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The Great Historic Families of Scotland
The Grahams


THE monkish writers allege that the Grahams can trace their descent from a fabulous personage called Grame, who is said to have commanded the army of Fergus II. in 404, to have been governor of the kingdom in the monarchy of Eugene, and in 420 to have made a breach in the wall erected by the Emperor Severus between the Firth of Forth and the Clyde, and which was supposed to have derived from the Scottish warrior the name of Græme’s Dyke. The ‘gallant Grahams,’ as they are termed in Scottish ballad and song, do not require the aid of fable to increase their fame, for few of our great old houses have such an illustrious history.

Like most of the ancient Scottish families, the Grahams are of Anglo-Norman origin, and they settled in Scotland during the twelfth century. The first of the race whose name occurs in the records of Scotland was a Sir William de Gnæme, who received from David I. the lands of Abercorn and Dalkeith, which descended to Peter, the elder of his two sons. Peter’s grandson, Henry, by his marriage to the heiress of the family of Avenel, acquired their extensive estates in Eskdale. He was one of the magnates Scotia who, in the Parliament of 5th February, 1283-4, bound themselves by their oaths and seals to acknowledge as their sovereign the Princess Margaret of Norway, the grand-daughter of Alexander III., in the event of that monarch’s death without male issue. His son, Sir Nicholas, was one of the nominees of Robert Bruce when, in 1292, he became a competitor for the crown. His grandson, Sir John de Graham of Dalkeith, who died without issue, was the last of the original stock of the family. His estates were divided between his two sisters: the elder, who married William More, inherited the lands of Abercorn; the younger became the wife of William Douglas of Lugton, ancestor of the Earls of Morton, and conveyed to him Dalkeith, and the estates of the Avenels in Eskdale.

The male line of the family was carried on by John, the younger son of Sir William de Graham. Among the muniments in the possession of the Duke of Montrose there is a charter by William the Lion, probably of the date of 1175, granting to David de Graham, second son of John, the lands of Kynnabre, Charlton, and Barrow-field, in the county of Forfar, and of the fishing of the Water of Northesk.

A few years later the same monarch bestowed upon Radulph of Graham the lands of Cousland, Pentland, and Gogger, in Midlothian. Alexander II. in 1227 confirmed a grant made by Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, to David de Graham (who must have been the son of the first mentioned David), of the whole waste lands of Dundaff and Strathcarron, which was the King’s forest, in exchange for the lands of Gretquerquer, in Galloway.

Other extensive grants of estates were made from time to time to the Grahams by Alexander III., and by several great nobles their feudal superiors. The most noteworthy of these gifts was a grant by Robert Bruce, in 1325, of the lands of Old Munros, in the shire of Forfar, to David Graham, elder, and an exchange with that monarch, in 1326 or 1327, of the lands of Old Montrose for the lands of Cardross, in the county of Dumbarton, where the restorer of Scottish independence spent the last years of his life. [Report by William Fraser: Second Report of Commission on Historical MSS. pp. 166-7.]

The second Sir David de Graham, who held the office of sheriff of the county of Berwick, was one of the national, or Comyn, party during the minority of Alexander II., and resolutely opposed the intrigues of the English faction. He obtained from Malise, the powerful Earl of Strathern, the lands of Kincardine, in Perthshire, where the chief residence of the family was henceforth fixed. His second son, the patriotic Sir John de Graham of Dundaff, may be regarded as the first eminent member of the family. He is still fondly remembered as the bosom friend of the illustrious Scottish patriot Wallace. He was killed at the battle of Falkirk, July 22, 1298, fighting gallantly against the English invaders under Edward I., and was buried in the churchyard of that town. His tombstone, which has been thrice renewed, bears in the centre his coat-of-arms; at the upper part, round an architectural device, is the motto, ‘Vivit post funere virtus,’ and at the lower part the following inscription:-

‘Mente manuque potens, et ValIæ fidus Achates;
Conditus hic Gramus, bello interfectus ab Anglis.
22nd July, 1298.

HER LYS

Sir John the Græme, baith wight and wise,
Ane of the chiefs reskewit Scotland thrise;
Ane better knight not to the world was lent,
Nor was gude Græme, of truth and hardiment.’

Dundaff Castle, now in ruins, stands on high ground a few miles from the battlefield, and commands four passes leading down in as many directions to the low country. It belongs to the Duke of Montrose, the chief of the Grahams, in whose possession there is an antique sword, a short, broad weapon, on which the following lines are inscribed:-

‘Sir John ye Græme verry wicht and wyse,
Ane o’ ye chiefes relievet Scotland thryse,
Fought with ys sword, and ner thout schame
Commandit nane to beir it bot his name.’

Sir Patrick and Sir David, the elder and the younger brothers of this celebrated patriot, embraced the cause of Baliol in the contest for the crown, and swore fidelity to Edward I. in 1292. It is probable, however, that this act of homage was rendered under compulsion, and was disavowed on the first opportunity, for in 1296 Sir David and his nephew were taken prisoners by the English monarch. They were released in the following year, on condition of serving under the English banner in the French wars. Sir Patrick fell at the mismanaged and disastrous battle of Dunbar, in 1296. Hemingford, the English chronicler, says he was ‘a stout knight, wisest among the wise in council, and among the noblest the most noble.’

From this time downwards the Grahams have taken a prominent part in public, and especially in warlike, affairs. The son of Sir David, who bore his name, which seems to have been a favourite one among the early Grahams, was a zealous adherent of Robert Bruce, and defended the independence of his native country so stoutly, that he was excepted from the pacification which King Edward made with the Scots in 1303-4. Along with two of his kinsmen, he signed the famous letter to the Pope vindicating in noble terms the independence of Scotland. He died in 1327. It was he who exchanged with King Robert Bruce the estate of Cardross for Old Montrose. His son, also named Sir David, was taken prisoner with his sovereign, David II., at the battle of Durham. Sir David’s son, Sir Patrick of Graham, was the ancestor both of the Montrose and Menteith Grahams. His son and successor, by his first wife, Sir William, carried on the main line of the family. His eldest son, Patrick, by his second wife, Egidia, niece of Robert II., married— probably about the year 1406—Eufemea Stewart, Countess Palatine of Strathern, and either through courtesy of his wife, or by creation, became Earl Palatine of Strathern. (See EARLS OF MENTEITH.)

The elder son of Sir William Graham by his first wife predeceased him, leaving two sons. By his second wife, the Princess Mary Stewart, daughter of Robert II., Sir William had five sons, from the eldest of whom descended the Grahams of Fintry, of Claverhouse, and of Duntrune, and the third was the ancestor of the gallant Sir Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch. Patrick Graham, Sir William’s second son, by the Princess Mary, was consecrated Bishop of Brechin in 1463, and was translated to St. Andrews in 1466. He was a learned and virtuous prelate, worthy to succeed the illustrious Bishop Kennedy, his near relative—a model bishop. Anxious to vindicate the independence of the Scottish Church, over which the Archbishop of York claimed jurisdiction, he visited Rome, and procured from the Pope a bull erecting his see into an archbishopric, and appointing him metropolitan, papal nuncio, and legate a lalere, in Scotland for three years. On his return home the Archbishop was assailed with vindictive malignity by his ecclesiastical rivals. The inferior clergy rejoiced in his advancement; but the dignitaries of the Church, through envy and dread of the reforms which he was prepared to inaugurate, became his inveterate enemies. By bribing the King, James III., they succeeded in obtaining the degradation and imprisonment of the unfortunate prelate, on the plea that he had infringed the royal prerogative by applying to the papal court without the King’s license. It is alleged, in a report recently found in the Roman archives, that Graham had proclaimed himself divinely appointed to reform ecclesiastical abuses, and had revoked indulgences granted at Rome, appointed legates, and had committed other similar illegal acts. There is reason to believe that the persecution which the Archbishop underwent had affected his mind. Schevez, an able, but unprincipled and profligate ecclesiastic, who succeeded Graham in the primacy, and was the leader of the hostile party, had him declared insane, and procured the custody of his person. He was confined first in Inchcolm, and afterwards in the castle of Loch Leven, where he died in 1478.

Sir William Graham was succeeded by his grandson, PATRICK GRAHAM of Kincardine, who was made a peer of Parliament in 1451, under the title of LORD GRAHAM. His grandson, WILLIAM, third Lord Graham, was created EARL OF MONTROSE by James IV., 3rd March, 1504-5. His title, however, was not taken from the town of Montrose, but from his hereditary estate of ‘Auld Montrose,’ which was then erected into a free barony and earldom. He fell at the battle of Flodden, 9th September, 1513, where he and the Earl of Crawford commanded one of the divisions of the Scottish vanguard. One of the younger sons of the Earl by his third wife was the ancestor of the Græmes of Inchbrakie.

WILLIAM, second Earl of Montrose, held several offices of trust in connection with the person of the young king, James V., and his daughter, Queen Mary. JOHN, third Earl, was one of the most powerful noblemen in Scotland in his own day, and was deeply involved in the plots and intrigues of the early part of the reign of James VI. He assisted the profligate Earl of Arran in bringing the Regent Morton to the block, which led to a feud between him and the Douglases. He twice held the office of High Treasurer of Scotland, and was appointed Lord Chancellor in 1599. After the accession of James to the throne of England, the Earl was nominated Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament which met at Edinburgh, 10th April, 1604. On resigning the office of Chancellor, a patent was granted to him by the King, in December of that year, appointing him Viceroy of Scotland for life, with a pension of £2,000 Scots. He presided at the meeting of the Estates at Perth, 9th July, 1606, which passed the ecclesiastical enactments termed the Five Articles of Perth, so obnoxious to the Presbyterian party. At his death in 1608, the King thought fit to order that the Earl, in consequence of his high position, should be buried with peculiar pomp and splendour, and promised to give forty thousand merks to cover the expense. But the promises of James in regard to pecuniary matters were not often performed. The money was never paid, and the costly funereal ceremonial imposed a heavy burden on the Earl’s son.

JOHN GRAHAM, fourth Earl of Montrose, showed, by an incident mentioned in Birrel’s Diary, that in his youth the hot blood of the Grahams ran in his veins, though in his mature years he was quiet, peaceful, and prudent in his conduct. ‘1595, the 19th January, the young Earle of Montroes [at this time he was only Lord Graham] fought ane combate with Sir James Sandilands at the Salt Trone of Edinburgh, thinking to have revengit the slauchter of his cousine, Mr. Johne Graham.’ This Earl lived the retired life of a country gentleman, and seems to have been very domestic in all his habits. It appears from the family accounts that he amused himself with archery and golfing, and indulged a good deal in the use of tobacco. He was appointed President of the Council in July, 1626, and died 14th November of the same year, in the prime of life. But his burial was not ’accompleissit’ until the 3rd of January, ‘and the haill friends remainet in Kincardin thereafter, sateling his Lordship’s affairs, till Soinday, the 7th of January.’ An account-book which has been preserved shows the enormous expense that was incurred in ‘accompleissing’ the burial, and in entertaining for eight weeks the array of kinsmen who had congregated in the family mansion to do honour to the obsequies of the deceased nobleman. They feasted upon ‘Venison, Beif, Muttoune, Lamb, Veill, Geis, Caponis,’ and other poultry; and of game and wildfowl ‘Capercailzies, Black Cokis, and Ethe henis, Termaganis, Muir foulls, Wodcoks, Peitrecks [partridges], Plewvers, and Birsall foulls,’ in great abundance. Of liquors there were consumed one puncheon of ‘claret wyn’ and one puncheon of ‘quhyt wyn,’ besides nine gallons of ’Ester aill.’ This protracted hospitality and costly mode of performing funerals may account for the sumptuary laws frequently enacted by the Scottish Estates, for the purpose of limiting the ruinous expenses incurred on such occasions. No less than three years’ rental of the estate of the deceased has sometimes been spent in ‘accompleissing’ his burial.

The glory of the house of Graham is JAMES, the fifth EARL and first MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. His mother was Lady Margaret Ruthven, eldest daughter of William, first Earl of Gowrie. The Ruthvens were noted for their fondness for magical pursuits, and the mother of the great marquis seems to have partaken of the family superstition. Scot of Scotstarvit asserts that she ‘consulted with witches at his birth.’ She predeceased the Earl, leaving an only son and five daughters. Her husband bears affectionate testimony to her worth and beauty, and says of her she was ‘a woman religious, chaste, and beautifull, and my chiefe joy in this world.’

The young Earl was only fourteen years of age at the time of his father’s death, in 1626. Two years previously he had been placed under a private tutor in Glasgow, obviously with the view of preparing him to enter a university; and in January, 1627, he was enrolled as an alumnus in the University of St. Andrews. The accounts of his tutor show that, during the residence of the youthful nobleman at that celebrated seat of learning, his recreations were riding, hunting, hawking, archery, and golf. He showed a fondness also for poetry and chess, and for heroic and romantic histories. The frequent entries in his accounts of donations to the poor—to a ‘rymer,’ a dumb woman, a dwarf, ‘poor Irishe women,’—show that his purse was always open to the needy. He was no less liberal to minstrels, morrice-dancers, jugglers, town officers and drummers, and to the servants—coachmen, footmen, and nurses—in the country houses which he visited. He seems, even at this early period, to have attracted public attention and expectations, for in a poem by William Lithgow, entitled ‘Scotland’s Welcome to her Native Son, and Soveraigne Lord, King Charles,’ the Genius of Scotland, addressing the King, thus refers to the youthful head of the Grahams:-

‘As for that hopefull youth, the young Lord Grahame,
James Earl of Montrose, whose warlyke name
Sprung from redoubted worth, made manhood try
Their matchless deeds in unmatched chivalry—
I do bequeath him to thy gracious love,
Whose noble stocke did ever faithful prove
To their old aged auncestors; and my Bounds
Were often freed
from thraldome by their wounds;
Leaving their roote, the stamp of fidele truth,
To be inherent in this noble youth:
Whose Hearts, whose Hands, whose Swords, whose Deeds, whose Fame
Made Mars, for valour, canonize
THE GRAHAME.’

On quitting the university, Montrose, in his seventeenth year, married Lady Magdalene Carnegie, sixth daughter of the first Earl of Southesk. It was probably owing to the tender age of the young couple that the father of the bride binds himself in the marriage contract, dated 10th November, 1629, ‘to entertain, and sustain, in house with himself honourably the saids noble Earl and Mistress Magdalene Carnegie, his promised spouse, during the space of three years next after the said marriage.’ The young Earl continued to prosecute his studies after his marriage, under private tutors;, and, in 1633, leaving his wife and young children at Kinnaird with his father-in-law, he visited the Continent, and spent three years in France and Italy. He returned home in 1636, being then in his twenty-fourth year. On his appearance at court, he was ungraciously received by the King, whose frigid manners were fitted to repel, rather than to attract, an ardent and high-spirited youth. It has been alleged by various writers that the indignation of Montrose at the coldness with which he was treated by Charles made him throw himself into the hands of the Covenanters; but there is no evidence to warrant this assertion. Scotland was at this time in a state of great excitement, in consequence of the attempt of Charles and Laud to introduce the English Liturgy into the Scottish Church; and Montrose has emphatically declared in several documents that he had arrived at the deliberate conviction that ‘Churchmen’s greatness,’ and Episcopal civil government, had grown to be equally destructive of liberty and prerogative. He therefore at once joined the Covenanting party, and became one of their most active leaders. In 1639 he was sent to chastise the prelatic town of Aberdeen, and to compel the inhabitants, who were principally Episcopalians, to take the Covenant. The temperate manner in which he performed this task did not meet with the full approbation of his party. ‘The discretion of that generous and noble youth,’ says Baillie, ‘was but too great. All was forgiven to that unnatural city.’

After Montrose left Aberdeen, Lord Aboyne, at the head of a strong body of Highlanders, obtained possession of the town, evidently with the consent of the citizens, and the Covenanting general was a second time dispatched to this stronghold of the Episcopalians and Royalists, which the Highlanders evacuated on his approach. He treated the inhabitants with most unjustifiable severity, levied on them a contribution of ten thousand merks, pillaged their houses, carried off or destroyed their corn, and plundered both the fishermen of the town, and the farmers and peasantry of the adjacent country. Montrose then marched westward to attack the strongholds of the Gordons, but retraced his steps on learning that Aboyne had arrived with reinforcements, and had again taken possession of Aberdeen. The Highlanders, however, fled at the first discharge of the artillery of the Covenanting forces, and the unfortunate city once more fell into the hands of Montrose, who imposed a fine of sixty thousand merks sterling upon the citizens.

When the Covenanters at length took up arms in defence of their liberties, and entered England in 1640, Montrose was the first man who forded the Tweed, at the head of his own battalion; and, a few days after, he routed the vanguard of the English cavalry at Newburn, on the Tyne. Like Falkland, Hyde, and other moderate Reformers in the English Parliament, Montrose now became dissatisfied with the proceedings of the more extreme members of his party, and was apprehensive that the ultimate views of the Covenanters were inconsistent with the rights and just authority of the Sovereign. It has been alleged that he resented the preference given by the other leaders to the chief of the Campbells, the hereditary rival of his family. ‘Montrose,’ says Clarendon, ‘had always a great emulation, or rather great contempt, of the Marquis of Argyll, as he was too apt to contemn those he did not love. The people looked upon them both as young men of unlimited ambition, and used to say that they were like Czesar and Pompey: the one would endure no superior, and the other would have no equal.’

No decided step, however, was taken by Montrose in opposition to Argyll until July, 1640, when the Covenanting army was encamped on Dunse Law. At that period a bond was privately offered for his signature, proposing that some person should be appointed captain-general of the country north of the Forth, and implying that this person should be the Earl of Argyll. Montrose indignantly refused to subscribe this bond, and, in conjunction with the Earls of Marischal, Home, Athole, Mar, and other influential noblemen, including Lord Almond, the second in command of General Leslie’s army, he entered into what was called the Cumbernauld Bond, from the place where it was prepared, for their mutual aid and defence in case of need. This bond was speedily discovered by Argyll and his friends, and the subscribers were called to account for their procedure by the Committee at Edinburgh; but their formal renunciation of the bond was accepted as a satisfactory settlement of the affair. The confidence of the party, however, in Montrose was shaken, and, in June, 1641, he was accused of carrying on a secret correspondence with the King, and, along with three of his friends, was confined in the castle of Edinburgh. He remained a close prisoner there until the beginning of 1642, when he was set at liberty, on the intercession of King Charles himself.

After the breaking out of the Civil War, Montrose, who greatly disliked the timorous and trimming policy of the Marquis of Hamilton, the King’s minister for Scotland, urged that an army of Royalists should be raised at once, to prevent the Covenanters from making common cause with the English Parliament. ‘Resist,’ he said, ‘resist force with force. The King has loyal subjects in Scotland; they have wealth, and influence, and hearts stout and true; they want but the King’s countenance and commission. The only danger is delay. If the army of the Covenant be allowed to make head, loyalty will be overwhelmed. The rebellious cockatrice must be bruised in the egg. Physic is too late when the disease has overrun the body.’ There can be little doubt that if Montrose had been permitted at this juncture to raise an army in behalf of the royal cause, the Covenanting forces could not have ventured to quit Scotland. But his advice, which was as sagacious as it was bold, was disregarded, and the result was that a powerful army, under General Leslie, was sent to the assistance of the Parliament, and turned the scale in their favour.

On the ruinous failure of Hamilton’s policy, and his consequent disgrace and imprisonment in the beginning of 1644, Montrose was appointed by the King Lieutenant-General in Scotland, and shortly after was advanced to the dignity of marquis. He made a daring attempt to cut his way into Scotland at the head of a small body of cavalry, with the view of raising the Scottish royalists on the side of the King, but was encountered on the Borders by a greatly superior force, and compelled to fall back on Carlisle. After the fatal battle of Marston Moor, however, he set out in August, 1644, in the disguise of a groom in attendance on two of his friends, Sir William Pollock and Colonel Sibbald, and succeeded in reaching the Highlands without detection. He found at Blair Athole two hundred Highlanders and about twelve hundred Irish auxiliaries, indifferently armed and disciplined, who had shortly before landed in the West Highlands under Alaster Macdonald, better known as Colkitto, [He was the son of Coil Keitache MacGillespic Macdonald of Colonsay. Keitache means left-handed.] to aid the royal cause. Montrose immediately displayed his commission from the King, and raised the royal standard. The Highlanders flocked to it in considerable numbers, and the Marquis, finding himself at the head of a powerful force, lost no time in directing his march to the low country. At Tippermuir, three miles from Perth, he encountered (1st September) an army of six thousand Covenanters, under Lord Elcho, whom he defeated, with the loss of three hundred men, and of all his artillery, arms, and baggage. Perth immediately surrendered, and the victors obtained from the terror-stricken citizens a seasonable supply of clothing and arms. The approach of Argyll at the head of a superior force compelled Montrose to leave Perth. The Highlanders in his army, according to their immemorial custom, quitted his standard and returned home to secure their spoil. The murder of Lord Kilpont [see THE EARLS OF MENTEITH] still further diminished his army, as the followers of that nobleman left the standard, to convey the body of their chief to the sepulchre of his ancestors. With a force reduced to less than two thousand men, Montrose proceeded northward to Aberdeenshire. Here, at the Bridge of Dee, he encountered and defeated another army of the Covenanters, under Lord Burleigh and Lord Lewis Gordon, one of the sons of Huntly, and pursued the fugitives into the town of Aberdeen. That ill-fated town was given up to pillage, and suffered cruelly from the excesses of Montrose’s Irish troops, who put to death without mercy all whom they found in the streets. In some instances they even compelled their victims to strip before they killed them, lest their clothes should be soiled by their blood. ‘The women durst not lament their husbands, or their fathers slaughtered in their presence, nor inter their dead, who remained unburied in the streets until the Irish departed.’ It has been justly said that the people of Aberdeen had a right to expect very different treatment from an army fighting under the royal banner, for they had always been favourable to the cause of the King; and Montrose himself, when in the service of the Covenanters, had been the agent in oppressing, for its devotion to the royal cause, the very city which his troops so cruelly plundered, on account of its enforced adherence to the Parliament.

On the approach of Argyll at the head of a superior force, Montrose proceeded up the Spey; then doubling back, he plunged into the wilds of Badenoch, and thence into Athole, always pursued, but never overtaken by the enemy. ‘That strange coursing,’ as Baillie terms the series of marches and countermarches, ‘thrice round about from Spey to Athole, wherein Argyll and Lothian’s soldiers were tired out, and the country harassed by both, and no less by friends than foes, did nothing for their own defence.’ Completely tired out by these rapid and harassing marches, Argyll returned to Edinburgh, and resigned his commission as general, declaring that he had not been adequately supported. It was supposed that Montrose would remain until the spring in the district of Athole, but having obtained a strong reinforcement of Macdonalds, Stewarts of Appin, and other Jacobite clans, he resolved to attack Argyll in his native fastnesses. Guided by a clansman of Glencoe, who declared that there was not a farm, or half a farm, under Maccallum More but he knew every foot of it, Montrose made his way into Argyllshire, through paths hitherto deemed inaccessible, and plundered and laid waste the whole country with merciless severity. Dividing his forces into three bodies, in order to make the work of devastation more complete, he traversed the whole of the devoted district for the space of a month, killing the able-bodied men, driving off the flocks and herds, and laying the houses in ashes. As Spalding says, ‘He left no house or hold, except impregnable strengths, unburnt; their corn, goods, and gear; and left not a four-footed beast in Argyll’s haill lands; and such as would not drive they houghed and slew.’ The thirst of feudal vengeance, it has been justly said, may explain, but can in no degree excuse, these seventies.

On leaving Argyllshire, Montrose withdrew towards Lochaber, for the purpose of organising a general rising of the clans. He was followed by a strong body of the Campbells, under their chief; while General Baillie, at the head of a considerable army, was advancing from the east, and Lord Seaforth, with another force, was stationed at Inverness. Their object was, by a combined movement from different points, to surround and overpower their active enemy. Montrose, however, resolved to forestall their operations, and to fall upon the Campbells before they could be joined by Seaforth and Baillie. He accordingly retraced his steps over a succession of mountains covered with snow, and through passes ‘so strait,’ as he said, ‘that three men could not march abreast,’ and on the evening of the 1st of February, came in sight of the Campbells at Inverlochy, near Fort William. The privations borne by his forces during this march must have been very great. ‘That day they fought,’ says Patrick Gordon of Cluny, ‘the General himself and the Earl of Airlie had no more to break their fast upon before they went to battle but a little meal mixed with cold water, which out of a hollow dish they did pick up with their knives. One may judge what wants the rest of the army must suffer. The most part of them had not tasted bread for two days, marching over high mountains in knee-deep snow, and wading brooks and rivers up to their girdles.’

At sunrise next day the battle took place. The Campbells, under the command of Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck, commenced the attack, and, as Montrose says, ‘fought for some time with great bravery;’ but in the end they were completely defeated, with the loss of their general, along with many of his principal officers, and fifteen hundred men, who were killed in the conflict or the pursuit, which lasted for nine miles.

After his victory at Inverlochy, Montrose marched to the northeast, laying waste the country as he proceeded. At Elgin he was at length joined by a detachment of the Gordons, who had hitherto held aloof from him; and Seaforth also soon after repaired to his standard. He now issued orders for all who were capable of bearing arms, between the ages of sixteen and sixty, to join his banner, under pain of military execution, and those who did not immediately obey his summons he treated as rebels, ‘plundering, burning, and spoiling the houses, biggins, and cornyards of the haill lands of the gentry; carrying off the horses, nolt, sheep, and plenishing [furniture] from others; laying the villages in ashes, and destroying the fishermen’s boats and nets.’ The Lowlands of Aberdeenshire and Moray were laid waste with fire and sword by the savage hordes of Irishmen and Highlanders. Elgin and Banff were given up to be pillaged by them ‘pitifully; no merchants’ goods nor gear left; they saw no man in the street but was stripped naked to the skin.’ Brechin, Stonehaven, and Cowie, with the shipping, and the buildings on the estate of Dunnotar, were in succession consigned to the flames, amidst the tears and lamentations of the defenceless and wretched inhabitants. These ruthless barbarities were all the more inexcusable that they were inflicted on the tenantry and retainers of Montrose’s old friend and fellow-soldier, Earl Marischal, avowedly, because he refused to abandon the Covenant for which they had formerly fought side by side. [See THE KEITHS, EARLS MARISCHAL.]

About this time Montrose lost his eldest son, John, a youth of great promise, in his fifteenth year, who died of sickness brought on by the fatigues of their rapid marches. His second son, James, ‘a young bairn about fourteen years,’ says Spalding, ‘learning at the schools in Montrose,’ was seized by Sir John Urrey, and carried off to Edinburgh. The Covenanting forces under Baillie were reinforced at this juncture by a considerable levy of cavalry under Urrey; and Lord Lewis Gordon, who had twice already changed sides in the contest, withdrew from the royal forces with a large part of the Gordons. Montrose was in consequence compelled to abandon the open country, and once more to retire northwards. Before carrying this movement into effect he attacked and stormed the town of Dundee, 4th April. But while his troops were dispersed in quest of liquor and plunder, he received intelligence that Baillie and Urrey, with four thousand men, were within a mile of the town. He instantly called off his soldiers from the spoil, and by a series of masterly movements kept the enemy at bay; and after a retreat of three days and two nights, harassed at every step by his pursuers, he at last effected his escape to the mountains. ‘I have often,’ says his biographer, Dr. Wishart, ‘heard those who were esteemed the most experienced officers, not in Britain only, but in France and Germany, prefer this march to his most celebrated victories.’

The Covenanting generals unwisely divided their forces. Urrey marched northwards to Inverness, where he was joined by the Frasers and other friendly clans, and turned, with an overwhelming force, against Lord Gordon, who was stationed at Auchindoun. Montrose, who was in Menteith, in Stirlingshire, hearing of this movement, with his characteristic promptitude and rapidity hastened along the Braes of Balquhidder, thence down the side of Loch Tay, and through Athole and Angus; he then traversed the Grampian mountains, and effected a junction with Lord Gordon on the Dee. Urrey’s forces were still superior in numbers to the royal army, and without waiting for Baillie’s co-operation, he attacked Montrose at the village of Auldearn, near Nairn (May 4, 1645). The battle was stoutly contested, but the Covenanters were in the end defeated, mainly through the treachery of Colonel Drummond, one of Urrey’s officers, who was afterwards tried by a court-martial and shot. Nearly two thousand men, including a considerable number of officers and several men of rank, were slain, and their whole baggage, ammunition, and money, along with sixteen colours, fell into the hands of the victors.

After this signal victory, Montrose marched to Elgin, laying waste the country as usual with fire and sword. Nairn and Elgin were plundered, and the principal buildings set on fire. Cullen was reduced to ashes, and ‘sic lands as were left unburnt up before were now burnt up.’ Meanwhile, learning that Baillie was ravaging the estates of Huntly, he marched northward, and brought him to action at the village of Alford, on the Don (July 2nd). The issue was for some time doubtful, but partly by the skilful manoeuvring of their general, the Royalists were successful, though their victory was embittered by the death of Lord Gordon in the heat of the conflict.

The fame of Montrose’s victories having attracted considerable numbers, both of Lowlanders and Highlanders, to his standard, he descended from the mountains and marched southwards at the head of nearly six thousand men. He approached Perth, where the Parliament was then assembled. As a numerous army, however, had taken up a strong position in the neighbourhood, he did not venture to attack it, but directed his march toward Stirling, as usual laying waste the country, burning the cottages, and killing the defenceless inhabitants. Castle Campbell, a noble antique edifice, was left in ruins by the same unsparing spirit of vengeance. Even the town and lordship of Alloa, belonging to the Earl of Mar, did not escape the ravages of the Irish kernes, though the Earl, who was favourably inclined to the royal cause, had hospitably entertained Montrose and his officers. Passing by Stirling, which was strongly garrisoned and defied their attack, the Royalists continued their march to the southwest, and encamped near the village of Kilsyth.

The army of the Covenanters was meanwhile following the footsteps of Montrose, and was now close at hand. Baillie, who was well aware that his raw and undisciplined levies were utterly unfit to cope with Montrose’s veterans, wished to avoid a battle, but he was overruled by the Committee of Estates, who forced him to quit the strong position he had taken up, and to commence the attack. After a brief struggle Baillie’s forces were totally defeated with the loss of upwards of four thousand men.

This crowning victory made Montrose for the time master of Scotland. The leaders of the Covenanting party fled for refuge to Berwick, and numbers of the Lowland nobility, who had hitherto stood aloof, now declared in favour of the royal cause. Montrose proceeded to Glasgow, which he laid under a heavy contribution, and put to death some of the principal citizens as incendiaries. The city of Edinburgh sent commissioners to entreat his clemency. A special commission was sent by the King, appointing Montrose Lieutenant-Governor and Captain-General of Scotland, and he issued a proclamation for a new Parliament to meet at Glasgow in October.

From the outset of his career the object which Montrose had in view was to clear Scotland of the Covenanting forces, and then to lead his victorious army into England, to the assistance of the King. In accordance with this plan he now directed his march towards the Borders, where he expected to be joined by a body of fifteen hundred horse, under Lord Digby. But the Highlanders, according to their usual custom, now quitted the army, and returned home for the purpose of depositing their plunder in a place of security. The Gordons, with their leader, Lord Aboyne, soon after followed their example, so that, when Montrose began his march towards the Tweed, his force had dwindled down to a body scarcely more numerous than when he was wandering through Athole and Badenoch.

Meanwhile General David Leslie had been despatched from the Covenanting army in England to the assistance of the Estates. Montrose had heard of his approach, but as Leslie directed his march along the eastern coast, he supposed that it was his intention to cut off his retreat to the mountains, which seems to have been the case. But when Leslie reached Tranent he learned that Montrose was encamped in fancied security in Ettrick Forest. He therefore altered his course and marched with all speed down the vale of the Gala, to Melrose, which he reached on the evening of September 12th. The royal army was only five or six miles distant from that place. The infantry were posted on a level plain called Philiphaugh, on the northern side of the Ettrick, while Montrose had taken up his quarters with the cavalry in the town of Selkirk, on the opposite bank of the river. Favoured by a thick mist, Leslie, early next morning, forded the Ettrick and came close upon the encampment of the Royalists without being discovered by a single scout. The surprise was complete. The noise of the conflict conveyed to Montrose the first intimation of the approach of the enemy. Hastily collecting his cavalry, he galloped across the river to the scene of action, where he found matters in a state of hopeless confusion. After repeated and desperate attempts to retrieve the fortunes of the day, he was at length compelled to make his escape from the field, and cutting his way through the midst of his enemies, followed by the Marquis of Douglas, Lord Napier, and about thirty horsemen, he fled up the Vale of Yarrow, and over Minchmoor to Peebles. Next day he was joined by the Earls of Crawford and Airlie, accompanied by about two hundred of the fugitive cavalry, and with these scanty remains of his army he succeeded in regaining his Highland fastnesses. The fruits of his six splendid victories were thus swept away at one blow, and all hope of his retrieving the royal fortunes was extinguished.

For some little time after his overthrow at Philiphaugh, Montrose maintained a guerilla warfare in Athole. But after Charles had taken refuge with the Scottish army in England, he issued orders to Montrose to disband his followers, and to withdraw from the kingdom. Reluctantly obeying this command, the Marquis laid down his arms, and, having arranged the terms with General Middleton (July 22nd, 1646), he embarked, 3rd September, in the disguise of a servant, in a small Norwegian vessel, along with a few friends, and sailed for Norway. He afterwards proceeded to Paris, where he resided for some time. He was offered, by Cardinal Mazarin, in March, 1648, the rank of General of the Scots in France, and of a Lieutenait-General in the French army, with most liberal pay; but he was dissatisfied with the conditions offered him. As he told his nephew, the second Lord Napier, with a touch of his old haughtiness, he thought ‘that any imployment below ane Marischall of France was inferiour to him; besides the Frenches had become enymies to our king, and did laboure still to foment the differences betwixt him and his subjects.’ He therefore declined the Cardinal’s offer, and proceeded through Geneva to Germany, where he had been informed he would be welcome. At Prague, he was graciously received by the Emperor Ferdinand, who bestowed upon him the baton of a Field-Marshal, and gave him the command of the levies to be raised on the borders of the Spanish Netherlands. In order to avoid hostile armies, he returned to Flanders by Vienna, Presburg, Dantzic, and Copenhagen, where he met with a cordial reception, and thence to Brussels. While residing at this place he heard of the execution of King Charles, which deeply affected him, and he wrote some well-known verses to his memory, expressing the highest veneration for that ill-fated sovereign.

Montrose was still constantly meditating a descent upon Scotland in favour of the royal cause, and was at the Hague while Prince Charles was in treaty with the leaders of the Covenanting party for a restoration to the Scottish throne, on the principles embodied in the National Covenant. The Marquis earnestly recommended him not to accept the Crown on the stringent terms proposed by them, and offered to replace him by force of arms on the throne of his ancestors. Charles, with characteristic baseness and duplicity, continued to negotiate a treaty with the Commissioners deputed by the Scottish Estates, while at the same time he encouraged Montrose to persevere in his enterprise, and sent him the George and Garter. The Marquis, having obtained a small supply of money and arms from the Queen of Sweden, and the King of Denmark, embarked at Hamburg, in the spring of 1650, with six hundred German mercenaries, and landed on one of the Orkney islands. Two of his vessels, laden with arms and ammunition, and about a third of his forces, were lost on the voyage. He constrained a few hundreds of the unwarlike fishermen to join him, and early in April he crossed to Caithness, with the design of penetrating into the Highlands. But just as he approached the borders of Ross-shire, at a place called Drumcarbisdale, on the river Kyle (27th April), he fell into an ambuscade laid for him by Colonel Strachan, who had been despatched in all haste with a body of horse to obstruct his progress. The Orkney men threw down their arms at once, and called for quarter. The German mercenaries retreated to a wood, and there, after a short defence, surrendered themselves prisoners. Montrose’s few Scottish followers made a desperate resistance, but were most of them cut to pieces. As Sir Walter Scott remarks, ‘the ardent and impetuous character of this great warrior, corresponding with that of the troops which he commanded, was better calculated for attack than defence—for surprising others rather than for providing against surprise himself. His final defeat at Dunbeith so nearly resembles in its circumstances the surprise at Philiphaugh, as to throw some shade on his military talents.’ Montrose, who was wounded and had his horse killed under him, seeing the day irretrievably lost, fled from the field. Along with the Earl of Kinnoul and other two or three friends, they made their way into the desolate and mountainous region which separates Assynt from the Kyle of Sutherland, with the view of passing into the friendly country of Lord Reay. The Earl of Kinnoul sunk under the effect of hunger, cold, and fatigue, and Montrose himself fell into the hands of Macleod of Assynt, a mean and sordid chief, who delivered him up to the Covenanting general. He was conveyed to Edinburgh in the peasant’s habit in which he had disguised himself. ‘He sat,’ says an eye-witness, ‘upon a little shelty horse without a saddle, but a quilt of rags and straw, and pieces of rope for stirrups, his feet fastened under the horse’s belly with a tether, and a bit halter for a bridle; a ragged old dark-reddish plaid, and a Monter cap upon his head, a musketeer on each side, and his fellow-prisoners on foot after him.’ At the house of the Laird of Grange, where he spent one night, he nearly effected his escape by a stratagem of the lady, who ‘plied the guards with intoxicating drink until they were all fast asleep, and then she dressed the Marquis in her own clothes. In this disguise he passed all the sentinels, and was on the point of escaping, when a soldier; just sober enough to mark what was passing, gave the alarm, and he was again secured.’

When he reached Dundee the citizens, greatly to their honour, although they had suffered severely from his arms, expressed sympathy for their fallen foe, and supplied him with clothes and other necessaries suitable to his rank. ‘The Marquis himself;’ says Sir Walter Scott, ‘must have felt this as a severe rebuke for the wasteful mode in which he had carried on his warfare; and it was a still more piercing reproach to the unworthy victors who now triumphed over an heroic enemy, in the same manner as they would have done over a detected felon.’

Montrose reached Edinburgh on Saturday the 18th of May, and it was resolved by his ungenerous enemies to bring him into the capital with a kind of mock procession. At the foot of the Canongate, near Holyrood, he was received by the executioners, with the magistrates and the town-guard. His officers walked on foot bound with cords; then followed the Marquis himself, placed on a high chair in a cart, bareheaded, and bound to the seat with cords; the hangman, wearing his bonnet, rode on the foremost of the four horses that drew the cart. ‘In all the way,’ says a contemporary chronicler, ‘there appeared in him such majesty, courage, modesty—and even somewhat more than natural—that those common women who had lost their husbands and children in his wars, and who were hired to stone him, were upon the sight of him so astonished, and moved, that their intended curses turned into tears and prayers.’ As the procession moved slowly up the Canongate, it stopped opposite Moray House, where the Marquis of Argyll, his son Lord Lorne, and his newly-married wife—a daughter of the Earl of Moray—with the Chancellor Lord Loudon, and Warriston, appeared at a balcony for the purpose of gratifying their resentment by gazing on their dreaded enemy. But on Montrose ‘turning his face towards them, they presently crept in at the windows, which being perceived by an Englishman, he cried up it was no wonder they started aside at his look, for they durst not look him in the face these seven years before.’

Deputations both from the Parliament and the General Assembly waited upon the redoubted Cavalier in prison, and strove hard to induce him to make some acknowledgment of his alleged offences. He firmly vindicated, however, the course which he had taken in the royal service. Referring to his most vulnerable procedure, the ravages committed by his soldiers in plundering the country, he pleaded that ‘soldiers who wanted pay could not be restrained from spoilzie, nor kept under such strict discipline as other regular forces. But he declared that he did all that lay in his power to keep them back from it; and as for bloodshed, if it could have been thereby prevented, he would rather it had all come out of his own veins.’ The main point which they pressed against him was his breach of the Covenant, he declared that he still adhered to the Covenant which he took. ‘Bishops,’ he added, ‘I care not for them; I never intended to advance their interest. But when the King had granted you all your desires, and you were every one sitting under his vine and fig tree, that then you should have taken a party in England by the hand, and entered into a league and covenant with them against the King, was the thing I judged my duty to oppose to the utmost.’ Mr. James Guthrie, one of the deputation from the General Assembly, expressed their great grief that, in consequence of the impenitence of the Marquis, they could not release him from the sentence of excommunication. ‘I am very sorry,’ was his dignified rejoinder, ‘that any actions of mine have been offensive to the Church of Scotland, and I would with all my heart be reconciled to the same. But since I cannot attain it on any other terms unless I call that my sin which I account to have been my duty, I cannot for all the reason and conscience in the world.’

Before Montrose reached Edinburgh, the Parliament had resolved to dispense with the form of a trial, and to proceed against him upon an act of attainder passed in the winter of 1644, while he was ravaging the territory of Argyll. The barbarity of his sentence was studiously aggravated by the most disgraceful insults. He was condemned to be hanged upon a gibbet thirty feet high, on which he was to be suspended for three hours; his head was to be affixed to an iron spike on the Tolbooth of Edinburgh; his limbs were to be placed on the gates of the four principal towns in Scotland, and his body (unless he should be released from the excommunication of the Kirk) was to be interred in the Boroughmuir, under the gallows. Montrose was summoned before the Parliament to hear this brutal and cruel sentence read. The Chancellor, the Earl of Loudon, a cadet of the Campbell family, loaded him with coarse and virulent abuse. The Marquis defended himself with great courage, temper, and dignity. ‘He behaved himself all this time in the house,’ says Sir James Balfour, a hostile witness, ‘with a great deal of courage and modesty, unmoved and undaunted as appeared, only he sighed two several times, and rolled his eyes alongst all the corners of the house; and at the reading of the sentence he lifted up his face, without any word speaking.’ He was then conveyed back to prison, where another deputation of ministers, with mistaken, though no doubt honest zeal, waited upon him and endeavoured to draw from him some expressions of penitence for taking up arms in behalf of the King. He at last put a stop to their exhortations with the words, ‘I pray you, gentlemen, let me die in peace.’

That evening when left alone, he wrote with the point of a diamond on his prison window the following lines:-

‘Let them bestow on every airth a limb,
Then open all my veins, that I may swim
To Thee, my Maker, in that crimson lake;
Then place my parboiled head upon a stake;
Scatter my ashes, strew them in the air;
Lord ! since thou knowest where all these atoms are,
I’m hopeful thou’lt recover once my dust,
And confident thou’lt raise me with the just.’

The next day, May 21st, was fixed for his execution, and Wishart mentions that Johnston of Warriston, the Clerk-Register, entered the Marquis’s cell while he was combing the long curled hair which he wore, according to the fashion of the Cavaliers, and asked him what he was about, in a tone which implied that he regarded this as but an idle employment at so solemn a time. ‘While my head is my own,’ replied Montrose with a smile, ‘I will dress and adorn it; but when it becomes yours, you may treat it as you please.’ He walked on foot from the Tolbooth to the scaffold, which had been erected in the middle of the market-place between the Cross and the Tron. ‘He was clad in rich attire,’ says a contemporary, ‘more becoming a bridegroom than a criminal going to the gallows. None of his friends or kinsmen were allowed to accompany him, neither was he permitted to address the people from the scaffold; but the calm and dignified speech which he delivered to those around him was taken down, and circulated at the time. Dr. Wishart’s narrative of his exploits and his own manifesto were hung around his neck. He himself assisted to fasten them, merely saying with a smile at this new display of the malice of his enemies, ‘I did not feel more honoured when his Majesty sent me the Garter.’ ‘Then,’ says an eye-witness, ‘with the most undaunted courage, he went up to the top of that prodigious gibbet, where, having freely pardoned the executioner, he gave him three or four pieces of gold, and inquired of him how long he should hang there, who said three hours; then commanding him, at the uplifting of his hands, to tumble him over, he was accordingly thrust off by the weeping executioner. The whole people gave a general groan, and it was very observable that even those who at first appearance had bitterly inveighed against him, could not now abstain from tears. ‘Tis said that Argyll’s expressions had something of grief in them, and that he did likewise weep at the rehearsal of his death, for he was not present at the execution.’

The sentence pronounced upon Montrose was carried out in all its brutal and shocking details. At the Restoration, in 1660, his head was taken down from the Tolbooth in the presence of Lord Napier and a number of the leading barons of the house of Graham, and the scattered limbs were collected and interred, with great pomp and ceremony, in the tomb of his grandfather, the Viceroy of Scotland, in the church of St. Giles.

Montrose, who was thus cut off at the age of thirty-seven, was one of the most distinguished Scotsmen whom the seventeenth century, fertile in great men, produced. His talents for irregular warfare were of the highest order. He was a poet and a scholar as well as a soldier, and wrote and spoke clearly and eloquently. His genius was of the heroic cast, and in the opinion of the celebrated Cardinal de Retz—no mean judge of character—closely resembled that of the ancient heroes of Greece and Rome. ‘Montrose,’ says Lord Clarendon, ‘was in his nature fearless of danger, and never declined any enterprise for the difficulty of going through with it, but exceedingly affected those which seemed desperate to other men; and did believe somewhat to be in himself above other men, which made him lean more easily towards those who were, or were willing to be, inferior to him (towards whom he exercised wonderful civility and generosity) than with his superiors or equals. . . . He was not without vanity, but his virtues were much superior, and he well deserved to have his memory preserved and celebrated among the most illustrious persons of the age in which he lived.’ Montrose was no doubt ambitious and fond of applause; as he himself frankly acknowledged, ‘he was one of those that loved to have praise for virtuous actions.’ But Clarendon admits that he was a man of ‘a clear spirit,’ ‘a man of the clearest honour, courage, and affection to the King’s service.’ ‘A person of as great honour, and as exemplary integrity and loyalty, as ever that nation (the Scottish) bred.’ It is impossible, however, to deny that Montrose waged war in a sanguinary spirit, and that he permitted, if he did not authorise, his troops to lay waste the country in a cruel and vindictive manner. His own defence against this charge has already been quoted, and it has been pleaded in extenuation that this was ‘the fault of his country and his age, and that his enemies showed as little of mercy and forbearance.’

In his personal deportment, Montrose was dignified yet graceful. His features, though not handsome, were singularly expressive. ‘His hair was of a dark brown colour, and a high nose, a full, decided, well-opened, quick, grey eye, and a sanguine complexion, made amends for some coarseness and irregularity in the subordinate parts of the face. His stature was very little above the middle size; but in person he was uncommonly well built, and capable both of exerting great force, and enduring much fatigue. He was a man of a very princely carriage, and excellent address, which made him treated by all princes for the most part with the greatest familiarity. He was a complete horseman, and had a singular grace in riding.’ ‘As he was strong of body and limb, so he was most agile, which made him excel most others in those exercises where these two are required. His bodily endowments were equally fitting the court as the camp.’

Two days after his execution, the heart of Montrose was taken out of his body, which, in accordance with his sentence, was buried at the foot of the gallows on the Boroughmuir. This feat was accomplished by ‘conveyance of some adventurous spirits appointed by that noble and honourable lady, the Lady Napier, taken out and embalmed in the most costly manner by that skilful chirurgeon and apothecary, Mr. James Callander, and then put in a rich case of gold.’ This interesting relic was in the possession, last century, of Francis, fifth Lord Napier, great-grandson of the lady who had it embalmed. Its subsequent extraordinary fortunes are narrated in a letter from Sir Alexander Johnstone, formerly Chief Justice of Ceylon, which is printed in the Appendix to Mr. Napier’s ‘Life of Montrose.’ According to Sir Alexander, the gold filigree box containing the heart of Montrose was given by Lord Napier, on his deathbed, to his eldest and favourite daughter, who afterwards became Mrs. Johnstone and Sir Alexander’s mother. She accompanied her husband to India, and during the voyage the gold box was struck by a splinter, in action with a French frigate. ‘When in India,’ continues Sir Alexander, ‘my mother’s anxiety about it gave rise to a report amongst the natives of the country that it was a talisman, and that whoever possessed it would never be wounded in battle or taken prisoner. Owing to this report it was stolen from her, and for some time it was not known what had become of it. At last she heard that it had been offered for sale to a powerful chief, who had purchased it for a large sum of money.’ Sir Alexander happened to pay a visit to this chief, and induced him to restore the stolen property. It was again lost by Mr. and Mrs. Johnstone, from its being secreted, along with some other plate, in a well at Boulogne during the French Revolution, and was never recovered by them. ‘We can scarcely conceive a stranger turn of fate,’ says Earl Stanhope, ‘than that the same nerves and sinews which had throbbed to the eager pulse of a Scottish hero in the Highlands, should, a century afterwards, come to be worshipped as a talisman on an Indian idol shrine.’

The ‘Great Marquis of Montrose,’ as he is usually termed, was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, JAMES, who was born about the year 1631. He was restored to the family dignities and estates, and had a new patent of marquis granted to him after the Restoration, 12th October, 1660. With great good feeling, he refused to vote on the trial of the Marquis of Argyll, the noted enemy of his father. He received, on the 21st of August, 1661, a charter of the Lordship of Cowal, forfeited by the chief of the Campbells, and was appointed one of the extraordinary Lords of Session, June 25th, 1668. But he had a strong aversion to the intrigues and factions of a public career during that stormy period, and preferred the peace and repose of private life. The ‘Good Marquis,’ as he was designated, was peculiarly amiable in his disposition. He died in 1669, and was succeeded by his son-

JAMES, third Marquis, who was appointed by Charles II. Captain of the Guard, and afterwards President of the Council. Unmindful of the example set him by his father, he acted as chancellor of the jury who brought in a verdict of guilty against the Earl of Argyll, his cousin-german, 12th December, 1681, one of the most iniquitous acts of that shameful period. The Marquis died prematurely in 1684, leaving an only son, JAMES, fourth Marquis and first Duke of Montrose. He was a mere child at the time of his father’s death, and was left to the guardianship of his mother, along with the Earls of Haddington and Perth, Hay of Drummelzier, and Sir William Bruce of Kinross. On the 1st of February, 1688, however, the Marchioness was deprived of this office, on pretence of her marriage with Sir John Bruce, younger, of Kinross, but in reality it was believed because King James wished to have the young nobleman brought up as a Roman Catholic. Fortunately the expulsion of the arbitrary and unconstitutional sovereign from the throne frustrated his design; but his feeling on the subject was made evident by his removal from their seats on the bench of Lords Harcarse and Edmonstone, the judges who had voted in favour of the tutors selected by the father. The young Marquis spent some time travelling on the Continent. He grew up singularly handsome and engaging in his manners, and joined the Whig party, by whom he was highly esteemed and honoured. He was appointed High Admiral of Scotland in February, 1705, President of the Council, February 28th, 1706, was a steady supporter of the Union between Scotland and England, and was created Duke of Montrose on the 24th of April, 1707. He was five times chosen one of the representative peers of Scotland, and held that position from 1707 to 1727. He was also appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal, February 23rd, 1709, but was removed from that office in 1713 by the Tory Ministry. On hearing that Queen Anne was dying, the Duke, along with other Whig peers, hastened to Edinburgh, and, on the announcement of her death, they proclaimed George I., who had appointed the Duke one of the Lords of Regency. He then hastened to London to receive the new King, and six days after George had landed, he appointed Montrose Secretary of State for Scotland in room of the Earl of Mar, and he was sworn a Privy Councillor October 4, 1717. He was appointed Keeper of the Great Seal in Scotland; but, in consequence of his opposition to Walpole, he was dismissed from that office in April.

The Duke made a great addition to his hereditary estates by purchasing the property of the Duke of Lennox in Dumbartonshire, along with the hereditary sheriffdom of that county, the custodianship of Dumbarton Castle, and the regality of Lennox. His Grace was for many years involved in a kind of private, or local, war with the celebrated freebooter, Rob Roy Macgregor. They had some transactions in common in cattle dealing, the Duke having lent Rob considerable sums of money to enable him to carry on his speculations in the cattle trade. Unfortunately a sudden depression of markets, and the dishonesty of a partner named Macdonald, rendered Rob totally insolvent. The Duke, who conceived himself deceived and cheated by Macgregor’s conduct, employed legal means to recover the money lent to him. Rob’s landed property of Craigroyston was attached by the regular form of legal procedure, and his stock and furniture was seized and sold. Considering himself harshly and oppressively treated by the Duke, Macgregor carried on a predatory war against his Grace for thirty years, drove away his cattle, on one occasion robbed his factor of £300 which he had just received as rent, and repeatedly carried off quantities of corn from the granaries on the estate. The Duke made vigorous, but fruitless, efforts to destroy his troublesome adversary. On one occasion he actually surprised Macgregor and made him prisoner; but he succeeded in making his escape, in the manner described in Sir Walter Scott’s novel of ‘Rob Roy.’

The Duke, who was Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, died 7th January, 1742. The eldest of his four sons died in infancy. The second was created a peer of Great Britain by the title of Earl and Baron Graham of Belford, 23rd May, 1732, with remainder to his brother. He died unmarried in 1741. The third son—

WILLIAM, second Duke of Montrose, along with his younger brother, George, was placed under the tuition of David Mallet, or rather Malloch, from whom they were not likely to have learned much that was good, and along with him made the tour of Europe. The Duke was noted for his great personal courage. Boswell mentions that when riding one night near Farnham, on his way to London, Montrose (then Lord Graham) was attacked by two highwaymen on horseback; he instantly shot one of them, upon which the other galloped off. His servant, who was very well mounted, proposed to pursue and take the robber; but his Grace said, ‘No, we have had blood enough; I hope the man may live to repent.’ Under the Jurisdiction Act of 1747, the Duke recovered for the sheriffship of Dumbartonshire £3,000; for the regality of Montrose, £1,000; of Menteith, £200; of Lennox, £578 18s. 4d.; and of Darnley, £300; in all £5,078 18s 4d., instead of £15,000, which he claimed. The Duke became an adherent of William Pitt, and the family have ever since been attached to the Tory party. He died September 23rd, 1790, and was succeeded by his only surviving son—

JAMES, third Duke of Montrose. He represented in the House of Commons, first the borough of Richmond, in Yorkshire, at the general election of 1780, and subsequently Great Bedwin in 1784. He was appointed one of the Lords of the Treasury on the formation of the Ministry of Mr. Pitt in 1783, became Paymaster of the Forces in 1789, and one of the Commissioners of the Indian Board. He was appointed Master of the Horse in 1790—an office which he resigned for that’of Lord Justice-General of Scotland in 1795. He was also President of the Board of Trade, June 10, 1804, and Joint Postmaster-General, July 13 in the same year. He was removed by the Ministry of ‘All the Talents’ in 1806, but on the return of the Tories to power in the following year, he was again made Master of the Horse, an office which he held until 1821, when he succeeded the Marquis of Hertford as Lord Chamberlain. Like his father, he was Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, and was also Lord-Lieutenant of the counties of Stirling and Dumbarton, in which, before the Reform Bill, his influence was predominant. He died December 30th, 1836.

Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, in the ‘Memoirs of his own Times,’ says of this Duke: ‘Few individuals, however distinguished by birth, talents, parliamentary interest, or public services, have attained to more splendid employments, or have arrived at greater honours, than Lord Graham under the reign of George III. Besides enjoying the lucrative sinecure of Justice-General of Scotland for life, we have seen him occupy a place in the Cabinet while he was Postmaster-General, during Pitt’s second ill-fated administration. If he possessed no distinguished talent, he displayed various qualities calculated to compensate for the want of great ability, particularly the prudence, sagacity, and attention to his own interests so characteristic of the Caledonian people. Nor did he want great energy as well as activity of mind and body. During the progress of the French Revolution, when the fabric of our constitution was threatened by internal and external attacks, Lord Graham, then become Duke of Montrose, enrolled himself as a private soldier in the City Light Horse. During several successive years he did duty in that capacity night and day, sacrificing to it his ease and his time, thus holding out an example worthy of imitation to the British nobility.’

The Duke was succeeded by his son JAMES, fourth Duke, who was Lord-Lieutenant of Stirlingshire, and commander of the Royal Archers of Scotland. He was esteemed and liked as a nobleman of an amiable disposition, but he took no prominent part in public affairs. He died in 1874, and was succeeded by his third and only surviving son—

DOUGLAS BERESFORD MALISE RONALD GRAHAM, the fifth and present Duke, born in 1852. Lady Beatrice Violet, the second daughter of the late Duke, wife of the Hon. Algernon W. Fulke-Greville, is the authoress of several clever and popular works. Lady Alma, the youngest daughter, is the present Marchioness of Breadalbane.


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