The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[Alone and confronted by Halkett with documentary evidence that Bampfield's wife is alive, she acknowledges her "misfortune", pp. 84 - 86]

{p. 84] To make good the promise Sir J. H. [James Halkett] made to Sir R. M. [Robert Moray] hee never came to towne butt I was the first person hee visitted, and was very solicitous in any of my concernes, and wentt with mee when I had occasion to attend the Judges.

I found frequency of converse increased what I was sory to find, and to devertt itt from my selfe I offten perswaded him to marry, and used severall argumentts from what hee had aquainted mee with in his owne condition, that made mee by way of freindship to him, and for preventing some inconveniences to his familly, very seriously advise him to marry; and I confese I proposed itt as a great satisfaction to my selfe to have his condittion such as might make itt utterly irnposible for him to have any thoughts of mee butt what might bee allowable to him in a maried state.

I att last prevailed so farre with, him, hee accknowledged hee was convinced itt would bee for his advantage to have a good discreet wife, and hee had had severall in his thoughts since I was so urgentt with him, and now was determined upon one, butt was resolved I should bee the first proposer of itt. I was very well pleased to undertake the imploymentt; and the way hee designed was by my recomending him by a letter to my Lord Belcarese [Alexander Lindsay, 1st Earl of Balcarres], who had an interest in a handsome young widow, and to desire his Lordp [Lordship's] assistance to obtaine his designe.

This hee did only to complementt mee; for his owne interest with my L. B. [Lord Balcarres] was much more then any I could pretend to, for hee had a great esteeme for Sir J. [James Halkett]; and I remember once when I was att Belcarese [Balcarres] (where I wentt frequently), my Lord was speaking something of Sir James, and I said, "Pray, my Lord, give mee leave to aske what the ground was that some people takes to speake with some reflection upon him?"

"Truly (my Lord replied,) I beleeve [p. 85] never person was more injured nor worse requited for a gallantt action, and hee could nott have desired a better wittnese to vindicate him then the King, for hee was a wittnese all the time standing upon the leads of my Lord Belmerinoth's [John Elphinstone, 3rd Lord Balmerino's] house att Leith, and saw the whole proceedure; for, if itt had nott beene for Sir James and those hee commanded, all the King's forces att that time att Muslebrough had beene cutt off; and hee stood in the face of the enemy while the rest retreated, and came handsomely off with very litle disadvantage; and as I am a Christian (said my Lord,) this is true; and I have heard the King speake severall times of itt with great aplause to Sir James, and anger att those who traduced him in what was so eminently falce." And upon that occation hee heard the King say, "Lord keepe mee from there malice! for I see they will spare none they have a prejudice against."1

To confirme that this humour did then very much reigne, I cannott butt mention what I was a wittnese of my selfe. One day Sir James came to see mee, and brought a gentleman with him who hee beleeved much his freind; and affter severall discourses of puplicke affaires, the gentleman satte sillent a litle while, and then, smiling, said, "Sir James, now that I am convinced you are an honest man, and love the King and his interest, I will make a confesion to you. You were so great with my Lord Argile [Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquis of Argyle and 8th Earl] that I thought itt imposible you could bee honest, and therfore I have laine in my bed in a morning inventing some ill story of you, and reported itt when I wentt abroad, and itt was joy to mee to have itt beleeved; and, now I see my error, I aske your pardon;" which Sir James soone gave, and past itt over as a jest.

Butt to returne where I left.2

Affter Sir James was resolved to make adrese to that lady, hee intended to goe upon Monday the 21. of March, 1652-3, to Belcarese [Belcarres House], and desired to have my letter ready, and in the morning hee would call for itt. I was nott long in writting, and did recomend the designe to my Lord Belcarese [Alexander Lindsay, 1st Lord Balcarres] with as much earnestnese as the greatest concerne I could have, and had the letter ready against hee came for itt, which was punctually the time [p. 86] hee apointed.

When hee came into my chamber, I saw something of joy in his face that I had nott observed in a long time; and I said I was glad to see him looke so well pleased, for had hee sooner resolved to goe a wooing, I had sooner seene a change in him. Though I saw him well pleased, yett I saw him in disorder with itt, and hee stood still a pritty while withoutt speaking a word.

Att last hee said, "I have heard news this morning; and, though I know itt will trouble you, yett I thinke itt is fitt you should bee aquainted with itt. Just as I was turning downe Blacke-fryar Wind (said hee,) to come here, Coll. [Colonel] Hay called to mee, and told mee the post that came in yesterday morning had brought letters from London that undouptedly C. B. [Colonel Bampfield's] wife was living, and was now att London, where shee came cheiffely to undeceave those who beleeved her dead."3

"Oh! (said I, with a sad sigh,) is my misfortune so soone devulged? -- "4

The leaf containing pages 101 and 102 has been destroyed.

1 Anne Murray and Lady Anna Mackenzie Lindsay, Balcarres's wife were correspondents in later years, and perhaps friends when within reachable physical distance of one another. See Bampfield's Apology, 172. Halkett had been accused of cowardice in battle. Loftis, Memoirs, 204n, quotes Balfour, Annales of Scotland, in Works, 4:86-87: "'The last of Julij Sir James Hackett receauid a grate fryte at a skirmishe with the enmey; he should hauve secondit the L. Generall but turnid and neuer lowsid a poistoll against the enimey, bot took him to the speed of his horsse heiles ...' Under the date, 3 August 1650, Balfour adds: 'Sir James Hackett and Colonell Scotte, cleired by the comittee, zet that did litle salue ther honor amongest honest men and souldiours of worthe and reputatione'" Charles II was at Lord Balmerino's [John Elphinstone, 3rd Lord Balmerino] house at Leigh, 29 July until 2 August 1650 ... [and] had watched the battle from the roof -- the 'leads' -- of the house" EM]

[2 Argyle was a central figure in many intrigues of the era; a powerful highland chieftain, part of the "kirk and king" faction (Presbyterian royalists to which Moray, Bampfield and Halkett belonged), he was finally executed for high treason (1661). Argyle was sometimes referred to as a "wily fox"; for a good succinct account of his career see Dow, Cromwellian Scotland, 1-79 and passim. Anne has placed this refutation of a calumny directed at Sir James just at the point where she is about to reveal she knows she has had an on-going relationship with a married man Halkett confronts her with the evidence. She may want to clear him of any suspicion against his honorable character. The reader might note that Halkett and his friends have taken advantage of Anne's single state; Bampfield is not there to defend himself nor challenge Sir James (to a duel perhaps). The dialogue between Anne and Halkett is ambiguous; she has presented herself as loving Bampfield, and she was desperate when he left. Halkett means to flirt courteously when he suggests that Anne is the one person he will allow to determine who will be his next wife; her writing a letter for him involves them in romantic talk. EM]

[3 Colonel John Hay "(d. 1675), son of Sir John Hay of Baro, Haddington; Scotsman and Royalist soldier" (Loftis, Memoirs 249n). EM]

[4 While Catherine Sydenham did indeed come to London at this time (see Bampfield, Apology, 18-19, 246-47), it's not clear why Anne Murray thought she must immediately face the truth she has been told many times before, and which her close relatives who so sure of they separated themselves from her rather than countenance her relationship with a married man. Surely she more than half-believed Bampfield's wife was alive (though not quite consciously admitted) since Bampfield first told her his servant had misinformed him (see She bethroths herself to Joseph Bampfield, p. 27. As Loftis says, both Bampfield and Anne "leave much unsaid" (the biographical supplement, Bampfield's Apology, 246. I suggest now that Bampfield has gone, and still an outcast from Charles II's favor, and with the evidence of this flirtation going on betweeen them, we may surmize she was attracted to Halkett and did not want to carry on the farce of pretending to send him to another woman. Halkett was her solution for safety, respect, a home for herself. This whole section is arranged in a defensive displaced way. Yet it took another thee years before she married Halkett.

What has been destroyed? A candid explanation of her feelings and perhaps what the actual situation between her and Bampfield has been. It cannot have been too damning as S. C. in his character portrait of Bampfield (who he does mention more than once) repeats Anne's praise of Bampfield as a moral man ("hee was unquestionably loyall, handsome, a good skollar, which gave him the advantages of writting and speaking well, and the cheefest ornamentt hee had was a devout life and conversation. Att least hee made itt apeare such to mee, and what ever misfortune hee brought upon mee I will doe him that right as to acknowledge I learnt from him many excellent lessons of piety and vertue, and to abhorre and detest all kinds of vice", p. 25 above (see She bethroths herself to Bampfield, and adds further praise that comes from earlier parts of Anna's manuscript we no longer have, e.g., "The King had Imployed a Gentleman, who was a trusty and faithful Friend to his Interest . . ." EM]

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