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Memoirs of the Jacobites
The Master of Sinclair

John Sinclair, called, in compliance with the custom of Scotland in regard to the eldest sons of Barons, the Master of Sinclair, was descended from the ancient family of Saint Clare, in France, on whom lands were bestowed by Alexander the Third of Scotland. In early times, the titles of Earls of Orkney and Caithness had been given to the first settlers of the Saint Clares; and the possession of the islands of Orkney and Shetland had been added to certain royal donations, by a marriage with an heiress of the surname of Speire. One of the Sinclairs had even borne the dignity of Prince of Orkney; but this distinction was lost by an improvident member of the house of Sinclair, called William the Waster ; and the prosperity of his descendants was due only to the favour of James the Sixth, who created Henry Sinclair, of Dysart in Fife, a Baron.

The family continued in honour and estimation until the subject of this memoir, John, brought upon it disgrace, and incurred to himself lasting self-reproach.

The Master of Sinclair was the eldest son of Henry, seventh Lord Sinclair, and the representative, then;-fore, of an honourable family. But it was his fate to forfeit his birthright, not so much by his adherence to an ill-fated cause, as by the violence and brutality of his own temper and conduct.

He was, at an early age, engaged in the military profession, and bore the commission of Captain-Lieutenant in Preston's regiment under the great Marlborough. At the battle of Wynendale, fought on the twenty-eighth of September, 1708, the events which stamped the future character of the Master of Sinclair's destiny occurred.

Two brothers of the name of Schaw, Scotchmen, of an ancient race, and ancestors, collaterally, of the present family of Shaw-Stewart of Renfrew, had commissions also in Preston's regiment. These unfortunate young men were of the chief family of the Schaws, or Sauchie, who had flourished since the reign of Robert the Second.

By that singular coincidence which sometimes occurs, and which seems to stamp certain races with misfortune, the Schaws had already been nearly exterminated fa feudal times by the violence of a neighbouring clan, the Montgomeries of Skeilmorlie; and had been preserved from total destruction by what seemed to human comprehension to be the merest chance. By one of the Montgomeries, the Tower of Greenock was invaded and taken, and the Laird of Schaw and four or five of his sons were put to death, One child, then in his cradle, alone escaped, and grew up to manhood, with the resolution to avenge his father and his brothers rankling at his heart. Accordingly, he collected his friends and dependants, and invested, during a period of repose and security, the house of his enemy. Montgomery, finding his castle attacked, stood forth on the battlements, and, after demanding a parley with the besieger, "Are you not," he cried out, "an ungrateful man to come hither with bow and brand to take the life of the man who made you young laird and auld laird in the same day? Young Schaw, struck by the argument, drew off his forces, and left the castle of Skeilmorlie standing, and its Inmates uninjured.

The family of Schaw were zealous Whigs, the father of the two young officers in Preston's regiment having raised a regiment at the time of the Revolution, without any other expense to the Government than that of sergeants and drummers.

The eldest brother, Sir John Schaw, had been an active promoter of the Union ; and, upon a threatened invasion of the French, and a consequent alarm of the Jacobites, Sir John had offered to join the army with five or six hundred of his followers. This decided political bias may, perhaps, in some measure, account for the disposition to affront on the side of Sinclair, and the quickness to resent on the other hand, which was shown between the parties.

During the battle of Wynendale, in the midst of the fire, it appeared, in evidence afterwards taken, that Ensign Hugh Schaw, the first of the victims to the Master of Sinclair's wrath, was heard to call out to the Master "to stand upright;" it was afterwards publicly stated by Ensign Hugh Schaw, that he had done so upon seeing Sinclair bow himself down to the ground for a considerable time. This alleged act of cowardice on the part of Sinclair appears, however, not to have really taken place; but it was made the groundwork of a calumnious imputation. It must, however, be acknowledged, that there was nothing iu the subsequent conduct of the Master of Sinclair, as far as the battle of Sherriff Muir was concerned, to raise his character as a man of personal bravery.

Upon hearing of this injurious report, Sinclair sent a challenge to Ensign Schaw. It was dispatched through the medium of a brother officer, to whom the Ensign replied, at first, that he had just heard of his brother George's being wounded before Lisle, and that it was of far greater importance that he should go to him than accept the Master of Sinclair's challenge; besides, the young man added, that since his last misfortune, probably a fatal duel, he had pledged himself neither to receive nor to give a challenge. Should a rencontre happen, he would defend himself as he could ; that, after all, he had said nothing but what he could prove. Upon these words being repeated to the Master of Sinclair, he fell into a violent passion, and swore that he would not give Schaw fair play; that his honour was concerned. The second w hom he had employed then threatened to take the challenge to Colonel Preston; upon which the Master told him "he was a rascal if he did it."

On the following day, the Master met Ensign Schaw, and taking a stick from underneath his coat, struck the Ensign two blows over the head with it. They both drew, and fought with such fury that the Master's sword was broken, and that of the Ensign bent ; upon which Sinclair retired behind a sentinel, desiring him "to keep off the Ensign, as his sword was broken." Schaw then said, "You know I am more of a gentleman than to pursue you when your sword is broken." But the young soldier Schaw had at this time received a mortal wound, of which he died; but not until after the verdict of the court-martial ultimately held on Sinclair.

In the course of three days a second fatal rencontre succeeded this deadly contest; and another brother, Captain Alexander Schaw, fell a victim to the vindictive and brutal notions at that period considered in the army to constitute a code of honour.

Captain Schaw was naturally indignant at the death of his brother; he expressed his anger openly, and said, that the Master of Sinclair had "paper in his breast," against which his brother's sword was bent; and that he had received the fatal wound after his sword had thus become useless. The Master of Sinclair having heard of these assertions, resolved to avenge himself for these imputations cast upon him. On the thirteenth of September, as Captain Schaw was riding at the head of Major How's regiment, the sound of his own name, repeated twice, announced the approach of the hated Sinclair. Captain Schaw turned, and inquired of the Master what he wanted. Sinclair replied, by asking him to go to the front, as he wanted to speak to him; to which Captain Schaw rejoined, that he might speak to him there. "Yes," returned Sinclair, "but if I fire at you here, I may shoot some other body." Captain Schaw answered, that he might fire at him if he pleased, he bore him no ill-will " If you will not go to the front," returned Sinclair, "beg my pardon." This was refused, some words of further aggravation ensued; then the Master of Sinclair drew his pistol and fired at Schaw. The Captain was also preparing to fire; his hand was in the act of drawing his pistol when it was for ever checked, whether employed for good or evil; the aim of Sinclair was certain, and Schaw fell dead from his horse. Sinclair, without waiting to inquire how far mortal might be the wound he had inflicted, rode away.

Thus perished two young officers, described by their brother, Sir John Schaw, as "very gallant gentlemen." To complete the tragedy, a third, wounded at Lisle, was brought to the camp at Wynendale, and expired in the same room with his brother, Ensign Schaw, partly of his wounds, partly of grief for his brother's death; so that the offender, as the surviving brother remarked, "was not wholly innocent even of his blood:" yet both these rencontres, to. adopt the mild term employed by Sir Walter Scott, were viewed in a very lenient manner by the officers of the court-martial which afterwards sat upon the case, and even by Marlborough himself. The Master of Sinclair speaks of them in his narrative in terms which imply that one, whose hands were so deeply dyed in crime, regarded himself as an injured man; there can scarcely be a better exemplification of the deceitfulness of the heart than such a representation.

On the seventeenth of October, 1708, a court-martial upon the Master of Sinclair was held at Ronsales by the command of the Duke of Marlborough. Upon the first charge, that of challenging Ensign Hugh Schaw (in breach of the twenty-eighth article of war), Sinclair was acquitted, the court being of opinion that the challenge was not proved.

Of the second accusation, that of killing Captain Alexander Schaw, the Master of Sinclair was found guilty, and sentenced to suffer death. He was, however, recommended to the mercy of the Duke of Marlborough, in consideration of the provocation which he had received,—the prisoner having declared that, not only on that occasion, but upon several, and in different regiments, Captain Schaw had defamed him; that he was forced to do what he did, and that he had done it with reluctance.

The case was, however, afterwards referred to the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, who gave it their opinion that Sinclair was guilty of murder; for had the trial taken place in England before a common jury, the judge must have directed the jury to find him guilty of murder, no provocation whatever being sufficient to excuse malice, or to make the offence of killing less than murder, when it is committed with premeditation. How far the provocation was to he considered as a ground of mercy, these legal functionaries declined to judge.

Upon the publication of this sentence, Sir John Schaw addressed a petition to Queen Anne, praying for justice on the murderer of his brothers, and appealing to his Sovereign against the extraordinary recommendation of the court to mercy. He also wrote urgent letters to the Earl of Stair and the Duke of Argyle, praying for their intercession with the Duke of Marlborough that the murderer of his brothers might be punished. He next wrote to the Duke of Marlborough himself. The following letters show the earnestness of the pleader, and prove the caution and subtlety of the General. Some deep political motive lay beneath the mercy shown to Sinclair, otherwise it seems impossible to account for the conduct of so great a disciplinarian as Marlborough in this affair.

Sir John Schaw to the Duke of Marlborough.

"May it pleas your Grace,

"Amongst the misfortunes that attend the matters of my two brothers, I thinck it's one to be constrain'd to appear importunate with your Grace. The case, by the depositions of the witnesses, being in the opinion of the learn'd lawyers of the most atrocius nature, and not pardonable by the law of the country whereof we are subjects, and such as indispensable requires my utmost applications for redress, I cannot forbear the repeating of my submissive prayers to your Grace for speedy justice. The blood of my brothers, the tyes of nature, and the sentiments of friendship, would render the least negligence on my part inexcusable with the world and with my own conscience.

"I should deliver my petition personally, rather than venture to give your Grace the trouble of letters, were I not sufficiently assured of your Grace's justice, and at the same time willing to gratifie my well wishers desires in staying here. Hoping your Grace wil, with a condescending compassion to my present circumstances, favourably admit the bearer, Capt, James Stuart, in Coll. M'Carty's regiment, who is my faithfull friend and near relation, to deliver this letter, and represent my case, that the whole matter may be sett in a true light for a finall decision, in the meantime, I remain, with a profound respect, my Lord, Your Grace's most humble, etc."

"To the Duke of Malborough, London, the 29th November, 1708."

The Duke of Marlborough to Sir John Schaw.*


"Captain Stewart has delivered me your letter of the twenty-first of November; I had before, from the Secretary at Warr, tho opinion of the Attorney and Sollicitor General upon the proceedings of the court-martiall, with the copie of the petition you had presented to the Queen, hut no positive directions from hir Majesty, which I should have been very glad to have received, being without it under very great uneasiness, as Captain Steward will tell you ; however, you may be sure I shall have all the regard you can desire for your just resentment against Mr. Sinclair, being truly, Sir,  Your most humble servant,


"Copie letter Duke of Marlborrough to Sir John Schaw, dated at the Camp at Melle, the 10th December, 1708."

After this correspondence, the unhappy brother of the two young officers had every reason to conclude that the delinquent would very soon be brought to justice. He wrote to Mr. Cardonnel, secretary to the Duke of Marlborough, in grateful terms for the kind intercession employed for him. What was afterwards his astonishment to find that Sinclair was allowed to serve in the British army in the sieges of Lisle and Ghent, and eventually received in the Prussian service! The evident favour of the Duke is fully shown in the following passage from the Master of Sinclair's narrative :

"I was obliged to quit [the army] for two misfortunes which happened in a very short time, one after the other, not-withstanding of the court-marshall's recommending me to the General, his Grace the Duke of Marlborough's mercy, which was always looked on as equal to a pardon, and which I can aver was never refused to any one but myself. Nor was his allowing me to serve at the sieges of Lisle and Ghent precedented on my giving my word of honour to return to arrest after these sieges were over, which I did and continued (prisoner) till his Grace the Duke of Marlborough sent his repeated orders to make my escape, which I disobeyed twice; but at last being encouraged by his promise to recommend me to any prince that I pleased, for these were his words, I went off, and procured his recommendation to the King of Prussia, from whose service, which I may say is of the strictest, I came back to serve in the Low Countries, where I continued until the end of the war, at which time her Majesty Queen Anne having, as it is said, turned Tory, vouchsafed me her pardon."

These marks of indulgence to Sinclair fell heavily upon the heart of him who still mourned two promising brothers, sent to an untimely grave by brutal revenge. The following letter from Sir John Schaw is beautifully and touchingly expressed. What effect it produced upon the great but not faultless man to whom it was addressed, can only be known by the impunity with which Sinclair, his hands being imbued in the blood of his countrymen, continued in the Prussian army, and afterwards returned to Scotland.

"It is with very great regrate that I give your Grace any further trouble on account of the melancholy story of my two brothers, who had the misfortune to be murdered in the space of three dayes by Lieutenant Sinclair, then in the regiment of Prestoun, in the year 1708. Your Grace was at the paines to be informed of the whole case, and the murtherer, being a man of quality, had many to intercede for him; your justice did overcome all other considerations and indeed nothing could be more worthie of the great character your Grace has, and the glorious name you must leave to posterity, than the punishment of so cruel and bloodie a fact; but the criminal escaped, and the sentence of death pronounced by the court-martial, and confirmed by your Grace, was not executed; and I, having done all I could to bring the murtherer of my unfortunate brothers to condign punishment, was satisfied to pursue him no further, tho' the atrocity of the crime committed against the law of nations would have affoarded me ground to have prosecuted him in any country where he could have been found. But to my surprize and sorrow, I have of late been informed that Lieutenant Sinclair has added to the repeated murthors the impudence of returning, an officer in a Prussian regiment, to the army, where he was condemn'd, as it were to affront justice, and glory in what he has done. I am wel persuaded, that if his guilt had been known to the King of Prussia or his Generals, his Majesty would not have suffered so odious ane offender to be entertained in his service. Nor can the Generals or Ministers of Prussia have anything to plead, why a sentence pronounced by a British court-martial against one of hir Majesty's subjects, and confirmed by your excellency her Generall, should not now be executed. I am confident your Grace will not sufferr publick justice to be insulted in that affair, and I doe in the most humble and earnest manner begg that your Grace would cause apprehend the murtherer, that justice may be done upon him for his barbarous and bloodie crimes. I had about two years ago four brothers, of whom I may without vanity say, they were very gallant gentlemen; two were murthered by Lieutenant Sinclair; the third died in the roome with one of these, partly of his wounds received before Lille, and pairtlv out of griefe for his brothers' misfortunes, so that the offender is not innocent even of his blood; the fourth was killed at the battle of Mons. The blood of these that were barbarously slain, call for vengeance; the law of God and nature requires it. They had, and I in their name have a claime, in a particular manner, to your Grace's justice, they having been all four under your Grace's command; forgive it to my natural affection, if I use arguments with your Grace to do an act of justice when the whole world, and I in particular, have such proofs of the greatness of your minde and virtue, I shall only add my most sincere and humble acknowledgement of your Grace's justice and dispatch in the melancholic affair, of which I shall ever retain the most gratefull sense ; and remain under the strictest tyes of dutie, with the most profound respect, my Lord, your Grace's most humble, most obedient, obliged, and faithful servant," &c,

With this letter, and some memorials of Sir John Schaw's public service, end all known appeals for justice on the murderer. But conscience avenged the crime. Many years afterwards, when living in opulence upon his patrimonial estate at Dysart in Fife, the Master received from an humble individual a bitter, though involuntary reproach. When preparing to cross the Frith, he stopped at an inn in order to engage a running footman to attend him. Detested by his neighbours, and ever in dread of the Schaws, Sinclair preserved a sort of incognito. A youth was presented for his approval. The Master inquired of the young candidate what proof he could give of his activity, on which this remarkable reply was given: "Sir, I ran beside the Master of Sinclair's horse when he rode post from the English camp to escape the death for which he was condemned for the murder of the two brothers." The Master," adds Sir Walter Scott, "much shocked, was nearly taken ill on the spot."

During the insurrection of 1715, the Master of Sinclair took at first an active part, and became the commander of a company of Jacobite gentlemen of Fife. He joined the Earl of Mar at Leith, and was employed by an expedition which gained some credit to the Jacobites. Some arms having been brought out of Edinburgh for the use of the Earl of Sutherland, and being put on board a ship at Leith, the Earl of Mar resolved to intercept these supplies. The wind being contrary, the master of the vessel thus loaded had dropped into Brunt Island, and had gone into the town on that island to see his family. A party of four hundred horse and as many foot was meantime detached on the second of October, 1715, and arrived at the island about midnight. They pressed all the boats in the harbour, and boarded the vessel, carrying off three hundred and six complete stand of arms, together with a, considerable number which they found in the town. This expedition was skilfully contrived and managed, the horse surrounding the town whilst the foot ransacked it; and the invasion was made so silently that the Duke of Argyle gained no tidings of it.

After this exploit the Master of Sinclair returned to the camp at Perth, there to promote, if not actually to originate, divisions which were fatal to the cause which he had espoused. Lord Mar, in his letters, charges him, indeed, distinctly with being the very source of the dissensions which soon sprang up among the Jacobite chiefs. The temper of Sinclair could ill brook submission to the Earl of Mar, whom, as a General, he soon ceased to respect; and for whose difficult situation he had no relenting feelings. "The Master," writes Sir Walter Scott, "who was a man of strong sense, acute observation, and some military experience, besides being of a haughty and passionate temper, averse to deference and subordination, soon placed himself in opposition to the general, whom he seems to have at once detested and despised."

The unfortunate result of the siege of Preston, soon brought to light the discontents which the Master had nourished among the followers of Mar. Parties had, indeed, for some time agitated the camp. When the disasters in England gave them a fresh impulse, and Lord Mar feelingly, and perhaps not too severely, described the influence of Sinclair when he bitterly describes him as "a devil in the camp, known in his true colours when calamity had befallen those with whom he was in conjunction." It was henceforth in vain that Mar, to use his own expression, "endeavoured to keep people from breaking among themselves until the long-expected arrival of the Chevalier should, it was hoped, check the growing jealousies in the camp ;" a party arose, headed by Lord Huntley, Lord Seaforth, and the Master of Sinclair, who soon obtained the name of the Grumbler's Club, and who rendered themselves odious to the sincere and zealous Jacobites.

Lord Huntley appears from Lord Mar's representations, to have been completely under the influence of the Master." "Lord Huntley," writes Lord Mar, "is still very much out of humour, and nothing can make him yet believe that the King is coming. He intends to go north, under the pretext of reducing Lord Sutherland, and his leaving us at this time, I think, might have very bad effects, which makes me do all I can to keep him. The Master of Sinclair is a very bad instrument about fairs, and has been most to blame for all the differences amongst us. I am plagued out of my life with them, but must do the best I can."

Lord Huntley, however, continued to manifest the greatest disgust and suspicion of Lord Mar, often refusing to see him, and, though still lingering at Perth, threatening continually to leave the camp and go northward.

Lord Sinclair, meantime, having heard of these factions, and being sincerely affected to the cause of the Stuarts, wrote to his son "a sharp letter about his behaviour," and a visit of explanation from the Master instantly followed. During his absence there was a revulsion of feeling among the Grumblers, and some contrition was expressed by them for the part that they had acted; but the fiend returned, and the malcontents quietly relapsed.

The news of James's certain arrival silenced, for a time, all complaints ; but again they revived. Lord Mar seems to have had some misgiving of this, when he wrote, "Those that made a pretext of the King's not being landed, are now left inexcusable, and if those kind of folks now sit still and look any more on, they ought to be worse treated than our worse enemies." Yet it appears by a subsequent letter, that the grievances of which the General complained so bitterly, were not cured even by the presence of the Chevaiier; that those who had made a pretext of his absence to complain and despond, desponded still, and that, in fact, the malady was so deep-seated as to he incurable.

It may be urged, in vindication of the Master, who so obviously aggravated the spirit of the Grumblers, that the event proved that his apprehensions were well founded. It was, indeed, natural for an experienced officer who had served under Mallborough, to view with dissatisfaction and suspicion the feeble and tardy movements of Lord Mar. Yet a hearty well-wisher to any cause would have abstained from infusing distrust into those counsels which, whether wise or foolish, were destined to guide the adherents of the party. A man of honour will enter, heart and soul, into what he undertakes, or not enter at all. The conduct of Sinclair was that of a mean, morose spirit; and it is but fair to conclude that his motives for adopting the name of Jacobite were either those of personal advancement, or arose out of an enforced compliance with the wishes of his father.

Whilst Sinclair was thus undermining the welfare of the party to which he nominally belonged, his determined enemy, Sir John Schaw. after assisting the Duke of Argyle in defending Inverness against the insurgent troops, was marching with Lord Isla to rejoin the Duke of Argyle in his march towards Perth. It so happened that Lord Isla and his friends reached Sherriff Muir at the very moment when the Government troops and the Jacobites were about to join in battle. "Sir John," says Sir Walter Scott, "though he had no command, engaged as a volunteer and we may suppose his zeal for King George was heightened by the recollection that the slayer of his brothers fought under the opposite banners." He behaved himself with distinguished courage, receiving a wound on his arm, and another in his side. He was, at this time, the only surviving brother out of four, his brother Thomas having been slain at the siege of Mobs, a year after the death of the others. A month before Sir John Schaw had joined the Duke, Lady Schaw, the daughter of Sir Hugh Dalrymple, and a woman of singular energy and spirit, assembled the Greenock companies in arms, and telling them that the Protestant religion, with their laws, liberties, and lives, and all that was dear to them as men and Christians, were in hazard by that unnatural rebellion, exhorted them to conduct themselves suitably to the occasion.

The conduct of Sinclair at the battle of Sherriff Muir was not inconsistent with his former life. He remained, in that engagement, stationary, with the Marquis of Huntley, at the head of the cavalry of Fife and Aberdeen; hence the lines in the old song on Sherriff Muir.

"Huntly and Sinclair
They baith play'd the Tinkler,
With consciences black as a craw, man.

Upon the return of the Jacobite army to Perth, where they waited, as Scott remarks in a tone of mournful reprobation of Mar, "until their own forces should disperse, those of their enemy advance, and the wintry storm so far subside as to permit the Duke of Argyle to advance against them," Sinclair was the chief promoter of a scheme formed by the Grumblers for a timely submission to Government. Instigated by their wishes, an attempt was made by Lord Mar to procure, through the Duke of Argyle's mediation, some terms with Government ; but it failed, and those who had embarked in the cause were obliged to provide, as they best might, individually for their safety. The whole tenour of Sinclair's conduct was such as to draw down upon him the severest invectives of his party. In one of the poems of the day he is thus described :

"The master with the bully's face,
And 'with the coward heart,
Who never fail'd, to his disgrace,
To act a coward's part,
Did join Dunbogue, the greatest rogue,
In all the shire of Fife,
Who was the first the cause to leave,
By counsel from his wife."

The Master quitted the insurgent party at Perth, and joined the Marquis of Huntley at Strathbogie; thence he proceeded as a fugitive through Caithness and Orkney, with a few friends, who, like himself, were hopeless of pardon. After wandering in these remote districts for some time, the Master and his friends seized upon a small vessel and fled to the Continent. The Marquis of Huntley, more fortunate than his political ally, obtained his full pardon, in consideration of his having left the rebels in time.

The Master of Sinclair married, afterwards, the widowed Countess of Southesk, whom he probably met when on the Continent, since it appears that the Countess, for some time subsequent to the death of her husband, lived at Brussels. In referring to this union, it may not be improper to give, some account of the family into connection with which it brought the Master of Sinclair.

James Carnegie, Earl of Southesk, the first husband of the lady whom the Master of Sinclair married, was descended from David Carnegie, an eminent lawyer, who in 1616 was raised to the dignity of Lord Carnegie of Kinnaird, and in 1623 was created, by Charles the First, Earl of Southesk. Like most of those families who had been elevated by the Stuarts to the peerage, the house of Carnegie retained a strong sense of their duty of allegiance to the Crown; and the first Earl of Southesk suffered for his principles by imprisonment and the extortion of a fine of three thousand pounds from his estates in the time of Cromwell.

James, the fifth Earl of Southesk, although nearly allied by his mother's side to the Maitlands, Earls of Lauderdale, had retained as great an affection for the Stuarts as his ancestors had manifested. Of the personal qualities of this nobleman little is generally known, except that he has been designated, generous Southesk!—of his fate, and of the subsequent fortunes of his family, still less is to he ascertained. Some few particulars which are to he derived from the State Papers are discreditable to the memory of this nobleman. Like several other Jacobite noblemen, who have been mentioned elsewhere, Lord Southesk did not hesitate to summon his tenants to follow him to the field in the most peremptory terms. His commands fell heavily, in one instance, upon a poor man who lived on the Earl's estate, and bore also the name of James Carnegie. This unlucky man was a natural son of Charles, the late Earl of Southesk, and was therefore a brother of the present Earl James. Like all dependants in those days, he seems to have entertained a deep sense of his obligation to serve and to obey the head of the family ; and his obedience was probably ensured by the tic of blood, however unacknowledged as constituting a claim between him and the Earl of Southesk. James Carnegie exercised the profession of a surgeon in the neighbourhood of Ivinnaird, then the territory of Lord Southesk, and was employed by the Earl, who appears to have entertained considerable opinion of his skill. When the Insurrection of 1715 broke out, it would have been consistent with the character of a " brave and generous man" to have left this humble practitioner free to follow his own wishes, and not to have embroiled him in the dangers of that disastrous undertaking. A further claim upon the Earl's forbearance was the personal defect of the poor surgeon, who was lame, and short in stature. He was nevertheless ordered to meet Lord Southesk, at a certain place of rendezvous, on a certain day. A compliance was expected as a matter of course, for James Carnegie was a yearly pensioner of his noble and powerful brother, and refusal was sure. Nevertheless, the surgeon ventured on this occasion to judge for himself. He had, it appears, from his subsequent declaration, been ever well affected to the reigning Government and attached to the Revolution interest, and, by his disapprobation of the Insurrection of 1713, had given umbrage to his nearest relations. Upon the command of Lord Southesk being issued to follow him to the camp at Perth, Carnegie would have tied and hidden himself but for the illness of his wife ; he afterwards took refuge in the house of Lord Northesk, but his seclusion was of no avail. The following letter from Lord Southesk, the original of which is in the State Paper Office, affords a curious insight into the despotism exercised by the little kings of the Highlands over their subjects :—


"After what I both wrote and spoke to you, I did not think you would have made any furder difficulty's of going to Perth with me. I know very well your wife's circumstances are to be pity'd; however, since you have a pension from me, and served me since you have hail any business, there is nobody of your employment in this country that I can put any confidence in, whatever may happen to me. Therefore, I desire you may make no furder excuses; and if you can't be ready to wait upon me from Kinnaird upon Monday, I desire you may follow me upon Teusday ; :f you do not, you will for ever disoblige


"Kmrwiru, Sept. 17, 1715."

I desire you may come and speak with me this night, or to-morrow, at furdest."

"The Case of James Carnegie," also in the State Paper Office, furnishes a supplement to this peremptory summons.

"The Case of James Carnegie showeth, that though he lived in a country and amongst men the most notoriously disaffected of any in Scotland, ho had, ever since his appearance in the world, espoused the Revolution interest, and given proofs of his affection to it, as would appear more fully in a declaration from the Presbytery of Brichen, in whose bounds he resided, and from another from Mr. John Anderson, his parish minister That upon the first suspision of the treasonable designs of the rebells, Mr. James Carnegy would have set off and gone south, had not his wife's dangerous state (thought to be dying) obliged him to remain. That after the rebellion broke out, he firmly withstood all solicitations to join it, his neighbours and friends there threatening to burn house and land. He being disappointed of going south, attempted to retire to Ethie, Lord Nbrthesk's house, in Forfarshire. He could not remain concealed, the rebells being possessed of all the passes in the country. Finding himself blocked up amongst his enemies, to avoid the execution of the threatenings against him, he was induced, to his shame and regret, to go to Perth, but permitted none of his dependants or tennents to accompany him, and went with no arms but what gentlemen were in the habit of wearing. In order to give no support to those traitorous designs, he feigned illness at Coupar of Angus, but they forced him to go."

The issue of this affair was mournful. At the battle of Sherriff Muir where the Earl of Southesk appeared with three hundred men, the unfortunate nobleman was supposed to be slain. His faithful, though reluctant attendant, James Carnegie, was taken prisoner as he was looking over the field of battle in order to find the body of his lord. He was carried into prison at Carlisle, whence considerable exertions were made for his release, not only by his own representations, but by the mediation of Sir James Stewart, the governor of the castle. What was the result, whether the blameless victim of the will of others was released, or whether he sank among the many who could not sustain the hardships of their fate, does not appear.

The Earl of Southesk, although it was reported he had been killed, rallied his men, and retreated with the Marquis of Tullibardine, the Earl Marischal and several heads of clans to the mountains, to shelter themselves from the pursuit of the Government troops. Some of these chieftains afterwards made their escape to Skye, Lewis, and other of the north-western islands, till ships came to their relief and carried them abroad. What was the fate of the Earl of Southesk afterwards is not known,. neither what became of his descendant. He had married the Lady Margaret Stewart, daughter of the Earl of Galloway, and by her, according to some accounts, he had two sons; according to a contemporary Scottish peerage, he had one child only his widow also went on the Continent, and the mention of her name by her brother, the Earl of Galloway, in a letter written at Clery in France, without that of her husband, in May 1730, appears to indicate that she was then a widow, and not married again

The letter from Lord Garlies, in which Lady Southesk is mentioned, is to be seen in the Murray MS. in the Advocate's Library at Edinburgh. It is addressed to the eccentric and imprudent Sir Alexander Murray of Stanhope. These papers were found on a floor of a room, and were rescued from destruction by Dr. Irvine of the Advocate's Library. After some remarks of no moment, Lord Garlies, afterwards the Earl of Galloway, observes—

"But now I hope that yours and all honest men's misfortunes are to hove a tun, and since my belief has had the good fortune to gett a young prince, I pray God his and all honest men's misfortunes may be at an end ; and I hope before my young cheif dies, he that have the name of Charles the Third. I beg of you to let me hear from you, and when I may expect to have the happinesse of seeing you in this countrey, which is what I both long mightily for, and expect as soon as you can continiue.

How long Lady Southesk lived, the wife of the Master of Sinclair, is dubious. He survived her, and married afterwards, Emilia the daughter of Lord George Murray, brother of the Duke of Atholl. This intimate connection with one of the principal leaders of the Rebellion of 1745, did not, however, indues the Master to enter a second time into a course towards which he had, perhaps in truth, no sincere good will.

Upon his flight to the Continent, the Master of Sinclair was outlawed, and attainted in blood for his share in the Insurrection of 1715. His father being still alive, and not having taken an active part, his estates escaped forfeiture, and Lord Sinclair endeavoured so to dispose of them as to prevent their becoming the property of the Crown. It was necessary, on this account, that Lord Sinclair should disinherit his eldest son; and "as it would," says Sir Walter Scott, "have been highly impolitic to have alleged his forfeiture for treason as a cause of the deed, the slaughter of the Schaws was given as a reason for his exlieredation." The following is a clause of the deed by which the end was to be accomplished:

William Sinclairs, which set forth that their father had been induced to grant a disposition of his estate in their favour, and to pass over their elder brother, to prevent all inconvenience and hazard whatsoever which the rents of the said Lord Sinclair, his heritable estate, or his moveables, might be liable to, if they were settled in the said Master's person,  on account of the said Master of Sinclair his present circumstances, by means of an unfortunate quarrel that some years ago fell out between the said Master and two sons of the, deceased Sir John Schaw of Greenock; therefore," the deed proceeds to state, "it was reasonable that they, James and William Sinclair, should grant a back bond of settlement, binding themselves to manage the property, when they should respectively succeed to it by advice of friends, overseers, and managers,—viz. Sir John Erskine of Alva, Bart., Sir William Baird of New Baith, Bart., Mr. John Paterson, eldest lawful son to the deceased Archbishop of Glasgow, their brother-in-law—Sir John Cockburn of that Ilk, Bart., and Mr. Mathew Sinclair of Hermiston, their uncles.'' The said James and William Sinclair, as they should respectively succeed to the estate, were obliged to make certain necessary expenditure to the family for behoof of the Master; and the said James and William Sinclair became also bound, in case the Master, their brother, should become free of his present inconveniences, or should have a family of lawful children, then, and in that case to convey the estate to the said Master, or to his said children, at the sight of his trustees."

In the year 1726, the Master of Sinclair received pardon, as far as his life was concerned, but the forfeiture of his estates was not taken off, nor certain other incapacities reversed. He then returned to the. family estate of Dysart in life, of which he was, by his father's disposition of affairs, the actual proprietor; and although the rents of the property were levied in his brother's name, they were applied and received by the Master. General James Sinclair, the second brother of the Master, was then the nominal owner only of the estates. But although thus returning to his patrimonial inheritance, the Master never recovered the good will of his former friends, nor the blessings of security, and of a calm and honoured old age. He seldom visited Edinburgh, living in seclusion and never going from home without being well guarded and attended for fear of the Jacobites, or of his enemies the. Schaws. Under these circumstances it seems to have been a relief to his bitter spirit to have vented itself, in like manner with Lord Lovat, in composing memoirs of his own life. "These memoirs," says Sir Walter Scott, who long had a copy of them in his possession, are written with talent, and peculiar satirical energy, so much so indeed, that they have been hitherto deemed unfit for publication. The circumstances attending the slaughter of the Schaws argue a fierce and vindictive temper, and the frame of mind which Sinclair displays as an author exhibits the same character. They are, however, very curious, and it is to be hoped will one day be made public, as a valuable addition to the catalogue of royal and noble authors. It is singular that the author seems to have written himself into a tolerably good style, for the language of the Memoirs, which at first is scarcely grammatical, becomes as he advances disengaged, correct, and spirited."

On the whole, it must be acknowledged that qualities more repulsive and a career more culpable, have darkened no narrative connected with the Jacobites so unpleasantly as the biography of the Master of Sinclair. A disgrace, to every party, he appears to have joined the adherents of the Stuarts, only in order to disturb their councils, and to vilify their memory with personal invective. He has extorted no compassion for the errors and crimes of his earlier years by the couragc and magnanimity of a later period: His character stands forth, unredeemed by a single trait of heroism, in all the darkness of violence and revenge.

The barony of Sinclair, lost to the family in consequence of the attainder of the Master of Sinclair, was not assumed either by him, after his pardon in 1726, nor by his brother General James Sinclair. At the death of General Sinclair in 1762, the title reverted to Charles Sinclair, Esq., of Herdmanstown, a cousin, and after him to his son Andrew, who also allowed his claim to the Barony to lie dormant. It was, however, revived at his death in 1776, by his only son Charles, who is the present Lord Sinclair.

* The MS. Memoirs of the Master of Sinclair are at present in the possession of the Countess of Rosslyn.

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