« VorigeDoorgaan »
avows himself 'the most unhappy of mankind,' in so far as that, having been barbarously treated as a Hanoverian by the Court of St. Germains this twelve years,' his honesty should now be questioned by the Hanoverians at home:
'It's a very desperate case,' he adds, 'but there is nothing but a stout heart to a stey brae. I did foresee all the scaffolds that could be before me, and that did not hinder me to venture my life to support my kindred and serve the family of Argyll. If they let me perish, it will be a triumph to the family of Athole and to the Mackenzies, which will be neither honourable nor advantageous to the family of Argyll.' In other letters he professes, while lying in London, to be acquainted with all the movements of the Jacobites, who, he avers, are doing all in their power to oppose his obtaining a remission. Then this past and future Jacobite adds, in a tone of injured innocence, and with an effrontery that would seem positively audacious were it not amusing:
'It's a strange matter that the Ministers of State should give ear to those who are known enemies to the Government, against a man that has already suffered for it, and who is ready to venture his life still for the maintaining of it, and that at a time when the kingdoms are like to swim in blood; for now, you may fully depend on it, that the Pretender will be over in the month of March next. . . . I wish I could go and put myself at the head of my clan; people would then know what I could do. But it's a hard matter to be kept close here and get nothing done.'
It was not, however, till October 1715 that Lovat obtained his release, and he about that time also received his remission, in response to a petition addressed to the King by Brigadier Grant and others of his friends in the North. The moment he regained his liberty he started for Scotland. After some adventures-for he seems to have met with adventures wherever he went--he arrived at length at Stirling; and here, instead of being met, as he expected, by the Duke of Argyll with open arms,' he was received by Brigadier Grant with an apologetic, though friendly, message from his Grace. Lovat thereafter proceeded to the North, where he called off his clans from the insurgent army, and, in company with eight hundred of the clan Grant and eleven hundred Munroes, took part in the reduction of Inverness.
We have thus seen Lovat in war; shortly we find him in love. From affection perhaps, but mainly at first, we suspect, from motives of policy, he came to the conclusion that it was desirable that he should connect himself in marriage with a family so powerful in the North as that of Grant.
VOL. CLX. NO. CCCXXVII.
Accordingly, he had fixed his attention upon Margaret, youngest daughter of Ludovick, Laird of Grant, and sister to Brigadier Grant. Mr. Fraser speaks of this love-affair as 'somewhat romantic.' The reverse seems to us to be the case. The lady was already in love with, if not actually affianced to, a son of Duff of Drumuire, and the marriage now projected between her and Simon Fraser was as completely the result of self-interested motives on the part of Lovat and her own brother as the most mercenary marriage that ever was made. It could not be forgotten moreover, either by the lady or her friends, that Lovat had formerly been charged with wickedly seizing upon the person of a widow lady closely related to his own house, and, from purely sordid motives, forcing her, in circumstances of great cruelty, into a kind of marriage with him-for which crime he had been convicted in absence before the High Court of Justiciary, and outlawed. The story was too scandalous and too damaging to Lovat's character in the Highlands to be readily overlooked, more especially as the lady upon whom he had committed such violence was still alive. Hence it is not surprising to find that the three married sisters of the young lady were all opposed to the match with Lovat; and possibly the Brigadier would have been so too, but for the fact that the Duke of Argyll and his brother, Lord Islay, were both interested in Lovat's behalf, and both pressing strongly for the marriage. It was most desirable, in the eyes of the Duke, that the two powerful families of Grant and Fraser should be thus connected; and he was so much enamoured of the policy' of the marriage that he even spoke to the King to hasten it on. In the words of the Duke's brother, it was a measure settled for the better uniting our interest in the North.' Between the Duke, the Duke's brother, and the King, it was resolved that the young lady should be sacrificed to their wishes, and that Lovat, with his ugly face, his uncouth person, his tarnished honour, his profligate life, and his scandalous reputation, should become her husband. Somewhat romantic' indeed!
The marriage negotiations afforded Lovat a splendid field for the display of his undoubted epistolary talents, more especially as the lady's sisters were far from allowing him to get things all his own way. He took up the character of a high-minded, disinterested lover, only seeking for the match out of pure affection for the lady and her family, and averring that his devotion to the latter should never vary, let
the match go how it might. But we must let him state his view of the situation in his own way. In one of his magniloquent-magnanimous moods he writes to Brigadier Grant, that, 'come of the match what will, it will never augment or 'diminish my zealous friendship for your person and inte'rest; and if I live, I hope to be as useful to you and yours as the bourgeois lairds whom your relations have preferred 'to me, after their encouraging promises to assist my design 'several months ago.' Then he breaks out on the 'bour'geois lairds,' that is, the rival and his friends :
'I cannot but laugh, dear Brigadier, to see the nature of these common fellows when they see themselves masters of a good estate. Drumuire's words are rather like Louis Quatorze than like William Duff's son. He makes no apology for not acquainting you of his son's design, which he calls resolution, le Roi l'a resolu; and then it is not by way of entreating he asks your consent, but by way of command. He says he expects it without loss of time. He could not write otherwise to one of his vassals on Speyside; but I must own I never saw anything more pointedly answered than you have done that insolent paragraph.'
After this he is still more indignant at what he considers the double-dealing of some of the lady's friends, and comes to the pious conclusion that if the marriage fails it is through no fault of his, so we must let Providence take its 'course.' 'I would have preferred,' he says again, and the confession is interesting as coming from a man who had been publicly tried as the principal desperado in a forced marriage 'I would have preferred your sister to any lady in Britain that I could pretend to, so, on the other hand, 'I would rather marry her chambermaid than marry her 'contrary to her inclination; for if there is not a mutual 'inclination in that liferent bond, it must be a curse rather 'than a blessing.' Commonplace as the latter sentiment is, it sounds strangely from the lips of Lovat.
The marriage negotiations came to an end at last, and the ceremony was performed in December 1716. The couple lived more than twelve years together, and when the union was at that period dissolved by the lady's death, her husband indulged in the strongest manifestations of grief. From these and other indications we are disposed to think that the marriage was, after all, not altogether unhappy; and although one can hardly without suspicion see Lovat going into hysterics, yet, upon the whole, we are inclined to believe that his overpowering grief at her death was sincere. Five years afterwards he made a second marriage-not, again, without
many difficulties being in the way; but this, according to his own letters, was a most unhappy union, and the couple eventually separated. Lovat's letters on the subject of this second marriage-the courtship, the married life, and the separation are as curious as anything hitherto published in the annals of amatory or connubial correspondence. His own career terminated on the scaffold in 1746 for his share in the rebellion of the previous year.
In 1716 Brigadier Grant succeeded to the headship of the clan on the death of his father, whose eldest son had predeceased him. Throughout the insurrection of 1715 the Brigadier did good service to the Government, and he afterwards continued faithful to the Hanoverian cause. But his services to the Crown were not recompensed as might have been expected. In consequence of some 'vote' which the Brigadier had given in relation to Lord Cadogan, but the nature of which is not explained, he received in July 1716 a curt intimation of dismissal from the service. The note was from the Secretary at War :
'Sir, I won't be very long on a subject that is not very agreeable to me, for I must acquaint you that his Majesty has no further occasion your services. I am,' &c.
It is not every Highland castle that such a note would have arrived at in the first half of the eighteenth century without immediately converting a loyal Hanoverian into a pronounced Jacobite. But whatever the Laird of Grant may have felt over his dismissal, he made no breach with the Government, and his successor lived to maintain the loyalty of the family when Highland hearts were again tampered with in 1745. On this latter occasion the chief of the clan was the Brigadier's brother, Sir James Grant. In the August of that year he was honoured with a letter from Prince Charles's own hand, soliciting his support in flattering terms. But the old man, who was in London at the time, returned no answer to the letter, and left affairs at home to be managed by his son, afterwards Sir Ludovick. The latter was true to the government, in so far as he did not join the ranks of the insurgents; but his interest in the Royal cause was lukewarm. He had offered his services at an early period to Sir John Cope, and had been offended by the cold manner in which his offer was received; hence he resolved not to march south to the assistance of the reigning King, but to remain at home, and use his clan, if need were, for the protection of his and their property. It would be of
little interest to follow the fortunes of the family further, except to say that a grandson of Sir Ludovick's succeeded in 1811, not only to the estates of Grant, but also, as heirgeneral to his cousin, to the title and estates of the fourth Earl of Seafield. In this manner the distinctive appellation of Chief of the Grants became merged in the higher title of Seafield, the holder of which title is now head of the ancient clan.*
In arranging his materials Mr. Fraser has followed his usual plan, which, when dealing with such a mass of documents as is here presented, is perhaps the best possible. The first volume contains an historical statement in which the fortunes of the family are sketched from its rise to the date of publication, with an appendix containing the genealogy in tabulated form and in useful detail. The second is filled with letters and other forms of correspondence found in the family archives. The third is devoted to the reproduction in full of the text of the family charters, leases, and other deeds, mostly of a technical kind. In this last volume there is of course much which is of no great public utility, but which cannot be objected to in a book printed for private family purposes. The second volume is one of much interest, containing as it
Since the above was written, the death of Ian-Charles, eighth Earl of Seafield, by which the promising career of an amiable and accomplished nobleman was cut short at the early age of thirty-three, has resulted in something like a crisis in the history of the Grant family. The deceased Earl, never having been married, was succeeded by his paternal uncle, the Hon. James Grant. From motives into which we cannot enter here, the late Earl had made a will by which the whole of the extensive estates of Grant and Seafield were left absolutely to his mother, the Countess-Dowager, in fee simple, thus dispossessing his successor, and divorcing the title from the lands that formerly appertained to it. The lady upon whom the property was thus settled is a daughter of the noble house of Blantyre, whose surname is Stuart; so that, by the terms of the late Earl's will, the Stuarts would have inherited the ancient property of the Grants. This extraordinary diversion of the patrimony from its original destination has, however, been prevented by the Countess-Dowager, who has executed a settlement, which came into immediate operation, by which she retains the lands during her own lifetime, granting 4,000l. a year to the holder of the title. At her death the lands will return to the holder of the title, with the sole proviso that no part of them shall be sold during the lifetime of the present Earl or the immediate successor to the title. After the death of the present Earl and his immediate successor the lands will be restored to the Earldom unconditionally, and the holder of the title once more enjoy the united honours of Grant and Seafield.