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self to be served “ lawful and nearest heir-male in general of the body of the said Hannah Alexander,” before the Bailies of Canongate, 7th February, 1826. Immediately after this service was retoured, he assumed the title of Earl of Stirling and Dovan, designa. ted his mother “ Countess," and conferred the usual styles of dignity upon his family and immediate relatives.
Next, in order to connect himself with the landed properties, he found it necessary to be served nearest and lawful heir to the Earl of Stirling; and accordingly, with the assistance of one Mr Thomas Christopher Banks,* he was, on brieve from Chancery of 21st September, 1830, served “lawful and nearest heir in to the said deceased William, the first Earl of Stirling, my great-great-great grandfather,” 11th October, 1830.
He then took a brieve of 10th June, 1831, as heir above to the North American possessions. After this he managed a special service before the Sheriff of Edinburgh, wherein he produced the General Service, before the Magistrates of Canongate, as establishing his propinquity, and the Register of Great Seal, and Register of Sasines, in lieu of the principal charter and instrument of sasine. Both services were in absence. On being retoured, he obtained precept from Chancery, and by it, on 8th July, 1831, was infeft in the North American property at Edinburgh Castle. †
* This is one of those busy, meddling, troublesome, and officious individuals, professing themselves “Genealogists,” who tend so much to perpetuate blunders and misrepresentations in matters of general and family history, if, indeed, they do not wittingly aid and abet in the fabrication of impostures like the present. To give Banks his due, however, he is the author of a very good work on the Extinct and Dormant Baronage of England.
+ “ He hath much land, and fertile :-'Tis a chough; but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt." Hamlet, Act V. Sc. 2.
As the patent of 1633 is to heirs-male alone, Mr Humphrys * could not, on his own shewing, succeed; but he adopts a bold device, and pretends, that in 1639, Charles I. granted a charter of Novodamus to the Earl of Stirling by way of a deed of entail of the whole estates in Scotland and America, as well as the honours in the patent of 1633, not limited, as in that patent, to heirs-male, but as follows:
66 De Novo Damus et Concedimus in perpetuum, antedicto perconfiso et predilecto nostro consanguineo et consiliario Willielmo Comite de Stirling, et heredibus masculis de corpore suo ; quibus deficientibus heredibus femellis natu maximis sine divisione ultimi talium heredum masculorum, et heredibus masculis de corporibus dict. heredum femellarum respective procreandis, cognomen et arma de Alexander gerentibus ; quibus omnibus deficientibus, propinquioribus legitimis heredibus quibuscunque dicti Willielmi Comitis de Stirling, cum precedentia a decimo quarto die mensis Junii anno Domini millesimo sexcentesimo trigesimo tertio, titulos, honores, et dignitates Comitis de Stirling, Vicecomitis de Stirling et de Canada, Domini Alexander de Tullibodie, cum omnibus et singulis privilegiis, pre-eminentiis, prerogativis, libertatibus et immunitatibus quibuscunque ad eosdem pertinen. et spectan.”
This document has never been, and never can be, produced. It is a complete fabrication.
On 12th October 1829, Mr Humphrys, or Alexander, brought an action in the Court of Session, for proving the tenor of this alleged Novodamus of 1639, to which the Officers of State' were not called as parties, and which was dismissed hoc statu, 4th March, 1830. (Shaw's Reports, VIII. 634.)
* Notwithstanding the royal licence to bear the surname and arms of Alexander, I persist, throughout this statement, to designate him by his own proper family-name of Humphrys, -Ist, Because I conceive the aforesaid licence to have been obtained upon a specious pretence; and 2d, because I am averse to confound the name of an old and illustrious family with that of a gentleman who has been lucky enough to obtain the use of it.
On 4th September 1830, he instituted a new action against the Officers of State and Mr Graham of Gartmore, which was likewise dismissed, 2d March, 1833.
On 14th July 1831, Mr Humphrys, on the narrative of his service, granted to Thomas Christopher Banks, * aforesaid, 16,000 acres of land in Canada, and created him a baronet, in terms of a clause in the charter of 1621 and 1625. Banks assumed the title, and applied to the Lords of the Treasury for confirmation of the grant, but, receiving no reply to his application, † he brought a Declarator before the Court of Session, to have the Resignation found valid, and calling upon the Crown to grant a charter under the Great Seal conform thereto. This was defended by the Officers of State, but action was sisted in consequence of proceedings to be subsequently noticed. *
* It is truly amazing, aftor tlie “eternal friendship’ sworn between these parties, -after. this donation of soil and presentment of orange ribbon,—to find the newly created Baronet of Nova Scotia, designated by his creator quoad honores, “a malevolent and mercenary agent," "a vindictive and treacherous being," and so forth. (Vide “Narrative of Oppressive Law. Proceedings, &c. passim.).
† Notwithstanding the non-confirmation by the Lords of the Treasury of this ridiculous grant, and, as it were, in defiance of their proper contempt for his impertinent application, Mr Banks prefixed to his “ Analytical Statement of the Case of Alexander Eart of Stirling and Dovan," &c. London, 1832, 8vo. an “ Advertisement,” explanatory and defensive of his assumption of the title of “ Baronet, N. S.” on the title-page of the said '“ Statement." In this Advertisement;" he coolly remarks on the creatiou-by Mr Humphrys; - I consider the same to be perfectly as legal and as efficacious, as if it had been conferred upon me by the Crown itself.”!!!!
“Upon my life I am a Lord indeed),
Taming of the Shrew.
In June 1831, he instructed his agent, Mr Ephraim Lockhart, to issue this proclamation to the Baronets of Nova Scotia :
“ NOTICE TO THE BARONETS OF NOVA SCOTIA.
“ Whereas upon the institution of the order of Knights Baronets of Nova Scotia, King Charles I. by his Royal Charter, under the Great Seal of Scotland, dated 12th May 1625, was pleased to grant licence and authority to Sir William Alexander, (afterwards Earl of Stirling,) his Majesty's Hereditary Locum Tenens, and Proprietary Lord of the said Colony of Nova Scotia, to nominate and create certain persons, at his discretion, into the honor and dignity of Knights Baronet of the said country, with a descendable inheritance therein ; and also to apportionate to every Baronet so created a particular district of land to be erected into a free barony. And whereas in virtue of such charter, many persons were created baronets, and had seisin of the lands assigned to them, to enjoy with the right and privilege of working the mines on their respective territories, &c. (as appears from the Register of Seisins.) It is hereby made known to the heirs representatives of the said persons, that very important interests are at this moment vested in them, of which, from the lapse of time, and the mistaken idea of the nature of their existing rights, it is apprehended they have hitherto not been aware. For the better explanation of these circumstances, it is intended to call a meeting very shortly of the parties concerned, that a statement may be laid before them of their actual claims, that their rights may be protected, and steps forthwith taken to secure them from any farther prejudice from the operations of the company, called the Mining Company of Nova Scotia. The Baronets of Nova Scotia who may be desirous to attend the meeting, are therefore requested to send their names and addresses to Ephraim Lockhart, Esq. W.S. 1 Howe Street, Edinburgh, or to Messrs Fisher and Rhodes, solicitors, Davies Street, Grosvenor Square, London, from whom farther information may be obtained.”
* In reference to this action, Banks, in February 1824, published a most insolent and Bobadillian, as well as stupid pamphlet, entitled “ A Letter to the King's Most Excellent Majesty, respecting what are called “ The Defences of the Officers of State,” to a certain action of declarator now sisted before the Court of Session, at Edinburgh, shewing the uncandid, covert, and invidious assertions therein unnecessarily introduced; which having been printed, tend, as doubtless meant, to the prejudice of the pursuer, in the merits of his action, and of his public character, before trial of the cause,
Which rogue ought most to be condemned to shame,
Who stcals my purse, or he who saps my name? Edinburgh, William Tait, 1834.” This he very prudently took care to recall soon after publication.
Almost immediately after being infeft at the castle, on 12th July, 1831, Mr Humphrys issued the following Prospectus, setting forth his rights, and offering for sale grants of land, in such quantities, and at such rates as the ambition of parties might require.
“ Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada, Hereditary
Lieutenancy Office of the Lord Proprietor, for Sale, Grants and Locations of Lands, &c. &c. 53, Parliament Street.
“ The Earl of Stirling, Hereditary Lieutenant, and Lord Proprietor of the Province of Nova Scotia, and the Lordship of Canada, was, on the 2d day of July last, duly served nearest and lawful heir in special to his great-great-great-grandfather, Sir William Alexander, the first Earl of Stirling, under the royal charters, granted by their majesties, King James and Charles I. which were afterwards confirmed in Parliament, in 1633. (Vide Appendix to Prospectus.) This verdict of heirship was duly retoured to the Chancery in Scotland; and