good is full
as much advanced in your being put at the head of
the army at home as your private interest. It gives
satisfaction to the nation, and grieves its enemies. I
made my compliments to your lordship upon your
resignation last year, and now I confess I have a
larger field to compliment you than I had then. I
shall say in one word what I think that your lord-
ship's conduct at present is a greater instance of true
magnanimity than what your resignation last year

" To purchase horses to draw the water [of the
coal-mine], and forage to maintain them, I am afraid
will be an expensive thing, and must run away with
the profit of the coal for this year. ... It would
be highly for your lordship's interest to set the coal
and farm under proper regulations as to both, for
which I have reason to think a very good rent may
be got ; and if that were the case, your lordship's
estate would make a far better figure in the balance

* Charles, ninth Lord Cathcart, having succeeded his father in 1740,
received a company in the 2oth Regiment of foot, and acted in the
campaign in Germany as Lord Stair's aide-de-camp. Serving with dis-
tinction in the army, he married a daughter of Lord Archibald Hamil-
ton of Riccarton, and was father of William, tenth Lord Cathcart, of
the Duchess of Athole, the second Countess of Mansfield, and the Hon.
Mrs Graham.

3'0 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1744.

of the accounts of it than now it does. I shall be
glad to have your lordship's directions upon this
article, and that as soon as possible. . . .

"A great many people here are highly feared about
the invasion. ... I hope before this time Sir John
N orris has given a good account of the Brest squad-
ron. I cannot persuade myself there is great hazard
in the French landing such a body of troops as to do
more than put us in a little confusion for some time.
Their undertakings for this year seem to be very ex-
tensive. I believe if they had been used as they
deserved at Dettingen they would have been quieter
to-day, and as glad to receive law as now they seem
disposed to give it."

The Same to t/ie Same.


" DRUMMORE, April 24, 1744.

" . . . I had an application from the magistrates
of Stranraer to obtain some forces for them to repress
the depredations of the privateers in Loch Ryan and
the vicinage. I applied to the general, who, with
great regard and friendship, said that any thing he
could do to oblige Lord Stair must be very accept-
able to him, but the provision of arms was so scanty
in this country that he could not possibly part with
any ; and if he did, so many applications had been
made, that, if he had complied with them, none must
have been left. But he has fallen upon a device
which is more effectual for the security of the country
to wit, to send a company to Stranraer to receive


such recruits as shall be raised upon the Act of Par-
liament. This he has done in a most polite and
obliging manner as to your lordship, and I have this
clay wrote to the magistrates to take particular care
to use the officers and soldiers well."

Lord Rcay to the Earl of Stair.

"TONGUE, March 5, 1744.

" Though the alarm of an intended invasion may
be over e'er now, I think it my duty to acquaint your
lordship that, in case of any such design, I am still
ready to venture my all in defence of my king and
country as sincerely as I did on all former occasions,
particularly in the year 1715. And though I know
that your lordship is fully convinced of this, yet, as I
am the chief of a Highland clan, I expect you will do
me the justice to assure his Majesty that they and I
are most willing to sacrifice our lives and fortunes in
support and defence of his person and government.
I will esteem your lordship doing me this honour a
very great favour."

The following letter from Charles, second Duke of


Richmond, refers to the marriage of the Duke's eldest
daughter, Lady Georgina, to Henry Fox, first Lord
Holland, which (much against the will of her parents)
had taken place some days before. Of this mar-
riage, Charles James Fox was the second surviving

312 THE STAIR ANNALS. [1744.

The Duke of Richmond to the Earl of Stair,

"WHITEHALL, May 9, 1744.

" I must beg your lordship's indulgence for leave
to go into Sussex for two or three weeks, if you have
no particular commands for me in that time ; but, if
you have, my aide-de-camp will wait to receive them,
and I shall be proud upon all occasions to obey your
lordship's commands. A very melancholy affair in
my family is the occasion of my desiring to be retired
for a few days. A most ungrateful and undutiful
daughter has behaved cruelly to, I'll venture to. say,
the most kind and indulging parents. And I must
acquaint your lordship that an old intimate friend and
brother officer of mine, who deserves neither the natne
of friend or officer, much less that great one he bears
I mean the Duke of Maryborough has perfidiously
(in breach of all faith, honour, and friendship) been
privately aiding and assisting in this scandalous affair.
I beg your lordship's pardon for troubling you with
my private affairs, but you have always been so good,
kind, and friendly to me, that it is some ease to im-
part them to you."

Lord Stair, as in command of the forces in South
Britain, had now his headquarters in London, where
he lived pleasantly enough in the society of the
metropolis. He does not seem to have had much
trouble with his military arrangements. The strength
of the army, indeed, was in Germany, still warring in
the cause of the Pragmatic Sanction and Maria Teresa,
while a Jacobite rising was becoming more and more
imminent at home.


The letters that follow are from Lord Cathcart,
written from the seat of war on the Continent, and
from a London friend of Lord Stair's, Lady Susan
Keck :

Lord Catkcart to Earl of Stair.

"OsTEND, July 16, 1744.

" After an extremely tempestuous passage of twelve
hours, I arrived here about one o'clock this afternoon.
I was sick to death, according to custom, and am yet
scarce recovered, but unwilling to lose the opportu-
nity of a messenger to pay my duty to your lordship.
I have been to wait upon the Count de Chandos
since my arrival here, and knowing the respect and
good opinion your lordship entertains for that general,
I took it upon me to make your compliments to him.
He has no news of any new motion of Prince Charles,
but says about 25,000 men are in march to join him
from Bavaria. . . . There are in this garrison

Online LibraryJohn Murray GrahamAnnals and correspondence of the viscount and the first and second earls of Stair; (Volume 2) → online text (page 21 of 34)