The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[Her brother-in-law duels with Bampfield; she resolves to obey Bampfield's advice to join friends in Scotland, pp. 52 - 56]

[p. 52] In all this time I had never heard nothing of C. B. [Colonel Bampfield], nor from him; which had beene trouble enough to mee, had itt nott beene overcome by the presentt trouble I was in, which made mee unsencible of what was att a greater distance. Butt noe sooner was I delivered from the sadness and discontentts occationed by what I have now related, then anew misfortune arives.

When I was hardly well composed affter one storme another rises, which by the danger of others involved mee by sympathy and gratitude in great disturbance. My sister [Elizabeth, Lady Newton] writtes me a long letter full of passion and discontentt, informing mee that a cosen of her husband's [Sir Henry Newton], an heire to whom hee was to succeed, was stollen away, and that affter much inquiry hee heard that the gentleman who had stollen her away had caried her to Flanders, and that shee had fled to a monestary to secure her selfe [p. 53] till my brother could come there to releeve her. And unhapily in the same ship that hee wente over in C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] was a passenger. And though hee [Colonel Bampfield] was disguised, yett my brother [Sir Henry Newton] knew him, and as soone as they landed hee [Sir Henry] challenges him [Colonel Bampfield]. They chose their seconds, fights, and my brother was wounded in the hand so dangerously, that to loose the use of itt was the least that was expected.1

How sadly this surprised mee is nott to bee imagined, for I should have been concerned in his misfortune though a stranger had occasioned itt. Butt to thinke itt was upon my accountt, and done by one I was interested in, these considerations did highly agravate my trouble, and make mee conclude the same as my sister did in her letter, that I was the most unhapy person living, for I had nott only made my selfe so, butt brought misfortune upon all that related to mee. Yett in the midst of all these disconsolations, I cannott butt accknowledge I had a sattisfaction to know so worthy a person as my brother N. [Newton] owned a concerne for mee, which hee would never have done (I was assured) if hee had beleeved mee vicious.2

Within a litle while affter, C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] sentt an exprese to mee, who was one of the persons who had assisted him in his escape, and could therfore give mee a true account of itt, and where hee was concealed till the unhapy time of the incounter betwixt my brother N. [Newton] and him. C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] knew very well I could nott butt heare of itt, and that itt would very much afflict mee, and therfore hee writt a long letter in his owne vindication, and lest I should have a doupt of what hee said, he refferred the confirmation of itt to an inclosed letter directed to mee, written by the two seconds, and subscribed by them both, who had beene two colonells in the king's army. My brother's second I cannott for the presentt remember his name, butt C. B.'s [Colonel Bampfield's] second was Coll. [Colonel] Loe [Lowe] (who afterwards came into Scottland with the King).3

The account they gave was this. When they were all fowre in the place apointed and there doubletts off, C. B. [Colonel Bampfield], with his sword in his hand, came to my brother N. [Newton] and told him hee was never ingaged in any imploymentt more contrary to his inclination than to make use of his sword against him who drew his in the deffence of the [p. 54] person hee loved beyond any living. That hee knew nott butt what hee was going now to say might bee the last that ever hee should speake, and therfore as such hee desired to bee beleeved. Hee said hee did beleeve there was nott a more vertuous person in the world then I, nor did hee know his wife was living, and as this was true so hee desired the Lord to blese him in what hee was going aboutt. So they fight, and had severall passes withoutt advantage to either, butt my brother receaving a wound in his hand and bleeding fast, the seconds ran in and parted them, C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] extreamly regretting what he had done, and my brother seeming to be sattisfied that hee had nott gott itt unhandsomely. This in short was the substance of there relation, which they concluded with a great complement to mee. Though I never aproved of duells, yett if my prayers were heard for my brother's recovery I thought this would nott bee to my disadvantage.

Butt that which pleased mee most was that C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] had mett with my Lord Dunfermeline [Charles Seton, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline] in Flanders (who, with other Commissioners were sentt from Scottland to invite his Majesty home), and aquainting his Lorp [Lordship], with what had beene betwixt him and mee, and justified himselfe as to what reports had beene made to his disadvantage, to obleige both him and mee, the Earle of Dunfermeline [Dunfermline] writt very earnestly to desire mee to come into Scotland, where the King intended to bee shortly, and therefore hee thought that would bee the most convenient time for mee to come, when I would have many freinds to asist mee for the recovery of my portion which was in Scotch hands.4

C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] seconded this with many arguments to perswade mee to hasten my journy all that was posible while the road was cleare, for there was reason to aprehend that Cromwell would soone march thither with the Army when, hee heard the King was landed.5

I showed my Lady H.[Howard] my letters, and my resolution of obaying them; but my deficulty was how to undertake the journy, or live in a strange place, having litle or noe mony.6 Butt as to that my Lady H. [Howard] very generously said I need nott trouble my selfe, for I should nott want what mony I desired, nor horses and men to [p. 55] attend mee to Edenborough. I was nott then long determining of the day for my departure. And Sir Charles apointed an old gentleman, a kinsman of his owne, with others, to bee ready to conduct mee (and shee that served mee) att the time prefixed.

The night before I was to come away I sentt for Mr. N. [Nicholls] and told him hee should now have his desire in seeing mee outt of the house, which was what hee had used many unhandsome ways to bring aboutt; and had itt nott beene for him itt is posible I had left that house with more regrett. Now I was likely to bee att a great distance from him, and therefore might expect hee would bee the more liberall in his discourse of mee when I could nott vindicate myselfe.

"Butt (said I,) remember when ever you speake any thing to my disadvantage you are heard by the Allmighty God, who will plead for mee, and your owne conscience (if you have one) will condemne you, for you know I am inocentt of those unworthy things you charged mee with."

"I confese (replied hee,) there hath some unhapy circumstances fallen outt that may seeme to give you reason for what you say. Butt I must suffer rather than vindicate myselfe to the prejudice of those under whose roofe I dwell; butt if ever I am so hapy as to see you outt of this familly, I shall then lett you see how much you have beene mistaken of mee, and to evidence what my thoughts are of you, I will give itt you under my hand that I do beleeve you as vertuous a person as lives."

I smiled att that, and with a disdainefull looke told him my vertue would have butt a weake suport if I had nothing to uphold itt butt a testimony from him. "Noe, (said I,) I have a better hand to rely upon to defend mee, and such a one as will make you ashamed for what you have done, except you repentt. The respect I have to your calling, and the benefitt I have had by your preaching and prayer, shall keepe mee from devulging your faults ; butt, as you expect the Lord's blesing upon your ministeriall office, and would avoid the beeing a scandall to itt, leave off the course you have begun with mee; lest iff you practise itt on any other itt may bring to remembrance the injury you have [p. 56] done mee, and so agravate your future crime."

Affter I said this I left him, and gave my Lady H. [Howard] accountt of what I had said to him.

The next day I tooke my leave of my Lady and all the familly, and Sir Ch. [Charles] with a good attendance wentt part of the way; and none in the familly butt gave some evidence of there concerne in parting from mee except Mr. N. [Nicholls], who hardly wentt to the gate with mee, and for that was much censured by all, especially my Lady H.[Howard] who had great expresions of kindnese to mee, and said if that journy proved unhapy to mee itt would bee a trouble to her as long as shee lived, because shee was sure I had never undertaken itt so willingly if I had nott beene disobleeged where I was. I could nott contradict so great a truth, nor bee unsencible of her very great friendship, which was the more to bee valued because itt had mett with so strong a tryall, and yett continued firme.

[1 Jane Puckering, a wealthy heiress and daughter of Sir Thomas Puckering, was Sir Henry Newton's cousin. As nephew to Sir Thomas, Sir Henry Newton could inherit the estate. The abductor and assailant was Joseph Walsh, who, together with some male companions, forced Jane to go to Holland. The power and prominence of the people involved led the English Council of State to send a man-of-war to rescue Jane. This unfortunate pawn died in childbirth less than two years later, 27 January 1652. Sir Henry Newton did inherit the estate and took the name of Puckering (Loftis, Memoirs, 198n). EM]

[2 Loftis, Memoirs (198-199n) quotes a letter by Newton to Sir Ralph Verney where Newton postures his indifference: "'I mett at sea with a rencontre of a person who bored some few holes in mee at landing, which have done mee this only despight, that they kept me away so much longer than I intended form my Cosen, and you; of two pricks scarcely worth the naming, one of them hath been kind to mee about the belly, but the other new seven weekes in cure I doubt will domineere among the sinewes a moneth longer before I gett my arme at Liberty'" Bampfield knows how much Anne's brother-in-law means to her, and yet had to stab and hurt him so strongly in the hand, to prevent Newton murdering him. This suggests the depth of Newton's resentment. I put this down to Bampfield's lower status, lack of estate, and indignation over Bampfield's bigamy. Anne professes to feel she is at least thought worthy of being treated as someone who has been betrayed instead of an unchaste woman (an inference the mores of the time would allow as she is refusing to separate herself from a man married to someone else).

I suggest Newton could think of no other way to part her from Bampfield since he and Elizabeth as well as her brother, Henry, and his wife, had repeatedly told Anne Bampfield's wife was alive. In Bampfield's Apology, we learn the letter by Newton is dated June 1650.

In Bampfield's Apology, 157, Loftis also suggests Bampfield went into hiding after the duel; when Sir Henry was partly recovered, Bampfield travelled to Breda where Charles II was; Charles II refused to see him, but Bampfield did not see that the king's animosity was permanent and so travelled on to Scotland with William Murray, later the Earl of Dysart, Charles I's boyhood companion. Lofits thinks it was Anne who introduced Bampfield to the Scots' nobility; it seems to be the evidence suggests tthat while she had a place at court as her parents' daughter and because she was related to people like Dysart, there is as much evidence for thinking she was becoming part of this group because of their use, need and respect for Bampfield as Charles I's ex-courrier (among other things). EM]

[3 Loftis, Memoirs (199n) says this was "Colonel Hercules Lowe, who served King Charles I" too. So a close friend who may have shared Bampfield's conservative politics (presbyterian and Royalist) and also served the same master originally. EM]

[4 Bampfield was in close contact with the Covenanting Scots, as as group with whom his politics led him to sympathize. Loftis, Memoirs, writes: "Charles Seton, second Earl of Dunfermline (d. 1672) had gone to the Continent after the execution of Charles I. At the time of which Lady Halkett writes, he with other leaders of the Covenanting Scots was engaged in the negotiations with Charles II which had issue in the King's going to Scotland in June 1650. Lord Dunfermline accompanied him and entertained him at his seat in Dunfermline" (199n). Bampfield would be unaware of how inveterate Charles II's animosity either then was to him or would become. See Bampfield's Apology 77-80.

On the Scots movements and individuals, see David Stevenson (in bibliography). Bampfield's presence and some of his acts and letters are used by Eva Scott in her books (bibliography); she has to be read with caution as she has simply taken on Clarendon's views that Bampfield was the soul of sordid treachery and she does get his first name wrong (she calls him Charles Bampfield). EM]

[5 We see Anne here acting in the manner prescribed for a faithful wife: she assumes Bampfield's "social status" and a "position of 'obedient follower.'" Bampfield is her "wise and provident governor." She entrusts him with her future and her inheritance too. See Paula Backscheider, "'Endless Aversion Rooted in the Soul': Divorce in the 1690-1730 Theater," The Eighteenth Century, 37:2 (1996): 107. The essay includes a perceptive account of how marriage was contracted and regarded in the later 17th century. EM]

[6 From now on Anne is very low in funds. Here is Couper in his 1701 Life writes: "She was no less unfortunate, in her own affairs, being deprived of an interest in Barhamsteed, to the value, of 412 lib. Ster. a Year: This was an House and Park of the Kings, of which her Mother had a lease (having payed a Fine for it to the Exchequer) and had left it to her Brother William [d. 1649] and her, dureing twelve Years, that were to run: and of the other part of her Patrimony the 2000 lib. Ster. [owed to her by the Earl of Kinnoull or his heirs] She could not command one Farthing. See Couper 1701 Life, 20. Couper also says Anne's stay at Naworth was "not of long continuance," 1701 Life, 21. Indeed. About 10 months at most.

In addition, the friendship with Anne Howard seems to have been over. Anne did make one attempt to return to Naworth, but upon advice from Bampfield, never got very far (see She leaves to visit Anne Howard, 77-78), and there is no record in her memoir, Couper's 1701 Life, Nicholls's preface, or Cummings, the earliest full life, that she and her close friend from girlhood were ever close again. After this she turned to her sister or her Scots women friends. EM]

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