Page images

third Earl—whilst the transactions of some sixty years before, in the time of the first Earl, are reserved for the third volume. The papers of the three earls are thus presented to us inversely as the order of the volumes. The excuse which Sir George alleges for this singular arrangement is utterly insufficient-and certainly it could not palliate that other device of the editor for completing the confusion of the reader, namely, the occasional interposition of matter belonging to one Earl, among the series of papers which are exclusively connected with another. Our readers will then understand that in examining this work, in order to furnish as impartial an account of it as we can, we are forced into the observance of the editor's scheme of connection, and we trust to their justice to exempt us from the penalty that is due to any sins of disorder which may happen to annoy them in the course of this article.

The first volume, as we have said, is principally filled with a Diary of Hugh, the third Earl of Marchmont." This Diary commences in July, 1744, and is carried on at intervals of some days, until the end of that year; it then breaks off, and is not resumed until the September of 1745, when it is continued for about five months: it then re-commences in July, 1747, and is concluded in March, 1748. The periods here indicated may be said to be eras of very considerable importance in our political annals. It was during the first of these intervals that the causes began to develop themselves which led to the ascendancy of the Pelbams, at the expense of the Carteret party, and finally brought about the establishment of a Cabinet which, from the strong interests it comprehended, was nicknamed the Broad-bottom Administration. The items in this part of the Diary relate to minute particulars of conversations, which we have no doubt will serve to guide the historian on many occasions in determining motives and in reconciling apparent contradictions, but which possess little interest for general readers in these days. The second period is one of more attraction, as it commences with the date of the announcement in London that the Pretender was approaching Edinburgh, with a strong probability of his being able to occupy that city. The conduct of the Scotch lords about the court was very singular on this occasion. Between their political jealousies on the one hand, and the necessity of testifying their loyalty to the House of Hanover on the other, several of these noblemen were placed in a most whimsical state of perplexity. The King and his ministers shared in this embarrassment, and there is every reason to believe that the progress of the Pretender would have been quickly stopped, if the hands of the Scotch lords bad not been completely tied in consequence of the most foolish and contemptible divisions that reigned amongst them. The following passage will throw some light on these elements of distraction. We should premise that the writer, Hugh, Earl of Marchmont, in common with several of his brother peers, made repeated offers of his services to the King, but that these services were uniformly rejected or evaded.

• When I came from court Lord Gower came in, to whom I told, that the Duke of Montrose and I had been to offer our services; he said, he was glad we had done it, on which I told him what had passed. He said, that the ministers could not tell what to depend on concerning Scotland, one side constantly contradicting the other. I told [him] that I myself out of Parliament, and all I could influence in Parliament, should loudly complain, that Scotland was thrown out of the King's protection. He said, he did not see that ; I answered that Scotland was undone in the dispute between two men, who should [be] viceroy of it, and the English ministry considered only which of these two men should be absolute lords of the kingdom, and thus the King had lost his crown, which he seemed not to value: that all this might have been prevented last winter, if, instead of holding up the Duke of Argyle to be King, and insisting on all of us bowing to him, they had obliged his Grace to shake hands with the rest of the nobility, and be content with his share; that when Lord Stair had at that time spoke to me of the secretary's place, I had told him, that I would not accept it if offered in opposition to the Duke of Argyle, or without a concert with him, and that he, Lord Gower, knew we had told him, that we wanted no better than to act in concert with any man for the relief and service of our country; but we had been despised, and not even Sir John D-- could get 500l. a-year without bowing to the Duke of Argyle; that then the Duke was brought to do nothing, unless he could do every thing, and Lord 'Tweeddale thought he had credit enough in the closet to suffer nobody to have power but himself, and, therefore, from resentment to the Duke of Argyle, and to all of us who had not cringed to him, he had neglected the common and necessary precautions to defend the kingdom, as they could not have been taken without giving power to some of us, and he had gone about giving his opinion, that the regulars would beat the irregulars, which were always contemptible: thus, supporting an opinion of Lord Granville perhaps, or, to serve his own purpose, he had lost the King one of his crowns; that one saw how high the dispute was carried between him and the Duke of Argyle, by Mr. Maul's carriage at court, and that the ministers seemed to attend to nothing else; that they were both to blame: but, that things being so, we ought however to do our best to save the constitution. He said, that was the great point; that he felt the situation of those who acted as ministers without the King's confidence; that they laboured on though every thing was up-hill work, of which he gave some instances; that if they treated this affair as important, Lord Stair laughed at them, and Lord Tweeddale gave no help at all ; that he wished they could do any good, and that animosities ought to be laid aside. I told him, I did it so far, that if I had had as much enmity to Lord as he had to me, I would shake hands with him now for fighting in this cause, but that I would fight only for liberty, and not fight that one might put on the yoke instead of another. He said, we ought in the first place to remove the present danger. I told him, I could submit as well as another, if tyranny was to be established, by whomever conquered; but a slave with whole bones was not so absurd as one who had got his bones broke to establish his own slavery; but when the worst happened, I could go to Holland like my grandfather; that at court we were treated as little better than slaves now; but to bring the thing to an issue, I desired him, as one of the ministers, to let the question

be asked by the ministry at Lord Tweeddale, and by any of 'em that saw the Duke of Argyle at him, since they were the two believed in Scots affairs, whether any thing could be done by the Scots nobility for saving the country, and for the King's service, and that we were ready to do whaiever was practicable; that then I would send for the Duke of Queensbury, and we would act in concert; and that, for my own part, I was ready to go any where, provided I should not be deserted, and defeated here above, in order to be laughed at for attempting what it might be made impossible to execute ; and that I should be assured, that the two heads of the Scots faction should not be, one or other of 'em, made tyrant over us, but would join with the rest to put Scotland on the same foot with England. He said, he did not see how that could be secured ; I desired him to try whether any thing could be done or not. He told me in the conversation, that the Duke of Argyle stood ill in the King's opinion, and Lord Tweeddale very well.


[blocks in formation]

*The Duke of Queensbury told me, that he had seen the Marquis of Tweeddale, who, with many shrugs and hints, had told him, that he did not see that any thing could be done by us in Scotland ; that now the thing must be decided by the King's army, and that commissions of lieutenancy would be too late. I said the answer given expressed a great deal of dignity to us. The Duke said that, to give him his due, he has expressed that our zeal was very laudable, and very well known. The Duke of Montrose said, that now we were vindicated, and unless, to use a Scots expression, we should dud ourselves in their faces, we saw we could do nothing; that indeed in that case they might put us upon some bad affair to do us an injury. I asked the Duke of Queensberry if he thought it now necessary to say as much to any of the English ministry; but both the Dukes thought we had done all that was decent for us, or necessary to shew our readiness, if we were thought to be of any use.



[ocr errors]

• Lord Stair took the Duke of Montrose and me into the window at Kensington, having before told us he wanted to talk to us. He said, that the offer we had made, and to which Lord Tweeddale could give us no answer, had been laid before the council; that it had been there said, that several Lords of Scotland had offered to do any service they could, and that although nothing could be done so long as the rebels remained mas. ters of the country, yet should they march into England, Peers of Scotland, authorized by the King, might then raise regiments behind them, and cut off all communication between them and Scotland ; that this had been thought very right, and that it was thought likewise that such as could do this, should be spoke to, that they might think of what people they would employ under them, and keep themselves ready when the case happened. I told Lord Stair, that as the King's troops would decide the affair now, this looked to me like sending us a thief-catching, and that after what had passed, the taking this up, as was done, looks very like what the Duke of Montrose had suspected, drawing us into a scrape, that is, to send us away on the meeting of the Parliament, that nobody might be here whilst they fixed slavery on our country; and therefore I desired to know in the first place, what the ministers intended to do as to Scotland, and how the King's speech and the addresses would speak of Scotland. Lord Stair

said, he knew nothing as to this last, but that the other had been approved of in the council.

• I told the Chancellor he would see by the papers how small a force had ruined my country. He said, it was indeed surprising. I said, we, who had long seen the causes, had expected the effect, not indeed so great, but enough to undo the King's friends. He talked of news. I told him of the sally from the castle on the 6th, and the people's zeal, and the supposed march into England, &c.; but that the great object was to secure the country hereafter, and remedy what had past. He said, no doubt something must be done ; many remedies had been spoken of; but the difficulty was, which was proper; that the disarming the Highlands had been tried. I told him, no doubt it was right; but that alone would not do, since foreign arms could be brought in, as they had been now; but that the King had two-thirds of the country zealous for him on principle ; and that he might see from Charles the Second's time in men, cess, and now in members of Parliament, the south of Tay was always computed twothirds of the whole. He said, it had been proposed to arm, but that the Duke of Argyle had represented it as illegal without certain orders, but what had never been explained ; and that Lord Tweeddale had said, it might be arming as many foes as friends. I said, as to the south it was a gross misrepresentation. He said, it meant only the Highlands. I said as to them, there were families as well known to be for the King as others against it, for they would always be on opposite sides, like Sweden and Denmark; but all at present would soon be over; and I hoped the like would be prevented for the future; that the country had been sacrificed to party. He said, it was clear that things must not be put on the same foot they had been. I told him, if we were to be transferred from one viceroy to another, the country would be totally undone. He said, a remedy must be found, but this must be over first. I said, that would soon be, if the King's troops would march; but that the Parliament was coming on very fast; and, considering the load of reproach the country lay under, not the popular but the neglect of the King's friends, no Scotsman could sit still in Parliament without losing all credit in his country, as it was impossible that the King's speech and addresses should be silent on this rebellion; and at the same time I was very sensible, that whatever was done might soon get a twist to some party end or other, and rather do harm than good, unless the King's ministers would join in the direction of it, with a view of settling the King's interest in that country.'—vol. i. pp. 150–152.

We shall conclude this portion of the Diary by Marchmont's account of his interview with the King, in which the jealousy of the Scotch nobles is again so strikingly illustrated.

I told him, (the King) that I desired to inform him of the state of Scotland; that all the South was zealous for him. He said, they were all Presbyterians, who had always been for his family; that Dumfries, Glasgow, and others were good towns, but that he could not say so much for Edinburgh. I told him, he had even there at least four out of five. He said, there were a great many Jacobites there. I said, that in the South there were not a hundred Papists, and that the people were zealous for him, and

all those that had property. He said, he believed so, except Lord Kilmarnock. I said, he was a man of desperate fortune, whose estate would go to his creditors, when his person was under forfeiture; that I had an estate in the country where he lived, and there was none of property there; and in another county, there was but one man of property, a Jacobite, against whom a warrant had been granted. He said,“ Mr. H.," but that he had not been taken. I said, there was not a man of 'em could carry out a hundred men against him in the South. He said, the southern parts liked the Union, and found benefit by it. I said, his Majesty knew that it had been made to bring the crown into his family. He said, "Yes, but they had felt benefit by it too." I said, no doubt they had ; that I could assure his Majesty, he had twenty thousand good men ready to arm for him in the South; and that all we desired, was to have him for our King. He said, he had ordered the Duke, (who was in very great spirits, and extremely pleased with the civilities he received in the country) as soon as this was decided, to detach a body of troops to Scotland, and that the Scots regiments were to recruit in the sou of Scotland; but that I knew that London was the principal place. I said, his Majesty was the best judge; that his people in Scotland desired no other; that I had lived in his foreign dominions, and therefore could assure him, that he had nowhere better subjects than in the south of Scotland; and who wished to see his interest superior, abroad and at home, and 10 see him respected on the continent as well as here; that they had nothing to do with the English factions. He said, “ You have factions amongst yourselves; there are the Highlands against the Lowlands, and others; but one must do the best one can.” I said, there were no factions against him; all we desired, was to have him cast an eye upon us, and to have access to him. He said, he had never refused anybody. I said, I was far from meaning so, and that I had taken the liberty to trouble him, only to represent the state of Scotland to him. He said, he looked on the two countries as one united, and would equally regard them both ; that Scotland had always been well affected; but indeed the last elections had not gone as he desired; but, he hoped, it would not be so any more. I said, that the elections had never gone against him ; that indeed if any subject would act without regard to his interest, and pretend to set himself up, it would create difficulties; but that all we desired to know was, his Majesty's own opinion. He said, he never would let any subject set himself between him and his people. I said, that was all we desired; we wanted to behave like good subjects, and have none between him and us. He repeated, he had perer refused any. I told him, I am sure I ought not to think so, since he had shewed but too much goodness in hearing me so long; that it was the first time I had ever had the honour to speak to him; and I desired he would be assured, that he had not a subject more affectionate to his cause than I was; that I wished the method proposed now, to arm in Scotland, might answer. He said, “What would you have me do ? they have offered it; they have offered it.” I said, I wished it success; but could have wished in this, and in ours, that his Majesty, who understood these matters better than any in his council, had formed the plan. He said, the House of Commons would not consent, as I saw by the last. I said, I believed many voted then, because they thought he did not approve of it. He said, “I did not approve of it at first. But these lords having shewed so much

« PreviousContinue »