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Memoirs of the Jacobites
Charles Radcliffe


The fate of Charles Radcliffe has been regarded as one of the most severe, and his death as one of the most unjustifiable acts inflicted on those who suffered for their adherence to the Stuart cause.

This unfortunate man was the third son of Francis Earl of Derwentwater, by the Lady Mary Tudor, the daughter of Charles the Second, and was born in 1693. He was the younger brother of James Earl of Derwentwater, who suffered in 1716, for his adherence to the Stuart cause. There was also another elder brother, Francis, who died unmarried, not taking any apparent interest in the politics of the day.

The family of Radcliffe were not regarded by the descendants of their common ancestor, Charles the Second, in the light of kindred whom the rules of decorum, and the usages of society might induce them to disclaim, or at all events, to acknowledge with shame or reluctance; the vitiated notions of the day attached a very different value to the parentage of royalty, even when associated with dishonour. The marriage of Sir Francis Radcliffe to the daughter of Mary Davis was that event which procured his elevation to the peerage; and this alliance, was considered as elevating the dignity of an ancient house. The closest ties of friendship united the Stuarts and the Radcliffes, even from their earliest infancy. Educated, as well as his elder brother, James, chiefly at St. Germains, and with the Chevalier James Stuart, and brought up in the Roman Catholic faith, Charles Radcliffe, owing to the natural ardour of his disposition, imbibed much more readily than his brother the strong party views which characterized the Jacobites as a body.

In James, Earl of Derwentwater, the convictions of his faith, grounded as they are upon the belief of those great truths common to all Christians, worked healthfully; expanding the benevolence of his heart, teaching him mercy, moderation, and forbearance. On Charles, impetuous, zealous, stronger in intellect than his brother, but devoid of prudence, the same mode of culture, the same; precepts acted differently. He became, even in early life, violent in his opinions, until the horror of what he deemed error, amounted to bigotry. Henceforth his destiny was swayed by those tierce resentments towards the opposite party by which not only his brother, but even the Chevalier himself, seem to have been so rarely actuated; a remarkable degree of moderation and candour raising the character of James Stuart, whilst Lord Derwentwater was the gentlest of opponents, the most honourable of foes.

In early life Charles Radcliffe appears to have been chiefly dependent upon his brother's kindness and bounty; whilst his pursuits and inclinations, characterized in a letter by Lord Derwentwater as his "pleasures," were of an expensive description. But it was not long before other causes of concern besides want of money, or a love of dissipation began to disquiet those who were interested in the welfare of the Radcliffe family. About the year 1710, the young Earl of Derwentwater returned from the continent to his patrimonial property at Dilstone, in Northumberland, accompanied by his brother Francis, and by Charles who either frequently visited him, or wholly resided with him at his seat. During this period of the life of Charles Radcliffe, an insight into the general state of the family is afforded by several letters, addressed by the Earl of Derwentwater to Lady Swinburne of Capheaton, whom he styles his "cousin." The relationship between these families originated in the marriage of Mrs. Lawson, daughter of Sir William Fenwick of Meldon, after the death of her first husband, with Francis, first Earl of Derwentwater, and grandfather of James Radcliffe, and of his brothers. Mrs. Lawson'e daughter, Isabel, married Sir John Swinburne of Capheaton who was rescued from a singular fate by one of the Radcliffe family. When a child, he was sent to a monastery in France, where a member of that family accidentally saw him. and observing that he resembled the Swinburnes in Northumberland, he inquired his name, and how he came there? To these questions, the monks answered that they knew not his name; a sum of money was sent annually from England to defray his expenses; but of all other particulars they were wholly ignorant. On investigating the matter, it was found, however, that the child had been taught that his name was Swinburne; and that circumstance, coupled with the mysterious disappearance of the heir of that family from Northumberland induced the superior of the convent to permit his return home, where he identified himself to be the son of John Swinburne and of Jane Blount, by the description which he gave of the marks of a cat, and of a punchbowl, which were still in the house. He was afterwards advanced by Charles the Second to the dignity of a baronet.

To Mary, the daughter of Anthony Englefield, of Whitcknights, Berks, and wife of Sir William Swinburne, of Capheaton, the son of that man whose childhood has so romantic a story associated with it, the following letters are addressed. Of these, the first is written by the celebrated John Radcliffe, Physician to Queen Anne. Dr. Radcliffe was probably a distant relation of the family, although no distinctive trace of that connection appears: he was a native of Wakefield, near Yorkshire; but when these letters were written, he had attained the highest eminence in his profession that could be secured by one man; and was in the possession of wealth which he eventually employed in the foundation of the Radcliffe Library, at Oxford. The "Mr. Radcliffe" to whom he refers, and to whose malady his skill was called upon to administer, was Colonel Thomas Radcliffe, the uncle of Lord Derwentwater: the patient was at the time suffering from mental delusion, in consequence of a fever.

THESE TO SIR WILLIAM SWINBURNE AT CAPHEATON.

Doc. 10, 1709.

"Sir,

"Yours I received, and am very glad to hear that yourself and my lady is in so good health. I hope in a short time Mr. Radcliffe will be so too. He is recovered; but he had such a severe fever that he continues weak still. My Lord Derwentwater and his brother' (Francis) and Mr. Fenwick, are all come safe from Holland, and are very well, and we shall drink your health together this night. He intends to be with you very speedily in the country. I do not doubt that you will extremely like his conversation: for he has a great many extraordinary good qualities, and I do not doubt but he will be as well beloved as his uncle. My most humble service to your lady and the rest of the good family, and I wish you a merry Christmas; and that I might be so happy as to take a share of with you, would be a great satisfaction to him who is your most obliged and most faithful, humble servant,

"John Radcliffe."

The next letter is from Sir William Swinburne to his lady; in this he speaks of the pleasure with which Lord Derwentwater had returned to Dilstone, the seat of his ancestors, which he was, in so few short years, to forfeit.

To my Lady Swinburne, at Capheaton.

Beaufort, 7th Feb. 1710.

"Dear Love !

" My Lord (Derwentwater) " is very well pleased with Dilstone, and says it answers all that he has heard of it: but is resolved to build a new house, though Soger Fenwick told him he thought his lordship need not alter a stone of it. Upon Thursday my lord dines at Dilstone. Yours for ever,

"William Swinburne

"P. S. I understand my lord intends to be at Capheaton on Saturday, and then upon Tuesday at Witton, and so for Widdrington. My lord's leg is a little troublesome; but he intends to hunt the fox to-morrow, and it is a rule all to be abed at ten o'clock the night. Here is old Mr. Bacon and his son, Mr. Fenwick, of By well. My lord killed a squiril, and Sir Marmaduke a pheasant or two, and myself one, this morning—which is all, &c."

The following letter from Lord Derwentwater, to Lady Swinburne, shows that the illness which occasioned so much uneasiness was obstinate: it affords a curious sample of the medical treatment of Dr. Radcliffe, who kindly, and perhaps wisely, humoured his patient in the desire to go to Newcastle.

"I have been just now with my dear uncle, and Jack Thornton was with me. He received us very well: but is yet unease about those people that disturb him, and he says that he must go down to Newcastle by f,ea, or else he will never get quitte of them. This is an ode fancy; but I believe we shall comply with it, for the doctor does not seeme very averce to it, and was for sending Joseph back with him; but I have taken the horse into my stable, for I feared it might hurt the horse to return so soon. Sir William would like the value of the horse better than to have him sent back. I have been offered eighteen pound. I would have Sir William let me know by the next post whether he will have the horse or the money. I shall have the honor to whrit to him very soon,"

The two following epistles, one from Lady Derwentwater, the other from the Earl, speak of married happiness, alloyed, not only by the distempered fancies of an invalid uncle, but by the melancholy accounts of a brothers behaviour. It does not, however, appear certain which of the brothers, whether Francis or Charles, was thus alluded to.

FOR THE HONOURABLE LADY SWINEBURNE, JUNIOR, AT CAPHIEATON.

"Hadcross, Aug. 17.

"I have manny thanks to returne your ladyship for the favour of your letter and oblidging congratulations. My Lord Darwenwater',s great merit and agreable temper makes me think I have all the prospect imadgenable of being intierly happy. I desier the favour your ladyship will present my humble sarvise to Sir William. My father and mother joinse with me in this, and dessiers there complements to your ladyship, I beg you will be assured that I am, very much madam, your ladyship's most humble servant.

"A. Darvenwatar."

For my Lady Swinburne, at the blew ball, in st. james's Place, near st. james's, london.

" Heathorope, Feb. 7.

" Madam,

" I fear'd the good news Miechal writ Gibson, might be false; because I have not heard anything of it from yourself, nor from my uncle, who, I -flatter myself, would writ a line to give me so much satisfaction: but I hope all my doubts will vanish if your ladyship does me the favour to confirm what will be so great a content to us. If I could but be sure that my dear uncle avows all his fancys about the men he thought spoke to him, to be nothing but the unlucky effect of his favour, and that he thinks to come over to manage, his affairs, will be the most credeble and most kind way of proceeding, both as to himself and family, then I shall believe he was the same man he was befor, which, if you confirm, will be one of the most joyfull and the most unexpected good news that could befall your ladyship's humble, obedient servant, and affectionate kindsman,

"Darwentwater.

"I should have writ to your ladyship sooner, and really can have no good excuse: for should hare write to my dear cousen, though my head was full of fox-hunting: and though I had a mind to banish out of a new-married head some melancholie accounts of my brother's behaviour, which I suppose you have had Intelligence of, or else of my dear wife's second miscarriage, -which has been a great affliction to us,-' but I flatter myself with the hope of her having better luck another time. She presents her humble service, and so does my Lady Webb. I hope Sir William was well, and cosen Jacky, when you heard last. My brother Charles has been at Sir Marme-duke Constable's, and designs for London. Adieu!

In May 1714, only one year before the fatal insurrection of 1715 broke out, the following letter, referring to different members of his family, was written by the Earl. What a pleasing picture of an affectionate nature does this correspondence afford.

FOR MY LADY SWINBURNE, JUNIOR, AT CAPHEATON.

*Kathcrosse, May, 6, 1714.

"Now I write with pleasure to your ladyship, since I hope to be so happy as to enjoy your good company for a few months, I mean immediately after York Races, for my two years will be out here the tenth of July. Indeed Sir John has behaved himself wonderfully well to us quite the hull time, really performing in everything more than I could have expected from a man of honnor, as indeed I had reason to believe him. My lady is not of so steady a temper; but however, we agree very well: and she is mighty fond of my wife, which I take very kindly, since as yet we are but one. Never any body could be so desirous to goe to the North as my wife is, especially just comming from the divertions of London, except your ladyship or myself, who longs to be established there, that we may at least be out of the way of such inhuman proceedings as we saw, upon all accounts, this year at London, My poor dear uncle's case may serve for one instance. After getting the better in ail the courts, and, that lastly, the Lord Chancellor and eleven Judges had given there decree in favor of Will. Constable, and my uncle, a factious party, most young rakes, have reversed the decree, and giv en it for Roper, by a divition of fifty-three against twenty-three torrys, who were resolute enough to appear in a good cause, being forsaken by their brethren, who were afraid to be caled favourers of I'operie. I long to hear what my uncle will say to this news. If he be well, it will nettle him in spite of resignation. Gibson writes word they are at Doway; but he does not know when my uncle will sett forwards. I do not know where to wish him: for I really don't know how he is. For in one letter Gibson writes, he tells me my uncle is as well as ever he was in his life; and at the end of the letter he tells me his honnor is afraid of being pursude. 'Tis certain my uncle writes in another stille than usuall for, in letters of business he continually mentions God Almighty, the Blessed Virgin, and the Saints. All I say is, God send him ever a comfort to his friends, which lie must be if he is well. Brother Frank is recovered, but is the very same man. Brother Charles ,-s mighty uneasie: he is no ritcher, though I doe what I can to help him hi his pleasures.

"Pray my duty to my uncle and aunt, to whom T will write soon, and kind services to all other relations.

"If your ladyship will tell Tom Ernngton that I have executed the leases, and that I wonder cousin Tom Errington is not in for a quarter part of Redgroves, and that, supposing there were some such valuable reason as my cousin Tom's not being willing to accept of it, or having resigned it to one of those mentioned in the lease, which by the bye I should take very ill, then that lease of Redgrove's may stand good: but otherways I would have the lease altered, and my cousin Tom Errington to come in for a quarter part, as I promised him he should. In letting him know this, your ladyship will oblige your humble and obedient servant and kinsman,

Derwentwater.

*My dear wife presents her humble service to your ladyship, and desires the same may be made acceptable to all with you. "We expect Lord Wrald and my lady to make my sister happy, who will do the same by them."

The felicity which Lord Derwentwater enjoyed was of brief duration. According to tradition among his descendants, he was urged on to those steps which ended in his death by the violent counsels of his brother Charles, whose impetuosity the unfortunate earl often regretted, expressing, in his private correspondence, how much his rash and intemperate spirit distressed and alarmed him. Of the progress, and the principal features of the insurrection of 1715, and of the part which Lord Derwentwater took in that event, an account has already been given. "Happy' observes the biographer of Charles Kadclitfe, if had it been for him, happy for his lady, and happy for his family, had the earl staid at home, and suffered himself to be withheld from that fatal expedition."

Charles Radcliffe was at that time twenty-two years of age; he had no experience in military affairs, but was full of spirit and courage, ready to offer himself for every daring, and even hopeless enterprise, and seeming to set no value on his life where honour was to be won. Such a character soon became popular with the leaders of the movement in the north; and Lord Derwentwater gave the conduct of his tenantry into his brother's hands, Captain Shaftoe commanding under Mr. Radcliffe.

The behaviour of this young commander throughout the whole of the expedition w as consistent with this character of intrepidlty; but that which surprised many persons in a man who had never before engaged in war. was the judgment, as well as courage, which he displayed. And perhaps, had his counsels been followed, the result of that ill-starred rising, in which so many brave men. perished, might have been less disastrous to the party whom he espoused. When the insurgents were at Hexham, and intelligence was brought that General Carpenter was approaching, Mr. Radelifie proposed that the Jacobite troops should go out and fight the English before they had recovered from their long march: but his opinion was overruled. His was that description of mind which gleans much from observation; he studied the countenances of those around him, and formed his own conclusion of their characters. When any false alarm happened to be given that the king's troops were near, it was his practice, undaunted himself, to watch the countenances of his officers, when they were ordered to head their corps, and march against the enemy. Some of them, he observed, turned pale, and looked half-dead with fear; the eyes of others flashed with fire and fury: on these, he was certain that a dependence might be placed in the time of action, whilst he forbore from placing the others in any post of responsibility. Nor were his own party the only subjects of his curiosity. Until this eventful period of his life, he had seen but little of the world, "and now," observes his biographer, "he fancied himself on his travels." He therefore passed over no object of interest cursorily; at every town be visited, he inquired what were the customs of the place—what monuments of celebrated men, or other objects of antiquity were to be found there; and of these he made written notes ; whilst in the counc;l and the camp, he studied the tempers and passions of men.

When, upon the forces arriving at Hawick, the Highlanders mutinied, and going to the top of a rising ground declared that they would not stir a step farther, but would march with Lord Wristoun to the west of Scotland, Mr. Radcliffe thought their views reasonable, and advocated the endeavour to strike a bold stroke in Scotland, and to aim at the entire conquest of that kingdom. His opinion, which events justified, was overruled, and the leaders of his party were resolute in continuing their fatal and rash project of proceeding to England. Mr. Radcliffe, on finding that his representations were ineffectual, begged that he might have an hundred horse given to him, that with them he might try his fortune with the Highlanders: this was also denied him, for fear of weakening the force; and he was constrained to proceed with his confederates in arms to Preston.

In the action at that place, Mr. Radcliffe behaved with a heroism that deserved a happier fate. It was a fine sight to behold him and his brother Lord Derwentwater, endeavouring to animate their men, by words and example, and maintaining their ground with unequalled bravery, obliging the king's forces to retire. During the action Mr. Radcliffe encountered the utmost danger, standing in the midst of the firing, and doing as much duty as the lowest soldiers in the ranks. But his life was spared only to encounter a more disastrous termination, after a long and wearisome exile. When, being invested on all sides by the enemy, the insurgents proposed a capitulation, the gallant young man exclaimed, "that he would rather die, with his sword in his hand, like a man of honour, than be dragged to the gallows, there to die like a dog." These exclamations fell unheeded; and he was obliged to submit with the rest; soon afterwards, this tine, high-spirited youth, was carried to Newgate, there to await his trial, in company with his companions in error and misfortune.

In Newgate, Mr. Radcliffe witnessed a scene of desperation, accompanied with the ordinary circumstances of licentiousness, and reckless misery, which, unchecked by adequate regulations, the prisons of that day afforded. Until after the execution of Lord Derwentwater and of Lord Kenmure had taken place, hopes of a reprieve sustained the unhappy prisoners in Newgate, and, "flaunting apparel, venison pasties," wine, and other luxuries, for which they paid an enormous price, were the ordinary indulgences of those who were incarcerated in that crowded receptacle.

Contributions were made from many different quarters for the prisoners; and the friends of the "rebels" were observed to be also very generous to the turnkeys. Numbers of ladies visited the prison, and a choice of the most expensive viands was daily proffered by the lavish kindness of their fair enthusiasts. Of course much scandal followed upon the steps of this dangerous and costly kindness; and escapes were facilitated, perhaps, not without connivance on the part of Government. On the fourteenth of March an attempt was made by some of these unfortunate people to get out of the press-yard, by breaking through a part of the wall, from which they were to be let down by a rope ; but they were discovered, and, in consequence, heavily ironed. Nevertheless, on the twenty-third of March almost all of the prisoners were released from their fetters, an indulgence which was a proof of the lenity of the Government, as the ordinary keepers of the prison would not have dared to have allowed it. After this, Mr. Forster and others amused themselves with the game of shuttlecock, at which, relates the author of the Secret History of the Rebels in Newgate, the "valiant Forster beat every one who engaged him: so that he triumphed with his feathers in the prison, though he could not. do it in the field." On the tenth of April that gentleman made his escape: and henceforth, a lieutenant, with thirty of the Foot Guards, was ordered to do constant duty at Newgate. Meantime, crowded as the building was, a spotted fever broke out, and seemed likely to relieve the civil authorities from no small number of the unfortunate prisoners.

On the eighth of May, Mr. Radcliffe was arraigned at the Exchequer Bar, at Westminster, for High Treason: to this he pleaded not guilty. In a few days afterwards he was brought there again, and tried upon the indictment; he had no plea to offer in his defence, and was found guilty.

He soon afterwards was carried to Westminster, accompanied by eleven other prisoners, to receive sentence of death. They were conveyed in six coaches to the Court. As the coach in which Mr. Radcliffe was seated, drove into Fleet Street, it encountered the state carriage in which George the First, who was then going to Hanover for the first time since his accession, was driving. Tins obliged Mr. Radcliffe's coach to stop; and, perceiving that he was opposite to a distiller's shop, he called for a pint of aniseed, which he and a fellow-prisoner, with a servant of Newgate, drank, and then proceeded to Westminster.

Mr. Radcliffe was several times reprieved; and it was thought he might have been pardoned; but affrighted, perhaps, by his brother's fate, and probably weary of imprisonment, he now began to project a plan of escape, to which he was emboldened by the great success of several similar attempts. Greater vigilance was, indeed, resorted to in the prison, after the flight of Brigadier Mackintosh, who had knocked down the turnkey, and ran off through the streets: and all cloaks, riding-hoods, and arms, were prohibited being brought in by the visiters who came to visit the prisoners. It is amusing to hear, that a certain form of riding-hoods acquired, at this time, the name of a Nithsdale, in allusion to the escape of the Earl of Nithsdale.

On the day appointed for Mr. Radcliffe's escape, the prisoners gave a grand entertainment in Newgate: this took place in a room called the Castle, in the higher part of the prison. Mr. Radcliffe. when the party where at the highest of their mirth, observing a little door open in the. corner of the room, passed through it followed by thirteen of the prisoners; and succeeded in finding their way, unmolested, to the debtor's side, where the turnkey, not knowing them, and supposing them to be visitors to the prisoners, allowed them to pass on. Mr. Raddcliffe was dressed in mourning, and had, according to his own subsequent account to a fellow prisoner in Newgate, a "brown tye-wig." In this way, without any disguise, but wearing in ordinary attire, did he escape, leaving within the prison walls, his friend, Basil Hamilton, nephew of the Duke of Hamilton, who, as it was deposed on his trial, was his chum, or companion, living with him in a room, the windows of which looked upon the garden of the College of Physicians. After remaining concealed for some time, Mr. Radcliffe took the first opportunity of getting a passage to France.* He lived, for many years, in Paris, in great poverty, tantalized with promises of assistance from the French Court, yet witnessing the ungenerous treatment of the Chevalier by that Court. His nephew, John Radcliife, who was killed accidentally, assisted him with remittances in 1730 for some time, and James Stuart gave him a small pension: his difficulties and privations must have been considerable; yet they never lessened his ardour in the cause for which he had sacrificed every worldly advantage.

Either to amend his tumed fortunes, or to gratify a passion long unrequited, Mr. Radcliffe was resolved upon marriage. The object of his hopes was Charlotte Maria, Countess of Newburgh, the widow of Hugh, Lord Clifl'ord of Chudleigh, and the mother of two daughters by that nobleman. This lady was about a year older than himself, being born in 1694. It is a tradition in the family of Lord Petre, the lineal descendant of James, Earl of Derwentwater, that Charles Radclifie offered his hand twelve times to the Countess of Newburgh, and was as often refused. Wearied by his importunity, Lady Newburgh at last forbade him the house. But the daring character of Mr. Radcliffe, and his strong will, suggested an expedient, and he was resolved to obtain an interview. To compass this end, he actually descended into an apartment in which the Countess was sitting, through the chimney; and taking her by surprise, obtained her consent to an union. Of the truth of this curious courtship, there is tolerably good evidence, not only in the belief of the Petre family, but from a picture representing the fact, which is at Thorndon. The. nuptials took place at Brussels, in the church of the Virgin Mary, on the twenty-fourth of June, 1724, and in 1726, James Bartholomew, who became, after the death of his mother, third Earl of Newburgh, was born at Tincennes.

Lady Newburgh had every reason, as far as prudence could be allowed to dictate to the affections, for her reluctance to a marriage with Mr. Radcliffe. He was, at this time, an outlawed man, with a sentence of death passed upon him, and no hope could ever be revived of his regaining, even after the death of his nephew, the family honours and estates. Yet, in the ardour and fearlessness of Charles Radcliffe's character there must have been much to compensate for those circumstances, and to win the fancy of the young.

There seems no reason to suppose that the union thus strangely formed was infelicitous; and indeed, from family documents, it is evident that the family so marked out by fate for sorrow, were happy in their mutual affection. Of the two daughters of Lady Newburgh's first marriage, Anna, the eldest, was married to the Count de Mahony, whose descendants, might claim the title of Newburgh, were they not debarred by being born aliens. Another was Frances, who died unmarried. This lady is mentioned in a letter written by Charles Radcliffe, recently before his death, when he was confined to the Tower, with peculiar affection, as "that other tender mother of my dear children."

In the year 1733, Mr. Radcliffe visited England, and resided several months in Pall Mall; yet the. ministry did not consider it necessary to take any notice of his return, nor, probably, would they ever have concerned themselves on that subject, had not a second insurrection brought the unfortunate man into notice. In 1735, he again returned, and endeavoured by the mediation of friends to procure a pardon, but was unsuccessful in that attempt, Irritated, perhaps, by that refusal, and still passionately attached to the cause which he had espoused; undeterred by the execution of his brother, or by the sufferings of his friends, from mixing himself in the turmoils of a second contest, Charles Radcliffe, on the breaking out of the insurrection of 1745, again ventured his life on the hazard. He had no lands to lose, no estates to forfeit; hut he had all to gain; for the death of his nephew made him the head of the unfortunate house of Radcliffe. After that event, he assumed the title of Earl of Derwentwater, and it was of course assigned to him at the court of St. Germains. and indeed always insisted upon by him; but the estates were alienated, and there appeared no hope under the present government of ever recovering these once enviable. possessions. Under these circumstances, Mr Radcliffe was naturally a likely object for the representations of the sanguine, or the intrigues of the designing to work upon; and in this temper of mind he met, in the year 1743, with John Murray of Broughton, at Paris, where that gentleman remained three Aveeks; and became intimately acquainted with Mr. Radcliffe, who is described among others, as a "wretched dependant on French pensions, with difficulty obtained, and accompanied with contempt in the payment."

While the fashionable world were diverting themselves with epigrams upon the Rebellion, a small expedition was fitted out, consisting of twenty French officers, and sixty Scotch and Irish, who embarked at Dunkirk on board the Esperance privateer: among these was Charles Radcliffe and his eldest son. At this time nothing was spoken of in London except the daring attempt In Scotland,—sometimes in derision, —sometimes in serious apprehension: "the Dowager Strafford," writes Horace Walpole (Sept. 1745), a has already written cards for my Lady Nithesdale, my Lady Tullebardine, the Duchess of Perth and Berwick, and twenty more revived peeresses, to invite them to play at whist, Monday three months: for your part, you will divert yourself with their old taffetys, and tarnished slippers, and their awkwardness the first day they go to Court in clean linen. "I shall wonderfully dislike," observes the same writer, "being a loyal sulferer in a threadbare coat, and shivering in an attic chamber at Hanover, or reduced to teach Latin and English to the young princes at Copenhagen. Will you ever write to me in my garret at Herenhausen? I will give you a faithful account of all the promising speeches that Prince George and Prince Edward make whenever they have a new sword, and intend to reconquer England."

One of the first adverse circumstances that befel the Jacobites in 1745, was the capture of the vessel in which Mr. Radcliffe hoped to reach the shores of Scotland. It was taken during the month of November by the Sheerness man-of-war; and Mr. Radcliffe and his son were carried to London and imprisoned in the Tower.

On the twenty-first of November he was conveyed, under a strong guard from the Tower, to Westminster; he was brought to the bar, by virtue of a Habeas Corpus, and the record of his former conviction and attainder was at the same time removed there by Certiorari. These being read to him, the prisoner prayed that counsel might be allowed him; and named Mr. Ford and Mr. Jodrel, who were accordingly assigned to him as counsel. A few days were granted to prepare the defence, and on the twenty-fourth of the month the prisoner was again brought up; he pleaded that he was not the person named in the record, who was described as Charles Radcliffe, but maintained that he was the Earl of Derwentwater. He also requested that the trial might be put off, that two witnesses, one from Brussels, the other from St. Germains, might be summoned. This was refused. The prisoner then challenged one of the jury, but that challenge was overruled. During these proceedings the lofty, arrogant manner, and the vehement language of Mr. Radcliffe drew from his counsel the remark that he was disordered in his senses. The judge, Mr. Justice Foster, who tried the case, bore his contemptuous conduct with great forbearance. When brought into Court, to be arraigned, he would neither hold up his hand, nor plead, insisting that he was a subject of France, and appealing to the testimony of the Neapolitan Minister, who happened to be in Court. But not one of these objections was allowed, and the trial proceeded.

No fresh indictment was framed, and the point at issue related merely to the identity of the prisoner. The award in Mr. Radcliffe's case was agreeable to the precedent in the case of Sir Walter Raleigh, and execution was awarded on his former offence, judgment not being again pronounced, having been given on the former arraignment. This mode of proceeding might be law, but no one after the lapse of thirty years, and the frequent communications of the prisoner with the English Government, can regard such a proceeding as justice: and, as in the case of Sir Walter Raleigh, it brought odium upon the memory of James the First, so it excited in the reign of George the Second almost universal commiseration for the sufferer, and disgust at the course adopted.

The evidence in this case was far from being such as would be accepted in the present day.

Two Northumberland men were sworn to the fact that the prisoner at the bar was the younger brother of the Earl of Derwentwater, and that they had seen him march out from Hexham, in Northumberland, at the head of live hundred of Lord Derwentwater's tenantry; they recognized him, as they declared, by a scar on his face; they had been to see him in the Tower, to refresh their memories, and could swear to him, as Charles Radcliffe, brother of the Earl of Derwentwater. After this deposition, Roger Downs, a person who had acted in the capacity of barber to the State prisoners, in 1715, was called.

To him Mr. Radcliffe thus addressed himself': "I hope, sir, you have some conscience; you are now sworn, and take heed what you say."

To this Downs replied; "I shall speak nothing but the truth. I well remember that I was appointed close shaver at Newgate, in the year 1715 and 1716, when the rebels were confined there, and shaved all those who were close confined."

The Counsel then asked, "Pray, sir, did you shave Charles Radcliffe, Esquire, the late Earl of Derwentwater's brother, who was confined in Newgate for being concerned in the rebellion in the year 1715, or who else did you shave of the said rebels at that time? And pray, sir, who was keeper, or who were turnkeys of the said gaol of Newgate."

The answer of Downs was couched in these words, "William Pitt, Esq. was head keeper, and Mr. Rouse, and Mr. Revel, were head turnkeys, who appointed my master to be barber, to shave the prisoners; and I attended in my master's stead, and used to go daily to wait on the rebel prisoners, and I particularly remember that I shaved Basil Hamilton, a reputed nephew of the late Duke of Hamilton, and Charles Radcliffe, Esq., brother to the late Earl of Derwentwater, who I perfectly remember were chums, or companions, in one room, in the press-yard, in Newgate, that looked into the garden of the College of Physicians, and for which service I was always very well paid."

The Counsel then desired him to look at the prisoner and inform the Court if that gentleman were the very same Charles Radcliffe that he shaved in Newgate, at the aforesaid time, and who after escaped out of Newgate.

To this Dowrns returned the following reply: "I cannot on my oath say he is."

Then the head keeper of Newgate was called, and he produced the books belonging to the gaol, wherein were the names of Charles Radcliffe, and other rebels, who had been condemned, and were respited several times. This gentleman said, that the books produced then in Court were in the same condition that he found them : but as to the person of the prisoner he knew nothing, his confinement having taken place several years before he belonged to the gaol.

Abraham Mosely, a servant of the head keeper, was then called, but he was not sworn; another gentleman was afterwards brought to the bar; as the book was handed to him to be sworn, Mr. Radcliffe, looking earnestly at him, inquired what book it was that he was going to be sworn upon: the officer answered it was the New Testament. Mr. Radcliffe replied, "He is no Christian, and believes neither his God nor devil." The evidence of this witness, whose name is suppressed, was, however, received, and it seems not to have been inconsistent with his alleged character. It was the disclosure of a confidential conversation on the part of Mr. Radcliffe, who had imparted to the witness in what manner he had escaped from Newgate in 1715. The witness was asked whether the prisoner was drunk when he made this confession: he answered that he was. Then being asked if he were drunk himself, lie replied that he never got drunk; upon which Mr. Radcliffe said hastily, that "some people would get drunk if at free cost."

The prisoner examining no witnesses, the Chief Justice summed up the case, and in ten or fifteen minutes the jury, who had retired, brought in a verdict of guilty. A Rule was then made for the proper writ for the execution of the prisoner, on the eighth of December, and he was remanded to the Tower. When informed by the Court of the time fixed for his doom, Mr. Radcliffe said he wished they had given him a longer time, that so he might have been able to acquaint some people in France, and that his brother, the Earl of Morton, and he might "have set out on their journey together."

The unhappy Mr. Radcliffe returned to his prison. Much has been written of the arrogance and intemperance of his conduct and language, but much must be allowed for the subservience of the contemporary writers, as well as for the irritated feelings of the man. Considering himself as a nobleman, and meeting with disrespect, and, perhaps, harsh usage, a quick temper was aggravated almost to madness. To his inferiors the passion and pride of his character were so offensive that the warders of the Tower could be scarcely induced to give him their attendance; and this inconvenience was the more severely felt as a man named McDermont, who had been his equerry for twenty-three years, was sent to Newgate on the very day when Mr. Radcliffe entered the Tower.

At the hour of his last earthly trial, this man, whose eventful and singular life was brought to a close at the age of fifty-three, redeemed the errors of the last few weeks of anguish, and of bitter disappointment. He submitted calmly to his doom. The sullen sorrow, and the intolerable haughtiness of his manner, were exchanged for a composure, solemn and affecting, and for a courtesy which well became the brother of Lord Derwentwater.

Between eight and nine on the morning of the eighth of December, the Sheriff, driving in a mourning coach to the east gate of the Tower, demanded the prisoner. The gate was opened, and in about ten minutes a landau, in which Mr. Radcliffe was seated, drove out at the east gate, towards Little Tower Hill. He was accompanied by the Under-Sheriffs, and by the officers of the Tower:

The landau was surrounded by a party of Foot Guards, with their bayonets fixed. The street was lined with horse soldiers, from the iron gate of the Tower, to the scaffold, which was encompassed also with horse soldiers. At the foot of the stairs of the scaffold a booth was erected, for the, reception of the prisoner.

Like Lord Balmerino, Sir. Radcliffe wore his regimentals, which were those of the French army; and consisted of a scarlet coat, with gold buttons, the sleeves faced with black velvet; a scarlet waistcoat, trimmed with gold lace; and white silk stockings. His hat was encircled with a white feather.

As the prisoner alighted from the landau, he saw some of his friends standing near the booth; he paid his compliments to them with the grace of a well-bred man; and, smiling, asked of the sheriffs, who had preceded him in the mourning-coach, "if he was to enter the booth?" He was answered in the affirmative. "It is well," he replied; and he went in, and there passed about ten minutes in his devotions.

The scaffold had been provided early that morning with a block, covered with black, a cushion, and two sacks of sawdust; and the coffin of the unhappy prisoner, also covered with black, was placed on the stage.

Mr. Radcliffe ascended the scaffold with great calmness, and asked for the executioner. "I am but a poor man," said the unfortunate man, "but there are ten guineas for you: If I had more, I would give it you; do your execution so as to put me to the least possible misery." He then kneeled down, and folding his hands, uttered a short prayer. He arose, and was then assisted by two of the warders in the last preparations for his doom, taking off his coat and waistcoat, and substituting for his wig a white cap. Having taken a respectful leave of the sheriffs, he was about to kneel down, when it was discovered that it would be necessary to tuck back the collar of his shirt. That office was performed by the executioner. Then, after saying a short prayer and crossing himself several times, he laid his head upon the block. In less than half a minute afterwards, he gave the signal, by spreading out his hands: his head was severed at one blow, and the body fell upon the scaffold. The executioner, searching his pockets, found in them a silver crucitix, his beads, and half-a-guinea. No friend attended the man who had been so long oiled from his own country, on the scaffold; but four undertakers' men stood, with a piece of red cloth, to receive the head of the ill-fated Charles Radcliffe. His body, being wrapt in a blanket, was put into the coffin, with his head, and conveyed to the Nag's Head, in Gray's Inn Lane, and thence, in the dead of the night, to Mr. Walmsbey's, North Street, Red Lion Square, whence it was removed to be interred in the church-yard of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, where a neglected stone alone marks his burial-place. The following is the inscription on the coffin; —"Carolus Radcliffe, comes de Derwentwater, decol-latus, die 8vo. Decembris, 1748, satatis 53." To this were added the words, so appropriate to the close of an adventurous life, "Requiescat kj pace."

Desolate as these last hours appear to have been, and uncheered by the presence of a friend, some tender care was directed to the remains of the unfortunate sufferer. His head was afterwards sewn on to the body by a dependant of Lord Petre's family, a woman of the name of Thretfall, whose grandson, a carpenter, who lived for many years at Ingatestoue Hall, Essex, a seat of Lord Petre's, used to relate to the happier children of a later generation (the descendants of James, Earl of Derwentwater), the circumstances, of which he had heard in his childhood. The Countess of Newburgh was afterwards buried by the side of her husband; and the sexton of St. Giles's Church, some years since, on the lid of the coffin giving way, perceived some gold lace in a state of preservation; so that it, seems probable that the blanket in which the bleeding remains were removed, was superseded by the costly and military attire worn by the prisoner.

Previous to his death Mr. Radcliffe wrote to his family. His letters, and all the memorials of his brother, and of himself, have been sedulously preserved by the family to whom they have descended. Lady Anna Maria Radcliffe, the only daughter of James, Earl of Derwentwater, married in 1732, James, eighth Baron Petre, of Writtie, county Essex. A connexion had already subsisted between the families, a sister of Lord Derwentwater having married a Petre of the collateral branch, seated at Belhouse, in Essex, which branch is now extinct.

Lady Anna Radcliffe appears to have entertained the deepest reverence for her father's memory, and to have held all that belonged to him, or that related to his fate, sacred. She caused a large mahogany chest to he made to receive the clothes which he wore on the scaffold, and also the covering of the block; like wise, a cast of his face taken after death: and having deposited these relics in the chest, she added a written paper with her seal and signature, Anne Petre, authenticating the said apparel and documents, and solemnly forbidding any of her descendants or other persons to make use of the chest for any other purpose, but "to contain her father's clothes, unless some other receptacle more costly be by them provided." This box is deposited in a room at Thorndon Hall, with letters and papers relating both to James, Lord Derwentwater, and to his brother Charles.

The eldest son of Mr. Radcliffe, called the Lord Kinnaird, in right of the Barony of Kinnaird, remained a prisoner in the Tower at the time of his father's execution; and the uncertainty of that young man's fate must greatly have added to the distress of his father. In the spring of 1746, he was suffered to return to France, on a cartel, an exchange of prisoners including him as a native of France. The circumstance to which the youth owed his long imprisonment, was a report which gained ground that he was the second son of James Stuart, Henry Benedict, whom the English political world believed, at that time, to be on the eve of going to Ireland, and under this impression, the mob followed the young man as he was conveyed from the vessel to the Tower with insults. Before returning to France, he was received by the Duke of Richmond, his mother's relative, with great consideration, and entertained at what Horace Walpole terms "a great dinner." Such was what the same author calls the Stuartisra in some of the highest circles.

Lord Kinnaird afterwards put in a claim for the reversion of the Derwentwater estate, but without success, for it had already been sold by the Commissioners. A scene of iniquitous fraud, in the sale of the forfeited estate belonging to Lord Derwentwater was afterwards detected by Lord Gage, for which Dennis Bond, Esquire, and Sergeant Birch, Commissioners of the sale, were expelled the House. In 1749, an Act was passed vesting the several estates of James, Earl of Derwentwater in trustees, for the benefit of Greenwich Hospital; but, out of the funds thus arising, .10,000/. was appropriated to the widowed Countess of Newburgh, and the interest of the remaining 24,000/., was to be paid to James Bartholomew, Lord Kinnaird, during his life, and after his death the principal to revert to his eldest son. From the Chevalier, the widowed Countess of Newburgh received, as the following letter will shew, much kindness and sympathy; the conduct of James to his fallen and powerless adherents, appears to have been almost invariably marked by compassion and generosity. The Countess of Newburgh survived her husband ten years, during which time the affection of the Chevalier, and of his sons, for her husband's memory was evinced by kindness to his widow, as the following letter testifies:—

Lady Derwentwater to the Chevalier de St. George.

Sir,

I received the honour of our Majesty's most gracious letter, and beg leave to return my grateful thanks. Your Majesty is very good in commending my dear Lord who did but his duty: He gave his life most willingly for your Majesty's service, and I am persuaded that your Majesty never had a subject more attacht to his duty than he was. The Prince of Wales and the Duke of York have been so good to show a great concern for my loss, and recommended most strongly to the King of France my famyly. His Majesty has been most extremely good and gracious to them. My son, that was Captain in Dillon's, has now the Brevet of Colonel reform'd with appointments of 1800 livres a-year; his sisters have 150 1ivres a-year each of them, with his royal promis of his protection of the famyly for ever. The Marquise de Mezire, and her daughter the Princess de Monteban have been most extremely friendly to my f»myly in this affair.

1 am, your Majesty's most dutyfull subject,

Charlotte Derwentwater.

St Germains, February, ye 10th, 1747.

Of the Countess's two younger sons, one, James Clement Radcliffe, an officer in the French service, survived till 1788, the other, who bore his father's name, Charles, died in 1749. Three of her daughters died unmarried, but Lady Mary, the fourth, married Francis Eyre, Esq., of Walworth Castle, Northamptonshire. On the failure of the issue of three sons, in 1814 the title of Newburgh passed into the family of Eyre through the marriage of the above Mary, and devolved upon Francis Eyre, the grandson of Charlotte Countess of Newburgh, and of Charles Radcliffe, father of the present Earl of Newburgh.

By the marriage of Lady Anne Radclitfe, the only daughter of James, Earl of Derwentwater, in 1732, to Robert James, eighth Baron Petre, the present Lord Petre is the rightful representative of that attainted nobleman, being the third in direct descent from Lady Anno Radclilfe, whose only brother, John, was killed, accidentally abroad, having never been married.

In concluding this account of the unfortunate Charles Radcliffe, a reflection naturally arises in the mind, how different would have been the spirit of administration in the present day to that which the government of that period displayed:—how great would have been the horror of shedding the blood of honourable and valiant men; how universal the sentiment of mournful commiseration; and how strong the conviction, that men, so true to an ill fated cause, would have been faithful to any engagements which required them to abandon their efforts in that cause; had clemency, but too imperfectly understood in those turbulent and merciless times, excited their gratitude, and for ever ensured their fidelity.


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