A Memoir of Lady Anna Mackenzie
[pp. 46 - 95]
[p. 46] The warmest sympathy had been shown to Lady Balcarres when the news of her impending bereavement reached her friends. Sir Robert Moray's letter on the occasion has not been preserved, but he wrote by the same opportunity to Alexander Bruce, from Paris, on the 12th September 1659, beginning with the abrupt but significant words,
"This once you will be contented I say but little to you, though I never had so large a theme."
After the expressions of grief natural to the occasion, but repressed with the stoicism which, as Burnet tells us, veiled over although it could not deaden the kindness of his heart, he proceeds,
"Let us henceforward converse and speak as calmly of what concerns my dear Cummer as we can, and get her to do so too. My undoubting expectation your next will tell me my dear Gossip hath shaken off mortality makes me think of what concerns my dear Cummer and her little ones; and here I give you not only mine own thoughts but my Lord Jermyn's, that no time may be lost in determining what is fit for her to do. I do not know in what portion of his estate she is infeft, nor whether her infeftment is unbroken, nor where it is; but I think it will be necessary to prepare as soon as possible for a journey home to settle what concerns it and her little ones, and the estate. Her way must be by London, for which either she needs no pass, or may get Downing's.1 There she will get Lauderdale's advice"
(Lauderdale was still confined in the Tower, having, like Crawford-Lindsay, been a prisoner in England ever since [p. 47] 1651,)
"and may procure what is necessary for taking off sequestration, &c., unless she determines otherwise. If there be any inconvenience in carrying the little ones" (that is, her daughters) "with her, they may be left where they are, especially if she have any thought of coming back to be about the P. R.," (the Princess Royal or Princess of Orange,) "which will be secured to her the while. I know not indeed how she shall be provided for the journey unless you help her in it; yet I think the Queen" (Henrietta Maria) "will do somewhat in it, if she stay so long as it might be got done; for I would have her gone before winter."
It was in pursuance of these arrangements that Lady Balcarres proceeded to London, as intimated in her letter to Colonel Henderson above given, in the beginning of November 1659.
The Queen had written very kindly to her on the 19th September, on hearing of her loss, expressing the esteem she had entertained for Lord Balcarres and the pleasure it would give her to contribute anything to her consolation. She wrote likewise to her daughter, the Princess of Orange, (as she tells her in a second letter dated the 11th October,) in the same strain. And from the Princess of Orange, to whom Lady Balcarres had apparently written from England, thanking her for past kindnesses, she received a letter so cordial and appreciative that it is worth insertion, although part of it refers to a matter irrelevant to this narrative, the opposition offered by Charles II. to his sister's visit to Paris at the time in question:
"My Lady Balcarres,
"If it had been in my power, you should have found before this time the effects of that true esteem I have for your person, for I may assure you with truth that the want of those occasions did much trouble me, and now more than ever, finding how much you are satisfied with those very little civilities I was able to perform when I was with you. which I am so ashamed you should take notice of that I will leave this subject, and tell you that the kindness of the Queen's invitation of me to come to her is very well able alone to overcome all endeavours [p. 48] of hindering me from that happiness, if I had not a most passionate desire of waiting upon her Majesty, which I hope to do very shortly in spite of all designs to the contrary ; and wherever I go, let me desire you to believe that I shall always strive to show you the reality of my being, My Lady Balcarres,
' Your most affectionate friend,
And this letter again was followed not long afterwards by a few lines from King Charles himself, dated "Brusselles, 29th March 1660," in which he says,
"I hope you are so well persuaded of my kindness to you as to believe that there can no misfortune happen to you and I not have my share in it. I assure you I am troubled at the loss you have had; and I hope that God will be pleased to put me into such a condition before it be long as I may let you see the care I intend to have of you and your children, and that you may depend upon my being very truly, Madame,
"Your affectionate friend,
I cite these letters as testifying to the kindness of heart that dictated them rather than to the merits of her they were addressed to. Even simple sympathy and courtesy, the "cup of cold water" of Our Saviour's commendation, apart from active assistance, have their kindly value; but Charles's words were not idle promises. He redeemed his pledge as soon as it was in his power to do so, after the Restoration, by settling on Lady Balcarres and the longest liver of her two sons Charles and Colin a pension of one thousand pounds a year on her giving up during their minority the patent of the hereditary government of the Castle of Edinburgh. And he took great personal interest in the fortunes of her surviving son, Earl Colin -- "as well for his father's sake," he writes in 1672, "as his own" -- throughout his reign. It was several years, however, before the grant of the pension could take full effect, so exhausted was the Scottish treasury and so pressing the immediate demands upon [p. 49] it; and during this interval Lady Balcarres suffered occasionally great privations.
I may here interpose, although a little out of its place, a letter of Lady Balcarres to the Lord Chancellor Clarendon, referring to the King's proposed assistance, and which shews incidentally that Hyde had been kind to her, as I previously intimated. It was forwarded to him, I believe, through Lauderdale: --
"My very noble Lord,
"If I was not hindered by indisposition, my mouth had given your Lordship this repeated trouble, and not my hand. Your noble reception of that which both have already offered you encourages me to this, which I hope will be the more easy to you that I leave the whole representment of my pressures to this noble bearer, my kindest cousin. I shall only just put you in mind that I rely confidently upon the assurance I gathered from your favourable expressions concerning my desires and his Majesty's gracious promises, and earnestly beg your Lordship may be pleased to interpose your credit with him again to make them effectual. And I will ever account this noble favour to be an eminent testimony of your compassionate care of my poor children and most obliging kindness to,
"My noble Lord,
"Your Lordship's most humble servant,
"For the Earl of Clarendon,
Lord High Chancellor of England."
Lady Balcarres's visit to London in November 1659 was, I take it, very short; and after transacting her immediate business she returned to the Continent, and remained there some months longer with "the little ones," her daughters. Baxter speaks of her coming over "with the King," which would be in May 1660; but the expression must not be construed literally, as Charles crossed over to Dover on the 25th, and entered Westminster on the celebrated 29th, while the Countess Anna was already at Balcarres on the 17th of that auspicious month.
The one great object of her visit to Fife has already been intimated to pay the last honours to the remains of her husband. [p. 50] But tears and smiles mark the varying hours on the dial of life, just as lights and shadows are ever chasing each other across the varied features of the summer landscape. Amidst all her sorrow, the pure delight of embracing her two sons, Charles and Colin, once more, after an absence of seven years, awaited her at Balcarres; and she writes to Lauderdale accordingly, on the 17th of May, in the fulness of her content -- , "I bless the Lord for it, I have found here two of the prettiest healthfulest boys that can be, and so like their dear father that I know not which of them may be said is the likest."
With these little companions, the eldest aged nine, the younger seven or eight years old, she cannot have found the visit to Balcarres altogether melancholy. The memories, moreover, that haunted the scenes which for so many years had ceased to be familiar ones, were all connected with her husband's and her own early love and home occupations in the more cheerful days before the Civil War acquired intensity and required Lord Balcarres's presence elsewhere. Such memories, if sad, must nevertheless have been soothing also. Indoors there was his "closet," or library, full of rare and interesting volumes inherited from his father and grandfather, a collection augmented by himself, where Lauderdale and he had held bibliomaniacal counsel together, with herself as interlocutor, in former years, and which his son and successor Earl Colin developed during his days of prosperity into what was in the days of Sir Robert Sibbald esteemed "a great Bibliotheck."
And out of doors there was the garden, in which they had both taken deep interest, she in the flowers, many of them now-a-days accounted mere weeds, which they had imported and cultivated, and he particularly in his pears, Bergamots from France, which Sir Robert Moray had procured and sent him from Paris when in the service of the Cardinal de Richelieu, and which, it seems, succeeded admirably on the walls at Balcarres, notwithstanding the exposed climate of the East of Fifeshire. The old house [p. 51] of Balcarres, with its paved cloister or court, its towers, turrets, and gabled roofs without, and its deeply recessed window-seats, curiously stuccoed ceilings, and winding turnpike-stair within, (the latter still the only access to the upper regions of the building even in its present state,) was then untouched, in its quaint and picturesque simplicity. Hollies and ilexes, and loftier elms, and other forest-trees, planted by David Lord Balcarres and by his father Secretary Lindsay, (most of them still surviving, and the home of thousands of rooks,) surrounded the house; and the infant trees of one grove in particular, of her husband's and her own planting, and which still went by the name of "the New Planting" in the recollection of persons still alive, were vigorously growing up in rivalry with the little Charles and Colin, their contemporaries. The Craig of Balcarres, now in great part covered with trees, and its lower zone with an undergrowth of enormous branching laurels, was then unplanted and bare; and Lady Balcarres and her little companions (more familiar with its recesses) often doubtless wandered thither, to ramble over its broken rocks, or admire the magnificent view outstretching from the summit, embracing mountain and vale, lake and sea, firth and islands, village-kirk and storied tower, and the distant gleam of Edinburgh, and the stern outline of Arthur's Seat in the further distance, all included within one vast and varied horizon.
I do not wonder that amid such scenes, with such companions, and in the sacred vicinity of the chapel rich with the dust so lately consigned to it, the widowed Countess found rest and consolation for a harassed spirit, and lingered on there for nearly two months, till obliged to return to England and to London by urgent claims calling for her presence. She started with the children on her return south on the 12th of July, as stated by Lament, the Fifeshire chronicler, who carefully notices the comings and goings from Balcarres.
From this time till May 1662, for nearly two years, the Countess Anna remained in England. She had much [p. 52] business to transact at head-quarters, business of the nature pointed at in Sir Robert Moray's letter to Alexander Bruce above quoted, and in which she had in him, in Lauderdale, and Crawford-Lindsay, able and kind advisers. It was at this time, I presume, that she first became personally acquainted with Richard Baxter, the admirable author of the Saints' Rest, who has spoken so frequently and warmly of her in his memoirs and elsewhere.
The following is the account he gives of the origin of their friendship:
"When the Earl of Lauderdale," Lord Balcarres's "near kinsman and great friend, was prisoner in Portsmouth and Windsor Castle, he fell into acquaintance with my books, and so valued them that he read them all, and took notes of them, and earnestly recommended them to the Earl of Balcarres with the King. The Earl of Balcarres met, at the first sight, with some passages where he thought I spoke too favourably of the papists and differed from many other protestants, and so cast them by, and sent the reason of his distaste to the Earl of Lauderdale, who pressed him but to read one of the books through, which he did, and so read them all, (as I have seen many of them marked with his hand,) and was drawn to over-value them more than the Earl of Lauderdale. Hereupon his lady reading them also, and being a woman of very strong love and friendship, with extraordinary entireness swallowed up in her husband's love, for the books' sake, and her husband's sake, she became a most affectionate friend to me before she ever saw me.
"While she was in France, being zealous for the King's restoration, (for whose cause her husband had pawned and ruined his estate,) by the Earl of Lauderdale's direction, she, with Sir Robert Moray, got divers letters from the pastors and others there, to bear witness of the King's sincerity in the protestant religion. Her great wisdom, modesty, piety, and sincerity made her accounted the saint at the Court. When she came over with the King, her extraordinary respects obliged me to be so often with her as gave me acquaintance [p. 53] with her eminency in all the aforesaid virtues.
"She is of a solid understanding in religion for her sex, and of prudence much more than ordinary, and of great integrity and constancy in her religion, and a great hater of hypocrisy, and faithful to Christ in an unfaithful world; and she is somewhat overmuch, affectionate to her friend, which hath cost her a great deal of sorrow in the loss of her husband, and since of other special friends, and may cost her more when the rest forsake her, as many in prosperity use to do those that will not forsake their fidelity to Christ."
"Being my constant auditor and over-respectful friend, I had occasion," he adds, "for the just praises and acknowledgments which I have given her."
A bitter trial awaited her towards the end of the year 1660, and from a quarter whence perhaps she least expected it, the conversion of her eldest daughter, in fact her eldest child, Lady Anna Lindsay, aged between sixteen and seventeen, to Roman Catholicism.
Lady Anna was of a very thoughtful character, and "had made it," as she stated subsequently in a letter to her mother, "her whole business till seventeen years of age to pray to God to direct her to follow His doctrine." The Jesuits about the court, and especially a father known by the names of Johnson and Terret, took advantage, I suspect, of her mother's absence in Scotland -- and there seems reason to think with the Queen-mother's privity -- to lay siege to her faith and commend the claims of the Romanist church by contrasting the "variety of judgments" in the Protestant communions with the unity, authority, and holiness of the Church Catholic as represented by the see of Rome, -- using, in short, the arguments urged by Bossuet later in the century, and which have been so frequently employed with success under similar circumstances by Roman Catholic proselytisers in our own time.
On becoming acquainted with her daughter's doubts Lady Balcarres applied in the first instance to Dr. Gunning, one of the most learned and eminent of the [p. 54] English divines, and afterwards Bishop of Chichester, "to meet with the priest, to dispute with him, and try if her daughter might be recovered;" but the Doctor "first began" (I quote Baxter's account of Lady Balcarres's report of the controversy) "to persuade her daughter against the Church of Scotland which she had been bred in as no true church, and afterwards disputed but about the Pope's infallibility, and left her daughter worse than before; and she took it to be a strange way" (she observed) "to deliver her daughter from Popery to begin with a condemnation of the Reformed churches as no true churches and confess that the Church and ministry of Rome was true."
What Dr. Gunning meant is intelligible enough, although Lady Balcarres may not have understood or construed it correctly. At first, indeed, it would appear as if the poor girl's best interests had been betrayed and sacrificed in an argument directed as much against Presbyterianism as Popery, in the view of the superior claims of the Church of England; but the conditions of the dispute seem to have been determined by the nature of the doubts and the character of the person Dr. Gunning had to deal with; and perceiving that it was not so much a question of feeling as of principle and fact, in which the head rather than the heart was concerned, and unable to deal effectually with the argument for Popery except from a Catholic point of view, he pointed out, as I understand it, that the certainty she craved and the sure footing she sought for amid the diversities of theological opinion and private judgment which she observed among the Protestants could only be found in the Apostolical doctrine of the Catholic Church as represented by the Reformed Church of England, primitive alike in antiquity and pure in doctrine, preserving the succession from the Apostles unbroken, and protesting, in the strength of her OEcumenical and world-wide standard, against novelties of doctrine, whether in addition to or subtraction from the faith -- Romanist, Calvinist, Lutheran, Independent, or [p. 55] otherwise with strict impartiality. But what, after all, could be expected from such arguments in the case of an untaught, unlessoned girl of seventeen -- arguments conducted too in the formal manner of the schools -- except a confirmed submission on her part to the authority of those who announced their views with the most uncompromising dogmatism, and supported them with the most unscrupulous sophistry?
It was at this moment that, hearing that Lady Balcarres was ill, Baxter went to see her, and found her in the state of grief and perplexity which can so well be imagined under the circumstances just detailed. Deeply sympathising with her, he conversed repeatedly with her daughter Lady Anna, and endeavoured, but in vain, to induce the priest who had perverted her to meet and discuss the claims of Rome with him in her presence; and the affair ended in her being "stolen away secretly from her mother in a coach, conveyed to France, and put into a nunnery, where," adds Baxter, "she is since dead. Not long after her departure she sent a letter to her lady mother, and subscribed 'Sister Anna Maria.' It contained the reasons of her perversion; and, though I knew they were not likely to suffer her to read it, I wrote an answer to it at her mother's desire, which was sent to her by her mother."
Sister Anna Maria's letter has not been preserved, but Baxter's, dated the ist December 1660, is given in his Reliquiae. The superior of her convent need not have withheld it, as it does but little honour to his polemical skill. The arguments properly suited to the matter in controversy are not resorted to, and an acrimony against the Church of Rome pervades it, in which it is difficult to recognise the better spirit of the writer. He evidently expected no effect from it. "We shall have leave to pray for you," he concludes, "though we cannot have leave to instruct you; and God may hear us when you will not; which I have the more hopes of because of the piety of your parents, and the prayers and tears of a [p. 56] tender mother poured out for you, and your own well-meaning pious disposition," -- but this is the only touch off tenderness throughout the composition. "This," adds Baxter, in terminating his narrative of this distressing episode, "was the darling of that excellent, wise, religious; lady, the widow of an excellent lord; which made the affliction great, and taught her to moderate her affections to all creatures."
The whole of the ensuing year, 1661, was spent by Lady Balcarres (as I have said) in England; and at the beginning of 1662 the result, as regarded the business that detained her there, was that whatever could be done at the time had been done for the estate and her own and her children's provision, -- that provision had been made sure and certain as to the future, but money was still difficult to be had, and there was not as yet the prospect of her pension being paid except in small instalments. It thus appeared to be the wisest course in all respects that she should return to Scotland, both as a cheaper residence and to look after the family affairs at home, leaving, as before, her brother-in-law, Sir Robert Moray, now Justice-Clerk, her cousin Lauderdale, Secretary of State for Scotland, and Crawford-Lindsay, the High Treasurer, to do what they could in her behalf.
She sent the two boys to Balcarres about the beginning of 1662, and followed herself with her two remaining daughters, Sophia and Henrietta, in May that year. She requested Baxter, as he tells us, "being deeply sensible of the loss of the company of those friends which she left behind her, to preach the last sermon she was to hear from him" "on those words of Christ, 'Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered every one to his own, and stall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.'" She had need for all the consolation such thoughts could give her, for more suffering was in store for her heart, and the less painful but wearing anxieties of finance pressed very heavily upon her.
[p. 57] These last are vividly set forth in a letter to Lauderdale, written on the 4th July, shortly after her arrival at Balcarres, and in another written without her knowledge by Mr. David Forret, minister of Kilconquhar, already mentioned -- one of those attached .and confidential family friends of whom so many examples present themselves in the history of the ancient families of Scotland. Lady Balcarres in her letter speaks severely and perhaps hardly of Crawford-Lindsay; and it must be owned that, with all his great abilities, he was (in his private capacity) very careless in money matters, a point of view in which indifference or remissness is often cruelty in its effect upon others; but the real fact was that the difficulty of raising money from Scottish revenues for Scottish objects at that time of general distress and disorganisation was greater than can well be imagined. I am not however very solicitous to apologise for a touch of impatience which always belongs to a character ardent and impassioned, however self-disciplined, as hers was. For good Mr. Forret, a looker-on and friend, any excuse would be superfluous.
Lady Balcarres' letter is as follows
I entreat to give the King this with your first convenience, and, for God's sake, do all you can to get me a speedy answer; and consider seriously upon my condition, and that He that sits in heaven, who sees what you do for the widow and fatherless, will reward you. The remembrance of your dead friend, that loved you as his own heart, I hope will have its room in yours with that of my sad and sorrowful condition, who never wanted that degree of courage and kindness to you which would have made me ha' ventured my life for you. But I will say no more of this, but that I will wait with great impatience till I hear from you.
Shall I yet say a word now of my condition to you? I am not for the present mistress of sixpence. Yet I will not blame my Lord Crawford, how ill soever he use me. I am rather sorry he is so unfortunate never to oblige his friends and those that wish him best. I would beseek your Lordship to speak to him, not as from me but from yourself,desire that he would but let me have presently but that money there is precepts" (orders) "drawn for, which is two hunder and fifty pound [that] my Lord Ballantyne" (Bellenden) "drew, aid a hunder that rest unpaid of the two hundred and fifty" he [p. 58] gave for me before he left Scotland. If he would cause presently give me the 350ll, or 400ll, it would pay all what I owe yet at London and do some necessary things I have to do here. I owe to Mr. Dudney l00 ll, which Sir William Waller is bound for, that must be precisely paid the beginning of August; and l00ll to Mrs. Tyler my Lord Crawford is bound for himself, -- besides, all my apothecary's accompts and others there, as Mr. Drummond can tell you, will be more than sixty pound. If my Lord do nothing in this for your Lordship, I will crave leave to say he is in the wrong, for if it was not for you, I fear there would be. but little in his power to do for anybody.
"O me! my dear Lord, think upon the complications of afflictions I have to go under; my pressures, and the apprehensions I have and disturbance for my poor child Charles, is not easy to bear. For fear the breathings of my afflicted spirit may affect yours, I will break off and bid you adieu! I fear you think it's more than time.
"I have written to my Lord Chancellor of England. If it get any answer by writ, break it up. You will by it know what I may expect. I have sent it by Dr. Earles, my old kind friend."
Mr. Forret's letter reveals the state of distress and consequent illness to which Lady Balcarres was reduced by this state of pressing difficulty and uncertainty. I would not dwell too much on such minor troubles, but they illustrate the trials and sufferings, small as well as great, which dogged the footsteps yet glorified the path of loyalty and patriotism two hundred years ago, and may (God only knows) attend those of the Countess Anna's descendants under similar circumstances in future years; for what has been may be again, and there is nothing new under the sun: --
"My Lady Balcarres some hours after she sent her servant for London fell in a very sore and most dangerous fit of sickness.
Mr. Wood was present with her all that night; he told me her weakness was so great (her pulse for some hours not being discernible) that he looked every moment for present death. The next day I went in to the town and found my lady in a condition little better; and therefore we resolved presently to send to Sir John Wedderburn for his advice. Mr. Wood (who hath some skill in medicine) sent an information to the Doctor concerning her disease. I behoved to come out in the end of the week, and so knows not yet either his judgment anent the disease, or what his advice is. My lady after the fourth night (blessed be God!) became some better, but is still very weak and oppressed with extreme [p. 59] grief, which she keeps within, not making it known to any save to me, whom my lady knows to be fully acquainted with the cause of it.
"The present great straits my lady is in, the difficulty she hath to provide for her family, though she live as frugally and sparingly as any can do, the clear foresight she hath of the inevitable ruin of the estate if the Lord in mercy do not prevent it, do so overwhelm her spirit that her stomach is near gone; and [she] gets very little sleep in the night; and such a weak body as my lady hath cannot long subsist in this condition. If my Lord Crawford knew but half so much of my lady's straits as I do, I am persuaded he would not be so forgetful of her as he is.
"It is no wonder that my lady is in such straits, and hath such difficulty in maintaining her family, seeing the rent of her jointure for the year 1662 was all spent before my lady came to Scotland. A part of it was detained in the tenants' hands for money previously advanced by them; a considerable part of it was sent by bill to London for bringing home the children, and the rest spent in the house before my lady's return; so that all this last summer (in which time my lady was at great charges, partly by physicians and partly by going several times to Edinburgh about her necessary affairs) my lady was necessitate to live on the rent of her jointure for the crop 1662; and now that year's rent is wholly exhausted, and verily my lady is in such perplexity that she knows not whither to turn her. There is no money here for borrowing. My lady's tenants can do no more for her help than they have done, so that if the Treasurer do not for her, I profess seriously I see no other of it but that within a few weeks she shall be reduced to as great extremity as ever she was in when she lived among strangers.
"And therefore, my noble Lord, I must so far presume as humbly and with all earnestness to entreat your Honour, for the Lord's sake, and as ye tender the life of your dear friend, to deal effectually with my Lord Crawford for a considerable and present supply; for her condition admits of no delay. As for the estate, it is in a most desperate condition, if something is not done by his Majesty for the recovery of it, it is ruined. Your Lordship, I am confident, will do in this what possibly can be done; and whenever any grounds of hope appear that anything can be done for preserving of it from ruin, if your Honour shall be pleased to make this known to my lady, it would much revive her, and ease her of that burden of grief that weights down her heart.
"I add no more; but, humbly craving pardon for the trouble I put your Honour to by this too long letter, I shall always continue, "
My noble Lord,
" Your Lordship's most humble servant,
"Mr. David Forret."
It was not till some time after these letters were written [p. 60] that matters mended in a worldly point of view, and I shall have a good deal still to say upon the subject. But the arrow of a deeper affliction was threatening the heart of Lady Balcarres at the moment we are now pausing upon; and its descent was not long withheld.
In the letter to Lauderdale above inserted Lady Balcarres speaks, it will have been noticed, of "the apprehensions I have and disturbance for my poor child Charles," now, since his father's death, Earl of Balcarres. His health, and beauty, and likeness to his father, had been conspicuous on her first arrival at Balcarres two summers previously, after seven years of absence. But the seeds of illness were latent in him, and of an illness of a very peculiar and terrible description, although unattended apparently with much pain. He died, says Baxter, "of a strange disease, a large stone being found in his heart after death, an emblem" (he observes characteristically) "of the mortal malady now reigning." He was, Baxter adds, "an excellent youth, of great parts and piety." He was but twelve years and eight months old at the time of his death, having been born, as will be remembered, just before Charles II.'s visit to Balcarres in February 1651. He died on the I5th October, 1662.
A letter, unburdening her sorrow to Lauderdale, her husband's and her own friend of so many years' standing, gives an interesting account of the last days of her little charge :
Mr dear Lord,
"There has been constantly so great a crowd of kind neighbours that it was not passible for me to do that which was both my duty and inclination, to let your Lordship know the sad breach the Lord has made in this poor family in taking my dear child Charles so unexpectedly from me. Ifknow this sad and sharp stroke that wounds so my heart will pierce yours very sensibly, and the more when you remember what he was and whose he was.
"Oh! my dear Lord, my loss is great, -- of a dear and wise child, who was so obedient and loving to me, whose carriage said he had no will but mine, next to the pleasing of God. Alas! so foolish was I to build upon the wisdom, gravity, piety, I saw in this my dear child, that he would be some extraordinary meteor and example to his family and others -- ,which God has thought [p. 61] fit to throw down at one blow; which has struck to the ground that I can do nothing but stand astonished with my blow, and consider the sovereignty, the mercy, the wisdom of Him that gave it; all which cries aloud to me, 'Be still, and know that I am God!' Shall the potsherds of the earth say, What doest thou? to him before whom we are as grasshoppers? I see enough to silence clay and dust, though I should not consider his love, his righteousness, his fatherliness, all which does appear in his dealings towards me, -- and in this last I ought not in the least to complain, since he has but taken his own and that he had fitted for himself, and has given me the satisfaction to find I was happy as to be a mother to an heir of heaven.
"Though it may seem tedious to another to read, and appear fond passion to be the cause of my writing, yet I shall fear no such thing from you, so shall let your Lordship know this child has had like a quotidian ague since April last; till within this two month, six weeks ago, [he continued] to have his own fresh colour and flesh, -- ten days before God took him he became very melancholy and did sensibly decay daily; his clear colour became blackish, and his hands and feet seldom or never hot. Upon the Lord's day before the Lord took him, I, being apprehensive of that which was approaching, would not suffer him to go to church. Though he felt neither pain nor sickness, nor apprehended any such thing as death, yet did he spend that day as if it had been his last, in reading, praying, and singing psalms; and, what was strange, took up the psalms himself, though he had no music, as if it had been his practice all his life; he read and sung such places as made his choice matter of my admiration. The last psalm he sung was the last part of the 34th. Upon Monday and Tuesday he vomit all that he did eat or drink, without being sick, -- he had a most sad sigh, which made me question him what made him sigh so deeply; he said he had many challenges that he had not spent his time so in the service of God as he should have done; he was in some anxiety of spirit for an hour, but after he had prayed and given himself up to God, and cast all his burden upon his Mediator and Cautioner, he was at great quiet, said he had not the least trouble to leave the world, only to leave his 'dear lady mother and Sophia.'
"Upon Wednesday morning, at six o'clock, after a quiet night's rest, in a moment he found all his strength and spirits decay togeder, and called to me, and threw his arms about my neck, and prayed God to 'bless his dear lady mother,' desired Mr. Forret to pray, and then he looked up and desired of God that the blood of Jesus Christ would clean him of all his sins, and that He would take him to be for ever with Himself, which He immediately did, -- so my dear child went to Him that made him without either pain or sickness. I caused open him, --his lungs and all his noble parts was untouched; he had a great liver and a great spleen full of black blood, yet had no [p. 62] blood at all in his veins; only his heart was his defect, which had in it a stone that weights an ounce and a half. The stone and the physician's description that opened him I intend to send to your Lordship with the first sure bearer, which I pray your Lordship let Dr. Fraser see,2 who I know will be troubled for his father's son, and will give me his advice concerning; the rest of my poor children, who are now a small number, but blessed be the Lord for what I have! He gives and he takes.
"I know the most part thinks it a strange thing to see me so affected with this, whose daily food is affliction; but I hope your Lordship will not do so, but will allow somewhat of compassion to the bowels and heart of a tender mother to so good and dear a child. I do expect pity from my friends, since I am so great an object of it since the hand of God has touched me. I am pained at the very heart till I begin to consider the joy and glory my dear child is enjoying, how he is beholding the King in his beauty, and following the Lamb, and that before it be long I shall see that City that's now afar off; and, though I live in a continual storm, the gale will, I hope, blow at last will blow me into the haven.
"My dear Lord, pray for me as I do for you, that I may be strengthened with all might, according to his glorious promise, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.
"I am, my dear Lord,
Your most affectionate Cousin
and humble servant,
"Shall I desire your Lordship to present my humble duty to the King and tell him I have done, I bless God, my duty to his god-son, but God has done better. I hope his Majesty will care for the poor children who is behind.
"My Lord, pray present my kind respects to my Lady and my Lady Mary,3 I know my Lady will so much know my condition that I cannot write much at this time. I have writ much more than I intended. Adieu, my dear Lord!"
Some time after this, Lady Balcarres sent up to Lauderdale by the hands of Sharpe, Archbishop of St. Andrews, for medical inspection, the stone which had been found in Earl Charles's heart. She wrote as follows on the occasion: [p. 63]
"My dear Lord,
"When I consider how lazy I am to write, and also how desirous I really am that my friends should never be troubled with hearing of so unfortunate a person as I am, your Lordship knows so well for whom it is I do it that I will make no apology for what I daily trouble you with. Now, my Lord, I shall only say, I have sent your Lordship, with my Lord St. Andrews, a poor pledge for so rich a jewel, this is all I have now for my dear child, my little saint I may rather say, who is now, I hope, a star of the first magnitude.
"Oh! my sweet child; how distressed, how sorrowful has he left me, with an afflicted family! I could say much of my losses of my two dear Lord Balcarreses, but I know it is not so civil as pleasant to me, and the rather when I remember it's to your Lordship, whose they both were, almost as mine. Were it not too tedious, I think I could have written, though not so learnedly yet more fully, and that which your Lordship and physicians (that, I think, will be astonished with the bigness of the stone, how his little heart could contain it) would have made use of.
"My Lord, pray let me know what physicians say of it, and if there could have been help for it, and whether they think he had it from his conception, or but lately grown.I am, my dear Lord,
"Your most affectionate Cousin
and humble servant,
Earl Charles was buried on the 21st October 1662, six days after his decease, in the chapel of Balcarres, and according to the chronicler of Fife, "in the night season." The imagination can easily picture the sepulchral edifice, with its Gothic arches, armorial insignia, and mortuary carvings, lit up by torches, and the mourning groups of kindred and vassals committing to the dust the tender flower which had so recently been blooming among them. Many such blossoms, early nipped from the same familiar stem, have since been laid there beside Earl Charles; and they will one day arise along with him, all together, a fair young company, to a fuller and maturer bloom, at the summons to their Redeemer's kingdom.
At the moment when the news of Earl Charles's death reached Baxter, he was putting the finishing touch to his treatise on the "Divine Life," one of his most excellent works, and which was founded upon and an enlargement of [p. 64] the sermon he had preached at Lady Balcarres's request on her departure from London, as previously stated. He now prefixed to it, as published, a beautiful address to her of consolation on the loss of her son.
Lady Balcarres again wrote to Lauderdale on the 24th of February in the ensuing year, 1663 ; and it appears by her letter (unless her informant was mistaken), that the acount she had sent him of her son's death had never reached his hands, although that account is in fact preserved among the Lauderdale papers lately acquired by the British Museum. Her letter shows (inter alia) that difficulties of a more urgent kind, and of older standing than those dwelt upon in her letter of the 4th July previously, were beginning to press upon her:
"I wrote to your Lordship not long ago a long letter of all concerns me, and it's lost by the misfortune this poor boy had by sea; yet I resolved to send him again that I may by him hear from your Lordship, and also let you know all the difficulties and straits I am put to by reason of the debt contracted in England, Holland, and when I was last in Scotland, which is almost all to pay yet.
"Here I must again tell your Lordship that my Lord Kellie told me that which vexed me, which was that your Lordship had neither had mine, wherein I gave you an account of my dear child's sickness and death, wherein I enclosed some epitaphs was made upon him,4 nor that where I said somewhat of the great sense I had of your Lordship's not only making most of my afflictions your own, but that you had made some of my debt yours till God enable me to pay it. Though you had neither of them, I hope you did not think of me that I appeared to be, which was, a person very unworthy of the many testimonies of your kindness and favour I and mine have had from you. Here I could say a great deal, but I will not, lest you think I say somewhat like that the world calls compliment I will say nothing, but will leave the rich God to be your rich rewarder. Whatever my misfortunes make me appear to be, I beg your Lordship never to be so unjust to me as not to think I bear that in my heart to you I justly owe you, and ever bear you in all [p. 65] conditions of our life. My low condition makes me say little because I can do nothing but trouble my friends I would account no small blessing to serve.
"So long as it is in my mind I must break off my saying somewhat like thanks, and tell you, though I will not the least quarrel, that I think it very long since I heard from your Lordship, and can bear other's unkindness better than your silence; and that some that's here sometimes hear from you often and I never a word made my heart very great; and when I have been, as I was this last summer, little . . . . . .fight the combat for some of my friends, I never had a word to satisfy me, -- and I shall never believe but you thought I was more concerned for you by far than those you took the pains to satisfy and to write to. This, I hope, will be taken but for a kind challenge, as it is indeed without any design but that I may have the comfort to know sometimes your Lordship is as I should wish you.
"There is sometimes stories invented to your prejudice, which I have nothing to contradict but that I knew long ago, and to which I always trusted, which was, His Majesty's justice and kindness to you, and that owned faithfulness to him for whom you have suffered so much. I could hardly think he would ha' rewarded you for being two years almost blind in a dungeon for him at Portland, he would ha' sent you out of his dominions to see light, as was told us. It's no disparagement to your king and master to say you have a greater to trust to, to whom you are dear, and who will have a care of you when pleasures and flesh fails you -- even He that has washed you in His blood, and redeemed you, when He will let others perish in their ignorance. 'I honour them that honour me!' Oh, my dear Lord, forgive me, that cares you with my heart and soul, if I beg of you to know and honour Him, being an example to others; and let nothing hinder you from paying that worship is due for one that I am sure is His to pay to Him. All creatures live in a kind of unquiet fever but those that only strive to please God and be at peace with Him. That . . . and all things else may make me ashamed to write to you. You know well the heart from whence it comes, and that I am not ignorant of the many temptations you have to give little of your time to your blessed Creator and Redeemer, to whom it is due. When time is looked back upon, it is sweet and comfortable to think of those hours we have spent in communion with the Father and the Son, and in a blessed and sweet intercourse with heaven.
"I must end this as I begun. Forgive it; for it's not that I have the least doubt of your failing in doing what you should do; but that I may show my desire to have them I love on earth along with me in heaven, where we shall part no more. Heaven bless you! And the great and good God make you as happy here and hereafter as my daily prayer wishes you!
[p. 66] "I would make apology for this I send you, that will take up much of your time, but that I have not will, by excusing myself make it greater; so I will say no more, but put all I would memorandum, -- only [I would] let you know I got none of my pension which I believe you know not; and, if my difficulties and strait burdens is become too heavy for my estate and, I may say, for my heart to bear, had I not got a good and tender-hearted reconciled God to go to. I could not but succumb.
"I do not complain to none but Lordship, who, I know, will fittingly consider . . . as much you can. I have said somewhat to my Lord Treasurer, whose absence is, I know, prejudicial to me. Sure he will refuse your Lord nothing. I should be glad your Lordship would agree for a sure pension to me with the Treasurer, so I give down two or three hundred pounds. Your Lordship do in this as you please. I pray you, my Lord, let me hear from you. The Lord of Heaven and Earth be with you, and bless, direct, and protect you, is the prayer of
Your most affectionate Cousin
and humble servant,
"Pray, my Lord, forgive the writ of this; for the whole grammar school almost was in the hall, that I knew hardly for their noise what I was writing."
The predominant feeling in this letter is evidently a sense of pain at having received no communication from Lauderdale, a suspicion of neglect which to a heart hers, "overmuch affectionate to her friend," as Baxter describes it, was peculiarly painful. Lauderdale, engrossed with laborious and constant work as Secretary of State for Scotland, had in fact but little time for private correspondence; but he replied kindly; and the next letter in the series expressed her regret for the momentary impatience; but the distance between them began from this time to widen morally as well as physically through absence; it ended. I fear, at last, though not for some years, confirmed estrangement.
"Balcarres, 11th of April.
"My dear Lord,
"Yours did most exceedingly satisfy me. How unfortunate soever I may appear to myself in many things, yet I shall never think I am in reality so so long as God Almighty gives me my best friends, and [p. 67] that they are well and not changed to me. I bless God, my heart tells me it is not guilty of any breach to them; but merely melancholy makes me so.
"However in my last I see it's made me mightily transgress. I confess it is no wondering if a great temper be displeased when their friends they upon all occasions does oblige does ever call in question their good will, when inability is only in the fault. If ever I have said anything like this, it's my want of words to express my mind has been the cause of it; for sure I never had the least thought of it; only, as I said before, I confess my melancholy made me a little jealous you had a little forgot me; but, pray, my dear Lord, forgive me all my faults and I shall easily forgive you all yours I did quarrel with you for, so you will let me hear but once a month from you, were it but three words, not a full line'I am well and as you wish me.' I pray the Lord bless, direct, and have a care of you; for so wishes she with all her heart, who is, my dear Lord,
"Your most affectionate servant,
"I sent the physician's paper5 once to your Lordship already, which you desire. I have sent to him for another; if it come in time, I shall enclose it here; if it come not, my Lady Rothes will convey it to your Lordship. Pray, my Lord, present my kindest respects to my Lady, and my Lady Mary, and Lady Lorn."
It is in these letters to Lauderdale that we find the principal materials for the Countess Anna's history during the years immediately succeeding the Restoration. The next in the series may be passed over briefly, -- it was written on the report reaching her of "my dear Lord Crawford's" probable resignation of the Treasurership through the cabals of his enemies, and in which she makes amends for her previous discontent with him, -- the parenthesis, "I see he remembers my dearest with great kindness," suggesting the keynote of her returning affection; while she also says that "he has been and is my most kind friend."
"But a letter to the King, dated the 16th November, and another to Lauderdale, enclosing it, are worth insertion, both as eminently characteristic of the writer and as carrying on her story. It seems that some time previously the King had promised her the value of the fine imposed on Sir [p. 68] James Macdonald's estate, to which and to the punctual payment of her pension she looked forward as the means of diminishing debt and preserving her son's patrimony of Balcarres.
She wrote to the King thus :
"Balcarres, the 16th of November
"May it please your Majesty,
"When I represent your Majesty, after so marvellous a restoration, sitting upon the throne in peace, I cannot but with joy render thanks to God, who hath let my eyes see what I begged from him for your Majesty when your enemies bore down all before them; so I crave leave of your Majesty once more from my solitude to express to your Royal self my fresh resentment thereof, and so much the j bed^se your Majesty's favour to me hath been so great; for no sooner did your Majesty enjoy your own but your royal bounty did show itself towards me and the children of 'your faithful, loyal, constant servant, now in glory, by which you did manifest what your Majesty would have done to himself if he had survived the troubles.
"Your Majestry did settle on me and my sons a pension of a thousand pounds out of the Exchequer of Scotland, and did graciously promise to me, in place of Sir James Macdonald's fine, the value of it; which, as they witness your princely bounty and favour to the memory of your dead servant, and lay strong obligations of duty and gratitude upon a desolate widow and her fatherless children, so they do embolden me in all humility to inform your Majesty of the bad payment of the money, not through the fault of your Majesty's Treasurers, my friends, but the exhausting of the Treasury otherways; and if your Majesty would be pleased, in your time and way, compassionately to remember . . . without which this poor family and estate cannot be preserved from sinking , the particulars r of my petition and request I have desired the Earl of Lauderdale to declare unto your Majesty, -- being well assured that I cannot but:be happy if your Majesty knew but my condition and the remedy of it -- who is the only woman of my nation did run through the world after your Majesty, -- and, I may say, out of mere duty and love to your person we did it.
May it please your Majesty to pardon and excuse this my poor address, and I shall not cease, according to my duty, to pray for all blessings of Heaven and Earth upon your Majesty.
"May it please your Majesty,
Your Majesty's most humble, most obedient,
most dutiful, most affectionate subject
[p. 69] The letter to Lauderdale here follows -- the date, as I mentioned, is the same with that of the preceding letter: --
"According to your advice I have written to His Majesty in general of my condition, having left the particulars to be by your Lordship represented to him, which are, if you would please to desire his Majesty out of the fines to grant me the value of Sir James Macdonald's fine, which was l5000, which he promised me, without which your Lordship knows what a deplorable condition this estate and family is in; and that, for the better payment of my pension, you would desire his Majesty to let it be either drawn upon the excise, or some locality appointed me; but, if none of this be feasible, that his Majesty would write a letter to the Exchequer according to your own effectual wording of it, that it may be surely paid.
"Some makes me believe that, if your Lordship do not somewhat to secure me, it will be but little worth. I confess I listened to what they said with the more dread that, when you was in Scotland, I could not prevail, at my earnest desire, to get l70 when I was in so great a strait as it forced me to leave all my writs here and there, as we say, for want of money, and yet is not able to relieve them . . . Most of this year's rent I was forced to spend. I have not [wherewith] to pay . . my servant's wages, nor my house I had at St. Andrews, nor to keep my son there.
"My Lord, I will say no more, knowing the way you will take will be that you think most for my advantage, according to the entire confidence I have in your love and kindness to, my Lord,
"Your most affectionate Cousin
and humble servant,
"Pray, my dear Lord, present my most humble service to my Lady, and my Lady Mary. I have not had a word from my Lord Treasurer since I saw you. I pray, my Lord, seal this" (i.e. the enclosed letter) "with a common seal, -- none of your known inscriptions."
It appears from this letter that Lady Balcarres had been living at St. Andrews for the education of her son, Earl Colin. Her allusion to him would seem to have struck a kindly chord in Lauderdale's heart, for about two months afterwards he sent him his first sword as a kinsman's gift, which Colin acknowledged in a few lines, written in his schoolboy's hand, still extant amongst the grave state papers and letters of the Scottish minister, and [p. 70] which already bear the stamp of the youth's chivalrous character:
Balcarres, 23d Jan. 1664.
'"I have with no small contentment girded your Lordship's present to my side, and shall use it in my Sovereign's and your service; for, if by his Royal bounty and your Lordship's endeavours it be not prevented, the law will not suffer me so to employ it in the defence of any such thing which I might call an inheritance. I do therefore with thankfulness embrace your sword as an addition to your former favour; and an earnest of your future care of, my Lord,
"Your Lordship's most humble and obliged servant,
But Lady Balcarres's appeal produced more than the mere gift in question for a royal mandate was issued on the 13th February 1664, addressed to the Treasurer Rothes (now the successor to his father-in-law, Crawford-Lindsay), directing that Lady Balcarres's and other pensions (payment of which had hitherto, it is stated, been restricted to one half only of what was due) should henceforward be paid "completely," -- and I have no doubt therefore that she received a present supply, although payment in full was still delayed, as it will appear, for at least two years more, the Exchequer being still in a most exhausted condition.
A letter addressed by the Countess Anna about this time, "A Madame, Madame Henderson," the wife, but then the widow, of another of the Fordell family of which I have spoken previously, reflects, if I mistake not, theiInfluence of the cheering intervention just mentioned:
"Balcarres, the 28 of March, old style .
"I have received the favour of yours with no small satisfaction. since it brought me the good news of your being in health, and your sweet child. I pray God continue it. Dear Madam, I am so exceeding obliged to you for all your civilities, favours, and kindness list I know not which way to begin to express my resentment of them, that you have been at such pains for me, and sent me all things in such order.
"Oh ! how happy should I think myself if I or any of my relations [p. 71] could serve or be useful to your Ladyship! If you think we could, you have no more to do but to let me receive your commands, and I shall do about them with the greatest joy and willingness imaginable, for I should think it a blessing to be useful to you. It is a great addition to my many obligations to you, Madam, that you are so sensibly concerned for the loss of my dear child, -- had I thought your Ladyship had been at the Hague, I had let you know of the great loss I have sustained of so excellent, so wise, so pious a child. I ought not to complain, but to bless my blessed Maker and Redeemer that made me the mother of a saint He fitted for glory before He took him there. He that's good and does good does all well He does to me and mine; He takes them from misery to be blessed and for ever with Himself.
"I am exceeding sorry to hear you have a load above a burden, not only the loss of a kind husband but to be left in so bad a condition. Blessed be our God, that has forewarned us that we are through many tribulations to enter heaven; and it's a covenanted blessing, suffering, for it's given us not only to believe but also to suffer. You know I am not ignorant what the heart and state of a widow is, being as much so as ever any was. I strive to encourage myself in God, who is the God of the widow and the fatherless, and who has said enough to make them rest upon his care, who is God over all, but rich to all that call upon him. He taketh pleasure in them that fear him and trusts in his mercy.
"Madam, I have received my beds and books, and also what you was at the pains to pay for me. The three porcelain pots I like very well; they come safe. So did the other twenty pots, but they were all empty. I had some hopes your Ladyship should have procured some flowers from Madame Sommerdyck, and those that had gardens. I was so liberal when I had abundance, makes me have the fewer now. If there be any of the little money left your Ladyship did me the favour to cause buy these things with, bestow it all upon some plain cold gilded leather, -- those kind that were plain, as I remember, was not so dear as the wrought leather; they were 28st the piece. I know, if you have any money, it will buy but few.
"Dear Madam, fail not in your promise to send me Monsieur Henderson and your picture, if you have them by you. I am sorry to put you to expence for me, though I desire them as much as I can do anything. Coronell Henderson told he had spoke to his sister, Madame Stencalven for her picture to me, and told her that I desired it, and he said she promised to send it to him to send me. I pray you, Madam, write to her of it, that I still make it my desire, and shall think it a great favour if she will send it me. She had let them have it that has not such relation to her as this family has.
"I saw all my friends in Kellie; they are all very well, I thank God; [p. 72] and my good Lady is the best woman in the world; she is so sweet an humour that we think ourselves happy in her; and my Lord loves other so much that they are both wonderful happy in other.
"It's time now I should make an end, so will say no more but treat you to believe I am unalterably, Dear Madam,
"Your Ladyship's affectionate Cousin and humble servant,
"Pray, Madam, do me the favour to present my kind respects to Madame de Sommerdyck and her daughter, the Countess of Kincardine. I wonder I have not heard from none of them. If Madame Sommerdyck will not let me have my pictures, I shall think she thinks me not worth so great a favour. My blessing to your sweet child!"
During the eleven months succeeding the date of this lettermatters remained much as they had done previously; but a letter from the Treasurer Rothes to Lauderdale, of the last of February 1665, gives intimation of an advance towards a settlement of the long-pending Seaforth claims: -- "For news," he says, "my Lady Balcarres my Lord Seaforth are agreed, and I think, in all, secured than ever."
But, as I have already stated, some time yet before the final settlement took place. Part of the arrangement then made appears to have been that such share of the fines levied upon the Cromwell offenders as might fall to Seaforth should be assigned him to Lady Balcarres.
Meanwhile considerably more than a twelvemonth run on, and the Countess Anna's heart began again hunger for some communication from her husband's her own friend and kinsman of other days; and she down accordingly, at Balcarres, on the nth of April, to endeavour to elicit some little token of remembrance, wrote as follows:
"My dear Lord,
"I did once in my life scarce suppose, if living where within five days I might hear from you, that two years should run on withuot receiving a line from you. This your silence I am loath to impute to forgetfulness, unkindness, or any bad impression of me others endeavoured to put upon you, but rather to your owning me as one of [p. 73] your own, and to the multitude and greatness of your affairs, and your being unwilling, as some others has informed me, to write till some considerable business for me by your means had been done.
"My dear Lord, as I incline not to rash jealousy of my friends in general, so far less of you in particular, whom my dear Lord did, and I still, love so much, and who hath showed so much [love] to us. It's true I have often longed to have heard from you, and would gladly have accepted the least line from you, that I might have satisfied my own fear of a change in your affection, and assured others who have marvelled at your seeming not-remembrance of me. But it shall be far from me to have so unworthy a thought of you, as if you had forgot the widow and fatherless in their affliction, being all the pledges your dear Gossip has left behind him in this world.
"Therefore I have given way to my affection at this time, once more to solicit you, not so much in behalf of mine and my son's affairs (now being, in appearance, the critical time of the mending of his low condition), as to draw from your Lordship some small epistle as a token of your unchanged love and remembrance. I had written to you on the death of your sweet nephew, as I did to my Lady; but the consciousness of my own inability and the knowledge I have of you made me forbear, -- having also during his sickness discharged that duty of a cousin.6 More I will not add, but to assure your Lordship of my unalterable love to you (though little worth) and my daily prayer for you, as becometh, my Lord,
"Your Lordship's most affectionate Cousin
and most humble servant,
Neither this, however, nor two other letters written later in the year received any reply. I shall subjoin them without further remark: --
"Balcarres, the 3d of July.
"I hear by one that is come from London that there is a list made [of those] that has a share in the fines and that my cousin Seaforth and I is only put out.
"I confess it was bad news to me, whose heart, alas! it too much pressed with a heavy burden of my poor fatherless children and most dreadful covetous creditors. Though I had great hopes of his Majesty's bounty to me, and now am made [p. 74] believe I only am left out, I shall say nothing.
"Lord God bless him, and keep him in life and health, and prosper all his affairs! Whatever I suffered for him was but my duty. I repent it not. I wish this family was as able to serve him as at first. We want not good will. Nor can I think, when I remember what I know his Majesty [to be], but that he will still retain his wonted goodness to do somewhat for me, now when I so much need it.
"My Lord! verily believe your Lordship did all you could for me. I pray that good God reward you, that I doubt not will pity and provide for me as He has done all my life, and in strange countries when I knew not where to get bread next day. I am, my Lord,
"Your Lordship's affectionate and humble servant,
"My children are well, I bless God; they are all your servants. Sophia is at Edinburgh, with my Lady Rothes. I would take it an inestimable favour to hear from your Lordship."
The second letter is dated on the 9th of August.
"I have a long time forborn to trouble your Lordship by letter, knowing your many employments, and hoping that you not for that less remember me and my dear Lord's family; but being informed that after this Convention, and the new taxation thereby imposed, that the fines are to be distributed, and that my Commissioner has written to Court about my pension, and has likewise promised to do as to the fines, it is my earnest desire that as Lordship . . . and care for me and my fatherless children, that would speak to his Majesty for us, that I may have a new precept my pension and at least a proportional share of the fines -- if not according to the full of what his Majesty promised, yet as much as may rid me out of my present many sad processes under which I lie through endeavouring the good of his posterity who said at his death Lordship would have more care of them and me than all the wo beside, if you had it in your power.
"My present earnestness and importunity I hope you will pardon, seeing it proceeds from a sense of my mean condition and this distressed family, and a fear lest the many other claims of a share of such a small sum as they say the amounts to jostle me out, unless your Lordship effectually interpose. I cannot say but that the Commissioner is very civil to me, and promises to Mr. Drummond (that's been with him) to interest himself in my concerns.
"My Lord, it is in your love and kindness I confide and I have raised my hopes that at length I shall receive something by your means that will witness you as still mindful of the dead and kind [p. 75] unto the living. The Lord be with you, and preserve you, wherever you are. My Lord,
"Your Lordship's affectionate humble servant,
"Your Lordship, I believe, remembers that Seaforth spoke to you for a share of the fines. It is like he may be forgot and put off, to have somewhat out of somewhat else from his Majesty. All I shall say is, that I have it under his hand, with witnesses, that what he gets of the fines I shall have it; but if he get never so much that has any other name, I shall not get a farthing. I know it was your Lordship's kindness to me that made you promise to him, and if your Lordship should get him anything, it would be a great obligation lying upon him to your Lordship, though mine would be more. For God's sake mind this poor child, and think you see his mother and him sinking, and crying out, and struggling for life and help!"
Still, however, there came no answer from Lauderdale; and Lady Balcarres began to think that evil tongues had been at work in misrepresenting her towards her early friend. She wrote therefore once more to him in October. Wounded affection and indignant pride speak in every line of her letter; but the mother's love and yearning for her children's welfare overpowered every other consideration; and, I am happy to say, the spell of her strong passion broke down for a time the barrier of silence that had grown up between herself and him: --
"Balcarres, 9th October.
"The day was, it was a satisfaction to me to write to the Earl of Lauderdale, because he was pleased sometimes to say it was so to him; but now, your Lordship interesting yourself so little for me and mine as not so much as to see your hand-writ in three years, nor to find any way that you mind us, I cannot but fear my friendship has become a burden, and so, I confess, it is with some pain I give you this trouble. I have been often going to ask your Lordship if ever I did in the least offend you or did anything unworthy of the friendship you once was pleased to allow me.
"If I have, I shall say I justly deserve to suffer what I do by your coldly interesting yourself for me; but, my Lord, I can take Him to witness that is in heaven, and that's to be my judge, that I have ever borne that constancy of affection to you I ought to have done, and has not in the least wronged you, nor [p. 76] has there been the least diminution of my concernment for your happiness, esteem, and welfare -- notwithstanding I could not keep from being jealous of your kindness to me. I shall never let into my heart -- if it is your want of virtue to forget your dead friend that was so concerned for you and your family, or that you fear to own his interest -- if that once entered in my heart, I could not worthily of you as now I do. No, I lay it all upon my myself, who, though I deserve not coldness from you, yet does it more than the friend that is in heaven.
"My Lord, if any has tattled ill of me, as there is abundance to do good offices among friends, I pray let me know, and if I satisfy you not. punish me if guilty, -- but what has these poor lambs done, my Lord Balcarres' children, who are looked upon by all as he and friendless? I shall crave your pardon; but, whatever you shall ever love you, pray for you, wish you well. Though I have said that may be misunderstood, as if I thought nothing of what you have done -- no, my Lord, I remember it often, and [am] not so base as to be ingrate. There is some things that makes me appear unfortunate, but there is nothing in my eyes makes me appear so but that my Lord Balcarres' children are unfortunate. I may say in that I am unhappy, but were it not for them, I thank God, no singular frown of the greatest upon earth could make me esteem myself so, because I trust and rely in a good God, that has cared for me and fed me all my life, and will be my purveyor for ever.
"My Lord, I desire you, among the rest of my faults, to forgive the length of this; for I am, my Lord,
"Your Lordship's most affectionate humble servant,
Enclosed with this letter, or sent more probably by the same messenger, Earl Colin, his mother's little champion of thirteen, addressed a few lines to Lauderdale, which could not, I think, have been read without sympathy: --
"Oct. 9th, 1665.
"I know I have no merit of my own to make your Lordship do anything for me, so it must be merely your goodness must make you have any care for me. I know, were I a man, I must take my sword in my hand, ane beggar; but that troubles me not so much as the trouble I see my mother in for me. If your Lordship will be pleased to be so good to remember me to the King's Majesty, who, I hear, promised my mother somewhat, which, if she get it, I will look upon as given to me. If God make me a man worthy to serve your Lordship [p. 77], you shall find me dedicate myself to your service, next to that of my prince. I am more ways than one obliged to be, my Lord,
"Your most humble servant,
The result of Lady Balcarres's letter was, I suspect, a severe, but I trust not an unkindly scold, from Lauderdale, delayed indeed for some months, and to which she replied on the 19th of March 1666, enclosing a letter to the King, written at Lauderdale's request, as a memorial of her claims. It appears from her letter to Lauderdale that Seaforth had obtained his share of the fines; but how that part of the arrangements between them terminated I do not know. To King Charles she wrote as follows:
"Balcarres, the 2nd of March.
"May it please your Majesty,
"I have had such large and frequent testimonies of your Majesty's gracious condescension and favour towards me at all times, I am encouraged at this time, amidst your Majesty's great affairs, humbly to make known to your Majesty my own and the distressed condition of this family. It is true, and I do humbly acknowledge, your Majesty, in consideration of our condition, was pleased to grant me an yearly pension, but of that I have still owing me l4000; and your Majesty did likewise promise to me, and I suppose to my Lord Chancellor of England, who was pleased to speak to your Majesty for me, that I should have the value of Sir James Macdonald's fine, which was l5000, towards the repairing of this ruined estate, occasioned by the great debt lying thereon, contracted by my husband in carrying on of your Majesty's service, as my Lord Secretary can more particularly inform.
"Hitherto I have rested in great confidence of your Majesty's goodness and bounty, but now, being informed by some here that your Majesty is disposing the fines, I hope your Majesty will pardon me if I offer also humbly to supplicate for so much of them as your royal bounty will bestow and the sad and necessitous condition of this family calls for; that thereby your Majesty's goodness to those who have willingly, and out of love to your person only, have suffered for you may be extolled, and my poor son in time enabled to serve your Majesty, and myself further engaged to give you a widow's blessing. I humbly entreat your Majesty, when you read this, to think you see me lying at your feet, beseeking [you] to have pity on me and my fatherless children, who can go to none to help us from perishing but your Majesty, who is my King, from whom I expect all that's good. The great God will, I hope, reward your Majesty a thousandfold for [p. 78] what you do for me. That He may bless your Majesty, preserve your person, prosper all you take in hand, is the subject of the constant daily, and earnest prayer of,
"May it please your Majesty,
"Your Majesty's most affectionate, most faithful, and most humble and obedient subject and servant,
The letter to Lauderdale goes more into particulars, and will, I think, like the preceding, be found of interest. The "late mortality" alluded to is the Great Plague London.
"Balcarres, the 19th of March.
"My dear Lord,
"Seeing your goodness has passed over what I vented embittered passion, I shall not insist in making apologies. He that is the searcher of all hearts knows what love my heart hath borne to you, far beyond all the kindred I had in the world, and how concerned I ever was for you, and (the Lord forgive me!) a disliker of all those was not your friends, as if they had been my greatest enemies. As I am convinced of my being, I am also that there is no decay at the root of your affection to me, though it seems there are obstructions that I not imagine that hinder it from yielding that fruit this poor family stand most in need of; but I wish and trust that, as hitherto you have been shielded against violence, so you still have the favourable influence of his Majesty to the good of your country and friends.
"My Lord, I am most sensible of this your advice, and therefore hath written the enclosed for his Majesty, which if it please you, know you will make the best use of it you can; and because I have endeavoured to be short, I have made bold to refer some particulars to your Lordship's information, which are -- I have not yet got of five year and more above one year of my pension, so that the Exchequer is indebted to me l4000 and upwards. My son's debts are so greats that his annual-rents exhausts all his estate, and this year it will not pay the half of them.
"I have, with paying what my Lord owed abroad, and engaging myself to some of my son's creditors, to see if I could get anything left to him. But I see this estate will ruin unless I get something considerable from his Majesty for its relief, and my pension now duly paid me. Your Lordship remembers it was the value of Sir James Macdonald's fine which the King promised to Middleton that [he would] give me, and after to the Chancellor of England; and because his daughter the Duchess7 was then instrumental with [p. 79] her father to speak to his Majesty, I have at this time written to her also.
"If, after your reading it, your Lordship judge it fit to cause Mr. Erskine or Sir Alexander Home deliver it, or by whom your Lordship pleases. I believe Mr. Erskine, if he get it, will pray the Duchess of Monmouth to give it. Your Lordship will think by this I am now a mere stranger to your Court. I would not willingly, by seeming to slight the Chancellor, give him occasion to oppose my desires; for, I suppose by what your Lordship wrote of my Lord Newburgh, the King will speak to him before he grant them, -- but this only if it needs, and may not reflect on your Lordship, for I had rather than fall into such an error run my hazard.
"Thus I deal fairly, and expect you will likeways do in this case; for, as I said before, I am now such a stranger to Court, that I know not how to make my addresses right. This trouble I know your Lordship will accept. I do leave the success to Him in whose hands the hearts of kings are, and whose providence reacheth to the smallest things. If there be anything your Lordship would have mended in mine to the King, let me know and I shall write a new letter, unless there be haste required. I thank the Lord God that yourself, and Lady, and my Lady Mary and family have been preserved in the late mortality. That you may be kept from it and from all trouble is among the most earnest and hearty wishes of, my dear Lord,
"Your Lordship's most affectionate servant,
"My Lord, the enclosed paper, being the Earl of Seaforth's grant of his share of the fines to my son's behalf, at my Cummer's desire, I send it to your Lordship. It being the original, I know your Lordship will make use of it to our advantage."
The relief so long expected came at last, not long (I believe) after this communication; but with the present letter the correspondence between the Countess Anna and Lauderdale may be said to have ceased, at least on their old familiar footing of dear cousins and friends. Only one more letter of hers is preserved among the Lauderdale papers, written four years afterwards and belonging to a later stage in her history. Friendship can hardly survive protracted periods of silence and the shocks of expostulation, retort, and apology, such as we have just been privy to. It must be for the reader to judge, indeed, whether I should have inserted even so much of this correspondence [p. 80] as I have here preserved.
But to myself at least, and I believe to most men, there is a deep dramatic interest in the history of a human friendship, scarcely, if at all, inferior to that attaching to the old familiar tale of true love. The spectacle is, in fact, of much rarer occurrence, for love, in the ordinary sense of the word, is the daily bread, the life and salt of humanity; but friendship, as conceived of and realised in its loftiest aspect, belongs rather to the selecter and finer spirits of creation. And as friendship is more ethereal in its essence than the love of the sexes, so is it more susceptible, irritable, and evanescent.
It is for this reason that the examples of lofty and heroic friendship have been such favourites with the more generous portion of mankind from the times of the Greeks downwards. It was friendship, pure from every earthly stain, which subsisted between Our Blessed Saviour and the beloved disciple St. John. Friendship subsisted, as a bond of divine strength, between the knights of the times of chivalry; it shone, like light reflected from a burnished shield, from the hearts of many of their successors in the sixteenth century; and in the seventeenth, between the sufferers for the Stuarts, male and female, tied to each other by the remembrance of common sufferings in a common cause, friendship was a bond of closest union; while between the sufferers and their Sovereign the self-same sentiment prevailed, investing the obligation of loyalty with the warmth of personal affection -- which Charles II. in particular, always mindful of the companions of his early and struggling years, cordially reciprocated.
No one, as we shall find, appreciated the duties and the rights of a faithful friendship more justly and keenly than Lady Balcarres that "woman of very strong love and friendship," as Baxter qualifies her. Lord Balcarres and herself, Sir Robert Moray, Lord Kincardine, Crawford-Lindsay, Rothes, and Lauderdale, formed a band of friends, akin to each other doubtless in blood, but more closely allied through sympathy [p. 81] than relationship; and a warmth and freedom of intercourse subsisted between them, and indeed between themselves and the King, of which ample proof could be given. Lauderdale, after the Restoration, was the common centre and point of union of the survivors -- Balcarres and Lauderdale had each been the other's dearest friend in youth -- and the Countess Anna's jealousy for a friendship to which she had thus a double and indeed hereditary claim was not unnatural. Possibly she may have been too exacting -- I do not think so; but her own words form her best apology.
Their friendship was in its course like that of a noble stream, formed by the confluence of two fair rivers flowing on side by side within the same channel, but preserving their independence, commingling and yet not commingle, -- .their course and charity such that the spectator, beholding it, thought to see them peacefully discharge themselves through a common outlet into the ocean; but, instead of this, a stage of stagnancy and indifference arrested them when it was least to be looked for -- the "cataracts and breaks" of "humour" upheaved a ridge of misconception, unseen on the surface of the waters, but which, gradually increasing, determined their separation; and in the result they parted overtly, the two streams, the two friends, reaching the goal by different channels, if not in hostility, at least in alienation. It is one more version of an old story, and the experience of many hearts in the decline of life will witness to its undying novelty and interest.
But Lauderdale's kindness never (I should add) waned towards the young kinsman, to whom as a boy he had presented his first sword, Earl Colin; and it will be felt, I think, that among many circumstances which will probably induce the world to think better of him ultimately than the report of current history would warrant, the strong affection and confidence with which he inspired such a woman as Lady Balcarres may be reckoned as furnishing a very strong presumption in his favour.
[p. 82] A comparative calm of some years now followed, the first indeed of any duration that Lady Balcarres had enjoyred since her marriage, -- and it had been reserved widowhood. She continued to reside with her children at Balcarres, superintending their education, gradually redeeming the estate, and realising more and more, as her circumstances improved, the character of the "virtuous woman" whose "price is far above rubies," of the Book of Proverbs, -- a character which few can exhibit so literally now-a-days, our less simple state of society.
During these years she devoted herself to the task of buying up and extinguishing the incumbrances upon the estate of Balcarres by the hellp of her augmented income and a careful but not penurious economy; and this she to a considerable extent effected. No one knew better than she did that economy is the large-hearted, the mother of liberality; and thus days of wandering and humiliation over -- she went through life like a beneficent Ceres, bestowing the right and left, out of small means but with a royal hand, on all who had claims upon her, delighting in good.
It was not however till 1669 that her long-deferred rights, her provision from the Seaforth inheritance as bequeathed to her by her father, were finally accorded and made payable to her son Earl Colin. By arrangements then entered into, and on the consideration of marks paid down at once, Earl Colin, under his mother's tutory and direction, agreed to surrender his father's acq uired rights over the estate of Seaforth on the security of a series of bonds by which the chieftains of the Mackenzies, Tarbat, the Lairds of Suddie, Reidcastle, Applecross, Garreloch, Coull, Hilton, Assynt, and others, together John Urquhart of Cromarty, made themselves responsible for the payment by instalments of sums of money amounting to above 80,000 marks, in liquidation of his claims. A long course of anxiety was thus brought to a happy determination.
[p. 83] The years thus briefly characterised were, I doubt not, among the happiest, as they certainly were the most tranquil, the Countess Anna had enjoyed since her early youth. There is an inexpressible charm in the monotony of life, when the family circle is gathered together in peace and harmony, after long battling with the winds and waves of fortune -- ,it is then that a "dinner of herbs" is felt to be far pleasanter than the banquets of kings. But the time arrives in every household when this happy monotony must be interrupted, when the nestlings that have reached maturity take flight into the greater world, and the parent birds (there was, alas! but one in this case) are left to mourn.
It was either in 1669 or 1670 that the Countess Anna's surviving son Colin Earl of Balcarres since his brother's death -- the little man whose childish letters have already interested us -- attained the age of sixteen years; and she sent him up to London to pay his duty to the King. He took up his residence with his uncle Sir Robert Moray, and was presented to the King by Lauderdale. He was very handsome and personally like his father; Charles was pleased with his countenance, said "he had loved his father and would be a father to him himself," and, as an earnest of his favour, gave him the command of a select troop of horse, composed of one hundred loyal gentlemen who had been reduced to poverty during the recent troubles, and who had half-a-crown a day as their military pay.
A few days after his introduction at court, Colin fell dangerously ill of a fever; when, to the surprise and satisfaction of Sir Robert and ultimately of the young sufferer himself, messengers arrived almost hourly at Sir Robert's house to make inquiries after Colin's health on behalf of a young Dutch lady, Mademoiselle Mauritia de Nassau, then residing with her elder sister Lady Arlington, wife of the prime minister. These ladies, with a third sister Isabella, wife of the gallant Earl of Ossory, were daughters of Louis Count of Beverwaert and Auverquerque, in Holland, by [p. 84] Elizabeth Countess of Horn. The young Maurit: been present at Colin's first presentation at court, "seems," to use his grandson's words, "he was agreeable to her."
On his recovery Sir Robert sent him to pay knowledgments and respects to the young lady, ere long the day was fixed for their marriage. The Orange, afterwards William the Third, Lady Balcarres quondam charge in 1659, and who was now, like the full bridegroom, just sixteen, presented his fair kinswoman with a pair of magnificent emerald earrings on this occasion as his wedding-gift! Everything having been arranged, the day of espousals arrived, the wedding were assembled in the church, and the bride was ready for the altar; but, to the dismay of the company, no groom appeared. He was but a boy after all, and match had been made up, so far as he was concerned an affair of convenance or arrangement; he had forgotten or miscalculated the day of his marriage, and was discovered in his nightgown and slippers, quietly eating his breakfast.
Thus far the tale is told with a smile on the lip, but a tear was shed at the conclusion. Colin hurried church, but in his haste left the ring in his escritoire; a friend in the company gave him one; he put his hand behind his back to receive it; the ceremony went on, and without looking at it, he placed it on the finger of his fair young bride, -- it was a mourning ring, with the mort-head and crossed bones, the emblems of mortality; on perceiving it at the close of the ceremony she fainted away, and the evil omen had made such an impression on her that, on recovering, she declared she should die with year, and her presentiment was too truly fulfilled. She died in childbed less than a twelvemonth afterwards.
The only surviving relic of this union -- "too unadvised too sudden," as it truly was -- is the following letter, in French, and which was addressed by the ill-fated Mauritia to her husband's mother soon after the nuptials, in [p. 85] for a kind letter which the Countess Anna had written to her on the occasion:
"I know not in what terms to render you my very humble thanks for your goodness in writing me so obliging a letter. I assure you, Madam, that I am grateful for it as I ought to be, and that my Lord Balcarres could not have espoused any one who would endeavour more than I will do to seek out occasions for meriting your friendship, and whereby to testify to you in every manner of opportunity that amount of respect and submission with which I am, Madam,
"Your very humble and obedient daughter and servant,
Maurisce de Balcarres."8
Mauritia, I may add, had a dowry of sixteen thousand pounds, part of which her husband contributed (as I have stated in a former page) to the payment of a portion of the debt incurred by his father during the late Civil War.
From this time forward Earl Colin's fortunes ran their separate course, in a channel apart from that of his mother and his sisters, although they warmly loved each other through life. He was launched on the world, and is henceforward, properly speaking, as the writers of the old Sagas would say, "out of the story," except in so far as he comes into contact from time to time with the proper subject of it, his mother.
I will only therefore repeat that Charles II. continued till his death to take a warm interest in Colin," as he always called him, various instances of which are given in the Lives of the Lindsays," while similar kindness was shown him by Charles' successor James II. His friendship [p. 86] with William Prince of Orange likewise continued Revolution, when in an interview with William on the arrival of the latter in London, he told him that, with , good will for himself personally, he could not forsake one who, in spite of many errors, had been "a kind master to him." When James II. fled to France, he left Colin in charge of his civil, and Dundee, or Claverhouse, of his affairs in Scotland.
Dundee fell at Killiecrankie. Colin was imprisoned in the Castle of Edinburgh and, after release, followed King James abroad, and remained in exile, at St. Germains and in Holland, for many years. He joined the insurrection in 1715, when an old man, was pardoned afterwards (as I shall have occasion to show) by the interest of the Dukes of Argyll and Marlborough, died, aged more than seventy years, in 1722.
Of Colin's two sisters, Sophia and Henrietta, whom he quitted, still young girls, when he started for the gay world of London in 1669, I shall speak presently. Their dstinye took its colouring from their mother's character and subsequent fortunes. These were about to undergo a change which transplanted them from
"Fair Balcarres' sunward-sloping farms"
and the associations of the eastern coast of Scotland tof romantic shores of Argyllshire and the territories of Clan Campbell.
I have incidentally mentioned Lord Lorn, the son and successor of the Marquis of Argyll, as a contemporary and friend of Alexander Lord Balcarres, and his Lady Balcarres' associate in the Highland insurrection of 1653. Restored to his ancestral estate and honours by Charles II. subsequently to his father's execution in 1661, he became a widower in 1668; and two years after on the 28th of January 1670, Anna of Seaforth, Countess Dowager of Balcarres, became his second wife, her old friend Mr. David Forret performing the marriage ceremony, "without proclamation," by license from Archbishop [p. 87] Sharpe.
Various causes may have concurred to induce her to lend a favourable ear to Argyll's suit. There were points in his character amply sufficient to warrant warm affection. He was on friendly terms with Lauderdale, Rothes, Sir Robert Moray, and her other relations, and a supporter of the government. Her son's marriage, too, and establishment (as she doubtless anticipated) for life, was probably a strong motive; for Balcarres would henceforward be the home of the young Earl and his bride, and she was too wise not to feel that it is better alike for parents and children that young married people should begin life in absolute independence.
She may also have wished to provide her daughters with a friend who might stand to them eventually in the place of their lost father, in times which were already beginning to be troublesome to those whose sympathies were certainly not with Episcopacy. It is true that, as she arranged it, they were to reside with Earl Colin in the first instance; but she doubtless expected that in course of time they would return to her own more natural protection; and so, in fact, it turned out, although sooner and under more sorrowful circumstances than she had looked forward to. I may as well state here, although it is hardly necessary, that she had no children by this second marriage. Argyll had had several by the wife he had lost.
Before taking this important step, the Countess Anna had brought everything connected with the estate of Balcarres and her son's property into exact and careful order, making inventories of the various papers and documents with her own hand, and placing the whole economical details connected with the establishment on a sound and permanent footing, preparatory to making the whole over to him and his bride. She crowned her labour by addressing him, a few months after her marriage, and while there was yet hope of a prolonged and happy life for the ill-fated Mauritia, a long and admirable letter on the various subjects, moral, religious, political, and domestic on which she was anxious [p. 88] to impart to him (still, as he was, a mere youth, prematurely launched into manhood) the results of her wise experience.
I cannot conclude this period in her life more fittingly by some extracts from this letter, witnessing as it only to the practical good sense which she applied to of every-day life, but to her noble appreciation of principles of charity and truth which are to be valued as things immortal, pertaining alike to yesterday, to-day, and fpr ever.
Because the interest of the soul is preferable to that of the body, I shall, first, desire you be serious in religion, worshipping your God, and let your dependence be constantly upon Him for all things; the first step in it is, to believe in God, that He made and upholds the universe in wisdom, in goodness, and in justice -- that we -must adore, obey Him, and approve of all He does. The fear of God, says Solomon, is the beginning of knowledge; He is ane buckler to all that walk uprightly.
Dedicate some certain time every day for the service of your Maker and Redeemer; in that, take a survey of shorter or longer as the time will permit; thank him making you what you are, for redeeming you, giving you His word and spirit, and that you live under the gospel -- [p. 89] life and death of your blessed Saviour and Lord, and your heart will be warmed with that love that is beyond expression, that meekness and humility that endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, -- strive to be conform to Him; no fraud, no guile, nor evil-speaking was found with Him, for all the injustice and wicked backbiting He met with; He was kind, doing always good; He forgave, was patient in enduring injuries, was charitable.
My dear son, the great work to which we are called is to be partakers of His holy harmless nature; true religion stands in imitating of Him and converse with Him. 'Truly,' says the Apostle John, 'our fellowship is with the Father and the Son.' David says, 'Evening and morning and midday will I pray to Thee.' We have directions and examples in the Holy Word for what we should do; we are told to watch and pray that we be not led into temptations (they are oft most afraid of them that are most resolved and best acquainted to resist them), -- to implore His help for supply of grace or strength, or of what we need; and to encourage us to it, He says none shall seek His face in vain. He gives us His holy word that we may daily read out of it divine lessons; it is a lanthorn to our feet to walk cleanly, and sure it is for instruction and direction in righteousness; read often of the life and death of your Saviour; read the books of Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, -- for other books I would have you read those most that will make you know the Scriptures and your duty; and yourself must make conscience of your duty to your particular relations."
To his prince she inculcates loyalty and reverence, to his country love and protection, reminding him however that public characters are unhappy except in such times when virtue is loved for its own sake.
"Strive," says she, "to enrich your mind with virtue, and let it be attended with the golden chain of knowledge, temperance, patience, [p. 90] godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, -- "possessed of these, "though you were bereft of all the world | you or take from you, you are justly to be happy."
Friendship she holds up as the choicest earthly blessing, but entreats her son to be wary whom he admits to intimacy. "Nothing delights the heart of any man more and trusty friendship, -- to have one to whom we impart our mind, whose counsels may advise cheerfulness may qualify our cares, who is free of covetness and known vice; for where the fear of God is not, and the practice of Christian virtues, that friendship stand long; there is certainly a secret curse on the ship whereof God is not the foundation and the end. Let not the least jealousy of your faithful friend enter into your mind, but, whatever he do, think it was well in in some cases it's better be deceived than distrust."
"though friendship be the greatest solace it proves not always firm enough to repose the soul absolutely upon. The fixedness of all things here below depends on God, who would have us to fix all our peace and contentment, even this we enjoy in the creatures, on Himself. There is great reason for it. It's much if our judgment, affection, and interest long agree; if there be but a difference in any of these, it doth much to mar one being constrained to love that the other loves not, -- one of you may have a friend, whose favour may bmake great reaches, an Achitophel or a Ziba; our Saviour had those who followed him for interest, that did soon forsake him; and turned his betrayers and enemies.
If one of you be calmer nor the other, and allows not all the other does out of humour, this causes mistakes, -- as a man is, so is his strength. A virtuous faithful friend, whose ways are by God, who is of a sweet, equal, cheerful humour, not jealous, nor easily made to break the friendship he heath made on good grounds, which is understood to be from heaven, is certainly the greatest jewel on earth.
But [p. 91] if God so dispose of it that your friends, though the nearest relations on earth, change to you, strive to be constant to them, and to overcome all with patience. Let meekness smoothe over all their passions; espouse their interest; pursue them with kindness and serviceableness of all kinds; seek reconciliation on any terms; amend what they think amiss. Let ingenuity be in all your words and actions: put on charity, which is the bond of perfection, which suffereth long, is kind, envieth not; forbear upbraiding or repeating what you have done to oblige them, but look on what you do for your friends and their accepting of it as that wherefore you are most indebted to them; from those you are engaged to in friendship strive to be content with frowns as well as smiles; bear all their infirmities, considering they must bear yours."
Among all friends, to regard his wife as the dearest friend of his bosom -- to be chaste and constant to her -- and to seek for his chief happiness at home, is earnestly enforced by one who had well known what the happiness of married life is.
"Believe it," she says, "no man is happy but he that is so in his own house."
She dwells with equal anxiety on his relations with his sisters, which she labours to draw as close as possible.
"To be kind to your sisters is not only the earnest desire of your mother, who lodged you all in her womb, but what is far more, it is commanded you by the Spirit of God to add to your faith and virtue 'brotherly kindness.' ' A brother,' saith Solomon, 'is born for adversity.' If it be enjoined us to bear this kindness to all that love God, our Lord and Father, far more are you to bear it to your sisters, who are both lovers of God and your own sisters also. 'A brother loves at all times,' saith Solomon. They have you now for their father; be kind to them as he was, and live as you would have yours to do after you are gone. God, I hope, will requite your brotherly care and kindness with a blessing to you in your own. St. John saith, He that loves his brother' (I may say sisters [p. 92] too) 'lives in light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him.' Good Abraham said to Lot, 'Let no strife be betwixt thee and me, and thy servants and mine; we are brethren.' Our Saviour he told us, ' A family divided cannot stand,' and saith the Spirit of God, 'How pleasant is it to see brethren to dwell together in unity!' A threefold cord is not easily broken; how pleasant, how easy is it to live in love, and do our duty to all! Their virtue, I hope, will make you love and trust them."
On the subject of children she speaks with a mother's wisdom and love.
"When God blesseth you with children, so soon as they can speak, be letting them know of as much as they are capable. Let none be about them but modest persons, men and women, such as fear God, and will be teaching and giving them good example. Breed them not highly, though not with want of anything in your power that's fit for their birth and quality; but let greatest expences be on their education; let them look like those that are bred up to be the sons and daughters of Most High.
She dwells with equal emphasis on the duty of maintaining an orderly and religious household, shunning whisperers and flatterers "that sail with all winds,"to be kind to his servants in their vigour and careful of them in age and sickness,to love rather than hate his enemies,to extend his charity, beyond the external duties of a Christian towards the poor and the afflicted, to the regulation of his opinions with regard to others, questioning his own rather than their judgment, learning of his Saviour to be meek, and remembering that God was not in the thunder, or the fire but in the calm still voice, to be modest in society abroad, and to look on the careful management of his affairs at home as a duty; these and many other incidental obligations are enforced with affection as earnest and in language as energetic as in the passages already quoted.
On the value of silence, for example, except under the constraint of duty, she dwells, strongly recommending him "to speak little" as
"that which hath many advantages. Nevertheless I would not have you silent when .your conscience dictates to you to speak that which is good and right, especially if you come to be a public person, in Parliament or Council; refrain not, if you see an occasion to do good to your King, your country, or your friend or neighbour, if what you would say can do no good to either, though never so expedient [p. 94] or convenient, be silent, -- God does not require it: who has given you the use of your discretion, says, 'There is a time to speak and a time to be silent.' So long as you are young, be ready to hear, speak but let that be pertinent and home; observe opportunities, and make use of them. You will have sometimes exercises for your patience; let it appear upon all occasions, as well your modesty. There is always either honour or shame that speak in public."
Nor is her advice less practical and valuable on the duties incumbent upon him as a landlord, householder, of making himself thoroughly conversant his own business:
"My next desire is, that you should know your estate, and your rights to it. I did what I could to order your charter-chest, and you will find inventories of my hand of all; but it cannot be in order till it be in your in your head; therefore I desire, till it be so, that you take a little time every day when you have leisure for it, or once a week; but better in my opinion, an hour in the day in a very short time will make you go through and know all. It will I any lawyer or servant more careful. Trust not too many with your writs.
When once you have known your estate and your burden (debt), have a rental always at your hand and a note of your debt, principal and annual, regular and clear, in your pocket; score off your interests first, what they will amount to, and pay them duly, -- it is just, and will tend much to your credit; and always reckon what you have behind, and conform your expense to that, -- those that do othenvays are in direct road to ruin. Lay your accompt to live on the half or third of what you have free, and it is like you will find accidents you think not of will fall out to make you come to an end of your estate before end. If your expense be at one time more nor or your table, hold in your clothes, or such things as are less necessary than your meat and drink.
Let your house and servants, &c., look as like your quality as may be, profuse or ostensive. Cause your steward or butler keep a weekly book of all that comes in that week, what spent, and [p. 95] what remains. Let not any servant or other go without a precept " (warrant) "to take up from tenant or any other for anything from you or your wife; and let the precepts come in to instruct their accounts for victual, for money, &c., -- this will be easy to you, or her, and for the tenants and servants; be always at the accounts yourself till your lady perfectly understands them, -- your sisters know my way."
"You will thus," she says, in summing up her wise argument, "by carrying yourself aright towards God, and man, and your relations, make all that are related to you, or that wish you and your family well, and those that are about you, rejoice; and their satisfaction, I am sure, will be a great addition to your own. The great pleasure of making others happy and seeing them live comfortably by your means will give you a peace and joy beyond any you can have from others, were it either to make you more honourable or rich. This will make you both, leading to the land of uprightness, where there are durable riches.
"Your good grandfather, Lord David," she concludes, "he thought that day misspent he knew not some new thing. He was a very studious and diligent man in his affairs. You that have such a closet (library), such gardens, and so much to do within doors and without, need not think the time tedious nor be idle; it's the hand of the diligent maketh rich. The good man orders his affairs with discretion; it's the diligent that's the only person fit for government; Solomon saith, his thought tends to plenteousness, and he may stand before kings.
"My care hath been great for you and your family, and you may see by this I will be always,
My dear Son,
Your kind Mother,