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Title: Claverhouse
Release Date: 2006-04-25
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Claverhouse, by Mowbray Morris

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Title: Claverhouse

Author: Mowbray Morris

Release Date: April 25, 2006 [eBook #18254]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Audrey Longhurst
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team


[Pg i]

[Pg ii]


[Pg iii]

English Worthies








[Pg iv]


[Pg v]


"An Account of the Proceedings of the Estates in Scotland:" London,1689.

Balcarres' "Memoirs touching the Revolution in Scotland:" printed forthe Bannatyne Club, 1841.

Browne's "History of the Highlands and the Highland Clans:" 2nd ed.,1845.

Burnet's "History of My Own Time," ed. 1809.

Burt's "Letters from the North of Scotland," ed. 1818.

Burton's "History of Scotland," 2nd ed.

Cannon's "Historical Records of the British Army."

"Memoirs of Captain John Creichton:" Scott's edition of Swift's Works,vol. xii. ed. 1883.

"Memoirs of Sir Ewan Cameron of Lochiel:" printed for the AbbotsfordClub, 1842.

Chambers's "History of the Rebellions in Scotland:" Constable'sMiscellany, vol. xlii.

"The Cloud of Witnesses," 1714.

Dalrymple's "Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland," 2nd ed., 1771.

Defoe's "Memoirs of the Church of Scotland," 1714.

"Memoirs of the Lord Viscount Dundee," &c., 1714.

"Letters of the Viscount of Dundee, with Illustrative Documents:"printed for the Bannatyne Club, 1826.

Lt.-Colonel Fergusson's "Laird of Lag," 1886.

Fountainhall's "Historical Notices of Scottish Affairs:" printed for theBannatyne Club, 1848.

Howie's "Heroes for the Faith, or Lives of the Scots Worthies," editedby William McGavin, ed. 1883.

Kirkton's "True History of the Church of Scotland from the Restorationto the year 1678," edited by C.K. Sharpe, 1817. This edition includesRussell's account of the murder of Archbishop Sharp and of the affairsat Drumclog and Glasgow.

[Pg vi]

"The Lauderdale Papers:" printed for the Camden Society, 1884-5.

"The Leven and Melville Papers:" printed for the Bannatyne Club, 1843.

"The Lives of the Lindsays," 2nd ed., 1858.

Macpherson's "Original Papers," 1775.

Macaulay's "History of England," ed. 1882.

"Memoirs of the War carried on in Scotland and Ireland, 1689-91," byMajor-General Hugh Mackay: printed for the Abbotsford Club, 1833.

"Life of Lieut.-General Hugh Mackay of Scowrie," by John Mackay ofRockfields, 1836.

Napier's "Memorials and Letters Illustrative of the Life and Times ofJohn Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee," 1859-62.

"New Statistical Account of Scotland," 1845.

Pennant's "Tour in Scotland," 1774.

Scott's "Tales of a Grandfather."

Simpson's "Times of Claverhouse," 1844.

Simpson's "Gleanings in the Mountains," 1846.

Shield's "Short Memorial of the Sufferings and Grievances of thePresbyterians in Scotland," 1690.

Stewart's "Sketches of the Highlanders of Scotland," 1822.

"Remarks on Col. Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders," 1823.

Walker's "Biographia Presbyteriana," 1732, reprinted at Edinburgh 1837.

Wodrow's "History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland," Burn'sed. 1838.

[Pg 1]



John Graham, Viscount of Dundee, best known, perhaps, in history by histerritorial title of Claverhouse, was born in the year 1643. No record,indeed, exists either of the time or place of his birth, but a decisionof the Court of Session seems to fix the former in that year—the year,as lovers of historical coincidences will not fail to remark, of theSolemn League and Covenant.[1]

He came of an ancient and noble stock. The family of Graham can betraced back in unbroken succession to the beginning of the twelfthcentury; and indeed there have been attempts to encumber its scutcheonwith the quarterings of a fabulous antiquity. Gram, we are told, was insome primeval time the generic name for all independent leaders of men,and was borne by one of the[Pg 2] earliest kings of Denmark. Another hassurmised that if Graham be the proper spelling of the name, it may becompounded of Gray and Ham, the dwelling, or home, of Gray; but ifGrame, or Græme, be the correct form, then we must regard it as agenuine Saxon word, signifying fierce, or grim. Such exercises areingenious, and to some minds, possibly, interesting; but they are surelyin this case superfluous. A pedigree, says Scott laughingly as he sitsdown to trace his own, is the national prerogative of every Scottishman,as unalienable as his pride and poverty; but he must be very poor orvery proud who cannot find his account in the legitimate pedigree of theHouse of Montrose.

The first of the branch of Claverhouse, which took its name from a smalltown in Forfarshire a few miles to the north of Dundee, was John, son ofJohn Graham of Balargus in the same shire. Graham of Balargus was theson of another John, who was the second son of Sir Robert Graham ofFintrey, the eldest son of Robert Graham of Strathcanon, son and heir ofSir William Graham of Kincardine, by his wife the Lady Mary Stuart,widow of George first Earl of Angus and daughter of King Robert theThird—the unhappy king of "The Fair Maid of Perth." The grandson ofJohn Graham was Sir William Graham of Claverhouse, the chosen friend ofhis cousin, the gallant and unfortunate Marquis of Montrose. By his wifeMarion, daughter of Thomas Fotheringham of Powrie, Sir William had twosons, George and Walter, of whom the latter was the ancestor of thoseGrahams of Duntroon who at a later period assumed the title of Dundee.George[Pg 3] left one son, another Sir William, who married Lady JeanCarnegie, daughter of the first Earl of Northesk, and by her had fourchildren—two daughters, Margaret and Anne, and two sons, John andDavid. David is, as will be seen, not unrecorded in the annals of hiscountry; but his name has been completely eclipsed by that of his elderbrother, the "bloody Claver'se" of the Whigs, the "bonnie Dundee" of theJacobites, one of the most execrated or one of the most idolisedcharacters in the history of this kingdom, according to the temper andthe taste of the writers and readers of history.

The register of that year shows that the two brothers matriculated atSaint Leonard's College in the University of Saint Andrews, on February13th, 1665. Before this date all is a blank. Of John's boyish yearshistory and tradition are equally silent. Long after his death, indeed,some idle stories became current, as their fashion is, of prophecies andprodigies in that early time. His nurse is said to have foretold that ariver taking its name from a goose would prove fatal to him, and to havelamented that her child's career of glory had been frustrated because hehad been checked in the act of devouring a live toad. This last storysounds much like a popular version of the Grecian fable of Demophoön, astold in the Homeric hymn to Demeter. But, as a matter of fact, it was alegend current of the infancy both of the Regent Morton and of Montrosehimself before it was given to Claverhouse; and possibly of many otheryouthful members of the Scottish aristocracy, who happened to makethemselves obnoxious to a class of their countrymen whose piety[Pg 4] seemsto have added no holy point to their powers of invective. There is aningenious fancy, and, at least, as much reason as is generally displayedin mythological researches, in the surmise that this particular legendmay have owed its origin to the French connection with Scotland, aconnection which would naturally have found little favour in the eyes ofthe followers of John Knox.

Claverhouse seems to have neglected neither the studies nor thediscipline of the University. He has, indeed, in our own time beendenied enough even of the common intellectual culture of his day to savehim from ridicule as a blockhead. But there is no reason for thiscontemptuous statement. His own contemporaries, and others, who if notexactly contemporaries have at least as good right to be heard as awriter of our own time, have left very different testimony. Burnet, who,though connected by marriage with Claverhouse and at one time much inhis confidence, was the last of men to praise him unduly, has vouchedboth for his abilities and virtues. Dalrymple, who was certainly noJacobite, though censured by the Whigs for his indulgence to James, hasdescribed him as from his earliest youth an earnest reader of the greatactions recorded by the poets and historians of antiquity. Moreparticular testimony still is offered by a writer whose work was not,indeed, undertaken till nearly fifty years after the battle ofKilliecrankie, but whose pictures of those men and times have all thefreshness and colour of a contemporary. The author of those memoirs ofLochiel of which Macaulay has made such brilliant use, has creditedClaverhouse with a considerable knowledge of mathematics[Pg 5] and generalliterature, especially such branches of those studies as were likely tobe of most use to a soldier. Lastly, Doctor Munro, Principal of theCollege of Edinburgh, when charged before a Parliamentary Commissionwith rejoicing at the news of Killiecrankie, denied at least that he hadrejoiced at the death of the conqueror, for whom he owned "anextraordinary value," such as, in his own words, "no gentleman, soldier,scholar, or civilised citizen will find fault with me for."[2]

[Pg 6]

It would be as foolish to take these witnesses too literally, as it isfoolish to call Claverhouse a blockhead because he could not spellcorrectly. For many years after his death men of position and abilitiesfar more distinguished and acknowledged than his, were not ashamed tospell with a recklessness that would inevitably now entail on anyfourth-form boy the last penalty of academic law. Scott says thatClaverhouse spelled like a chambermaid; and Macaulay has compared thehandwriting of the period to the handwriting of washerwomen. Therelative force of these comparisons others may determine, but it iscertain that in this respect at least Claverhouse sinned in goodcompany. The letters of even such men as the Lord Advocate, Sir GeorgeMackenzie, and the Dalrymples,—letters written in circumstances morefavourable to composition than the despatches of a soldier are everlikely to be—are every whit as capricious and startling in theirvariations from the received standard of orthography. If it isimpossible quite to agree with his staunch eulogist, Drummond ofBahaldy, that Claverhouse was "much master in the epistolary way ofwriting," at least his letters are plain and to the purpose; and theletters of a soldier have need to be no more.

It is, of course, unlikely that he could have been, even for those days,a cultivated man. The studies of youth are but the preparation for theculture of manhood; and after his three quiet years at Saint Andrewswere done, his leisure for study must have been scant indeed. But all weknow of his character, temperament, and habits of life forbid thesupposition that he wasted that precious time either in idleness or[Pg 7]indulgence. His bitterest enemies have borne witness to his singularfreedom from those vices which his age regarded more as thecharacteristics than the failings of a gentleman. The most scurrilous ofthe many scurrilous chroniclers of the Covenanters' wrongs has owned ina characteristic passage that his life was uniformly clean.[3] Gifted bynature with quick parts, of dauntless ambition and untiring energy bothof mind and body, he was not the man to have let slip in idleness anychance of fortifying himself for the great struggle of life, or to haveneglected studies which might be useful to him in the future becausethey happened to be irksome in the present. It is only, therefore, inreason to suppose that he managed his time at the University prudentlyand well, and this may easily be done without assuming for him anyspecial intellectual gifts or graces.

But, as a matter of strict fact, from the date of his matriculation tothe year

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