The Autobiography of Anne Halkett
[pp. i - xxi]
[p. i]1 Lady Halkett is already known in the catalogue of female authors from the publication of some of her religious writings which was made in the year 1701, and from the "Life" which is prefixed to them. That life was derived in part from the a[utobiography] now printed. [It was re-published in 1778]2 and it appears in an abridged shape in Ballard's Memoirs of Learned Ladies, 4to. 17, and 8vo. 17.
Anne Murray was born in London on the 4th of January, 1622, the younger daughter of Thomas Murray,3 the preceptor and subsequently [p. ii] Secretary to Prince Charles (afterwards King Charles I.), by Jane Drummond. In the memoirs now printed she commences her narrative by allusion to her parents, of whose extraction she declares she had no reason to be ashamed, as her father was descended from the family of the Earl of Tillebardine, and her mother from that of the Earl of Perth. The former dignity was conferred only in 1606, and the latter in 1605, therefore it was only collaterally that her parents could be related to those earls, nor has the degree of Lady Halkett's consanguinity to them been ascertained.
Her father, Thomas Murray, was already tutor to Charles Duke of York in 1605, when that prince was [in his fifth year].4 An annuity of two hundred marks was granted to him on the 28th June in that year,5 the patent for which he surrendered on the 27th Jan. 1613-14.
Little more than a twelvemonth after, Anne Murray lost her mother. There was probably some notice of this event in the leaf now lost from the manuscript,6 which will be partially supplied by the following passage from the printed Life of 1701:
Her mother's affections who --------- ----------- ever after treated her more as a friend than a child, and sometime before her death made over to her, by assignation, a bond of the Earl of Kinnoul of 2,000 lib. ster., which she received with all gratitude, as a new obligation to be more dutiful and diligent in attending upon her, especially being now more infirm and sickly; which, with great care and concern, she performed, ministering to her all the spiritual and bodily help she was capable to afford. This made a very comfortable and indearing impression upon her dying mother, and filled her heart with joy in finding not only the tender affection of her daughter, but much more, the [p. iii] refreshing fruits of her piety and devotion. She died the 28 August, 1647, and was buried in the Savoy church.
On the 4th of January, 160, Mr. Murray received an additional reward in the sinecure office of Master of Sherburn Hospital, near Durham, to which "he was collated by dispensation, contrary to statute;"7 but he retained the position until his death.
In August, 1621, he was involved in temporary disgrace in consequence of his having allowed his royal pupil to receive and peruse, without the King's knowledge, a treatise which had been written by Dr George Hakewill,8 one of the Prince's chaplains, in opposition to the suggested match of His Highness with the Infanta of Spain. The doctor, William Hakewill his brother, Mr. Murray, and others who were privy to this business, were sent to the Tower of London.
By this well-intentioned but injudicious effort Dr. Hakewill's promotion was effectually checked, for he never attained higher preferment than that of the Archdeaconry of Surrey, which he held previously, and he was dismissed the Prince's service; but Mr. Murray probably substantiated his non-complicity to the King's satisfaction, for, within a very few months, he received the important favour of being nominated to the Provostship of Eton upon the death of the learned Sir Henry Saville. His election to that office was made on the 23rd of February, 1621-2.
In 1622, only a twelvemonth, after his temporary disgrace, we find him feasting the Marquis of Buckingham at Eton College, the Spanish match then being publicly acknowledged and regarded as likely9 to be accomplished. But Mr. Murray's enjoyment of his good fortune was short. He died on the 9th April, 1623, at the [p. iv] age of fifty-nine, having yielded to the effects of an operation for the stone.10
[More than a year previously, on February 23, 1621-2, Bishop Williams being required as Lord Keeper to seal the patent for Murray's presentation, wrote to the Marquis of Buckingham a letter conveying a remonstrance that the provostship should have been conferred upon a layman, as it carried with it the cure of souls of the parish of Eton.]
The authoress gives an interesting account of her education (p. 2); and, describing her occasional recreation in the Spring Garden by St. James's Park (her mother had a house in St. Martin's Lane), waives all other particulars (p. 19) of her childish actions11 until the time when her affections were first engaged, at the age of twenty-one, in 1644.
The young gentleman was a brother of her most intimate female friend, with whom she was frequently associated at the house of her sister Lady Newton,12 at Charlton, near Woolwich. He was Thomas Howard, the eldest son and heir apparent of Edward Lord Howard of Escrick, but any idea of a marriage with him was entirely discountenanced by her mother, because the Lord Howard's fortune was such as had need of a more considerable portion for his son than her mother could give her, or else it would ruin his younger children (p. 7). The history of this courtship occupies several pages, including a remarkable incident of Mr. Howard being treacherously and cruelly assaulted at Charlton by one Musgrove, the occupier of that estate during its sequestration, who mistook [p. v] him for Sir Henry Newton, its Cavalier owner. At length Mr. Howard is sent away to France, but not until the lovers had mutually pledged their constancy (p. 13).
His absence did not lessen her mother's anger, and "for fourteen months she never gave me her blessing" (p. 14). Wearied with her bitterness, Anne Murray appealed to Sir Patrick Drummond, a cousin of her mother's, in order to procure admission to a Protestant nunnery in Holland (p. 15). Sir Patrick, "who was a wise and discreet gentleman," wrote such a "handsome serious" letter as reconciled the mother to her daughter, and she ever after treated her more as a friend than a child.
The next personage introduced into the narrative is Elizabeth Countess of Banbury, a sister of Lord Howard of Escrick. "My Lord Howard thought she was the fittest person to divert his son from his amour;" and the Countess, "who gloried much of her wit and contrivance," undertook the task to oblige her brother, and also (it is suggested) in order to induce him to further a projected marriage for her own son. On the 13th Feb. 1645-6, the Countess of Banbury arrived from France, bringing Mr. Howard with her. She had cajoled him to believe that she would forward his suit to Mistress Murray, but the result was that he shortly after formed an alliance with Lady Elizabeth Mordaunt, daughter of the Earl of Peterborough, which was privately solemnized in July 1646 (p. 18).
After her mother's death, Anne Murray was invited by her elder brother Charles and his lady to live with them, where she had an apartment for herself and her maid, and there stayed about a year.13
The next existing leaf of the narrative is lost, and we are abruptly introduced (p. 19) to Colonel Bamfield [Joseph Bampfield], a busy partisan of the royal family, who for some years after materially influenced the fortunes of the authoress.14 By his intervention she undertook [p. 16] to contribute to the escape of the Duke of York from St. James's Palace, where that prince was detained in the custody of the Earl of Northumberland. Lady Halkett gives a very interesting relation how she provided a female dress for the Duke of York's disguise, how she dressed him, and he "was very pretty in it," (p. 22), and then dispatched him with a Wood-street cake, which she knew he loved. After some difficulties the Duke was safely lodged in a ship at Gravesend, when the lady of Colonel Washington assisted in his concealment, and his escape to the continent was effected.
Our authoress has a good deal more to say of Colonel Bamfield, for she soon began to entertain an interest in him, not only on account of his zealous efforts for the King's service, but also for his personal qualities. At an early stage of their intercourse she ventured to take him to task (p. 19) that he had not seen his wife for a twelvemonth; but he excused himself with the explanation that his wife lived amongst her own friends, who had declared for the Parliament, and therefore, though kind to her, were not well disposed towards him, and that their separation was necessary from prudential reasons during the existing state of public discord.
Some time after the Duke of York's escape, a report arrived that the Colonel's wife was dead (p. 25), and it was not long before he made an offer of his hand to Mistress Anne Murray: alleging that, should it please God to restore the King, he had a promise to be one of his Majesty's bedchamber, and their joint fortunes would amount to 8001. per annum. His frequent urging of this suit at last prevailed, and she promised to marry him as soon as it might prove convenient. It was shortly before the "murder" of the King that they arrived at this understanding. After that event, on Mistress Murray one day visiting the Colonel, she found him oppressed with extraordinary melancholy (p. 26), and, when she inquired [p. vii] the cause, she learned it was because news had been brought to him that his wife was still living! Unwilling to credit this report, he sent a trusty servant to ascertain the truth; who was returned with an answer that her death had actually occurred at the time he heard of it, and that the messenger had seen her grave. Upon this, Anne Murray continued her former resolution to marry the Colonel, waiting only to take precautions against the sequestration of their property.
About the same time, her brother, Will Murray, came home from court, much discontented. He had met with enemies among his associates, who accused him of keeping up a correspondence with Colonel Bamfield, in order to have the Duke of York crowned king in Scotland. Our author adds, that King Charles, though he did not believe the charge, was constrained to banish Will Murray from Court, sacrificing him to other persons whom he was afraid to offend. Landing at Gravesend, the discarded courtier was entertained at Cobham by the Duke and Duchess of Richmond; but almost immediately fell there into an illness from which he never recovered. An account of his deathbed, upon which he was attended by Dr. Wild, is given at some length (p. 29). He closed his life with the asseveration that ,"Were I to live a thousand years, I would never set my foot in a Court again; for there is nothing in but flattery and falsehood." It is afterwards mentioned that he was buried in the church of the Savoy, near his father and mother (p. 30).
After this sad occurrence, the author stayed for some time with her surviving brother, Charles Murray; but she was then prevailed upon to accept an invitation from Lady Howard to go home with her into the North. This lady was a daughter of Lord Howard of (to all appearance) whom our author first mentioned as the intimate friend of her early youth. Anne Howard [p. viii] had married her cousin Sir Charles Howard of Naworth Castle, afterwards the first Earl of Carlisle, a man of superior talents as well as station, and who seems to have been deservedly characterised as "one of the finest gentlemen."
It was on the 10th of September, 1649,15 that the party commenced their journey, in which nothing disagreeable occurred until they arrived at Hinderskelfe, beyond York, a house belonging to Sir Charles Howard, and which was then occupied by his sisters. Whilst there, both Sir Charles and his lady had a severe fit of sickness; and afterwards their son, then about three years old, was attacked by the small-pox. His cure was attributed to the treatment of "Sir Thomas Gore, who studied physic more for divertisement than gain;" and there can be little doubt that this was Sir Thomas Gower of Stittenham, a brother-in-law of Sir Charles Howard, and lineal ancestor of the Duke of Sutherland, for no regular physician or other person of that name is on record as having lived at that period.
With reviving health the travellers proceeded to Naworth Castle in Cumberland, and a very interesting account is given of the well-governed household which was then maintained there (p. 31). Amongst the rest, the highest praise is accorded to the chaplain, Mr. Nicolls, with whose personal conduct towards herself our memorialist had afterwards great cause to be offended.
Whilst thus living in peace and contentment, the post, which passed one day in the week, brought sad intelligence. Colonel Bamfield, who had been preparing to follow her to the North, had been arrested and committed to the Gatehouse at Westminster, where he lay in danger of his life. To add to her distress, she soon after received letters, both from her brother Murray and her [p. ix] sister Newton, declaring that they were convinced she had been deceived by Colonel Bamfield, for they were assured that his wife was still living, upon the authority of her uncle Sir Ralph S.16
Overcome by her feelings, Mistress Murray fell into a serious illness, in which she despaired of life (p. 32). She was unable to procure the attendance of a physician, but at length she was roused by Mrs. Culcheth, the wife of the house steward, to exert her own medical knowledge, which, "with the use of some cordialls," led to her recovery (p. 33).
Her prayers for Colonel Bamfield were soon after answered by the happy news that he had effected his escape from the Gatehouse, of the manner of which she gives a description (p. 34).
She next enters upon a detail of the treacherous method in which Mr. Nicolls, the chaplain at Naworth Castle, attempted to undermine her credit in the family. He asserted, on the suggested authority of Mr. Culcheth, the steward, that Lady Howard was jealous of Mistress Murray (p. 36), and he succeeded so far, by what he whispered in turn to either party, as to create a certain distrust and estrangement between the ladies. Mistress Murray was resolved to obtain an explanation, and she sought a private interview with Sir Charles Howard for that purpose (p. 38)
In the meantime, the Lady Howard had taken some objection to the chaplain's conduct towards two other young ladies who were resident in the family. They were sisters, "who had been bred up Papists, and by Sir Charles's example and care had become Protestants." The chaplain was employed for their instruction; but he was observed by both by their waiting-woman and by Lady Howard herself to fondle the elder sister more kindly than was consistent with his usual gravity (p. 41). The circumstance of Lady Howard consulting our author on this delicate subject gave her an opportunity [p. x] to require an explanation of the grievance she herself experienced in the neglect of her old friend. This led to an eclaircissement, which proved, to the conviction of both the ladies, that the chaplain had acted a very double part (p. 45). At the same time it would seem that Mr. Nicolls fulfilled his joint functions of chaplain and secretary so usefully that he could not well be spared from the household at Naworth Castle.
Under these circumstances, Anne Murray determined to relinquish the hospitality of her old friends (p. 52). A letter from her sister Lady Newton communicated to her the fact that Sir Henry Newton, having accidentally met Colonel Bamfield on a passage to Flanders, had challenged him, and they fought soon after landing (p. 53). Their seconds were two colonels in the King's army. The name of her brother Newton's second she did not remember; but Bamfield's second was Colonel Loe, who afterwards came into Scotland with the King.
Sir Henry Newton was wounded in the hand, and the combatants were then parted; Colonel Bamfield throughout the affair lamenting that the voice of honour summoned him to use his sword against the brother of one whom he loved beyond any living person.
Whilst in Flanders, Colonel Bamfield had an opportunity of conversing with the Earl of Dunfermline, and of representing to his lordship both the state of his own affairs and the position of his friend Mistress Murray. He interested that nobleman in the favour of both parties. Lord Dunfermline was one of the Commissioners sent to invite the King to Scotland, and he showed his regard towards our author by writing to her with an assurance that if she came to Scotland she would there find many friends willing to assist her in recovering that portion of her inheritance which was in Scotch hands (p. 54), "The Earl of Dunfermline's concern in her was, that her mother had been educated in his [p. xi] father's family, and she, in duty and gratitude, had made his Lordship welcome to her house [in London] at all times when he came to court."17
Her friends, Sir Charles and Lady Howard very kindly seconded her wishes to proceed to Scotland (p. 54). They supplied her with money, and Sir Charles appointed an old gentleman, a kinsman of his own, to attend her to Edinburgh. After two days' journey she arrived in that city on the 6th of June, 1650. She took up her lodging at Sanders Peers', at the foot of the Canongate, where the mistress of the house soon recognised her as a sister of the late Will Murray, for [both he and she] had noticed the resemblance which the landlady bore to their deceased mother. By this means she was immediately put into communication with her mother's executor (p. 56).
She had not long to wait before she received a welcome recognition from the most influential leaders of the Royalist party. One of the first was the Earl of Argyle, who, having paid her a visit, sent his own coach for her that she might be received by his lady and his daughter, Lady Anne Campbell. Their demeanour at once dissipated some of the prejudices she had hitherto entertained against Scotland. The Lady Anne "was very handsome, extremely obliging, and her behavior and dress were equal to any she had seen in the Court of England;" and, when introduced to the Countess, she at once perceived whence her daughter had derived both her beauty and her "civility" or court polish. The former was now under some decay, but the latter "was so evident and so well-proportioned, that while she gave to others she reserved what was due to herself" (p. 57).
Only a few days after, Mistress Murray received and accepted from Sir James Douglas, who was brother to the Countess of Dunfermline, [p. xii] an invitation to stay with him and his lady at Aberdour. On the 15th of June she crossed from Leith to Burntisland, and on her landing Sir James Douglas took her by one hand and the Laird of Maines bv the other, and bid her welcome to Fife. At that moment she stumbled and fell flat on the ground. Amidst the mutual apologies of her cavaliers she exclaimed, "I thinke I am going to take possession of itt!" but she often looked back to this accident as a presage of the blessings she was afterwards to enjoy in Fife, for there she eventually found a husband and a home.
It is an interesting notice of the attention which was even then paid by Scotchmen to horticulture, that, when conducted through the garden at Aberdour, she found it so fragrant and delightful that she could imagine she was still in England.
Lady Halkett very briefly notices a journey she made into Morayshire in June 1652 (p. 71); and thus describes the preparations she made for returning to Edinburgh. After an affectionate leave-taking of her friends in Lord Dunfermline's family, and of Mr. George Sharpe, the minister of Fyvie, she left that place on the 24th June, 1652, in company with the Earl, his nephew Lord Lyon, and other gentlemen.
Having arrived at Edinburgh, she went first to her former lodgings in the Canongate, and then to others at the Nether Bow, where one night when writing a letter her privacy was violently invaded by a patrol of the English soldiers; but through the interference of William Murray of Hermiston, "who was very great with the English officers," she exacted an apology.
To avoid the like intrusions in future, she was very glad to accept of some rooms in the house of the Earl of Tweeddale, for which the Countess of Balcarres, with equal kindness, provided furniture (p. 75).
She was now able to prosecute her law business. She began a [p. xiii] suit against the executors of Arthur Hay, who had been caution with the Earl of Kinnoull for a sum of 2,000 [pounds] assigned to her by her late mother. The Lord Newbeth and his father gratuitously gave her their counsel.
At this time an accident made her acquainted with Sir James Halkett of Pitferran, her future husband. He was first brought to her lodging by the Earl of Dunfermline, on their way to the funeral of the lady of Sir John Gilmour.18
It was on the [24th of June] that the King landed at [the month of the Spey].
When this important event became known to Mistress Murray, and she had reason to expect that his Majesty would soon turn his steps southwards, she began to fear what her reception might be, both on account of the disgrace of her late brother Will and of her own misfortune in the unhappy report that the wife of Colonel Bamfield was still alive. In order to feel her way she wrote to Mr. Henry Seymour, who was one of the grooms of the King's bedchamber, and had been a fellow-servant of her brother Charles. His answer, dated from Falkland on the 17th June, 1650 (and which is given in p. 58) assured her that the King gave no credit to the false rumours with which the world was then too full.
Soon after, accompanying Sir James Douglas, she repaired to the palace of Dumfermline, which they reached some three hours before the king's arrival (p. 59). In company with the Countess of Dumfermline and the Lady Anne Erskine she was introduced into the King's presence by the Marquess of Argyle and other persons of honour, and the ladies kissed his Majesty's hand. During the eight or ten subsequent days during which the King was entertained at Dunfermline those ladies daily attended upon him at supper; but Anne Murray was vexed that she obtained no special recognition from his Majesty. At last she solicited [p. xiv] Mr. Harding, one of the King's oldest servants, to remind him of her claims upon his notice; which the good old gentleman undertook to do; and the next day before Charles left the place he amended his manners by addressing to her a very gracious speech, in which he fully acknowledged the service she had performed in contributing to the Duke of York's escape (p. 60).
The reader is next reminded of the confident anticipations of success which the royal party entertained before the Battle of Dunbar, and the complete dash to its hopes by the triumph of Cromwell in that struggle.
There was no alternative to the Earl of Dunfermline and his friends but to retreat further north. The Countess kindly invited Mistress Murray to share her reduced fortunes, and on the 7th of September they left Dunfermline.
On their road to Kinross they passed many of the wounded soldiers who were still straggling from the late battle. Anne Murray was the Miss Nightingale of that time. She invited them to come to her to the Countess's lodging at Kinross, where during the next two days at least three score were attended by herself and her woman, with the assistance of a man -- perhaps not actually a surgeon -- named Ar. Ro. for those patients whose wounds were such as were unfit for her treatment.
On the Monday she continued her journey with the Countess of Dunfermline to St. Johnstoon or Perth, where the King and Court then were. There also they found the Countess of Kinnoull, Lady Argyle's sister, at whose house the Lord Lorne, the Marquess of Argyle's son, came, and told her, at first with some mystery, that her name had been frequently that day before the council. He presently explained that her good deeds to the wounded soldiers had been favourably reported, and that the King was pleased to give her thanks for her charity, at the same time recognising the [p. xv] necessity that hospitals and surgeons should be established in several towns, to which the wounded might resort.
On the 19th of September the Countess of Dunfermline, with the author in her company, left Perth, in order to proceed to Fyvie, her husband's castle in Aberdeenshire. The journey, during which two nights were passed at Brechin and four at Aberdeen, lasted to the 27th of the month (p. 64).
Some time after, the King came to Aberdeen, where, being presented by some of his loyal subjects with a purse of gold, he was pleased to assign fifty pieces to Mistress Murray, in performance of his promise to acknowledge her services to the wounded soldiers. This enabled her to repay 25l. which earlier in the year she had borrowed of Sir George S --.
While at Fyvie Mistress Murray received a letter from Colonel B[amfeld], requesting permission to visit her. He came after some delay ,and found her much weakened from another attack of illness. It was still a question whether his wife was living; but he was desirous to make the most solemn asseverations that he believed the contrary to be the fact. He stayed for two days.19
She remained for nearly two years at Fyvie, in the greatest contentment, her most important occupation being the care of the sick and wounded persons, of whose cases she describes some of the most remarkable (p. 66)
When the King marched into England, the Earl of Dunfermline was one of the council left behind for the government of Scotland; but the ill success of the royal forces at Worcester soon terminated this state of affairs. His lordship then retired from Edinburgh to Fyvie; and, when the army of the Parliament arrived at Aberdeen, he retired still further into Moray until he could arrange terms of capitulation.
[p. xvi] Some of the English soldiers at length found their way to Fyvie, and spread terror in a household consisting chiefly of women and children. Mistress Murray was requested by the Countess of Dunfermline to parley with their leader, and she did so, as she tells us, with a successful result (p. 68).
Some time after, three entire regiments arrived at Fyvie Castle. They were commanded by Colonel Lilburne, Colonel Fitz, and Colonel Overton. The second of these, Colonel Fitz, was recognised by Mistress Murray as an old acquaintance at Naworth Castle. With Colonel Overton she had a remarkable conversation, very consistent with the known character of the man.
Shortly after, Mistress Murray determined to go to England and revisit her old friend Lady Howard at Naworth Castle. On her way she stayed two or three days with the Countess of Roxburgh at Fleurs, and afterwards met Colonel Bamfield by appointment at Alnwick. He dissuaded her from returning to Naworth, because there were some persons there she was not desirous to meet. Having sent her servant for the trunks she had left there, she returned to Edinburgh.
The lady of Sir Robert Moray, expecting to give birth to a child, desired some rooms in Lord Tweeddale's house, and our author derived much pleasure from her society.20 Sir James Halkett, who was cousin-german to Sir Robert Moray, was at the same time a frequent visitor; and Anne Murray, divining his sentiments, sought an opportunity to disclose to him that she considered herself irrevocably engaged to Colonel Bamfield. Sir James Halkett received the disclosure with surprise, but at the same time with kindness, and was desirous to serve the colonel to the utmost of his power.
Colonel Bamfield now came to Edinburgh and joined a cabal of Royalists, who met every night in Lord Tweeddale's house. Among those who came most frequently were the Earl of Dunfermline, Lord Balcarres, Sir James Halkett, and Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbet.
[p. xvii] The Christmas of 1652 was attended by some ominous incidents. An English woman, who "kept a change " or ordinary, and had been a servant of Lady Balcarres, having, in accordance with the English custom, prepared a dish of minced pies, brought two of them as an offering, saying that one was intended for Sir Robert Moray and his wife, the other for Sir James Halkett and Mistress Murray. This raised a general smile, except on the face of Mistress Murray herself. However, all were extremely merry. But a woman named Jane Hamilton, reported to possess the gift of second sight, remarked "There is a great deal of mirth in this house to-day, but before this day eight days there will be as much sadness." This was verified by the very painful death of Lady Moray, whose strength was not sufficient to give birth to her expected child.
On the 6th February, 1652-3, Colonel Bamfield took his leave, having arranged to go to the North of Scotland to raise a force for the King's reception. Jane Hamilton again uttered one of her prophecies, declaring that the Colonel would never become Anne Murray's husband.
Mistress Murray now left the Earl of Tweeddale's house for a lodging at the foot of Blackfriars Wynd; and soon after the Earl of Roxburgh, returning from London, brought from her sister an affectionate letter and the very acceptable present of 20l.
Sir James Halkett's attentions to her were persevering, but, from previous engagement, unacceptable. To divert his attention she endeavoured to persuade him to marry, and even undertook to write to Lord Balcarres in order to forward his interest with a rich young widow. This suggests the introduction of an anecdote relative to the conduct of Sir James Halkett in the attack made upon Musselburgh. It appears that some reflections had been made upon his conduct on that occasion. Lord Balcarres relates that the King had been a witness of the whole affair from the leads of [p. xviii] Lord Balmerino's house at Leith, and had frequently given testimony to his good conduct (p. 84).
It was on the 21st of March, 1652-53, that Sir James Halkett was to go to Balcarres upon his matrimonial project; and that very day he heard from Colonel Hay that the wife of Colonel Bamfield was undoubtedly living. Just on the arrival of this overwhelming intelligence, another hiatus in the MS. occurs.
In May, 1653, the Earl of Dunfermline came to Mistress Murray, and, telling her that he had obtained information that measures would be taken to arrest the Earl of Balcarres upon the next day, requested her to undertake the task of warning that nobleman of his danger, as she was the only person he could trust. Upon this dangerous service she entered with her characteristic energy, and successfully accomplished it.21
But the toil and excitement immediately brought on a serious illness, which kept her for some time at Balcarres. She could not have the aid of Dr. Cunningham, because he was gone with Lord Balcarres, and no other physician could be procured. She had frequent visits from ladies in the neighbourhood, particularly the Lady Ardross;22 and Mr. D. Forsyth and Mr. H. Kymer, apparently two ministers, paid her daily attention. On her recovery, after staying a week at the house of Lady Ardross, she returned to Edinburgh.
Sir James Halkett now urged his suit more warmly, but she declared that she was resolved not to marry at all (p. 89). However, she did not prohibit the continuance of his intercourse with her, and soon after she complied with his request that she would take charge of his two daughters. The younger was then but a child; but the elder near a woman, "and even then by more than ordinary discretion gave expectation of what she subsequently made good."23
[p. xix] Upon this occasion Mistress Murray removed from the foot to the head of Blackfriars Wynd. She there resided with much content at one Mr. Glover's, Halkett coming often to see his children, and often bringing their uncle Sir Robert Montgomery and their cousin Haslehead.
Sir James Halkett again urged his suit, and summoned Mr. David Dickson, the minister of , to his aid. Mistress Murray unfolded her tale to that worthy man, "not doubting but he would resolve the question upon her side of the argument; but, after listening with much attention and sympathy, he took the opposite view, telling her that not only was she released by what had occurred from any engagement she had made to Colonel Bamfield, but that she might even be guilty of a fault if she neglected the offer of Sir James Halkett (p. 92). At length, after further discussion, she gave a conditional promise to Sir James, dependent on the settlement of her pecuniary affairs, and the assistance of her brother m that respect (p. 93).
Soon after, Sir James Halkett went to London to assist the Countess of Morton (then a widow) in some important business, and he returned to Mistress Murray with a kind message from her sister Lady Newton, and encouraging letters from others of her old friends.24
This determined her to go to London herself, but she could not take her journey before the beginning of September 1654, when the old Countess of Dunfermline, having first taken her on a visit to Pinckie, provided her with the seasonable loan of ten pounds.
On the first night of her journey she rested at Cavers, the house of Sir James Halkett's sister.25 Sir James left his elder daughter there, (the younger being placed in a school at Edinburgh), and accompanied our traveller for one day longer. She then proceeded with her women, and a footman whom Sir James had promised to Lady [p. xx] Newton. Of this footman she gives a remarkable account (p. 95). After riding for some days on horseback, she at last met the post-coach, in which she proceeded southwards. Its only occupants were Sir Widdrington and his nephew Mr. Errington, their man-servant, herself, and her woman. Though she was travelling under a borrowed name, her companions (who were Roman Catholics) discovered who she was, upon her mentioning the name of Mr. Fallowfield, an old priest that used sometimes to recommend sick persons to her care when at Naworth Castle (p. 96).
After arriving at Highgate one day at two in the afternoon, she sent the footman on to London, directing him to provide her a lodging, and bring a coach for her the next morning. She went to Whitefriars, where her brother Newton's lodging used to be, and where she would enjoy some immunity if her London creditors were inclined to be troublesome. She then wrote to her sister, who was at that time at Warwick.
[Lady Halkett's creditors did not press hardly upon her. Her brother-in-law, Sir Henry Newton, lent her 300l. and the Countess of Devonshire lent her 200l. As soon as she had settled her affairs she was in a position to listen to Sir James's offers, and, after a day set "apart solemnly by fasting and prayer to beg God's direction in an affair of so great importance," she accepted him as her future husband. They were married on March 2, 1656, in her brother-in-law Newton's closet, by Mr. Gaile, chaplain to the Countess of Devonshire, whom they had brought from London to Charleton for that end. After a few days they took leave of their friends and set out for Scotland in the post-coach.
Sir James was a widower with two sons and two daughters, and he had also four children by this his second wife, all of whom "died" except Robert.
[p. xxi] When the Restoration came, she had, like many others, pleas to urge for the repayment of money advanced to the Crown or spent in its interest. Like most others, she failed to obtain any satisfaction for her demands. "All she gained was to learn not to confide in anyone upon earth."
Her married life was a happy one. But her husband died in 1676; and she outlived him, a sorrowing widow, till 1699. She left behind her a large collection of devotional meditations, of which one upon the 25th Psalm was published at Edinburgh in 1778, together with a sketch of her life.]
1 There first appears the following:
[I have added notes which I below put in bracketts with my initials (EM) at the end of each note. While I have followed modern practice and in the header and many instances called Anne Murray Anne Halkett, where it seems natural to call her Anne Murray in the notes I have. She herself may have thought of herself as Anne Bampfield for a while. We should remember she did not become Lady Anne, but Anne, Lady Halkett. The life referred to by Nicholls is : The Life of the Lady Halket.. Andrew Symson; Henry Knox: Edinburgh, 1701. The dedication signed: S. C., so hereinafer referred to as Couper 1701 Life.
From the online records and Trill's study of the manuscripts, it is now known that the biographer was Simon Couper, a local Episcopalian minister with Jacobite leanings. See Suzanne Trill, "Lady Anne Halkett," The Literary Encyclopedia. 15 Nov. 2004 (p. 3); General Register for Scotland (old Parish registers), Annals of Dumferline and Notes to "Cast out from respectability a while:' Anne Murray Halkett's Life in the Manuscripts". EM]
2 In MS: "and pu[blished] in 1778." Amongst Mr. Nichols's notes there is the copy of the title-page of the "Meditations of the twenty-fifth Psalms." But I have not seen it, and as it is not mentioned here I conclude that it does not contain the title. -- S. R. G.
[For a reprint of Ballard see Ballard, George. "Lady Halket," Memoirs of Several Ladies of Great Britain, ed., introd. Ruth Perry. 1752; rpt. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1985. (pp. 326-31). I've reprinted just Ballard's list of the the volumes of meditations Anne Halkett left; a list he took from Couper 1701 Life. See "Further Online Materials." EM]
3 The date is expressed by Nichols according to the Old Style Calendar when the year began March 25th. Using the New Style Calendar (our own), Anne Murray was born January 4, 1623. In his note, Nicholls writes that for "From some unaccountable misapprehension the biographer of 1701 calls him 'Mr. Robert Murray' instead of Thomas; an error which is followed by Ballard and his copyists." Couper also calls Anne's beloved older sister, Elizabeth Jane; and he persists in saying that Charles was the oldest son. This suggest to me that Couper came into Anne's employ late in life; perhaps he never met Elizabeth, Lady Newton as she lived near London, and would not have heard the father's first name. Many people then called the oldest girl after the mother. We see this practice in Austen's novels. EM]
4 Five (?) years of age. MS.
5 Rymer's Ecedera, xvi. 631.
6 See p. 19 [of Nichols' edition, pagination indicated in text below]. [There is an omission here as Jane Drummond Murray did not die a little more than a year after her husband's death, but rather a little more than a year after Thomas Howard married Lady Elizabeth Mordaunt; that is in 1647. EM]
7 Surtees's History of Durham, 442. [The date is not given here, but it is stated that his predecessor died in Dec. 1608.]
8 See the Life of Hakewill in Wood, Athenas Oxon. (edit. Bliss) iii. 254.
9 Letter of Mr Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton [Aug. 10, 1622] in Court and Times of James I, ii, 325.
10 In MS. "Archbishop Williams took the occasion to write to the Duke (?) of Buckingham conveying a remonstrance that the Provostship should have been conferred upon a layman." Williams's Letter is in Cabala, 264.
11 The biographer of 1701, from some other manuscript of Lady Halkett, supplies several anecdotes of her childhood; but they are of trifling importance and no historical interest.
12 [Anne had one sister, Elizabeth, wife of Sir Henry Newton. Thus Musgrove mistook Howard for Elizabeth's husband, who was also Anne's brother-in-law. EM]
13 Life, 1701, p. 15. [There is a disagreement between Couper, Nicholls, and Loftis. Nicholls has Charles as Anne's oldest brother, from Couper's 1701 Life. Loftis says Anne's oldest brother was Henry. At any rate both were Grooms of Charles I's Bedchamber in 1642; in 1653 Henry married Anne, daughter of Paul, Viscount Bayning of Sudbury. Anne's favorite brother seems to have been her youngest, William Murray, who was at first an attendant upon Charles I, and then through Bampfield's influence, a courrier for Charles I when in prison. EM]
[14 See the life in the ODNB by Alan Marshall. EM]
15 This date of the year is placed in the margin of the original MS. but was omitted by the transcriber. [Anne Howard was sister to Thomas Howard, Anne Murray's persistent suitor; her husband, Sir Charles Howard, was her cousin. She now becomes Anne Murray's patroness; in effect, Anne served as her companion. EM]
16 Shafto (?) of Benwill (?).
17 Life, 1701, p. 22
[18 This is Charles Seton, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline; his wife was a daughter of William Douglas, Earl of Morton. She replaces Anne Howard as Anne Halkett's patroness; see below. EM]
19 Mr. Nichols had written "this was the last time that Anne Murray saw him." But see the next page.
[20 Now Anne Murray is living with and functioning as companion to Sophia, Lady Moray (1624-53), wife to Sir Robert Moray (1608/9-73). Moray was Sir James Halkett's first cousin. There's a connection with Bampfield too: Argyle, Loudoun, Lothian, and Bampfield were all involved in conspiracies on behalf of the king and presbyterianism in Scotland. Bampfield and Balcarres were central people acting together. This helps explain Anne's closeness to Lady Sophia who was Balcarres's sister and Anne's later attempt to rescue the Balcarres' books and help them escape. See just below and Loftis, John and Paul H. Hardacre, edd. Colonel Bampfield's Apology, together with Bampfield's Later Career: a Biographical Supplement (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 1993):161-63; hereinafter referred to as Bampfield's Apology. EM]
It is to be noted that thus far wherever Anne has gone, she has needed to have the countenance or company of a respectable (and in each case it has been aristocratic) woman or close male relative. Nichols has repeated this important detail each time. The Countess of Roxburghe, third wife and widow of the first Earl of Roxburghe (d. 1650) functions as Anne Halkett's protector just above. EM]
[21 This is Alexander Lindsay, 1st Earl of Balcarres (1618-59); his wife, Lady Anna (birth name Mackenzie), Countess of Balcarres is presumably the Lady Balcarres who lent Anne furniture (p. 75), when Anne was forced to leave lodgings (to avoid harassment as a single woman alone) and go to live in rooms at the house of the Earl of Tweeddale. There we see how important is the countenance of other respectable equal-ranking women. Sophia, Lady Moray, has died, and now we see Anne Murray repaying her debt to the Countess in spades. For a biography of the Countess of Balcarres, see "Further Online Material," Lady Anna Mackenzie. EM]
[22 Another woman coming in to support Anne Murray: Helen (birth name Lindsay), Lady Scott of Ardross, wife of Sir William Scott (she married him in 1634). Her birth name reveals her familial connection to the Earl of Balcarres; she would be Lady Balcarres' sister-in-law. EM]
[23 Now through Halkett she has the company of yet more respectable equal-ranking women. He is trusting his daughters by his first wife to her as (in effect) their governess. Their names were Mary, married later to Sir William Brue of Kinross, and Anna, to Sir Andrew Ker of Kavers (from Couper 1701 Life, 29-30. Sir Robert Montgomery (see just below) is presumably the brother of the dead wife and his visits vouch for his approval too. And another cousin: one can't it seems have too many in this situation. EM]
[24 Rumor had it that James Halkett was romantically involved with Anne Douglas (birth name Villiers), married to Robert Douglas, styled Lord Dalkeith. Much more in Anne's Memoirs on her similar courage and action on behalf of another child of Charles I, and Anne's worry that she was seen as jealous. It will be noted the Countess of Dunfermline comes through again with the needed money, this time for travel. EM]
[25 Grizell Halkett, married Sir Thomas Ker of Cavers. EM]