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The Scottish Nation


MONTEITH, or MONTETH, ROBERT, an eminent historian, was born at Salmonet, near Grange, in Stirlingshire, and flourished about the middle of the seventeenth century. The particulars of his life are involved in much obscurity. According to tradition, he was obliged to leave Scotland, being suspected of adultery with the wife of Sir James Hamilton of Prestonfield. He appears to have been a chaplain of Cardinal de Retz, who also made him a canon of Notre Dame. Another account states that having, in consequence of his loyalty, taken refuge in France, he ingratiated himself with Cardinal Richelieu, and was offered a situation under government, provided he could show a pedigree. He said he was of the family of Salmonet in Stirlingshire, and was promoted accordingly. According to tradition he father had been a salmon fisher in the Borough meadow of Stirling; and the son had taken his title from the net in which the salmon were caught. But this is not correct. He was the son of an old and respectable family, and there was once a place in Stirlingshire called Salmonet.

He wrote a work in French, embracing the period of Scottish history from the coronation of Charles I. to the conclusion of the rebellion; a translation of which, by James Ogilvie, appeared at London in 1735, under the title of ‘History of the Troubles of Great Britain, containing an Account of the most remarkable Passages, from 1633 to 1650.’ The date of his death is unknown. It must have been previous to the publication of the original work, as in the privilege for printing it, granted September 13, 1660, to Jacques St. Clair de Roselin, the author is styled “Le defunct St. Montet.” He must not be confounded with another Robert Monteith, the compiler of a scarce and valuable collection of all the epitaphs in Scotland, published under the name of ‘An Theater of Morality,’ in 1704.

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