« PreviousContinue »
of his son, James George, seventh Duke, then only three years old, and he naturally fell thereby to be the chief agent in carrying on the business portion of the trust. The other guardians were the wife of the deceased Duke, or DowagerDuchess as she came to be called (the second of the three “beautiful” Miss Gunnings, mother of the boy, and afterwards Duchess of Argyll, and mother of the sixth and seventh Dukes of that house); Alexander, sixth Earl of Galloway; and William Mure of Caldwell, afterwards a Baron of Exchequer. « Ah ! that Baron Mure," threatened the Duchess of Douglas on one occasion, and, shaking her dainty little fist in the air, as if in the face of the guardian of her antagonist“Ah! that Baron Mure, if I catch him, I 'll mak' him as barren a muir as ony in Scotland.” On the death of Archibald, first and only Duke of Douglas, in July, 1761, a somewhat eccentric old nobleman, who had married Miss Margaret Douglas, of Mains, late in life, but left no issue, the guardians of Archibald Stewart, a reputed surviving son of his sister, Lady Jane Douglas, proceeded without delay to vest him in the feudal right of his uncle's estate by getting him served heir of entail before a jury of competent witnesses. The case was one of unusual delicacy, clear proof being required that Archibald Stewart, then 13 years of age, was a surviving twin born in Paris when his mother, the deceased Lady Jane, was 50 years of age. The jury found in favour of Lady Jane's reputed son, who soon after completed his title by a charter from the Crown, and thereupon entered formally into possession of the wide Douglas estates in Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, and other counties. Dissatisfied with the verdict of the jury, the guardians of the Duke of Hamilton resolved to investigate the matter thoroughly in his interest, and also of his brother, Lord Douglas Hamilton, as heirs-male of the Duke of Douglas through his great-great-grandfather, Lord Selkirk. Andrew Stuart now commenced his researches in earnest ; nor was he long in submitting important results to his brother guardians. His discoveries appeared to himself and his colleagues to amount to nothing short of a proof that the whole story of the pretended birth, as set forth in the service of Mr. Douglas, was an absolute fraud; and in December, 1762, an action was raised in the Criminal Department of the
Parliament of Paris, accusing Sir John Stewart of Grandtully, husband of Lady Jane, and Mrs. Hewitt, her travelling companion, of the crime of partus suppositio, or procuring false children when in France. This action was taken secretly against Sir John, and the witnesses bound over to give evidence in Scotland, while the charge, being of a criminal nature, precluded him from interfering in favour of
As instructed by Stuart, the Hamilton lawyers now took up the position that Lady Jane was never confined at all; in particular, that she was not confined in the house or in the presence of Madame La Brunne, inasmuch as no such person existed; and that there was imposture, mystery, and concealment regarding the movements of all the principal parties in and around Paris during the July of 1748. Stuart was also able to establish on indubitable evidence the all-important fact that two children, answering to the description of the twins, were stolen from their parents in Paris on or about the date in question. In due course, in the summer of 1767, the great “Cause” came before the Court of Session, or “ The Fifteen," as it was commonly called, the “advising” taking up seven days in July. On the 15th the Court gave judgment, when seven voted on each side. Lord-President Dundas thereupon gave his casting vote in favour of the pursuer, the Duke of Hamilton. Among the lawyers engaged at one time or another in the case, besides many elevated to the Bench during its progress, were, for the pursuer, Andrew Crosbie, the reputed original of Scott's “Counsellor Pleydell,” Sir Adam Ferguson, Sir David Dalrymple, afterwards Lord Hailes, and Thomas Miller, then Lord-Advocate, afterwards Lord Justice-Clerk; for the defender (Douglas), Islay Campbell, Robert Macqueen, afterwards Lord Braxfield, Francis Garden, afterwards Lord Gardenston, and James Boswell, friend of Johnson, a contributor to the prolific literature of the contest in the form of what he called “The Essence of the Douglas Cause.” Following this failure in the Court of Session, an appeal was immediately entered upon for Mr. Douglas before the House of Lords. A year and six months afterwards (27th February, 1769), a decision was given in that last Court of Appeal in favour of Mr. Douglas as pursuer, which secured him the estates as lineal heir of Duke Archibald. 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.
THE LOLLARDS OF KYLE.
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