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possible that this unfortunate gentleman has been the victim of an hallucination which has rendered him, as his counsel states him to have been, “the dupe of the designing, and the prey of the unworthy.” However strongly we reprobate his absurd and preposterous pretensions, we can, with difficulty, bring ourselves to believe that one whose character stood so high in the opinion of gentlemen of undoubted and unblemished reputation could ever have perpetrated the criminal actions laid to his charge.
The following note, which refers to the claimant of 1762, could not be conveniently introduced at page 4, without overloading it :
“The present Earl of Stirling received from a relation an old box of neglected writings, among which he found the original commission of Charles I. appointing his lordship's predecessor, Alexander, Earl of Stirling, commander-in-chief of Nova Scotia, with the confirmation of the grant of that province made by James I. In the initial letters are the portraits of the king sitting on the throne delivering the patent to the Earl, and round the border representations, in miniature, of the customs, huntings, fishings, and productions of the country, all in the highest preservation, and so admirably executed, that it was believed of the pencil of Vandyck ; but as I know no instance of that master having painted in this manner, I cannot doubt but it was the work of Norgate, allowed the best illuminator of that age, and generally employed, says Fuller, to make the initial letters in the patents of peers, and commissions of ambassadors."—Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, edited by Dallaway, vol. ii. p. 45. Norgate was Windsor herald, and clerk of the signet. Vide Master's Hist. of Corpus Christi Coll. Cambridge, p. 118.
Banks, in his “ Analytical Statement," p. 62, wishes to make out that the above was the pretended charter of 1639, because, saith he, “ Ho was appointed Windsor herald in 1633, and soon after. illuminator of royal patents ;" ergo, “ the charter mentioned by Walpole could not be before 1633, but must have been one after that time.” Where Mr Banks discovered grounds for “ soon after we know not. He was not appointed "illuminator of royal patents,” but was merely employed on them from his excellence as a limner, and this probably led to his obtaining admission into the college. How readily some men can torture facts to suit their own views !
APPENDIX TO INTRODUCTION.
NOVEMBER 12, 1836.
PURSUE RS' PROOF,
HUMPHREYS OR ALEXANDER,
CALLING HIMSELF EARL OF STIRLING.
“ Edinburgh, July 4, 1835.— The Lords, on report of Lord Cockburn, Ordinary, having considered the state of the process, and heard counsel on the question as to the mode of procedure referred to in the Lord Ordinary's Interlocutor, are of opinion, that if, after hearing parties, any farther proof in this cause shall be allowed, such proof ought to be taken on commission ; and remit to the Lord Ordinary to proceed accordingly.
“D. BOYLE, I.P.D."
“ 8th July, 1835. The Lord Ordinary allows to both parties a proof of their respective averments as contained in the Record: Grants diligence, at the instance of both parties, for citing witnesses and havers accordingly : Remits to Mr Handyside, Advocate, to take the Depositions, and receive the exhibits of such of the witnesses and havers as may be examined in this country; and grants commission to him accordingly for that purpose, if necessary : Farther, grants Commission to any of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace in Ireland to take the Depositions, and receive the exhibits of such of the witnesses and havers as may be examined in Ireland,—to be reported on or before the third sederunt day in November next; and dispenses with the Minute-book.
(Signed) “ H. COCKBURN."
“ 1st June, 1836.-- The Lord Ordinary, of consent, prorogates the time for the Defender reporting the diligence and commission formerly granted to him for fourteen days; also grants diligence, at the pursuers' and defenders'
instance, for citing such witnesses and havers as reside within the counties of Warwick and Worcester; and grants Commission to any of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for said counties to take the depositions of said wit. nesses and havers, and receive their exbibits ; and dispenses with the Minute
book, to be reported within fourteen days. Also prorogates the time for * the pursuers reporting the diligence and commission now and formerly granted to them for fourteen days, after the expiry of said fourteen days prorogated to the defender.
(Signed) “ H. COCKBURN.” “ 6th July, 1836. — The Lord Ordinary prorogates the time for the pursuers reporting the diligence formerly granted to them till the third sederunt day in November next.
(Signed) “ H. COCKBURN.”
ACTION of REDUCTION IMPROBATION, at the instance of THE OFFICERS OF STATE, Pursuers ;
ALEXANDER HUMPHREYS or ALEXANDER, calling himself EARL OF STIRLING; and THOMAS CHRISTOPHER BANKS, Defenders.
At Edinburgh, the 1st day of June, 1836, in the Action of Reduction and
Improbation, at the instance of the Officers of State, against Alexander Humphreys or Alexander, and Thomas Christopher Banks, there was produced an interlocutor by Lord Cockburn, Ordinary, allowing to both parties a proof of their respective averments, as contained in the Record, and granting diligence, for citing witnesses and havers, and remitting to Mr Robert Handyside, advocate, to take the depositions, and receive the exhibits of such of the witnesses and havers, as may be examined in this country, which he accepted of; and having chosen James Keddie, writer in Edinburgh, to be his clerk, to whom be administered the oath de fideli,
Appeared Mr Cosmo Innes, advocate, and Mr Roderick MacKenzie, W.S. counsel and agent for the pursuers; and
Mr Adam Anderson, advocate, and Mr Ephraim Lockhart, W.S. counsel and agent for the defenders.
Compeared ANDREW FYFE, M.D. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, a witness cited for the pursuers; who, being solemnly sworn, purged of partial counsel, examined and interrogated, depones, That he is, and has been for about sixteen years, a lecturer on chemistry in Edinburgh; that he has turned his attention a good deal to practical chemistry, and has taught a class of practical chemistry for about the same period. Being requested to examine one of the documents contained in No. 25 of process, and bearing to be an affidavit of Henry Hovenden, and to be sworn on the 16th day of July, 1723, and which is marked by the deponent, commissioner, and clerk, as relative hereto, depones, that he has seen the document before in the hands of the clerk of process, and that it appears to him that some parts of the paper of that document have been injured, and the texture destroyed, by the application of some substance, probably an acid ; and adds, that the hardness which he observes on some parts of the paper may have been occasioned by the cautious application of heat after the use of the acid, if such substance had been applied ; and adds farther, that the application of chlorine or chloride of lime would produce a similar change on the texture of the paper, as the acid would. Depones, that he observes that the top and bottom margins, and part of the side margins, have not been subjected to the action of the same substance which has injured the rest. Depones, that the ink is of a dusky colour, and of an appearance like what he would expect in writing upon paper previously affected with acid, and that the paper is penetrated by the ink in a manner such as would have been produced by repeated washings with water or diluted acid. Depones, that it is possible that there may have been writing on the leaf of paper in question, previous to its having been subjected to the action of the acid or other substances, which have injured its texture, and that such writing may have been discharged by the application of those substances. Depones, that the acid, or other substance by which the document has been injured, must have been applied before the present writing of the document was written, otherwise the ink must have been more injured by that application than it appears to be. Depones, that there are deeper stains on some parts of the paper
than on others; but that he cannot say that he sees any appearance of the acid, or other substances, being applied in lines. Depones, that the appearance of the paper cannot be accounted for by damp, otherwise it would shew an appearance of the action of damp all over, and the texture of it would not be injured so much more in one place than another. Depones, that the application of the same substances to both sides of the paper, may account for the greater decay of one part of the paper than of the rest, and that the greatest decay is at the top of the paper, where he sees on the one side the commencement of the affidavit, and on the other the notary's docquet. Depones, that the certificate, signed Thomas Conyers, is also on the back of the paper, and that it is not so much decayed at that part. Depones, that the paper of the top margin, on which are three stamps, and the paper of the bottom margin, on which is the subscription of J. Pocklington, are quite entire, and apparently not touched by the substances which have injured the rest of the paper. Depones, that by the application of chemical re-agents, indications may be given on the paper, by which it may be ascertained whether there had been previously any writing ; but the absence of these indications would not necessarily prove that there had been no writing. Depones, that he has at present in his possession such re-agents, and that he is ready to apply them, if permitted ; and that they will not destroy the texture of the paper, or efface the present writing. Whereupon the clerk to the process declared, that he could not permit this without the authority of the Court; and being interrogated, Whether, in his opinion, the paper has been tampered with, and the writing on it altered or deleted ? Depones, that he cannot answer that question farther than he has already done; but adds, that the appearance of the paper is such, that the injury can have hardly happened by accident. Cross-examined for the defenders, and interrogated, Whether he has been much in the habit of examining old manuscripts ? Depones, that he has not been much in the habit of examining them, but that he has done so occasionally. All which he declares to be truth. Fifteen words delete before signing.
(Signed) AND. FYFE.
R. HANDYSIDE, Conr.
Ac Edinburgh the 4th day of June, 1836. Appeared parties by their counsel and agents above named.
Compeared WILLIAM GREGORY, M.D. Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, a witness cited for the pursuers; who, being solemnly sworn, purged of partial counsel, examined and interrogated, depones, That he is, and has been seven years, a lecturer on chemistry in Edinburgh.