« PreviousContinue »
Such a finish did not take Mr. Stuart by surprise. “Last night (he wrote to a friend the following day) our fate was decided agreeable to the prediction I sent you.” The decision was received in Edinburgh with much rejoicing and some tumult. The counsel who spoke before the Lords were—For the appellant (Douglas), the Lord-Advocate (Montgomery) and Sir Fletcher Norton ; for the respondents, Wedderburn and Dunning. The Lord-Chancellor (Camden) and the Chief-Justice (Mansfield) spoke with marked ability in favour of Mr. Douglas. A man of quiet, retired habits, and an excellent landlord, he was raised to the Peerage as Lord Douglas of Douglas, 1790, and died universally respected, December, 1827. Stuart's “ Letters to Lord Mansfield” on the case, a weighty, dignified, and closely-reasoned remonstrance regarding the opinions expressed by his Lordship, appeared in January, 1773, with many apologies for unavoidable lateness. In the later stages of the “ Cause,” when papers were being prepared for the House of Lords, Mr. Stuart took objection to the quaint Gallicism used by Thurlow, “a mean cominer.” As a lawyer, equal in education and character, and greatly his superior both in birth and social connection, Stuart resented the phrase, and a hostile meeting in Hyde Park with swords and pistols was the result. According to the cautious prints of the day, he was attended as second “by his brother, Colonel " Thurlow having for his “Mr. L-, member for a city in Kent." The first may readily be identified as Colonel J. Stuart of Torrance, younger brother to Andrew, the other, probably, was Mr. W. Lynch, member for Canterbury Both gentlemen discharged their pistols, which, however, did no harm. They then drew their swords, but their seconds interposed and put an end to the affair.
In the summer of 1767, when the decision of the Court of Session stood in favour of the Hamilton family, Mr. Stuart contested Lanarkshire in anticipation of the dissolution of Parliament the following year, the sitting member, Daniel Campbell of Shawfield (and Islay) being expected to retire. His opponent was John Ross (Lockhart) of Balnagowan, Ross-shire. That the contest was conducted keenly enough is apparent from a short note by Mr. Stuart (then
generally described as of Craigthorn) to a friend, dated September 13th, 1767: “My brother and I have been consorting here with our father (who, I have the pleasure to tell you, is much better) the plan of operations for the contest. We sally forth early to-morrow morning by different routes in order that the applications may be made as rapidly as possible in all the different corners of the county, Yours most sincerely, Andw. STUART.” Mr. Stuart was unsuccessful at the poll, as he mustered only 26 freeholders against 41 who voted for Ross.' Mr. Stuart was successful at next general election, 1774, and again in 1780, holding the seat till 1784, when he was succeeded by Sir J. Stewart Denholm of Coltness.
Mr. Stuart's great achievement in the way of literature was his “Genealogical History of the House of Stewart,” published in 1798, and still an authority in its own special department. While a subsidiary object of the book was to refute the pretensions of Lord Galloway as representing the Royal House, and establish the claim of Castlemilk, which the author came to represent, there is much collateral information concerning successive generations of Stewarts of Darnley, Lennox, and Aubigny, supported by abundance of valuable "proofs" and "references.” In particular, and more important than all the rest, there are the documents long lost sight of, but discovered by Mr. Stuart in the Vatican, in the form of two Dispensations relating to Robert the Stewart of Scotland (Robert II.) for his marriages with Elizabeth Mure and Euphemia Ross, settling once and for ever the question of the legitimacy of the Stewarts, so fiercely debated among the genealogists of last century. Mr. Stuart's position in the claim for family honours was that on the death of Cardinal York, then living, the representation of the male line of the Stuarts of Darnley and Lennox must devolve upon the person who was able to prove himself descended from Sir William Stuart, the next brother of Sir John Stuart of Darnley and first Lord of Aubigny. The necessary conditions, Mr. Stuart contended, were found, not in the Galloway family, but in his own ancestor, Sir William Stuart of Castlemilk. Over 40 years since the most learned genealogists of the day contended that the early Stewarts were clearly represented by Christian-Anne, Elizabeth, and Charlotte, daughters of Andrew of Torrance. His
succession to the older and larger portion of the family estates came late in life and were enjoyed for only a brief season. The eldest brother of the family, Alexander, died 23rd March, 1796, when Andrew succeeded to the romantic estate of Torrance; and in January of next year (1797) his cousin, Sir John of Castlemilk, died, when Andrew again succeeded as nearest heir-male to the deceased. The latter days of his life were spent largely in keeping up a wide correspondence, and in those congenial antiquarian researches which had occupied so much of his active career. It only remains to be mentioned that Andrew Stuart married Margaret Stirling, daughter of Sir William Stirling of Ardoch, and latterly sat in the House of Commons as one of the members for Weymouth. He died at his London residence, Berkeley Square, 18th May, 1801, aged 73. Major-General James Stuart, brother of Andrew, saw much active service in India, as well as in North America, and the west India Islands, and after having bravely won the highest honours in his profession, returned to Castlemilk, where he died, 2nd February, 1793, without issue. The present proprietor of Torrance is Lieut.-Col. Robert Edward Harrington-Stuart, eldest son of Robert Harrington of Crutherland, by Charlotte, daughter and co-heiress of the above Andrew Stuart of Torrance and Castlemilk. Lieut.-Colonel Harrington-Stuart married, 1863, LouisaAlice, daughter of the Hon. Robert Arthur Arundell, and succeeded to Torrance on the death of his aunt, 1879.
SEPARATING Cunningham on the north from Carrick on the south, the third ancient middle division of Ayrshire, known as Kyle, is itself divided by Ayr Water into two rather unequal portions, Stewart-Kyle and King's-Kyle, the former stretching in one direction to the fertile holms along the Irvine, the latter from the Ayr southward towards Maybole and Dailly in Carrick. Kyle district comprehends
in all twenty-one parishes, Tarbolton, Symington, and Dundonald lying north of the Ayr, while southward is Dalrymple, Coylton, Ochiltree, and Stair. Richly cultivated, beautiful in itself, and full of associations in romantic and legendary lore this old district of Kyle has an interest of a still higher order for the historical student wishful to enlarge his knowledge by adding to stores already collected one of the most interesting chapters in ecclesiastical annals concerning the great movement carried on against the Papacy by Reformers before the Reformation. The blood of martyrs has been affirmed on high authority to be the seed of the Church; and so, no doubt it has proved on many occasions; but Persecution, when relentless enough, and well directed, has also had its evil victories. A war distinguished, Macaulay writes, even among wars of religion by its merciless atrocity, destroyed the Albigensian heresy in the early part of the thirteenth century, and with so-called heresy perished the prosperity, the civilisation, the literature, and even the national existence of what was once the most opulent and enlightened part of the great European family. Then also arose as part of a system designed to strengthen the Church, that dreaded Inquisition, whose tribunals completed on system the destruction of such remnant as might by accident have escaped the sword. For about a century and a half, or till 1380, the Church did not judge itself to be seriously annoyed by heresy, and largely through the aid of her new order of Mendicant Friars, Rome became once more the mistress of the world, with kings for her vassals.
Next came the great Schism of the West, with two Popes, each having a doubtful title, and fulminating anathemas against each other from Avignon and Rome. By this time Wickliff, who was reared in the Church, and only kept from expulsion, if not a worse fate, through the help of powerful friends, had protested against Transubstantiation. He also declared that pilgrimages and monastic vows had no authority from Scripture. More important than all, the judicious, if not very courageous Rector of Lutterworth completed a translation of the Bible into the language of his countrymen in the year above-mentioned. Although known to a few only by manuscript fragments, there can be no doubt that it
powerfully influenced the reforming movement among the common people in this country, as well as on the Continent. The most recent researches among such of his manuscripts as have escaped the destructive zeal of enemies show Wickliff to be justly entitled to dignity as Day Star of the Reformation; and such praise is now doubly deserved, as for more than two centuries after his death all that was recorded of him was set down by adversaries. The earliest, Netter of Walden, reputed author of the “ Zizaniorum," published some years since in the “Rolls" series, was Wickliff's bitterest opponent, as might almost have been expected from his official position as Provincial of the Carmelite Order in England. Wodeford in his answer to the “Trialogus” was unwearied in setting down calumnies; and Nicholas Harpsfield used an Ecclesiastical History largely for the purpose of defaming his memory. Dr. James, the first librarian appointed by Sir Thomas Bodley to his newly-founded library at Oxford, 1602, was amongst the earliest scholars who undertook to vindicate the memory of the great divine.
The fears of the Church as to the effect of the new doctrines were not illfounded. The instinctive dread of Rome that Scripture knowledge in any other than her own form should be imparted to the people once more roused her “from idle torpor to unholy zeal. Laymen and even priests secretly discussed the new doctrines in England, while missionaries, in the guise of students or merchants, carried them to France, Saxony, Bohemia, and the distant towns of the Lower Danube.” A Council, as usual, was called—this time, however, for the threefold purpose of healing up schism, reforming ecclesiastical abuses, and condemning heresy as well as heretics. This important gathering, ranked among the great Councils of the Church, sat down to business in November, 1414, the place of meeting selected being the fortified but still beautiful City of Constance, on the Swiss side of the Lake bearing the same name. This Council, known in Church history as that of Constance, is said to have been reluctantly opened by the anti-Pope himself (John XXIII.), in presence of the Emperor Sigismund, 26 princes, 140 counts, more than 20 cardinals, 7 patriarchs, 20 archbishops, 91 bishops, 600 other prelates and doctors, and about 4000 priests. The Council lasted three