Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[Her brother Will banished from Stuart court, dies; Bampfield iin hiding and then imprisoned, pp. 27 - 30]

[p. 27] About this time my brother Will came home much discontented, as hee had great reason, for some persons, who mayde itt there busynese to sow the seed of jelousy betwixt the King and Duke of Yorke, in pursuite of that accused my brother that hee kept a corespondence with C. B. [Colonel Bampfield], who staid att London to hold intelligence in Scotland, and ther designe was to have the Duke of Yorke come there to be crowned King.1

Though the King did not beleave itt, as hee told my brother when hee sentt for him, yett such was his presentt condittion that hee must either banish him or els [p. 28] disobleige those persons whose service was most useful to him. This his Masjestie expresed with some trouble; butt, "Will, (sayd hee,) to shew you I give noe creditt to this accusation, when ever you heare I am in Scotland (where I hope shortly to bee) come to mee and you shall have no doupt of my kindnesse. My brother humbly intreated his Majestiee to lett him knowe his accusers and putt him to a tryall, and if they could make good what they charged him with hee would willingly die. "Noe, (says the King,) I will nott tell you who they are, and if you have any suspittion of the persons I charge you upon your allegiance, and as you expect my faver hereafter, nott to challenge them upon itt." Thus with great injustice and sevearity was my brother banished the three courts, the King's, Queene Mother's, and the Princese Royall's.

When hee came outt from the King a gentleman tooke him in his armes who expresed great kindnesse and much trouble for his ill usage, who hee knew undouptedly to bee one of his greatest enemys. All hee said to him was, ''You know the King hath tied mee up, and therefore I will say noe more." Had not duty and former obligations beene a tye to all hee was capable to performe, itt was butt an ill requittall for many yeares faithfull service and much hardship, with hazard of his life, for none could brand him with disloyalty or cowardice, nor did hee know how to refuse any imploymentt that was serviceable to the King though never so dangerous to undertake.

Butt this injury contributed through the mercy of God to his eternall good, for hee tooke ship imediately, and landed neere Cobham, where, by the faver of the D. [Duke] and D. [Duchess] of Richmond, hee was well entertained;2 butt nothing could free him of the great melancholy hee tooke, for, as a person of worth told mee who was a wittnese of itt, hee would steale from the company, and going into the wood and lye many houres together upon the ground, where perhaps he catched cold, and that, mixing with discontented humours, turned to a feaver whereoff hee died.

Butt I blese God I had the sattisfaction to see him dye as a good Christian, for, as soone as hee found himself distempered, hee writt to mee to gett him a private lodging [p. 29] neere the watter side, which I did, and hee comming there imediately wentt to bed, and never rise outt of itt. Affter hee had given mee accountt of what I have now related hee told mee hee had heard Doctor Wild preach att Cobham,3 and that hee was extreamely well pleased with his sermon, and desired mee to inquire for him, and intreat him to come to him, which hee did willingly and frequently, and they had both much sattisfaction in one another. My brother beeing desirous to receave the comunion, the Doctor apointed the next morning for the celebration, butt before wee were to comunicate, my brother said, "I am now going to partake of that most holy sacramentt, and shortely affter to give an accountt to God Almighty for all my actions in this life, and I hope, Sir, (said hee to Doctor W. [Wild]) you will beleeve I durst nott speake an untruth to you now, and therefore I take this time to assure you that I am nott guilty of what they have accused mee of to the King, and I desire you to vindicate mee."

I asked him if hee thought C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] had any hand in such a designe. Hee said hee thought hee might say as much for him as for himselfe. So, having sometime composed himselfe affter saying this, the usuall prayers of the church beeing ended, my brother, weake as hee was, putt himselfe upon his knees in the bed, and so receaved the blesed sacramentt, and wee that were with him. Hee had before expresed great charity in forgiving his enemys; and, though hee had told mee who (upon good grounds hee had reason to beleeve) they were, yett hee injoyned rnee as I loved him to forgive them, for they had proved his best freinds, for, by there meanes, hee came to see the vanity of the world, and to seeke affter the blesednesse of that life which is unchangeable. While hee lay sicke, C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] came once to see him, and butt once, because there was search made for him.

The constantt attendance I gave my brother kept mee from seeing C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] or sending offten to him; but early one morning one of his sarvants came and told mee that, beeing sentt early outt, as they returned they saw an officer with some soldiers marching that way where hee privately lay, and that hee feared his master was betraid.

[p. 30] I then tooke my sister into the next roome and told her I must now comunicate something to her that I had concealed as knowing shee would nott aprove of my inttention, butt all considerations beeing now laid aside I must owne the concerne I had for C. B. [Colonel Bampfield], and with teares beged of her by all the kindnese shee had for mee, or if ever shee desired to contribute anything to my contenttment, that shee would make inquiry what was become of C. B. [Colonel Bampfield], and asist him to escape if itt was posible. The trouble shee saw me in prevailed so with her that itt made her say litle as to what I might expect of sevearity, and tooke a coach and wentt imediately where shee thought itt most likely to doe him service, and itt proving butt a false alarum served only to make him the more circumspect, and did afterwards something justify mee that I att that time owned to my sister my resolution of marrying him.

My brother's feaver increasing and his strength decaying, a few days putt an end to his conflict, for as death was wellcome to him so hee came peaceably as a freind and nott an enemy, for I beleeve never any died more composedly of a feaver in the strengh of there youth. Hee seldome or never raved nor expresed much of dissatisfaction att the usage hee had mett with; only once hee said, "Were I to live a thousand yeares I would never sett my foott within a court againe, for there is nothing in itt butt flattery and falsehood."

[1 William Murray, her third brother, much involved in Royalist intrigues. Bampfield and William Murray were apparently involved in plots together, and when when Bampfield fell from favor, William Murray was dismissed from court with him. Loftis, Memoirs, writes (197n) "It would appear not impossible that Will Murray was in some ways implicated in his friend Colonel Bampfield's" intrigues ... "In answer to his sister's questions if he thought Bampfield had any responsibility for his dismissal by the King, Will answered cryptically that 'he thought hee might say as much for him [Bampfield] as for himselfe'." When Loftis completed his edition of Halkett's Memoir he was still strongly influenced by the biased accounts of the Royalists, and suggested that Will's "severe melancholy -- or 'depression' -- from which Will suffered could more plausibly be explained as the result of feelings of guilt than merely the result of a rebuff by the king." Yet a rebuff was practically serious: Will would be excluded from needed patronage opportunities and possible income and control of his future employment. There is no need to assume that William Murray meant to undermine Charles; indeed his feelings of bitterness at having been shamed would be all the greater if he had intended to help Charles. See Bampfield's Apology, 136n.

There seems to have been an instinctive blaming of anyone but himself on the part of Charles II. In Bampfield's Apology, we find that it was a William Murray who acted as Charles I's letter-carrier to Bampfield in the closing days of Charles I's life (Bampfield's Apology, 79-80, 135-36). this man man not have been Anne's brother, but rather her cousin, William Murray, Earl of Dysart who had been close to Charles all Charles's life. See ODNB, life by R. Malcolm Smuts. It was Dysart who Bampfield travelled with to Scotland, Apology, 137. EM]

[2 Cobham is in Kent; James Stuart, the third Duke of Richmond (1612-55) was a Royalist given responsibility for Charles I's burial (Loftis 197n). The Princess Royal would be Charles II's sister, Mary, who married William of Orange and gave birth to William III (husband to James II's daughter, Mary). EM]

[3 Loftis, Memoirs, (197n) says George Wilde or Wild (1610-65), Bishop of Derry was "a devoted and courageous Anglican and an eloquent preacher," "chaplain to Archbishop Laud ... William and Anne Murray wished him to attend William Murray on his death-bed because ... Wild was willing to administer communion in the manner of the Church of England despite Parliamentary Prohibitions." See also Couper 1701 Life, 19-20. EM]

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