« PreviousContinue »
throughout the islands of the Mediterranean, Lord Keith experienced the keen distress of seeing from shore the burning of his noble flag-ship off Capraja, when no fewer than 673 perished in the water or by the flames, and only 156 were saved from the burning wreck. Prominent services discharged later in life were connected with the operations of Abercromby in Egypt, and the command of the Channel Fleet when Napoleon surrendered in 1815. On being transferred from the “ Bellerophon” to the “Northumberland,” the ex-Emperor repeated his former protestations against being sent to St. Helena, or being treated in any other way than as a distinguished prisoner of war. “I do not (he said to Admiral Keith) voluntarily go from this ship or from England. It is you, Admiral, who take me.”
To this the Admiral replied, “I hope, Sir, that you will not reduce an officer like me to do so disagreeable an act as to use force towards your person." He answered, “Oh, no; you shall order me." I replied, “I shall attend you at your convenience in my barge. I beg not to hurry you.” This, writes his biographer, Mr. Allardyce, was the last important service that Lord Keith was to perform for his country, and he doubtless felt proud that his public career should be wound up by so memorable an incident. Seventy years of age when he quitted the service, Lord Keith spent other seven active years in improving his estates, and, dying at Tulliallan Castle in March, 1822, was buried in the old church of Overnewton, in his own parish, which he had selected as a mausoleum for his family. Created an Irish Baron in 1797, Admiral Keith was four years afterwards created a Peer of the United Kingdom, as Baron Keith of Barrheath, Dumbartonshire, and presented at the same time with the freedom of the City of London and a magnificent sword by the Directors of the East India Company. Lord Keith was twice marriedfirst to Miss Mercer, of Aldie, Perthshire, in the line of succession to the attainted Barony of Nairne, by whom he had an only child, a daughter, Margaret, who in 1817 married the Count de Flahault, aide-de-camp to her father's last distinguished captive, and in after days attached to the Court of Louis Philippe, as well as of Louis Napoleon. The Countess Flahault died in 1867, three years before her husband, when the Barony of Nairne, to which she had succeeded, descended to her daughter, the Dowager-Marchioness of Lansdowne. The second Lady Keith was the daughter of Dr. Johnson's friends, Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, the latter afterwards, to the Doctor's distress, Mrs. Piozzi. Born in 1764, she had been dandled, and even partly educated, by Johnson, had, it has been affirmed, refused the hand of Samuel Rogers, and died in Piccadilly, London, so late as 1857, when she had reached the extraordinary age of ninety-three, the last survivor, and in her youth an adored member, of the once brilliant Streatham circle The materials for Mr. Allardyce's delightful memoir were chiefly taken from the journals, despatches, and official letters of Lord Keith preserved in the charter-room of Tulliallan Castle, Perthshire.
GLASGOW BURGH RECORDS.
Apart altogether from his official connection with Glasgow as TownClerk, there was good ground for expecting that the attention of Mr. Marwick, as Secretary to the useful Burgh Record Society, would soon be turned in the direction of that pile of old deeds and minutes gathered together for centuries by the different law advisers of the Corporation. Their existence was known to many far removed from the circle of immediate official connection. In November, 1832, Mr. John Smith, youngest, presented to members of the Maitland Club a volume composed of selections from the Records between the years 1572 and 1581. Owing to the local interest excited by the information contained in that collection, further investigation was prosecuted, and the result given to another select circle in the shape of a dumpy, but now scarce quarto volume, entitled, “ Memorabilia,” giving (with the exception of a score of pages at the commencement relating to Ayr burgh) a series of Glasgow notices extending somewhat irregularly from 1588 to 1750. Previous to being printed off in a book form, this latter volume of selections from the minute-books had appeared in the “Courier" newspaper, conducted by Mr. Motherwell till his death in 1835. In 1868 Mr. West Watson, City Chamberlain, printed for private circulation a similar series of “Memorabilia" from the minutes, commencing also in 1588, but continued down so late as June, 1749. Volumes earlier than 1573 are thought to have been in existence about the middle of last century, but recent inquiry for recovery has been unavailing, and the reference in Gibson's History, published 1777, appears to be all that is known regarding them. Mr. Marwick's diligent search, however, has been rewarded in a way not more interesting to his readers than we are sure pleasant to himself. He has discovered four volumes unknown in modern times to predecessors in office. One extends from May, 1581, to April, 1586; a second from October, 1594, to May, 1597; a third from November, 1598, to October, 1601; and the fourth from June, 1605, to June, 1610. The handsome volume now issued by the Scottish Burgh Record Society, under the care of Mr. Marwick, embraces the period between January, 1573, and September, 1642; but, even with his good luck in bringing the four lost volumes to light, there are still five provoking breaks within the period, one of them indicating so long a time as ten years—from 1613 to 1623. Still, the selection is as complete as can at present be made, and contains, the editor writes, everything to be found in that series of local records illustrative of the constitution of the burgh, its municipal government, and the social life of the people. Although some of the matter inserted has only a limited or technical interest, Mr. Marwick wisely resolved that in a case of this kind, where the original records were frail and practically inaccessible, it was expedient to err on the side of too much rather than too little. Modern in date compared with the fine series of Aberdeen minutes issued by the Spalding Club, this new volume presents a more enticing and accurate picture of Glasgow growth and daily life of the burgesses than any smooth-written history or compilation, however comprehensive may be its pretensions. For such special excellence, indeed, the reader is inclined to feel a personal regret that the record does not open a few years earlier than 1573. One single volume would have let us see how Glasgow received the Regent Murray and his troops before the swift advance to Langside in the summer of 1568, and might even have described the welcome given to the hapless Mary herself when she arrived to visit her sick husband before his suspicious removal to the Kirk-of-Field. Crawford of Jordanhill, afterwards Chief Magistrate of the City, heard Darnley say to the Queen in his lodging, “If you promise me on your honour to live with me as my wife, and not to leave me any more, I will go with you to the end of the world and care for nothing; if not, I will stay where I am.” “ It shall be as you have spoken," she replied; and thereupon she gave him her hand and faith. This was in Glasgow on the 27th January. The tragedy of the Kirk-of-Field took place on gth February following. Mr. Marwick’s volume is just sufficiently near the time to let us hear an after-clap or two of the great Reformation struggle in 1560. We do not see, it is true, that gallant defence of the Cathedral by the crafts with Deacon Rabat at their head, when the commons of Renfrew, Barony, and Gorbals marched in one fair morning to purge the old fabric of Popish nick-nackets, and actually succeeded in removing the images from the shrines, breaking them afterwards, as they said, by Scripture warrant, and flinging the pieces into what was then the silvery Molendinar. Yet we see early in the work that the Church was cared for, even though it might be in desolation --- with dust on her forehead, and chains round her feet.” Here is a portion of a resolution come to, 21st August, 1574, avoiding, for the comfort of the reader, as much as possible the antiquated spelling :—The Provost, Bailies, and Council, with the deacons of crafts, and divers other honest men of the town, convened in the Council-house, and having respect and consideration into the great decay and ruin that the High Kirk of Glasgow is come to through taking away of the lead, slate, “and uter grayth thairof, in this trublus tyme bygane," so that such a great monument will utterly fall down and decay, without it be remedied; and because the helping thereof is so great and would extend to more than they might spare; and that they are not indebted to the upholding and repair thereof by law, yet of their own free-will, uncompelled, and for the zeal they bear to the kirk, of mere awms and liberality, have consented to a tax and imposition of two hundred pounds money for helping to repair the said kirk and holding it waterfast.
Among other encouragements given to the labours of the Record Society, Mr. Marwick mentions that the present Provost, Magistrates, and Council have authorised the translation and printing of a volume of charters and kindred documents relating to Glasgow, from its erection as a burgh about 1175 till the middle of the seventeenth century. This will tend greatly to complete a view of our City in the old days, and be highly useful for general historic purposes. A little over forty years since, when the Royal Commissioners were busy with their Reports on Municipal Corporations in Scotland, it was remarked of Glasgow that it did not appear when the inhabitants first began to enjoy any peculiar rights or privileges under the protection of the bishops; but, as they were not tenants or vassals of the Crown, they could originally have had no such political existence as belonged to the burghal vassalage of the king, and there even seemed good ground for supposing that the whole territory of Glasgow was originally included within the bounds of the royal burgh of Rutherglen, erected by David I. Under the powerful patronage of the Church, however, the people of Glasgow were at an early period enabled, by royal authority, to exercise some of the more limited rights of traffic, and about 1172 King William the Lion granted to Bishop Joceline permission to hold a weekly market, and gave a general protection at the same time to the persons and chattels of the bishop and burgesses. About 1197, and, as Dr. J. Robertson thinks, in immediate connection with the consecration of the Cathedral crypt, the privilege was conceded of holding an annual fair, often referred to in Mr. Marwick's volume, and still kept up with stinted show, of eight days' duration, at the octave of the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. In virtue of these early charters Glasgow became what has been called a free burgh, but the Reports describe it as a mistake to suppose that it was thereby erected into a burgh royal. It was then on the contrary what came to be described in later days simply a burgh of barony. It was afterwards erected into a burgh of regality, but in this as in all analogous cases there was an interposed or mid-superior between the Crown and the burgesses; and their rents or mails (census burgales), whatever they may have been, were due, not to the Crown, but to the Bishop.