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Significant Scots
Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyle


Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyle CAMPBELL, ARCHIBALD, Marquis of Argyle, an eminent political character of the seventeenth century, born in 1598, was the son of Archibald, seventh earl of Argyle. He was carefully educated in a manner suitable to the important place in society, which his birth destined him to occupy. Having been well grounded in the various branches of classical knowledge, he added to these, an attentive perusal of the holy scriptures, in consequence of which his mind became at an early period deeply imbued with a sense of religion, which, amidst all the vicissitudes of an active and eventful life, became stronger and stronger till his dying day. 

There had long been an hereditary feud subsisting between his family and the clan of the Macdonalds, against whom he accompanied his father on an expedition in the year 1616, being then only in the eighteenth year of his age; and two years afterwards, his father having left the kingdom, the care of the Highlands, and especially of the protestant interest there, devolved almost entirely upon him. In 1626, he was sworn of his majesty’s most honourable privy council, and in 1628, surrendered into the hands of the king, so far as lay in his power, the office of justice general in Scotland, which had been hereditary in his family, but reserving to himself and his heirs the office of justiciary of Argyle, and the Western Isles, which was confirmed to him by act of parliament. In 1633, the earl of Argyle having declared himself a Roman Catholic, was commanded to make over his estate to his son by the king, reserving to himself only as much as might support him in a manner suitable to his quality during the remainder of his life. 

Lord Lorne, thus prematurely possessed of political and territorial influence, was, in 1634, appointed one of the extraordinary lords of Session; and in the month of April, 1638, after the national covenant had been framed and sworn by nearly all the ministers and people of Scotland, he was summoned up to London, along with Traquair the treasurer, and Roxburgh, lord privy seal, to give advice with regard to what line of conduct his majesty should adopt under the existing circumstances. They were all equally aware that the covenant was hateful to the king; but Argyle alone spoke freely and honestly, recommending the entire abolition of those innovations which his majesty had recklessly made on the forms of the Scottish church, and. which had been solely instrumental in throwing Scotland into its present hostile attitude. Traquair advised a temporizing policy till his majesty’s affairs should be in a better condition; but the bishops of Galloway, Ross, and Brechin insisted upon the necessity of strong measures, and suggested a plan for raising an army in the north, that should be amply sufficient for asserting the dignity if the crown, and repressing the insolence of the covenanters. This alone was the advice that was agreeable to his majesty, and he followed it out with a blindness alike fatal to himself and the kingdom. 

The earl of Argyle, being at this time at court, a bigot to the Romish faith, and friendly to the designs of the king, advised his majesty to detain the lord Lorne a prisoner at London, assuring him that, if he was permitted to return to Scotland, he would certainly do him a mischief. But the king, supposing this advice to be the fruit of the old man’s irritation at the loss of his estate, and probably afraid, as seeing no feasib1e pretext for taking such a violent step, allowed him to depart in peace. He returned to Edinburgh on the twentieth of May, and was one of the last of the Scottish nobility that signed the national covenant, which he did not do till he was commanded to do it by the king. His father dying this same year, he succeeded to all his honours, and the remainder of his property. During the time he was in London, Argyle was certainly informed of the plan that had been already concerted for an invasion in Scotland by the Irish, under the marquis of Antrim, who for the part he performed in that tragical drama, was to be rewarded with the whole district of Kintyre, which formed a principal part of the family patrimony of Argyle. This partitioning of his property without having been either asked or given, and for a purpose so nefarious, must have no small influence in alienating from the court a man who had imbibed high principles of honour, had a strong feeling of family dignity, and was an ardent lover of his country. He did not, however, take any decisive step till the assembly of the church, that met at Glasgow, November the twenty first 1638, under the auspices of the marquis of Hamilton, as lord high commissioner. When the marquis, by protesting against every movement that was made by the court, and finally by attempting to dissolve it the moment it came to enter upon the business for which it had been so earnestly solicited, discovered that he was only playing the game of the king; Argyle, as well as several other of the young nobility, could no longer refrain from taking an active part in the work of Reformation. On the withdrawal of the commissioner, all the privy council followed him, except Argyle, whose presence gave no small encouragement to the assembly to continue its deliberations, besides that it impressed the spectators with an idea that the government could not be greatly averse to the continuation of the assembly, since one of its most able and influential members encouraged it with his presence. At the close of the assembly, Mr. Henderson the moderator, sensible of the advantages they had derived from his presence, complimented him in a handsome speech, in which he regretted that his lordship had not joined with them sooner, but hoped that God had reserved him for the best times, and that he would yet highly honour him in making him instrumental in promoting the best interests of his church and people. To this his lordship made a suitable reply, declaring that it was not from the want of affection to the cause of God and his country that he had not sooner come forward to their assistance, but from a fond hope that, by remaining with the court, he might have been able to bring about a redress of their grievances, to the comfort and satisfaction of both parties. Finding, however, that if was impossible to follow this course any longer, without being unfaithful to his God and his country, he had at last adopted the line of conduct they witnessed, and which he was happy to find had obtained their approbation. This assembly, so remarkable for the bold character of its acts, all of which were liable to the charge of treason, sat twenty-six days, and in that time accomplished all that had been expected from it. The six previous assemblies, all that had been held since the accession of James to the English crown, were unanimously declared unlawful, and of course all their acts illegal. In that held at Linlithgow 1606, all the acts that were passed were sent down from the court ready framed, and one appointing bishops constant moderators, was clandestinely inserted among them without ever having been brought to a vote, besides that eight of the most able ministers delegated to attend it, were forcibly prevented in an illegal manner by the constituted authorities from attending. In that held at Glasgow in 1608, nobles and barons attended and voted by the simple mandate of the king, besides several members from presbyteries, and thirteen bishops who had no commission. Still worse was that at Aberdeen 1616, where the most shameful bribery was openly practised, and no less than sixteen of his creatures were substituted by the primate of St Andrews for sixteen lawfully chosen commissioners. That which followed at St Andrews was so notoriously illegal, as never to have found a defender; and the most noxious of all, that at Perth in 1619, was informal and disorderly in almost all possible respects. The chair was assumed by the archbishop of St Andrews without any election; members, however regularly chosen and attested, that were suspected not to be favourable to court measures, were struck out and their places filled up by such as the managers could calculate upon being perfectly pliable. The manner of putting the votes and the use that was made of the king’s name to influence the voters in this most shamefully packed assembly, were of themselves good and valid reasons for annulling its decisions. These six corrupt convocations being condemned as illegal, their acts became illegal of course, and episcopacy totally subverted. Two archbishops and six bishops were excommunicated, four bishops were deposed, and two who made humble submission to the assembly, were simply suspended, and thus the whole Scottish bench was at once silenced. The assembly rose in great triumph on the twentieth of December. "We have now," said the moderator, Henderson, "cast down the walls of Jericho; let him that rebuildeth them beware of the curse of Hiel the Bethelite." While the assembly was thus doing its work, the time-serving marquis of Hamilton was according to the instructions of his master, practising all the shifts that he could devise for affording the king the better grounds of quarrel, and for protracting the moment of hostilities, so as to allow Charles time to collect his forces. Preparations for an invasion of Scotland had for some time been in progress, and in May, 1639, he approached the border with about sixteen thousand men, while a large host of Irish papists was expected to land in his behalf upon the west coast, and Hamilton entered the Frith of Forth with a fleet containing a small army.

During this first campaign, while general Lesly with the main body of the Scottish army marched for the border with the view of carrying the war into England, Montrose, at this time the most violent of all the covenanters, was sent to the north to watch over Huntly and the Aberdonians, and Argyle proceeded to his own country to watch the Macdonalds, and the earl of Antrim, who threatened to lay it waste. For this purpose he raised not less than nine hundred of his vassals, part of whom he stationed in Kintyre, to watch the movements of the Irish, and part in Lorn to guard against the Macdonalds, while with a third part he passed over into Arran, which he secured by seizing upon the castle of Brodick, one of the strengths belonging to the marquis of Hamilton; and this rendered the attempt on the part of the Irish at the time nearly impossible. On the pacification that took place at Birks, near Berwick, Argyle was sent for to court; but the earl of Loudon having been sent up as commissioner from the Scottish estates, and by his majesty’s order sent to the Tower, where he was said to have narrowly escaped a violent death, the earl of Argyle durst not, at this time, trust himself in the king’s hands. On the resumption of hostilities in 1640, when Charles was found to have signed the treaty of Birks only to gain time till he could return to the charge with better prospects of success, the care of the west coast, and the reduction of the northern clans, was again intrusted to Argyle. Committing, on this occasion, the care of Kintyre and the Islands to their own inhabitants, he traversed, with a force of about five thousand men attended by a small train of artillery, the districts of Badenoch, Athol, and Marr, levying the taxes imposed by the estates, and enforcing subjection to their authority. The earl of Athol having made a show of resistance at the Ford of Lyon, was sent prisoner to Stirling; and his factor, Stuart, younger of Grantully, with twelve of the leading men in his neighbourhood, he commanded to enter in ward at Edinburgh till they found security for their good behaviour, and he exacted ten thousand pounds Scots in the district, for the support of his army. Passing thence into Angus, he demolished the castles of Airly and Forthar, residences of the earl of Airly, and returned to Argyleshire, the greater part of his troops being sent to the main body in England.

In this campaign the king felt himself just as little able to contend with his people, as in that of the previous year; and by making concessions similar to those he had formerly made, and, as the event showed, with the same insincerity he obtained another pacification at Rippon, in the month of October, 1640. Montrose, who had been disgusted with the covenanters, and gained over by the king, now began to form a party of loyalists in Scotland, preferring to be the head of an association of that nature, however dangerous the place, to a second or third situation in the insurgent councils. His designs were accidentally discovered, while he was along with the army, and he was put under arrest. To ruin Argyle, who was the object of his aversion, Montrose now reported, that at the Ford of Lyon he had said that the covenanters had consulted both lawyers and divines anent deposing the king, and had gotten resolution, that it might be done in three cases—desertion, invasion, and vendition, and that they had resolved, at the last sitting of parliament; to accomplish that object next session. For this malicious falsehood Montrose referred to a Mr John Stuart, commissary of Dunkeld, who upon being questioned retracted the accusation which he owned he had uttered out of pure malice, to be revenged upon Argyle. Stuart was, of course, prosecuted before the justiciary for leasing-making, and, though he professed the deepest repentance for his crime, was executed. The king, though he had made an agreement with his Scottish subjects, was getting every day upon worse terms with the English; and in the summer of 1641, came to Scotland with the view of engaging the affections of that kingdom to enable him to oppose the parliament with the more effect. On this occasion his majesty displayed great condescension; he appointed Henderson to be one of his chaplains, attended divine service without either service-book or ceremonies, and, was liberal of his favour to all the leading covenanters. Argyle was on this occasion particularly attended to, together with the marquis of Hamilton, and his brother Lanark, both of whom had become reconciled to the covenanters, and admitted to their full share of power. Montrose, in the meantime, was under confinement, but was indefatigable in his attempts to ruin those whom he supposed to stand between him and the object of his ambition, the supreme direction of public affairs. For the accomplishment of this darling purpose, he proposed nothing less than the assassination of the earls of Argyle and Lanark, with the marquis of Hamilton. Finding that the king regarded his proposals with horror, he conceived the gentler design of arresting these nobles during the night, after being called upon pretence of speaking with him in his bed-chamber, when they might be delivered to a body of soldiers prepared under the earl of Crawford, who was to carry them on board a vessel in Leith Roads, or to assassinate them if they made any resistance; but, at all events, detain them, till his majesty had gained a sufficient ascendancy in the country to try, condemn, and execute them under colour of law. Colonel Cochrane was to have marched with his regiment from Musselburgh to overawe the city of Edinburgh: a vigorous attempt was at the same time to have been made by Montrose to obtain possession of the castle, which, it was supposed, would have been the full consummation of their purpose. In aid of this plot, an attempt was made to obtain a declaration for the king from the English army, and the catholics of ireland were to have made a rising, which they actually attempted on the same day, all evidently undertaken in concert for the promotion of the royal cause—but all of which had the contrary effect. Some one, invited to take a part in the plot against Argyle and the Hamiltons, communicated it to colonel Hurry, who communicated it to general Leslie, and he lost not a moment in warning the persons more immediately concerned, who took precautions for their security the ensuing night, and, next morning, after writing an apology to the king for their conduct, fled to Kiniel House, in West Lothian, where the mother of the two Hamiltons at that time resided. The city of Edinburgh was thrown into a state of the utmost alarm, in consequence of all the leading covenanters judging it necessary to have guards placed upon their houses for the protection of their persons. In the afternoon, the king, going up the main street, was followed by upwards of five hundred armed men, who entered the outer hall of the Parliament house along with him, which necessarily increased the confusion. The house, alarmed by this military array, refused to proceed to business till the command of all the troops in the city and neighbourhood was intrusted to general Leslie, and every stranger, whose character and business was not particularly known, ordered to leave the city. His majesty seemed to be highly incensed against the three noblemen, and demanded that they should not be allowed to return to the house till the matter had been thoroughly investigated. A private committee was suggested, to which the investigation might more properly be submitted than to the whole house, in which suggestion his majesty acquiesced. The three noblemen returned to their post in a few days, were to all appearance received into their former state of favour, and the whole matter seemed in Scotland at once to have dropped into oblivion. Intelligence of the whole affair was, however, sent up to the English Parliament by their agents, who, under the name of commissioners, attended as spies upon the king, and it had a lasting, and a most pernicious effect upon his affairs. This, and the news of the Irish insurrection, which speedily followed, caused his majesty to hasten his departure, after he had feasted the whole body of the nobility in the great hall of the palace of Holyrood, on the seventeenth of November, 1641, having two days before created Argyle a marquis. On his departure the king declared, that he went away a contented prince from a contented people. He soon found, however, that nothing under a moral assurance of the protection of their favourite system of worship, and church government—an assurance which he had it not in power, from former circumstances, to give—could thoroughly secure the attachment of the Scots, who, to use a modern phrase, were more disposed to fraternize with the popular party in England, than with him.Finding on his return that the Parliament was getting more and more intractable, he sent down to the Scottish privy council a representation of the insults and injuries he had received from that parliament, and the many encroachments they had made upon his prerogative, with a requisition that the Scottish council would, by commissioners, send up to Westminster a declaration of the deep sense they entertained of the danger and injustice of their present course. A privy council was accordingly summoned, to which the friends of the court were more particularly invited, and to this meeting all eyes were directed. A number of the friends of the court, Kinnoul, Roxburgh, and others, now known by the name of Banders, having assembled in the capital with numerous retainers, strong suspicions were entertained that a design upon the life of Argyle was in contemplation. The gentlemen of Fife, and the Lothians, with their followers, hastened to the scene of action, where the high royalists, who had expected to carry matters in the council against the English Parliament, met with so much opposition, that they abandoned their purpose, and the king signified his pleasure that they should not interfere in the business. When hostilities had actually commenced between the king and the parliament, Argyle was so far prevailed upon by the marquis of Hamilton, to trust the asseverations which accompanied his majesty’s expressed wishes for peace, as to be willing to second his proposed attempt at negotiation with the Parliament, and he signed, along with Loudon, Warriston, and Henderson, the invitation, framed by the court party, to the queen to return from Holland, to assist in mediating a peace between his majesty and the two houses of Parliament. The battle of Edgehill, however, so inspirited the king, that he rejected the offer on the pretence that he durst not hazard her person. In 1642, when, in compliance with the request of the Parliament of England, troops were raised by the Scottish estates, to aid the protestants of ireland, Argyle was nominated to a colonelcy in one of the regiments, and in the month of January 1644, he accompanied general Leslie, with the Scottish army, into England as chief of the committee of Parliament, but in a short time returned with tidings of the defeat of the marquis of Newcastle at Newburn. The ultra royalists, highly offended at the assistance afforded by the estates of Scotland, to the Parliament of England, had already planned and begun to execute different movements in the north, which they intended should either overthrow the Estates, or reduce them to the necessity of recalling their army from England for their own defence. The marquis of Huntley having received a commission from Charles, had already commenced hostilities, by making prisoners of the provost and magistrates of Aberdeen, and at the same time plundering the town of all the arms and ammunition it contained, he also published a declaration of hostilities against time covenanters. Earl Marischal, apprized of this, summoned the committees of Angus and Mearns, and sent a message to Huntly to dismiss his followers. Huntly, trusting to the assurances he had had from Montrose, Crawford, and Nithsdale of assistance from the south, and from ireland, sent an insulting reply to the committee, requiring them to dismiss, and not interrupt the peace of the country. In the month of April, Argyle was despatched against him, with what troops he could raise for the occasion, and came unexpectedly upon him after his followers had plundered and set on fire the town of Montrose, whence the retreated to Aberdeen. Thither they were followed by Argyle, who, learning that the laird of Haddow, with a number of his friends had fortified themselves in the house of Killie, marched thither, and invested it with his army. Unwilling, however, to lose time by a regular siege, he sent a trumpeter offering pardon to every man in the garrison who should surrender, the land of Haddow excepted. Seeing no means of escape, the garrison accepted the terms. Haddow was sent to Edinburgh, brought to trial on a charge of treason, found guilty, and executed. Huntly, afraid of being sent to his old quarters in Edinburgh castle, repaired to the Bog of Gight, accompanied only by two or three individuals of his own clan, whence he brouight away some trunks filled with silver, gold, and apparel, which he intrusted to one of his followers, who, finding a vessel ready to sail for Caithness, shipped the trunks, and set off with them, leaving the marquis to shift for himself. The marquis, who had yet one thousand dollars, committed them to the care of another of his dependants, and taking a small boat, set out in pursuit of the trunks. On landing in Sutherland he could command no better accommodation than a wretched ale-house. Next day he proceeded to Caithness, where he found lodgings with his cousin-german, Francis Sinclair, and most unexpectedly fell in with the runaway and his boxes, with which by sea he proceeded to Strathnaver, where he remained in close retirement for upwards of twelve months. In the meantime, about twelve hundred of the promised Irish auxiliaries, under Alaster Macdonald, landed on the island of Mull, where they captured some of the small fortresses, and, sailing for the mainland, they disembarked in Knoydart, where they attempted to raise some of the clans. Argyle, to whom this Alaster Macdonald was a mortal enemy, having sent round some ships of war from Leith, which seized the vessels that had transported them over, they were unable to leave the country, and he himself, with a formidable force, hanging upon their rear, they were driven into the interior, and traversed the wilds of Lochaber and Badenoch, expecting to meet a royal army under Montrose, though in what place they had no knowledge. Macdonald, in order to strengthen them in numbers, had sent through the fiery cross in various directions, though with only indifferent success, till Montrose at last met them, having found his way through the country in disguise all the way from Oxford, with only one or two attendants. Influenced by Montrose, the men of Athol, who were generally anti-covenanters, joined the royal standard in great numbers, and he soon found himself at the head of a formidable army. His situation was not, however, promising. Argyle was in his rear, being in pursuit of the Irish, who were perfect banditti, and had committed terrible ravages upon his estates, and there were before him six or seven thousand men under lord Elcho, stationed at Perth. Elcho’s troops, however, were only raw militia, officered by men who had never seen an engagement, and the leaders among them were not unjustly suspected of being disaffected to the cause. As the most prudent measure, he did not wait to be attacked, but went to meet Montrose, who was marching through Strathearn, having commenced his career by plundering the lands, and burning the houses of the clan Menzies. Elcho took up a position upon the plain of Tippermuir, where he was attacked by Montrose, and totally routed in the space of a few minutes. Perth fell at once into the hands of the victor, and was plundered of money, and whatever was valuable, and could be carried away. The stoutest young men he also impressed into the ranks, and seized upon all the horses fit for service. Thus strengthened, he poured down upon Angus, where he received numerous reinforcements. Dundee he attempted, but finding there were troops in it sufficient to hold it out for some days, and dreading the approach of Argyle, who was still following him, he pushed north to Aberdeen. Here his covenanting rage had been bitterly felt, and at his approach the committee sent off the public money and all their most valuable effects to Dunnottar castle. They at the same time threw up some rude fortifications, and had two thousand men prepared to give him a warm reception. Crossing the Dee by a ford, he at once eluded their fortifications and deranged their order of battle; and issuing orders for an immediate attack, they were defeated, and a scene of butchery followed which has few parallels in the annals of civilized warfare. In the fields, the streets, or the houses, armed or unarmed, no man found mercy: the ragged they killed and stripped; the well-dressed, for fear of spoiling their clothes, they stripped and killed.

After four days employed in this manner, the approach of Argyle, whom they were not sufficiently numerous to combat, drove them to the north, where they intended to take refuge beyond the Spey. The boats, however, were all removed to the other side, and the whole force of Moray was assembled to dispute the passage. In this dilemma, nothing remained for Montrose but to take refuge among the hills, and his rapid movements enabled him to gain the wilds of Badenoch with the loss only of his artillery and heavy baggage, where he bade defiance to the approach of any thing like a regular army. After resting a few days, he again descended into Athol to recruit, having sent Macdonald into the Highlands on the same errand. From Athol he entered Angus, where he wasted the estates of lord Couper, and plundered the house of Dun, in which the inhabitants of Montrose had deposited their valuables, and which also afforded a supply of arms and artillery. Argyle, all this while, followed his footsteps with a superior army, but could never come up with him. He, however, proclaimed him a traitor, and offered a reward of twenty thousand pounds for his head. Having strengthened his army by forced levies in Athol, Montrose again crossed the Grampians, and spreading devastation along his line of march, attempted once more to raise the Gordons. In this he was still unsuccessful, and at the castle of Fyvie, which he had taken, was at last surprised by Argyle and the earl of Lothian, who, with an army of three thousand horse and foot, were within two miles of his camp, when he believed them to be on the other side of the Grampians. Here, had there been any thing like management on the part of the army of the Estates, his career had certainly closed, but in military affairs Argyle was neither skilful nor brave. After sustaining two assaults from very superior numbers, Montrose drew off his little army with scarcely any loss, and by the way of Strathtbogie plunged again into the wilds of Badenoch, where he expected Macdonald and the Irish with what recruits they had been able to raise. Argyle, whose army was now greatly weakened by desertion, returned to Edinburgh and threw up his commission in disgust. The Estates, however, received him in the most friendly manner, and passed an act approving of his conduct.

By the parliament which met this year, on the 4th of June, Argyle was named, along with the chancellor Loudoun, lords Balmerino, Warriston, and others, as commissioners, to act in concert with the English parliament in their negotiations with the king; but from the manner in which he was occupied, he must have been able to overtake a very small part of the duties included in the commission. Montrose no sooner found that Argyle had retired and left the field clear, than, to keep up the spirit of his followers, and to satiate his revenge, he marched them into Glenorchy, belonging to a near relation of Argyle, and in the depth of winter rendered the whole country one wide field of blood: nor was this destruction confined to Glenorchy; it was extended through Argyle and Lorn to the very confines of Lochaber, not a house he was able to surprise being left unburned, nor a man unslaughtered. Spalding adds, "he left not a four-footed beast in the haill country; such as would not drive he houghed and slew, that they should never make stead." Having rendered the country a wilderness, he bent his way for Inverness, when he was informed that Argyle had collected an army of three thousand men, and had advanced as far as Inverlochy, on his march to the very place upon which he himself was advancing. Montrose was no sooner informed of the circumstance, than, striking across the almost inaccessible wilds of Lochaber, he came, by a march of about six and thirty hours, upon the camp of Argyle at Inverlochy, and was within half a mile of it before they knew that there was an enemy within several days’ march of them. The state of his followers did not admit of an immediate attack by Montrose; but every thing was ready for it by the dawn of day, and with the dissolving mists of the morning. On the second of February, 1645, Argyle, from his pinnace on the lake, whither he had retired on account of a hurt he had caught by a fall from his horse, which disabled him from fighting, beheld the total annihilation of his army, one half of it being literally cut to pieces, and the other dissipated among the adjoining mountains, or driven into the water. Unable to afford the smallest assistance to his discomfitted troops, he immediately hoisted sails and made for a place of safety. On the twelfth of the month, he appeared before the parliament, then sitting in Edinburgh, to which he related the tale of his own and their misfortune, in the best manner no doubt which the case could admit of. The circumstances, however, were such as no colouring could hide, and the Estates were certainly deeply affected. But the victory at Inverlochy, though as complete as victory can well be supposed, and gained with the loss too of only two or three men, was perhaps more pernicious to the victors than the vanquished. The news of it unhappily reached Charles at a time when he was on the point of accepting the terms of reconciliation offered to his parliament, which reconciliation, if effected, might have closed the war for ever, and he no sooner heard of this remarkable victory, than he resolved to reject them, and trust to continued hostilities for the means of obtaining a more advantageous treaty. Montrose, also, whose forces were always reduced after a victory, as the Highlanders were wont to go home to deposit their spoils, could take no other advantage of "the day of Inverlochy," than to carry on, upon a broader scale, and with less interruption, the barbarous system of warfare which political, religious, and feudal hostility had induced him to adopt. Instead of marching towards the capital, where he might have followed up his victory to the utter extinction of the administration of the Estates, he resumed his march along the course of the Spey into the province of Moray, and, issuing an order for all the men above sixteen and below sixty to join his standard, under the pain of military execution, proceeded to burn the houses and destroy the goods upon the estates of Grangehill, Brodie, Cowbin, Innes, Ballendalloch, Foyness, and Pitchash. He plundered also the village of Garmouth and the lands of Burgie, Lethen, and Duffus, and destroyed all the boats and nets upon the Spey. Argyle having thrown up his commission as general of the army, which was given to general Baillie, he was now attached to it only as member of a committee appointed by the parliament to direct its movements, and in this capacity was present at the battle of Kilsyth, August 15th, 1645, the most disastrous of all the six victories of Montrose to the Covenanters, upwards of six thousand men being slain on the field of battle and in the pursuit. This, however, was the last of the exploits of the great marquis. There being no more detachments of militia in the country to oppose to him, general David Leslie, with some regiments of horse, were recalled from the army in England, who surprised and defeated him at Philiphaugh, annihilating his little army, and, according to an ordinance of parliament, hanging up without distinction all the Irish battalions.

In the month of February, 1646, Argyle was sent over to Ireland to bring home the Scottish troops that had been sent to that country to assist in repressing the turbulence of the Catholics. He returned to Edinburgh in the month of May following. In the meantime, Alister Macdonald, the coadjutor of Montrose, had made another tour through his country of Argyle, giving to the sword and the devouring flame whatever had escaped in the former inroads, so that upwards of twelve hundred of the miserable inhabitants, to escape absolute starvation, were compelled to emigrate, under one of their chieftains, Ardinglass, into Menteith, where they attempted to settle themselves upon the lands of the malignant. But scarcely had they made the attempt, when they were attacked by Inchbrackie, with a party of Athol men, and chased beyond the Forth near Stirling, where they were joined by the marquis, who carried them into Lennox, and quartered them upon the lands of lord Napier, till he obtained an act to embody them into a regiment, to be stationed in different parts of the Highlands, and a grant from parliament for a supply of provisions for his castles. So deplorably had his estates been wasted by the inroads of Montrose and Macdonald, that a sum of money was voted him for the support of himself and family, and for paying annual rents to some of the more necessitous creditors upon his estates. A collection was at the same time ordered through all the churches of Scotland, for the relief of his poor people who had been plundered by the Irish. In the month of July, 1646, when the king had surrendered himself to the Scottish army, Argyle went up to Newcastle to wait upon and pay his respects to him. On the 3d of August following, he was sent up to London, along with Loudon, the chancellor, and the earl of Dunfermline, to treat with the parliament of England, concerning a mitigation of the articles they had presented to the king, with some of which he was not at all satisfied. He was also on this occasion the bearer of a secret commission from the king, to consult with the duke of Richmond and the marquis of Hertford concerning the propriety of the Scottish army and parliament declaring for him. Both of these noblemen totally disapproved of the scheme, as they were satisfied it would be the entire ruin of his interests. In this matter, Argyle certainly did not act with perfect integrity; and it was probably a feeling of conscious duplicity which prevented him from being present at any of the committees concerning the king’s person, or any treaty for the withdrawal of the Scottish army, or the payment of its arrears. The opinion of these two noblemen, however, he faithfully reported to his majesty, who professed to be satisfied, but spoke of adopting some other plan, giving evident proof that his pretending to accept conditions was a mere pretence—a put off—till he might be able to lay hold of some lucky turn in the chapter of accidents. It was probably from a painful anticipation of the fatal result of the king’s pertinacity, that Argyle, when he returned to Edinburgh and attended the parliament, which assembled on the 3d of November, demanded and obtained an explicit approval of all that he had transacted, as their accredited commissioner; and it must not be lost sight of, that, for all the public business he had been engaged in, except what was voted him in consequence of his great losses, he never hitherto had received one farthing of salary.

When the Engagement, as it was called, was entered into by the marquis of Hamilton, and other Scottish presbyterian loyalists, Argyle opposed it, because, from what he had been told by the duke of Richmond and the marquis of Hertford, when he had himself been half embarked in a scheme somewhat similar, he believed it would be the total ruin of his majesty’s cause. The event completely justified his fears. By exasperating the sectaries and republicans, it was the direct and immediate cause of the death of the king.. On the march of the Engagers into England, Argyle, Eglinton, Cassilis, and Lothian, marched into Edinburgh at the head of a great multitude of people whom they had raised, before whom the committee of Estates left the city, and the irremediable defeat of the Engagers, which instantly followed, entirely sinking the credit of the party, they never needed to return; the reins of government falling into the hands of Argyle, Warriston, Loudon, and others of the more zealous party of the presbyterians. The flight of the few Engagers who reached their native land, was followed by Cromwell, who came all the way to Berwick, with the purpose apparently of invading Scotland. Argyle, in the month of September or October, 1648, went to Mordington, where he had an interview with that distinguished individual, whom, along with general Lambert, he conducted to Edinburgh, where he was received in a way worthy of his high fame, and every thing between the two nations was settled in the most amicable manner, the Solemn League and Covenant being renewed, the Engagement proscribed, and all who had been concerned in it summoned to appear before parliament, which was appointed to meet at Edinburgh on the 4th of January, 1649. It has been, without the least particle of evidence, asserted that Argyle, in the various interviews he held with Cromwell at this time, agreed that Charles should be executed. The losses to which Argyle was afterwards subjected, and the hardships he endured for adhering to Charles’ interests after he was laid in his grave, should, in the absence of all evidence to the contrary, be a sufficient attestation of his loyalty, not to speak of the parliament, of which he was unquestionably the most influential individual, in the ensuing month of February proclaiming Charles II. king of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland, &C. than which nothing could be more offensive to the then existing government of England. In sending over the deputation that waited upon Charles in Holland in the spring of 1649, Argyle was heartily concurring, though he had been not a little disgusted with his associates in the administration, on account of the execution of his brother-in-law, the marquis of Huntly, whom he in vain exerted all his influence to save. It is also said that he refused to assist at the trial, or to concur in the sentence passed upon the marquis of Montrose, in the month of May, 1650, declaring that he was too much a party to be a judge in that matter. Of the leading part he performed in the installation of Charles II., upon whose head he placed the crown at Scone on the 1st of January, 1651, we have not room to give any particular account. Of the high consequence in which his services were held at the time, there needs no other proof than the report that the king intended marrying one of his daughters. For the defence of the king and kingdom, against both of whom Cromwell was now ready to lead all his troops, he, as head of the Committee of Estates, made the most vigorous exertions. Even after the defeat at Dunbar, and the consequent ascendancy of the king’s personal interests, he adhered to his majesty with unabated zeal and diligence, of which Charles seems to have been sensible at the time, as the following letter, in his own hand writing, which he delivered to Argyle under his sign manual, abundantly testifies:—"Having taken into consideration the faithful endeavours of the marquis of Argyle for restoring me to my just rights, and the happy settling of my dominions, I am desirous to let the world see how sensible I am of his real respect to me by some particular marks of my favour to him, by which they may see the trust and confidence which I repose in him: and particularly, I do promise that I will make him duke of Argyle, knight of the garter, and one of the gentlemen of my bed-chamber, and this to be performed when he shall think it fit. And I do farther promise him to hearken to his counsels, [passage worn out]. Whenever it shall please God to restore me to my just rights in England, I shall see him paid the £40,000 sterling which is due to him; all which I promise to make good to him upon the word of a king. CHARLES REX, St Johnston, September 24th, 1650." When Charles judged it expedient to lead the Scottish army into England, in the vain hope of raising the cavaliers and moderate presbyterians in his favour, Argyle obtained leave to remain at home, on account of the illness of his lady. After the whole hopes of the Scots were laid low at Worcester, September 3d, 1651, he retired to Inverary, where he held out against the triumphant troops of Cromwell for a whole year, till, falling sick, he was surprised by general Dean, and carried to Edinburgh. Having received orders from Monk to attend a privy council, he was entrapped to be present at the ceremony of proclaiming Cromwell lord Protector. A paper was at the same time tendered him to sign, containing his submission to the government, as settled without king or house of lords, which he absolutely refused, though afterwards, when he was in no condition to struggle farther, he signed a promise to live peaceably under that government. He was always watched, however, by the ruling powers, and never was regarded by any of the authorities as other than a concealed loyalist. When Scotland was declared by Cromwell to be incorporated with England, Argyle exerted himself, in opposition to the council of state, to have Scotsmen alone elected to serve in parliament for North Britain, of which Monk complained to Thurlow, in a letter from Dalkeith, dated September 30, 1658. Under Richard he was himself elected for the county of Aberdeen, and took his seat accordingly in the house, where he wrought most effectually for the service of the king, by making that breach through which his majesty entered. On the Restoration, Argyle’s best friends advised him to keep out of the way on account of his compliances with the Usurpation; but he judged it more honourable and honest to go and congratulate his majesty upon so happy a turn in his affairs. To this he must have been misled from the promissory note of kindness which he held, payable on demand, as well as by some flattering expressions which Charles had made use of regarding him to his son, lord Lorn; but when he arrived at Whitehall, July 8, 1660, the king no sooner heard his name announced, than, "with an angry stamp of the foot, he ordered Sir William Fleming to execute his orders," which were to carry him to the Tower. To the Tower he was carried accordingly, where he lay till the month of December, when he was sent down to Leith aboard a man-of-war, to stand his trial before the high court of parliament. While confined in the Tower, the marquis made application to have the affidavits of several persons in England taken respecting some matters of fact, when he was concerned in the public administration before the usurpation, which, had justice been the object of the prosecution against him, could not have been denied. Revenge, however, being the object, facts might have happened to prove inconvenient, and the request was flatly refused.

On his arrival at Leith, he was conveyed to the castle of Edinburgh, and, preparatory to his being brought to trial, the president of the committee for bills, on the eighteenth of January, reported to the parliament that a supplication had been presented to them by the laird of Lamont, craving warrant to cite the marquis of Argyle, with some others, to appear before parliament, to answer for crimes committed by him and them as specified in the bill given in. Some little opposition was made to this; but it was carried by a vast plurality to grant warrant according to the prayer of the petition. This charge could not be intended to serve any other purpose than to raise a prejudice in the public mind against the intended victim; for it was a charge which not a few of the managers themselves knew well to be false. Middleton could have set the question at once to rest, as he had had a deeper hand in many of the cruelties complained of than Argyle, for he had acted under general Leslie, in suppressing the remains of Montrose’s army, and, much nearer home than the islands, namely at Kincardine house, belonging to Montrose, had shot twelve cavaliers without any ceremony, sending the remainder to be hanged at Edinburgh, all which, be it observed, was in defence of a party of Argyle’s people who had been driven to seek refuge in Lennox, and was no doubt one of the items in the general charge. But the charge generally referred to the clearing of his own territories of Alister Macdonald and his Irish bands by Leslie, who, in reducing the strengths belonging to the loyalists in the north, had, conformably to the orders of parliament, shot or hanged every Irishman he found in them without ceremony. Sir James Turner, who was upon this expedition, and has left an account of it in his Memoirs, acquits Argyle of all blame, in so far as concerns the seizure of the castle of Dunavertie, one of the cases that has been most loudly complained of, though he fastens a stain on the character of Mr John Nevoy, the divine who accompanied the expedition, who, he says, took a pleasure in wading through the blood of the victims. A small extract will show that Leslie confined himself strictly to the parliamentary order, which was perhaps no more severe than the dreadful character of the times had rendered necessary. "From Ila we boated over to Jura, a horrid isle, and a habitation fit for deer and wild beasts, and so from isle to isle till we come to Mull, which is one of the best of the Hebrides. Here Maclean saved his lands with the loss of his reputation, if he ever had any: he gave up his strong castles to Leslie; gave his eldest son for hostage of his fidelity, and, which was unchristian baseness in the lowest degree, he delivered up fourteen very pretty Irishmen, who had been all along faithful to him, to the lieutenant general, who immediately caused hang them all. It was not well done to demand them from Maclean; but inexcusably ill done in him to betray them. Here I cannot forget one Donald Campbell, fleshed in blood from his very infancy, who, with all imaginable violence, pressed that the whole clan Maclean should be put to the sword, nor could he be commanded to forbear his bloody suit by the lieutenant general and two major generals, and with some difficulty was he commanded silence by his chief, the marquis of Argyle. For my part, I said nothing, for indeed I did not care though he had prevailed in his suit, the delivering of the Irish had so much irritated me against that whole clan and name." Argyle was brought before parliament on the 13th of February 1661. His indictment, consisting of fourteen articles, comprehended the history of all the transactions that had taken place in Scotland since 1638. The whole procedure, on one side of the question, during all that time, had already been declared rebellion, and each individual concerned was of course liable to the charge of treason. Middleton, lord high commissioner to parliament, eager to possess his estate, of which he doubted not he would obtain the gift, conducted the trial in a manner not only inconsistent with justice, but with the dignity and the decency that ought ever to characterise a public character. From the secret conversations he had held with Cromwell, Middleton drew the conclusion, that the interruption of the treaty of Newport and the execution of Charles had been the fruit of their joint deliberations. He was defended on this point by Sir John Gilmour, president of the court of Session, with such force of argument as to compel the reluctant parliament to exculpate him from all blame in the matter of the king’s death; and, after having exhibited the utmost contempt for truth, and a total disregard of character or credit, provided they could obtain their point, the destruction of the pannel, the crown lawyers were at length obliged to fix on his compliance with the English during the usurpation, as the only species of treason that could at all be made to affect him. Upon this point there was not one of his judges who had not been equally, and some of them much more guilty than himself: "How could I suppose," said the marquis, with irresistible effect in his defence on this point, "that I was acting criminally, when the learned gentleman who now acts as his majesty’s advocate, took the same oaths to the commonwealth with myself ?" He was not less successful in replying to every iota of his indictment, in addition to which he gave in a signed supplication and submission to his majesty, which was regarded just as little as his defences. The moderation, the good sense, and the magnanimity, however, which he displayed, joined to his innocence of the crimes charged against him, wrought so strongly upon the house, that great fears were entertained that, after all, he would be acquitted; and to counteract the influence of his two sons, lord Lorne and lord Neil Campbell, who were both in London, exerting themselves as far as they could in his behalf, Glencairn, Rothes, and Sharpe were sent up to court, where, when it was found that the proof was thought to be defective, application was made to general Monk, who furnished them with some of the marquis of Argyle’s private letters, which were sent down post to Middleton, who laid them before parliament, and by this means obtained a sentence of condemnation against the noble marquis, on Saturday the 25th, and he was executed accordingly on Monday the 27th of May, 1661. Than the behaviour of this nobleman during his trial, and after his receiving sentence of death, nothing could be more dignified or becoming the character of a christian. Conscious of his integrity, he defended his character and conduct with firmness and magnanimity, but with great gentleness and the highest respect for authority. After receiving his sentence, when brought back to the common jail, his excellent lady was waiting for him, and, embracing him, wept bitterly, exclaiming, "the Lord will requite it;" but, calm and composed, he said, "Forbear; truly, I pity them; they know not what they are doing; they may shut me in where they please, but they cannot shut out God from me. For my part, I am as content to be here as in the castle, and as content in the castle as in the Tower of London, and as content there as when at liberty, and I hope to be as content on the scaffold as any of them all." His short time till Monday he spent in serenity and cheerfulness, and in the proper exercises of a dying christian. To some of the ministers he said that they would shortly envy him for having got before them, for he added, "my skill fails me, if you who are ministers will not either suffer much, or sin much; for, though you go along with those men in part, if you do it not in all things, you are but where you were, and so must suffer; and if you go not at all with them, you shall but suffer." On the morning of his execution, he spent two hours in subscribing papers, making conveyances, and forwarding other matters of business relating to his estate; and while so employed, he suddenly became so overpowered with a feeling of divine goodness, according to contemporary authority, that he was unable to contain himself, and exclaimed, "I thought to have concealed the Lord’s goodness, but it will not do: I am now ordering my affairs, and God is sealing my charter to a better inheritance, and saying to me, ‘Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee.’" He wrote the same day a most affecting letter to the king, recommending to his protection his wife and children. "He came to the scaffold," says Burnet, "in a very solemn, but undaunted manner, accompanied with many of the nobility and some ministers. He spoke for half an hour with a great appearance of serenity. Cunningham, his physician, told me that he touched his pulse, and it did then beat at the usual rate, calm and strong." It is related, as another proof of the resolution of Argyle, in the last trying scene, that, though he had eaten a whole partridge at dinner, no vestige of it was found in his stomach after death; if he had been much affected by the anticipation of death, his digestion, it may be easily calculated, could not have been so good. His head was struck off by the instrument called the Maiden, and affixed on the west end of the Tolbooth, where that of Montrose had been till very lately perched; a circumstance that very sensibly marks the vicissitudes of a time of civil dissension. His body was conveyed by his friends to Dunoon, and buried in the family sepulchre at Kilmun.

Argyle, with few qualities to captivate the fancy, has always been esteemed by the people of Scotland as one of the most consistent and meritorious of their array of patriots. For the sake of his exemplary moral and religious character, and his distinguished exertions in the resistance to the measures of Charles I., as well as his martyrdom in that cause, they have overlooked a quality generally obnoxious to their contempt—his want of courage in the field—which caused him, throughout the whole of the transactions of the civil war, to avoid personal contact with danger, though often at the head of large bodies of troops. The habits of Argyle in private life were those of an eminently and sincerely pious man. In Mr Wodrow’s diary of traditionary collections, which remains in manuscript in the Advocates’ Library, it is related, under May 9, 1702, upon the credit of a clergyman, the last survivor of the General Assembly of 1651, that his lordship used to rise at five, and continue in private till eight: besides family worship, and private prayer, morning and evening, he prayed with his lady morning and evening, in the presence of his own gentleman and her gentlewoman; he never went abroad, though but for one night, without taking along with him his writing-standish, a bible, and Newman’s Concordance. Upon the same authority, we relate the following anecdote: "After the coronation of king Charles II. at Scone, he waited a long time for an opportunity of dealing freely with his majesty on religious matters, and particularly about his suspected disregard of the covenant, and his encouragement of malignants, and other sins. One sabbath night, after supper, he went into the king’s closet, and began to converse with him on these topics. Charles was seemingly sensible, and they came at length to pray and mourn together till two or three in the morning. When he came home to his lady, she was surprised, and told him she never knew him so untimeous. He said he never had had such a sweet night in the world, and told her all—what liberty he had in prayer, and how much convinced the king was. She said plainly that that night would cost him his head—which came to pass." Mr Wodrow also mentions that, during the Glasgow Assembly, Henderson and other ministers spent many nights in prayer, and conference with the marquis of Argyle, and he dated his conversion, or his knowledge of it, from those times. His lordship was married to Margaret, second daughter of William, second earl of Morton, and by her left two sons and three daughters.


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