A Memoir of Lady Anna Mackenzie


[pp. 146 - 162]

[p. 146] Since the preceding Memoir was printed, I have been favoured by Mr. Vere Irving with the perusal of his transcript of the Lauderdale Correspondence between the years 1656 and 1666. This perusal has confirmed the impressions regarding the character of Charles II., and the policy which prompted the restoration of Episcopacy after the Restoration which I have expressed in the preceding pages. The correspondence has, in fact, given me a higher opinion of the King, personally, and of his Scottish ministers, than I had previously entertained. The general impression conveyed by it may be stated as follows:

We find Charles throughout governing, with no careless hand holding clear ideas of public policy; and working them out always accessible to the calls of business, a hard-working man, hearing all that was to be said, and reading everything presented to him attentively, never committing himself to premature decisions, but generally saying nothing at the moment, and reserving time for thought. We find him alive to the sentiments of honour and the claims of justice. Great freedom of observation and familiarity of intercourse subsisted between himself and his ministers, especially Lauderdale, who occasionally said home-truths in a very plain-spoken manner; but the will of the King and the duty of obedience are always taken for granted as supreme. On the other hand, the warmest sentiment of personal attachment mingles with the expressions of loyalty, and divests them of any suspicion of servility.

This attachment and, I may say, admiration for Charles personally, runs through the whole correspondence as between Lauderdale, Rothes, Sir Robert Moray, Tweeddale, and others. They constantly speak of him, to each other, as "our dear master," -- they continually express their reliance on his justice and goodness. It is, in fact, Charles, the King of Scots," -- the feudal king surrounded by his peers, and yet wearing his feudalism with a difference (as it were) from constitutional influences -- that figures throughout these letters; and, in this character, everything bears reference to him; he is the common centre, looked upon by every Scot at home and [p. 147] abroad -- in France, in Sweden, in Russia -- as his "native prince," his protector against injustice and wrong, his referee, umpire, and extricator in cases of difficulty, and the source of all his worldly honour and advantage.

Charles's urbanity and personal kindness (and, I may add incidentally, his affection and tender ness for his wife, Catherine of Braganza) equally strike us in the incidental allusions and reports of conversations and interviews given by the correspondents, and especially by Sir Robert Moray. Neither King nor ministers, although thus localised at Whitehall, have much of England about them in their intercourse and tone of thought; and on one occasion when it had been suggested that some charge against Glencairn, the Scottish Chancellor, should be investigated by the authority (it would appear) of the English House of Peers, Lauderdale's sense of national independence bursts out in a letter to Moray (he was then at Edinburgh) with startling vehemence.

"That motion," (he says) "for examining the Duke of Ormonde and me is as wild as the charge, since my Lord Bristol may remember the House of Peers hath no power to examine in Scotland. We will submit to no examinations but what flow from the King's command. And although, when I am in England, I know and shall pay all duty to that House, yet their commands reach not hither. And if I were in England, 'though I could depone (as indeed I know nothing in that charge), yet it were not possible to make me depone against the merest servant, much. less against the King's Chancellor, without his Majesty's knowledge and warrant. Now I have wearied you and myself, and if His Majesty have patience to read this, I doubt he shall be the weariest of the three. Adieu. Past midnight."

It further appears, from a perusal of these letters, that the restoration of Episcopacy and depression of the ultra-Presbyterians, the party of the Remonstrators or Protesters, was suggested by considerations of civil polity -- for the protection of the state and monarchy from theocratic or republican despotism as a legacy from the Commonwealth, rather than from religious animosity or the spirit of proselytism. There are no traces in this correspondence, so far as the transcripts I have seen go, of the spirit of persecution for mere religion's sake, either in Lauderdale or Rothes, -- the latter, indeed, while firmly determined to enforce the law, already manifests the lenity which tradition (and even Wodrow) attributes to him. Outward conformity was demanded, and contumacy was to be punished, but there was little disposition to push inquiry into private opinions or to act as an inquisition.

The chief difficulty at the time in dealing with the [p. 149] recusants was an inadequacy in the law to deal with the case of the holders of conventicles as sedition, although the lesser offence (as it was considered) of simple nonconformity fell under that character. There were so many too on the Ecclesiastical Commission to speak for every offender that Rothes complains in 1665 that that body had lost its terrors for the malcontents. It was long before any of the upper classes seem to have taken part in the adverse movement; even Argyll is in friendly relations with the government throughout the years in question. The bitter remembrance of the Commonwealth and of the miseries suffered under it, and the crying necessity of order, of repose, of peace, for the recovery of the nation from the collapse and ruin in which it had been left by the late civil war and the exactions of Cromwell, were an all-pervading sentiment -- witnessed and justified by the frequent illustrations of the extreme impoverishment of the Scottish families and the exhaustion of the Exchequer which occur in the correspondence.

It is evident from all these considerations that the political march of Charles and his Scottish ministers was through a line of country beset with every possible difficulty, in which counter-claims pressed on every side, and where, with the light they had and the political experience of the age, it was next to impossible to strike the right track; but it can at least be said for Lauderdale and his friends that, during the years in question, they did what they believed to be their duty -- mistaken as that belief may have been -- honestly, and with the full devotion of their time and energy to what they understood to be the King's and the public welfare.

Lastly, I may remark that a warm spirit of affection subsists between most of the correspondents, -- it is true that they were for the most part near relations; it would be unjust to call them a family clique, for they were unquestionably the ablest men in Scotland during their time; but all the tokens of genuine and generous friendship are evinced in their intercourse. The influence of the Chancellor Dunfermline, which I have dwelt upon in the opening pages of this memoir, seems still to rule among them. One of the letters in which Rothes replies to an expostulation of Lauderdale, written on a report having reached London that Rothes had been indulging too much in wine, is a model of noble and simple sincerity.

The whole correspondence, I should add, is in the best taste; it exhibits no taint from the vices of the times; there is not one coarse jest or licentious allusion throughout it. The sense of religion is strongly marked, but in a broad and Catholic, not Puritanic manner; there is as little of the Roundhead in it as, in an opposite direction, of the light [p. 150] levity and affected irreverence which frequently attached to the Cavalier.

Lastly, a tender memory of Alexander Earl of Balcarres, Lady Anna Mackenzie's first husband, is seen to linger on for years among his old friends, evidenced from time to time by an allusion to this or that person, introduced upon the scene, as having been one whom he valued, and whom consequently it was incumbent upon them to be kind to.1

It is to be hoped that Mr. Vere Irving may some day publish this Lauderdale correspondence, or a selection from it. It relates to a period of by no means inferior interest in the history of Britain, when the great question between Liberty and Order was still in active debate, and its issues undetermined in Scotland. It is from documents such as these, which introduce us behind the scenes, that that half of truth which deals with the motives of the actors in the great drama of history is to be ascertained. Popular histories merely reflect popular beliefs, too frequently popular delusions.

The portion I have perused only covers a limited period of time, but it is the period during which the policy which governed Scotland up to the time of the Revolution was inaugurated, and thus has a peculiar interest. Not only that portion, but the whole correspondence, must of course be taken in connection with other authentic contemporary evidence, in order to enable us to arrive at an impartial and complete judgment alike in regard to the character of Charles II., and that of his Scottish administration. The more of such evidence that can be regained from the grave of the past, the better for the cause of truth. If the correspondence in question exhibits Charles and his Scottish advisers in a different light from that in which they are usually represented, all that can be said is, that the evidence is that supplied by the men themselves, who best knew their own minds, and wore no disguise when discussing their measures together, -- nor is it to be forgotten that writers, not of the popular school, have drawn Lauderdale's character, [p. 151] in particular, as that of a wise and conscientious statesman.

The very existence of such women as Mary Blagge (Mrs. Godolphin, the friend of Evelyn), and of Anna, Countess of Balcarres, as members of Charles's court, may well too, in another point of view, suggest a doubt whether all there was as corrupt as it is popularly supposed to be by the readers of Pepys and Count Anthony Hamilton. On this, as on innumerable other historical points, there is much yet to clear up. Truth in most cases lies between. Our labours during the present century are still "accumulative of facts, instances, records, principles, experiences, the materials for future thought," and more especially so in history -- in anticipation of a better time, when the annals of mankind, collectively and nationally, will be written with that calm and equitable appreciation, of which, in these days of party spirit, hasty generalisation, "sensational" narrative, and one-sided philosophy, there is little present prospect.

I may close this Postscript by subjoining a few extracts (by Mr. Vere Irving's permission), from the Lauderdale papers transcribed by him, which will illustrate what has been said above, and in the text of this volume, on the subject. 1. Of Charles II.'s character; 2. Of the impoverishment of Scotland during the years after the Restoration; and, 3. Of the policy in church matters pursued between that epoch and the Revolution.

I. Character of Charles II.

In a letter from Sir Robert Moray, from Whitehall, to Lauderdale at Holyrood, he writes as follows, on the 16th October 1663, in reporting the conclusion of some matter in negotiation:

"In a word, the King did it with all the deliberation, all the sense of justice, of honour, and all the prudent observations upon every title of the dockets you can imagine, and with all the kindness to both the recommenders of it heart could wish, and with all the good impressions of the person you or I can desire, so that it lies upon you both to thank the King for what he hath done in it, as if he had given all to either of you, and yet more for weighing and considering every point of that he hath done so accurately that he is armed against anybody alive that will carp at any iota of it. ... One circumstance of weight, I trow, is not to be omitted. The King hath done this critical matter, not upon the Earls of Rothes and Lauderdale begging it on their knees, but upon their bare recommendations. It is yet to be remarked that he hath done it when the Queen is so very sick that he hath not stirred from her side since six in the morning, and is sad at the heart for her condition, [p. 152] which appeared evidently by his eyes."

And in the same letter, with reference to the restoration of Lord Lorn (afterwards Lady Anna Mackenzie's second husband) to the ancient honours of his family (except the Marquisate), Sir Robert writes,

"The King gave admirable reasons for making him only Earl. Observe the providence of the Great God. Yesterday I was asking the King if he would give my Lord Lorn leave to come up and kiss his hands. ' With all my heart,' said the King; 'is he here?' 'No, Sir,' said I ; 'he is in Scotland.' . . No sooner was I at my chamber than I found a letter from him, dated from Barbican, telling me he was going to Highgate, and that he would come to me to-morrow. I meant to have transcribed the little signature" (that is, the warrant for the restoration from his father's forfeiture) "at my chamber, but took immediately a coach and went to Highgate to him, told him all, and made him dictate while I wrote the little signature, which is verbatim the other except in the first naming of him and in the clause of the Marquis-ship; then this morning (for it was signed after seven) I asked the King, as he was signing (having first told him of Lord Lorn's arrival) whether he would have him kiss his hand before you came, or stay till then,he, like himself, that is,'le premier gentilhomme de l'univers,' bid me bring him to him, which I intend to-morrow, God willing; and you may guess what noise it will make!"

-- Highgate, I may mention en passant, was a favourite resort of the Scottish friends at this time. Crawford-Lindsay had a house there; and they usually dined and passed the Sunday there, returning in the evening.

Again, in relation to another matter, Sir Robert writes as follows, 6th August 1663:

"I cannot tell so much as by a probable guess what his Majesty's resolution will be in relation to the person; only I think that he will find so much pressing reason on the one side, and so many motives that are of force on the other, that, when everything is fully cleared to him, he will take some time to balance all, and resolve to what hand to turn. Both my Lord Commissioner and you have done very handsomely as well as nobly in not offering to advise the one way or the other to be taken. All I intend to do is, according to the information sent me by the Lord Commissioner, to lay all out before him the best I can, and then expect his royal pleasure."

The King's justice and fair dealing is often alluded to in the letters. It may be of little weight that Lauderdale writes to Charles, "My comfort and security is in your Majesty's justice, so that a good master, a good conscience, and a clear above-board carriage in your service does abundantly secure and quiet [p. 153] me against all base whisperings." But Rothes' words to Lauderdale, in a letter dated 6th September 1664, bear the stamp of sincerity, "What a new proof of our dear master's justness and favour he has given! . . . It is no wonder we repine at ourselves that we should be so little able to serve the best master that ever God made." And again, on the 6th January 1664-5, "As the King is just to all the world, he will be so to me."

The letters of Sir Robert Moray are full of incidental illustrations of Charles's ways and doings. "Your last letter," he writes to Lauderdale, 9th July 1663, "was presented to the King as soon as I had the opportunity to do it, and he read it every word, as he useth to do . . . As he was reading that part of your letter where it speaks of your having no cause to apprehend informations if they be but truth, he said, 'You have indeed no cause,' and gave me leave to say of his steadiness, 'that he is as firm as the Bass!' . . . This is all I have to say upon your letter; only never fear the length of your letters make them thought tedious, seeing, I find, the King reads them with care and satisfaction." Many of these audiences were in "the Queen's Bedchamber," and on one occasion, while the King was sitting there awaiting the termination of the mass, at which the Queen was assisting, Sir Robert laments her arriving and carrying off the King before he had half done the business he had come for.

On the 11th August 1663, during the progress of a protracted matter of business, somewhat obscure but connected with the marriage of the Duke of Monmouth with the heiress of Buccleuch, Sir Robert describes the King as "calling me into his chamber, where, though he kept me about an hour to read all was necessary, and we said much of all matters, yet we left a good deal to another time, which, I think, will be next morning."

Again, from Bath, on the 15th September, he writes on the same subject, that, after "having just dined alone like 'a prince,'" he had sat down to write to Lauderdale, when a despatch arrived with letters, which, having read, "I went to the King where he was dressing himself after having been in the bath and sweat. There was nobody with him but the Earl of Newburgh and Sir Alexander Fraser, besides two grooms and two pages and T. Lile. He was reading while his head was a-combing. I, upon his first look off the book, cast in a discourse of Dr. Pearce's sermon, that hath begot a book that will trouble him to answer; and that furnished matter till he was ready. My Lord Newburgh and I talked at turns, and when the King was ready, he stopped his Majesty, and spoke five or six words to him in a corner. When he had done, and the King down stairs, I told him I had an express [p. 154] despatched for him that would take him up some'half-hour. He bade me come to him in the evening." It was not, however, till the next morning that the interview took place, when at the levee, after an hour and a half of general conversation, the company retiring, Sir Robert presented Lauderdale's letter, "and desired him (the King) to read it attentively. He read it all over, and, while he did, rose and went to the window, where, reading aloud, I helped him over unclearly written and hard words, and noticed passages as he went through. "What follows I need not repeat for this present purpose, and "so," continues Moray, "I left him, but he quickly overtook me after I was gone out, going to the Cross Bath, whither I waited upon him, and saw a number of swimming lords and ladies sitting in the niches." After that the King dined at Sir Henry Bennet's (the Secretary of State) as he did the following day at Lord Herbert's, fourteen miles from Bath.

A day or two afterwards, the Court having removed to Oxford, and the English Council having apparently advised the King against the object that Lauderdale and Moray were interested in,

"I, finding what was resolved on, and thinking what was to be done, about eleven yesternight or later, staying till the King should come in to undress him, I stept into the Necessary-room, and getting pens and paper there, drew a note by way of instruction for the King to send to his Commissioner, whereof I mean to enclose here the copy; . . . and the King came in just as I had finished but not read it, whereupon I stept to him and told him I had been thinking of what I conceived his Majesty had resolved, and had drawn up an instruction in such a way as perhaps he might like; whereupon he began to read it, and coming to that part of it that speaks of bringing in the Act to the House, he stopt and told me that there are several things whereof he is exceedingly tender, and that made him the more studious to take right measures. One was the point of justice, wherein he was not clear as yet; the next, the hazard of the success and consequences of that, and the dissatisfaction of those he trusts there, and regard to his former orders.

To this I told him if he would read and think of all, perhaps he would not be displeased. So I helped him to read it over in his own hand, and when he had read all, he told me he liked it very well. I observed how it came up to everything, which he applauded and put it in his pocket, telling me he would think on it till to-morrow. So, after driving off time with many stories till one o'clock, he went to bed, waited on by the Duke of Richmond. This morning, soon after five, I was with him, and stayed till he was ready, and the Duke, the Prince, Duke of Monmouth, &c., were come to go [p. 155] with him to the fox-hunting."

Charles proceeded that day to Cornbury, the seat of the Chancellor Clarendon, and on his return to Oxford a day or two afterwards, Moray records the completion of the business thus:

"After the afternoon sermon I waited constantly till sunset for my Lord Chancellor's coming to Court, which he then did, but it was an hour after or thereby before the King, the Duke, the Chancellor, and Secretary went to a close council, where they staid another [hour] before I was called in. At last I was, and the King commanded me to sit and read the paper I had . . . Long before I had done reading, supper was on the table, so when we rose I told his Majesty I would have two copies ready for his hand next morning, one to send, another to keep, which everybody approved. So this morning I was so early at it I was in the Dressing-room long before he came out of the Bedchamber, yet he came soon after seven o'clock, but it was nine ere I got his hand to the two copies. All his commands were kindness, and that he would have you haste hither."

Catharine of Braganza, I may observe, figures on one of the conversations recorded by Sir Robert in a manner which leaves a pleasant impression on the memory,

"As he was going to read your letters, the Queen, laying her hand upon him, kept him with asking, 'And how does my Lord Lauderdale?' upon which I told her I would let you know she had asked that question, to which she bowed her head with a very kind smile."

I may further cite from one of Sir Robert's letters a stroke of diplomacy on the part of Middleton and Newburgh, whose intrigues against Lauderdale, Crawford-Lindsay, and Moray had occasioned the King's displeasure -- which shows considerable resource on their side, while Charles himself, although he would not countenance it at the moment, probably laughed heartily at it afterwards. It is to be premised that being admitted to kiss the King's hand was a token of forgiveness on the part of the sovereign, and that the two noblemen had just come up to London in disgrace; --

"I mentioned in my letter yesternight by the ordinary packet that Earls Middleton and Newburgh came hither, I think about five o'clock, and told you what he (i.e. Middleton) did at his first seeing the King. After the King was retired, as I told you, and he had followed him into the Queen's bedchamber without conversing with him, he stayed in the Privy Chamber till supper was on the table, about nine o'clock, and then when the gentleman-usher went in to give his Majesty notice supper was come, Earls Middleton and Newburgh stept to him just as he was coming out at the bedchamber door alone. Earl Middleton stopt his way, clapt briskly down on his knees, and taking (I say, taking) his Majesty by the hand kissed it, and so did Newburgh after him, without one word spoken. The King passed without further looking after them, went in to the Presence, and they home. This now was a feat of war I had not seen before, -- having spoke to the King at his first arrival without kissing his hand, to do it thus by a kind of surprise! Perhaps not having seen the King since the two letters were presented, he understood by this kiss of the King's hand his admission to grace and favour. You will guess by this that I am at leisure and mean to pay you with a long letter, yet I do not mean to load it with reflections upon such passages."

[p. 156] II. Impoverishment of Scotland after the rebellion.

With respect to the exhaustion of the Exchequer, and the impoverishment of all classes in Scotland subsequently to the Restoration, Rothes, the Treasurer, and Tweeddale, are eloquent in their letters to Lauderdale. The former sends Lord Bellenden to London in March 1665, to represent "the insupportable condition the Exchequer is in," adding that, if peace is not concluded with the Dutch "we are all beggared and undone;" and in another letter, written the same month, he describes the kingdom as "so impoverished and harassed with the late miserable troubles and rebellions" that "our poverty is not to be expressed."

And Tweeddale writes, in the prospect of a tax to be imposed for the purpose of defending the coast against the Dutch, that "the condition of the country is . . . such, through the want of trade, the low prices of all the native commodities, especially corn, and the extreme want of money, that, if His Majesty's reputation be not concerned, if any invasion fall out, all hazard of affront and prejudice the country could suffer were better adventured by far than a tax imposed, how mean and qualified soever."

And Rothes states in a second letter, in deprecation of such an impost, that "it is true that great sums were raised by the usurpers, but it would be considered that these sums were by violence extorted by a prevailing army of rebels in arms from a subdued people, whose lives and fortunes were subject to all their cruelties; and the greater part of the kingdom was so far ruined thereby as they have hardly now [the means] to pay their annual rents and maintain their families; yet I dare aver," (he adds), "that their affections are very entire to his Majesty, and will be ready to hazard their lives and fortunes in his service with great freedom and cheerfulness, whereof this last year has given sufficient proof, that, according to their power, they have rather been before than come short of any of his Majesty's other subjects."

In illustration of the private distress of families I may refer to a letter of Anne Duchess of Hamilton to Lauderdale, 16th November 1664, pressing for payment of an old debt contracted in Charles I.'s service, which, added, she says, to that "which was engaged in the year 1648" (the year of the Duke's march [p. 157] into England) "makes my condition very desperate; for all my Lord's fortune and mine both will not make one thousand pounds free, over and above what pays the interest of the debt I am in."

The case of Lady Forrester (in her own right), the wife of the eldest son of the celebrated Lieut-General Baillie, as described by herself in June 1665, was worse; for, after coming to London to crave relief, she found herself stranded there, absolutely penniless, in the midst of the Great Plague, and unable to escape. Rothes summarises his official embarrassment as follows about this time,

"The necessitous condition of a great part, if not of all the most eminent persons in this kingdom renders it impossible to satisfy them any way but by giving them to prevent their present ruin and supply their pressing necessities: and how impossible that is, judge by the other representations you have had of our condition, the truth of which certainly you do not question. Only this hint I must add; the Customs comes to little or nothing this year, and the Excise is exhausted, as, I believe, my Lord Bellenden has shown you. Then how is it imaginable that I can pay money when the King draws precepts?"

"I wish," he adds, subsequently, "the condition of the Exchequer in Scotland were printed, providing it were only to be seen and known by Scotsmen, that our poverty might not be blazed through the world. It is no wonder I be in some passion when I am on this subject, for I believe I have and shall in all appearance beget more hatred and malice to myself in this country then I shall be able to bear; but I shall do my best, and it is in the service of my dear master, so I care not what becomes of your affectionate friend and servant, rothes."

A melancholy picture; but the ruin of these families and the exhaustion of the country was incurred through loyalty and patriotism, by debts contracted, as a general rule, in the public service, and during periods of sequestration at the hand of the usurpers; and the rags of such poverty are honourable insignia in the eyes of posterity.

III. Policy in Church Matters.

Lastly, in relation to the ecclesiastical policy manifested in the re-establishment of Episcopacy and the repression of ultra-Presbyterianism subsequently to the Restoration, the key-note may be said to be struck in an admirable letter written by Crawford-Lindsay, Lauderdale, and Lord Sinclair, to their friends in Scotland previously to the King's return, in which they say,

"We know but two parties in Scotland, those who stand for the rights and. liberties, the laws and government of Scotland, and those who have protested and acted against those good ends. The last we do not look on [p. 158] as Scotsmen. It is the former whom we humbly exhort to perfect union."

Charles and his friends came in as representatives of this latter party, the Resolutioners or Engagers of 1648, and, in the result, all of them (with the exception of Crawford-Lindsay) acquiesced in the view that the re-establishment of Episcopal government, as existing previously to 1637, was necessary to the avoidance of the evils, civil and ecclesiastical, which the policy of Argyll and the Protesters or Remonstrators of 1650 had originated. Sharpe, it may be recollected, had always consistently belonged to the party of the Resolutioners. There are many very interesting letters of his in the Lauderdale correspondence, some of which have been recently printed, with valuable historical comments, in the North British Review.

The Protesters very speedily declared themselves, and a letter from Rothes to Lauderdale, as early as April 1661, characterises a remonstrance presented in a provincial synod, and "which was to have been read in the several pulpits over the whole shire," as most dangerous," "carrying in its effect exhortations to the people to be ready for a new rebellion." He adds that "half the ministers were against it" in that particular synod, and that "four to one in this kingdom approves of what we have done; and, for God's sake, let not your ten years' absence make you mistake your measures."

In July 1663 Lauderdale reports the enactment of "penalties calculated for our Western Dissenters (though the word 'Papists' be put in, of course to bear them company,)" -- with the expression of his hope that "the penalties will be stronger arguments to move them to outward conformity than any divines could use." But of how little use they were, and to what height the discontent was rapidly rising, may be seen in two letters written a couple of years afterwards by Rothes.

They are in sequence to one in which he warns Lauderdale and the King "that if, as God forbid, his Majesty should not have that wished-for success at sea" (against the Dutch) "which we not only hope for but expect, I do believe a very little irritation would move our disaffected people to stir upon any specious pretence. Therefore I would humbly beg that his Majesty would give me order that in case of any apparent danger I may secure any of them, or as many of them as I do expect danger or hazard from; and, I hope, I shall not make use of it but in case of necessity. This you may propose to his Majesty if you think fit, and manage it accordingly. I will have no delight to persecute anybody; but in case of necessity nothing must be stood upon. And I do assure you, there are many whose affection even to the King and the kingly [p. 159] government I do very much question."

The two letters here follow:

24th November 1665.
"My dear Lord,

"You may justly admire that you have been so long of hearing from me, but my daily intention to return from the West, and being interrupted by bad weather and worse ways, has been the occasion of it. To give you an account of the whole journey would be much too tedious for you to read; but, in general, I must say that I found a very kind welcome wherever I went. I took a few of the four companies that lays at Glasgow, and I must say that in all my life I never see better bodies of men, nor men better disciplined.

"As to the dispositions of the people in this country, I dare not say they are well inclined, but must acknowledge I think they are worse than I did imagine. Had they any opportunity, I dare not answer, but I judge it more than probable they would undertake" (i. e. rise in revolt), "though it were desperate enough; but as they are, I do assure you, I have not the least apprehension of any further trouble from them than their keeping conventicles and private meetings, which is too much, and has of late been too frequent, though their secret convenes renders it difficult to discover them till they be over, and then they do immediately disperse to all corners of the country.

"Their meeting-places are most commonly at the side of a moss or at the side of a river, and they have their spies at a distance on all hands, who give warning if any party appear, which makes them run were the party never so small; but the truth is, the cause of most of this trouble we receive in this kind is occasioned by some ousted ministers, against whom both Council and Commission has proceeded against, and they have put themselves in disguise, so as when they preach they are in grey clothes and long padwicks (periwigs), and it is alleged some of them preaches in masks; and these rages stir up the women so as they are worse than devils. Yea, I dare say, if it were not for the women, we should have little trouble with conventicles or such kind of stuff; but they are such a foolish generation of people in this country, who are so influenced by their fanatic wives as I think will bring ruin upon them.

"Now, to prevent all these troubles, I have dispersed parties through the country, one of horse to that renowned place, Mauchline Tower, to quarter in the town of Mauchline and in the New Mills which is near to it; another party, but of foot, I have sent to Irvine, there being no accommodation for horse in that place; and one I am to send to Galloway, both of horse and foot, which I will make as considerable as I can ; but I delay till I speak with the Bishop, who will be here this night; and another party of horse I send to Jedburgh, for in Teviotdale there are many persons as disaffected as in the West, and presently there has been a great disorder in the parish of Ancrum, they refusing to let the minister come into the pulpit; but the persons are seized and will be severely punished. Now these parties I have so dispersed, I hope, will not only prevent these disordered meetings, but will either catch those rogues, or [p. 160] fear of them will chase them out of the country. I have bestowed money upon several of their followers, and it shall stand me dear and : much pains but I shall have a hit at some of them.

"Now, my Lord, since it was seven o'clock before the Council rose this night, being taken up with little country debates, judge if I be not weary writing this long letter; but the use I beg you to make of it is to pardon the sense and writ, since it comes from

"Your ain

The second letter has its interest, as showing the legal sanctions and even the scrupulosity with which the Commission for Church Affairs acted in dealing with the recusants at the time; while it appears that few amongst the latter were without friends upon the Commission to speak in their behalf:

2d December 1665.
"My dear Lord,

"When I wrote my last, you might judge by the latter end of it I was not well satisfied with what passed that day in ths Commission for Church affairs. To tell you all that passed would turn this letter into a volume, -- yea, that I say nothing of it at all is only that you may not fancy it to be somewhat worse than it is, although I must confess it has troubled me much; and in the first place I must inform you that our fanatics are become much bolder than they have been the twelvemonth past, and now, where they kept scarcely any conventicle at all before, at least so quietly they were not known of, they do it in the fields by hundreds and very frequently, to prevent which I have sent parties through the country with pretty severe orders, such as I could give; but I have always concluded that somewhat from the Commission of severity would have hindered other persons to fall to such disorderly work; but when it was proposed I found that, both in the President of the Session and Advocate, which I did not imagine, for I would have had some grounds laid down by the Commission to be rules for our punishing of such persons as seditious who keep conventicles, that so we might not be put (as we are) to spend a day in finding a suitable punishment to every man's quality and offence, especially when those that come before us are but beggars for the most part, and but tenants at best -- so as we trouble ourselves more to find out ways to punish them than all the punishment we inflict does [trouble] the person who is guilty.

"But both these two did affirm we could not punish keepers of conventicles as seditious, because the Act of Parliament does only discharge conventicles and mentions no certificate, so that the punishment is arbitrary, and since it is so, it were hard to set down rules since the Act of Parliament has not done it. But this did appear very strange, since the Act of Parliament against withdrawers, which is not near so great a crime, do declare them guilty of punishment as seditious persons; but the truth is, these things, with some other expressions from them, did not sound [p. 161] well; and there is so many in the Commission to speak on all occasions for those who are called before us that those kind of people has lost the awe and fear they had to come before the Commission. Now this, with freedom, I have told you; but it is to yourself alone, to whom I speak the very inmost thoughts of my heart so I expect it will go no further. . . . Now, my paper being at an end, I can say no more but that I am

"Your own,

It will be acknowledged that these letters do not breathe the spirit of religious persecution on the part of Rothes and the government, although they unquestionably indicate the necessity felt for the suppression of political sedition.

I shall conclude these extracts with the private letter from Rothes to Lauderdale already mentioned, written on the occasion of a warning from the latter against indulgence in over-conviviality, and which is, I think, equally honourable to both parties:

Edinburgh, 14th May 1665
"My dear Lord,

"You have always been my faithful, kind, and worthy friend, and there is nothing speaks more of true friendship than free advices, and I am sure there is no creature apter to be advised by any mortal than I am, and ever shall be, to you. As for that unworthy report my enemies raise of my drinking, or countenancing of it, really I shall not say but that I shall be more strict and wary hereafter than I have been; but as to my own carriage, if any mortal doth say they have seen me in disorder, I shall give them my estate -- I mean since I was in this station, for you know I have been in my lifetime; but for my Lord Newburgh and sometimes some others, they will go a greater length than ever I did or, I am sure, shall approve, be in whose house or company they will; and that I do not delight in some of their companies sure you very well know; and I am very sensible they are none of my friends to offer this report. If it have reached my dear master's ears I am very unhappy if it be believed, for I hope to do him better service than can readily be performed by a person guilty of so base a vice.

"Pray, my dear, dear Lord! let me know if the King has heard any such thing, for it troubles me very much, and he so just to me as to judge me most sensible of the favour you have done me by your freedom. All I shall say is, it is done like my Lord Lauderdale; and that is, like the best friend in the world.

"I have been these three days in this town at council, and thought by this post to have given my humble and free advice concerning the fines, but I have had such a crowd of business as it is not possible. But in a day or two you shall have it. Wherefore pray forgive me, who am

"Most perfectly yours,

[p. 162]

Rothes had from the first a high veneration and regard for Lauderdale; and I may state that, on the release of the latter from his nine years' imprisonment in April 1660, he wrote to him with an offer of pecuniary assistance expressed as follows:

"My dear Lord,

"Take it not ill that I apprehend you are not furnished with money for such a journey, and use the freedom to command me to serve you ; for, whether you go alone, or I with you, a hunder pounds shall be ready again you call for it; and all the credit, or money, or estate I can command shall be at your service, or I pray God let me never have joy of my life or fortune."

"For God's sake, continue writing to me frequently and freely, for your particular advice to myself is the chief pillar I lean to, to carry me through this bruckle (unsettled) world."

It is time, however, this prolonged note should terminate. I need not mention such trifles as Lauderdale writing to Moray from Edinburgh, in the midst of harassing work, to send him "my little octavo Hebrew Bible, without points, which lies in my little closet at Whitehall," and some "little glasses of spirit of roses you will find in the middle-drawer of my walnut-tree cabinet," which possibly may be still preserved at Ham House. Such little touches of individuality are the life and soul of biography. But I must conclude.

No one who has lived long in company with the dead, sharing in their joys and sympathising with their sorrows, can willingly part from them. But what has been here said and cited is not irrelevant to the special subject of this little volume, as conducing to fuller appreciation of the circle of friends of which Anna Countess of Balcarres was a member during so many years of her life, and all of whom are known to history, although less favourably in some instances hitherto than, I think, they deserve to be.

1 Sir Robert Moray, writing to Lauderdale, 7th June 1660, to recommend some one, adds,"His personal worth were enough alone; but if you knew, as I do, the value our dear Gossip had of him and our dear Cummer still hath, and the passionate respect he ever paid them, I think you would need none other recommendation to move you to esteem of him at a very high rate." And again, 6th July 1663, in relation to Sir Arthur Forbes (ancestor of Lord Granard), "I think the King recommends him to you, -- after that by way of recommendation nothing needs be added; only, were our Gossip in this world, he would own great kindness to him."

Horatio McCulloch, Glencoe, 1864

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