can never think of getting anything done for your family : it will be for your honour that the world see you never had thoughts of alienating your family, then they will look no more upon you as the last of so noble a race, but will consider you rather as the restorer than the ruiner, and your family rather as rising than falling ; which, as it will be the joy of our friends and relations, so it will be the confusion of our enemies.” 1

My Lord was quite content to take his cousin at his own valuation, and wrote accordingly to Sir James, in somewhat confused language, but in a strain of compliment—that Claverhouse himself could hardly have bettered. “ Much Honoured Uncle," runs the letter:

first put into the latter's head this design of settling the estate. His first letter, contrary to his almost invariable custom, is undated, but must have been written either at the close of 1678 or early in 1679. He must have already got pretty far into the Earl's confidence; for with that keen eye to the main chance that never deserted him in war, politics, or private affairs, we find him boldly offering himself as the fittest person to carry on the line of Menteith. “My Lord,” he writes, with an appreciation of his own worth too frank not to be genuine,

As your friend and servant I do take the liberty to give you an advice, which is that there can be no thing so advantageous for you as to settle your affairs, and establish your successor in time, for it can do you no prejudice if you come to have any children of your own body, and will be much for your quiet and comfort if you have none ; for whoever you make choice of will be in place of a son.

You know that Julius Cæsar had no reason to regret the want of issue, having adopted Augustus, for he knew certainly that he had secured to himself a thankful and useful friend, as well as a wise successor, neither of which he could have pronised himself by having children ; for nobody knows whether they beget wise men or fools, besides that the ties of gratitude and friendship are stronger in generous minds than those of nature. My Lord, I may without being suspected of selfinterest, offer some reason to renew to you the advantage of that resolution you have taken in my favour. First, that there is nobody of my estate out of your name would confound their family in yours, and nobody in the name is able to give you these conditions, nor bring into you so considerable an interest, besides that I will easier obtain your cousin germane than any other, which brings in a great interest and continues your family in the right line. And then, my Lord, I may say without vanity that I will do your family no dishonour, seeing there is nobody you could make choice of has toiled so much for honour as I have done, though it has been my misfortune to attain but a small share. And then, my Lord, for my respect and gratitude to your Lordship, you will have no reason to doubt of it, if you consider with what a frankness and easiness I live with all my friends. But, my Lord, after all this, if these reasons cannot persuade you that it is your interest to pitch on me, and if you can think on anybody that can be more proper to restore your family, and contribute more to your comfort and satisfaction, make frankly choice of him, for without that you

“I would not trouble you oft with letters unless it were something worthy of your notice, which I am now to impart concerning a noble young gentleman, a cousin

mine, the Laird of Claverhouse, Graham, who is a person exceeding well accomplished as any I know with natural gifts, for all that is noble and virtuous may be seen in him, and as we say, he is well to live, for he has a free estate upwards of six hundred pounds sterling yearly of good payable rent, near by Dundee ; 2 besides he is captain of the standing troop of horse in this kingdom which is very considerable. Wherefore, dearest Uncle, I, in his name, does offer himself in marriage with that young lady your daughter, who if I thought it not convenient that it would be a fit match for her and all our credits to ally with such a gentleman as he who, being a Graham, which I for my part look upon it as a singular happiness to our family to have a person so well qualified, and of the name too, and he is it that I truly (esteem] and honour, and I have more than an ordinary respect for him whom I think truly worthy of her affection, as I doubt not when himself comes over to Ireland he will prove to be

1 We have not thought worth while to preserve the original spelling of these letters. Its eccentricities might amuse for a sentence or two, but would soon grow tiresome. Every one knows Sir Walter Scott's criticism on Claverhouse's cacography. But in truth he spelled no worse than his contemporaries, many of whom certainly had not his excuse. 2 « Punds Scotch, ye

" said old Milnwood, when his housekeeper recklessly offered twenty pounds sterling to Serjeant Bothwell, of Claverhouse's troop. Some such cmendation seems necessary here. A yearly rental of six hundred pounds sterling would have been no mean income in those days, and there are no grounds for thinking Claverhouse was in so good a position at this period of his life.

much more than I can express what he is indeed, but that he would not presume till first I would let him know by a line from you and my lady if he would be welcome, which for my sake at least ye will admit of a visit from himself, which will be as soon as you are pleased to return a favourable answer to me in his behalf. I shall never consent to the marriage unless it be Claverhouse, whom I say again is the only person of all I know fittest and most proper to marry your daughter."

grow cool.

This letter seems to have been written in July, 1679, and to have followed Sir James from Ireland to England. The answer at any rate did not reach Edinburgh till November. This delay seemed to Claverhouse an evil omen ; and Montrose had been bantering him with a story of Miss Helen having run off with an Irish lover, which he owned to be at least very probable. Sir James's answer, if the letter printed by Sir William Fraser be the answer, ignores Claverhouse altogether, though he assures the head of his house that, “Nelly my daughter tells me she will ask your consent in her marriage.” Perhaps this was the old gentleman's way of saying, no, and so understood by his nephew. At any rate, he soon consoles himself for this disappointment, and, forgetful of his former protestations, writes off with little delay to tell him he has found another husband for Nelly, “a very honourable and noble person in this kingdom,” too noble and honourable to be lightly named in a letter without his own permission. He prays Sir James to come to him in Scotland, to consult on this important matter; and conscious, being his uncle's own nephew, that there may be reasons why both Ireland and England should be safer places of rest for this weary knight than Scotland, he offers “ to get you a protection from the Council here that no man can reach you or anything that belongs to you for any debt at any person's instance whatsoever for four or five months' time."

This new bridegroom was to be none other than Montrose himself, who certainly, as her cousin says, was a match for the young lady" beyond any person

that ever yet was named for her.” For a time every one seems to have been pleased and consenting, except, we may suppose, Claverhouse. Menteith was to convey the estate to the young Marquis, who in return was to pay him an annuity of one hundred and fifty pounds. The deed had been actually signed by the King, who had however refused to allow the title to pass as well, when Montrose began to

Indeed the whole affair looks very much as though he had been merely intriguing for the lands of Menteith without any intention of encumbering himself with the portionless Helen to boot. The outwitted old Earl remonstrated in vain : in his last letter he says, “I am exceeding sorry ye do not answer none of my letters, though I have written eighteen since ye went from Leith ;' and to write eighteen letters to a man who had plainly got the better of you, without receiving a word in reply, is no doubt very annoying. Meanwhile Montrose found a match more to his taste in the person of Lady Christian Leslie, daughter of the Duke of Rothes, and not long after died.

The unfortunate Menteith would have bought the estate back again, but the money could not be raised, and his uncle would not help him, alleging that the mismanagement of the whole affair was due to his stupidity in allowing himself to be fooled by Claverhouse and Montrose who were in the plot together. “ The hand of Claverhouse," he wrote,

“hath been in all these contrivances, whose ambitious thoughts to make himself the head of our ancient family brought all the trouble of my Lord Montrose's business upon you ; for he will not deny that there was an agreement made, neither will my Lord Montrose, that before there was any proposition made to your Lordship for a match for either of them, that my Lord Montrose was to use his interest with your Lordship for such a settlement of your honours and estate upon Claverhouse, and Claverhouse was obliged again to make the estate over privately to my Lord Montrose, so that if we had made up such a match, both your Lordship and we had been fairly cheated. This, my Lord, is a very truth, and neither of

may ob


them will deny it, and therefore I beg you have been by your Lordship’s favour this day will take no such advisers in your provisions as happy as I could wish. ... My Lord, for your family."

fearing I may be represented to your Lordship, Montrose does not seem to have

I think it my duty to acquaint your Lordship

with my carriage since I came hither in rela. troubled himself much about what tion to these affairs. As soon as I came, I others thought of his part in the told Sir James how much he was obliged to transaction. But Claverhouse had,

you, and how sincere your designs were for long before Sir James wrote, taken

the standing of your family: withal I told

him that my Lord Montrose was certainly en. care to give his own version of the

gaged to you to marry his daughter, but that affair.

His letter is dated from from good reason I suspect he had no design London, July 3rd, 1680. He had gone to perform it; and indeed my Lord Montrose

seemed to make no address at all there in the in that year to England, to clear him

beginning, but hearing that I went sometimes self on a charge of embezzling the fines

there, he feared that I might get an interest he was empowered to levy on the Cove with the father, for the daughter never apnanters that had been lately brought

peared, so observant they were to my Lord against him by the Scottish Treasury,

Moutrose, and he thought that if I should -in which clearance, we

come to make any friendship there, that when

he came to be discovered I might come to be serve in passing, he was completely acceptable, and that your Lordship, might successful. The letter is very long,

turn the chess upon him. Wherefore he went

there and entered in terms to amuse them till despite the writer's haste, which he

I should be gone, for then I was thinking excuses on the plea of just starting for

every day of going away, and had been gone, Windsor : too long to quote in full, but had I not fallen sick. He continued thus, worth some extracting. " Whatever making them formal visits, and talking of the were the motives,” it begins,

terms, till the time that your signature should

pass, but when it came to the King's hand it "obliged your Lordship to change your resolu was stopped upon the account of the title, tions to me, yet I shall never forget the conform to the preparative of my Lord Caithobligations that I have to you for the good

My Lord Montrose, who, during all designs you once had for me, both before my this time had never told me anything of these Lord Montrose came in the play and after. . . affairs, nor almost had never spoke to me, by All the return I am able to make is to offer Drumeller and others let me know that our you, in that frank and sincere way that I am differences proceeded from mistakes, and that known to deal with all the world, all the if we met we might come to understand one service that I am capable of, were it with the another ; upon which I went to him. After I hazard or even loss of my life and fortune. had satisfied him of some things he complained I never enquired of your Lordship nor him of, he told me that the title was stopped, and (Montrose) the reason of the change ; nor did asked me if I had no hand in it ; for he thought I complain of hard usage. Though really, my it could be no other way seeing Sir James Lord, I must beg your Lordship’s pardon to concurred. I assured him I had not meddled say that it was extremely grievous to me to be in it, as before God I had not. So he told me turned out of that business after your Lordship he would settle the title on me if I would and my Lord Montrose had engaged me in it, assist him in the passing of it. I told him and had written to Ireland in my favour, and that I had never any mind for the title out of the thing that troubled me most was that I the blood. He answered me, I might have feared your Lordship had more esteem for my Sir James's daughter and all. I asked him Lord Montrose than me, for you could have how that could be. He told me he had no no other motive ; for I am sure you have more design there, and that to secure me the more, sense than to think the offer he made you more he had given commission to speak to my Lady advantageous for the standing of your family Rothes about her daughter, and she had rethan these we were on, for he would have ceived it kindly. I asked how he would come certainly made up his own, and I would have off, — he said upon their not performing the brought in all mine to yours, and been per terms, and offered to serve me in it, which I fectly yours.

I am sorry to see so much refused and would not concur. He thought to trust in your Lordship to my Lord Montrose make me serve him in his designs, and brake so ill rewarded. If you had continued your me with Sir James and his lady ; for he went resolutions to me, your Lordship would not and insinuated to them as if I had a design have been then in danger to have your estate upon their daughter, and was carrying it on rent from your family ; my Lord Montrose under hand. So soon as I heard this, I went would not have loosed his reputation, as I am and told my Lady Graham all. My Lord sorry to see he has done ; Sir James would Montrose came there next day and denied it. not have had so sensible an affront put upon However they went to Windsor and secured them, if they had not refused me, and I would the signature, but it was already done. They

but a

hare not used me as I deserved at their hands, seems to have thought the game was but my design is not to complain of them.

not quite lost.

The greater part After all came to all that Sir James offered to perform all the conditions that my

of that and the previous year he Lord Montrose required, he knew not what to spent in England, and seems to have say, and so, being ashamed of his carriage, been much in the company of the went away without taking leave of them, which was to finish his tricks with contempt.

Grahams. In 1680, a few days after This is, my Lord, in as few words as I can,

the long letter from which we have the most substantial part of that story. My already quoted, he writes to his cousin Lord Montrose and some of his friends en that he has been speaking to the deavoured to ruin that young lady's reputation Duke of York about the business, to get an excuse for his carriage, and brought in my name. But I made them quickly quit

“ without wronging my Lord Montthose designs, for there was no shadow of rose's reputation too much, which I ground for it And I must say she has suffered should be unwilling to do, whatever a great deal to comply with your Lordship’s he do by me." The Duke shook his designs, but could not do less cousidering the good things you had designed for her; and

head, and said it was not right; truly, my Lord, if you ken her, you would

shake of the Duke of York's head seems think she deserved all, and would think to have had less in it than Jove and strange my Lord Montrose should have ne

Lord Burleigh could effect with such glected her.

My Lord, things fly very high here: the indictments appear fre

means. Nothing came of it; nor could quently against the honest Duke, and I am anything be got from Menteith in the feared things must break out. I am sorry for way of settlement or entail. There it ; but I know you, impatient of the desire of

was still some hope that, if he could doing great things, will rejoice at this. Assure yourself, if ever there be barricades in

be got to bestir himself, Montrose Glasgow again, you shall not want a call ; and

might be made to disgorge his prey, my Lord I bespeak an employment under and the estate and dignity of Men. you, which is to be your Lieutenant-General,

teith fairly settled on Miss Helen and I will assure you we will make the world

Graham and her heirs male. But talk of us. And therefore provide me trews, as you promised, and a blue bonnet, and Í he could not be got to make up will assure you that there shall be no trews his mind. He fenced with the questrusti-r than mine. My Lord, despond not tion of the settlement, and wrote for this disappointment, but show resolution in all you do. When my affairs go wrong, I

vague polite letters, wishing prosperity remember that saying of Lucan, Tam mala

and all manner of good wishes to the Pompeii quam prospera mundus adoret. You happy pair, but breathing no hint have done nothing amiss, but trusted too

of any design on his part to smooth much to honour, and thought all the world

the road to the church-door. Lady held it as sacred as you do."

Graham (“ a very cunning woman, For all his sickness and troubles the thought Claverhouse, who was no bad Earl had a valorous spirit. Early in judge) wrote in very plain language, this year he had applied to Montrose demanding a positive answer; but she for a commission to keep the Whigs did not get it. All the Earl's letters in order about Menteith, and had seem to have gone under cover to performed his duties so zealously as Claverhouse, and he diplomatically to be complimented by the Chancellor, thought it wise to suppress some of Rothes. Aud a year later Claver

them for the reasons given in the house writes, again from London, following letter, sent in a separate vowing he grows jealous. “I rejoice parcel the same day that he had to hear by the letter you write to my written another to his cousin concernLady Graham you have now taken ing some mischief certain busy-bodies my trade off my hand, that you are

had been trying to make between the become the terror of the godly. I two. begin to think it time for me to set

“LONDON, October 1, 1681. to work again, for I am emulous of

“ MY DEAR LORD, your reputation.” But to return to the fair Helen.

“I thought fit to write this apart, and

not to put it in the other letter, designing Up to the end of 1681 Claverhouse

your Lordship should show it to everybody

for my vindication. My Lord, I am infi offered really to make a new entail of nitely sensible of your Lordship's kindness his estate and dignity that, failing his to me in writing so kindly to my Lady Graham and her daughter, especially when people

own and his uncle's heirs male, it had been representing me so foully to you. I

should devolve on his cousin Helen have not dared to present them, because that and hers. But it was then too late, in my Lady's letter you wished us much joy,

as his uncle reminded him. Montrose and that we might live happy together, which Jooked as if you thought it a thing as good as

had got the lands of Menteith, and done. I am sure my Lady, of the humour I there was no money forthcoming to know her to be, would have gone mad that redeem them. This is the letter which you should think a business that concerned

accuses Claverhouse of having been all her so nearly concluded before it was ever proposed to her; and in the daughter's you

the time in the plot with Montrose; was pleased to tell her of my affections to her, and it also inclosed one from Mrs. and what I have suffered for her ; this is very Rawdon to her cousin, regretting that gallant and obliging, but am afraid they

his proposal had not been made before would have misconstructed it, and it might do me prejudice ; and then in both, my Lord,

her marriage-settlement was drawn, you were pleased to take pains to show them as then some provision might have almost clearly they had nothing to expect of been made for extricating the earldom. you, and took from them all hopes which they She added her wishes to her father's had, by desiring them to require no more but

that her cousin should come over to your consent. Indeed I think it not proper your Lordship should engage yourself at

Ireland for a family consultation, and all. They would be glad to know that you concludes : “I am so well a wisher to only had a resolution to recover your business, the family, that sooner than the ashes they would leave the rest to your own goodness; and for myself I declare that I shall

of my ancestors should rudely be never press your Lordship in anything but

trampled on by strangers, I would what you have a mind to, and I will assure willingly purchase those two islands you I need nothing to persuade me to take with much more than any other body that young lady. I would take her in her

would give." smock. My dear Lord, be yet so good as to write new letters to the same purpose, holding

So vanished into air Claverhouse's out those things which [if] it were to anybody first matrimonial project. There was else might be very well said, and, if you please, still some idea of rescuing the lands when you say you give them your advice to

from Montrose, but the latter's death the match, tell them that they will not repent it, and that doing it at your desire you

early in 1684 stayed the project for the will do us any kindness you can, and look on

time. ‘My Lord," wrote the Master us as persons under your protection, and en of Stair to Lord Menteith, “the Mardeavour to see us thrive, which obliges you

quis of Montrose is no more the object to nothing and yet encourages them. .

of your resentment, but rather the And in the following month he subject of your grief. You have had writes again urging a settlement of three friends who meddled with you some sort, “either one way or other, too close, but I think


shall see all and in the meantime my age slips their graves.

This must alter your away, and I lose other occasions, as I nieasures: to go to Court at present, suppose the young lady also does." where my Lord Marquis will be freshly Claverhouse was now passing into his regretted by everybody, can do you no thirty-ninth year, and the young lady good.” In the short tumultuous years had, according to her mother, lost two of James's reign no one had time to other good " occasions” by this shilly spare to the private grievances of an shallying. However, this was the last

old man who was too poor to bribe and of the business. By the end of the too weak to threaten ; while Claveryear the Grahams had sailed once more house, mounting fast on the wave of for Ireland, and within little more than his own brilliant though stormy fortune, a twelvemonth Miss Helen had become soon forgot, in the pretty face of Lady the wife of Captain Rawdon, nephew Jean Cochrane and the broad acres and heir-apparent to Lord Conway. of Dudhope, the memory of Helen In the same year, that is in 1683, the Graham and the vanished patrimony Earl at last bestirred himself, and of Menteith.

« VorigeDoorgaan »