The Great Montrose, pp.97-101.

[Scottish National Memorials Contents]

   PORTRAIT of the Marquis of Montrose, at the age of seventeen, halt-length, life-size. Copied from Jamesone’s original, belonging to the Earl of Southesk, and preserved at Kinnaird Castle. An engraving of the original was executed in 1848, by R. C. Bell, for the Memorials of Montrose (Maitland Club); and it also appears as the frontispiece to the first volume of Mr. Mark Napier’s Memoirs of Montrose, published in 1856. 

(337) Lent by the DUKE OF MONTROSE. 

   PORTRAIT of the Marquis of Montrose, half-length, life-size, by Jamesone. According to a narrative on the back, it was painted while Montrose was hiding in England in 1640, in the house of a Mr. Colquhoun, a clergyman, second son of the Camstraddan family. About 1755 Robert Colquhoun, Camstraddan, became the owner of it, and in 1776 Lord Frederick Campbell carried it to London and had it cleaned. There it was greatly admired by Sir Joshua Reynolds and others. This traditionary account of the painting is not altogether accurate, for in 1640 Montrose was under no necessity of taking refuge in England; but there can be no doubt as to the authenticity of the portrait. In comparing Montrose and Claverhouse, Dr. John Hill Burton says:- ‘We have good portraits of both heroes, preserving faces that haunt the memory. That of Montrose is as of a large-built, strong man, with well-formed, grave, inscrutable features, unsullied by any expression of wickedness or weakness. Remove from the likeness of the other anything identifying the soldier, and we have in flesh and lineaments a woman’s face of brilliant complexion and finely-cut features. But there is in it nothing of feminine gentleness or compassion – it might stand for the ideal of any of the classic heroines who have been immortalised for their hatreds and cruelties’ (History of Scotland, revised ed., vol. vii. p. 360). (See Plate XIV.) 

   An elaborate account of this picture will be found in Mr. Mark Napier s Memoirs of Montrose, 1856, vol. i. App. pp. v-vii; and for that work it was engraved in line by R. C. Bell. After quoting the narrative on the back of it, Mr. Napier points out that ‘In 1640 Montrose was still a Covenanting commander, passing occasionally between their leaguer in Newcastle, and Edinburgh, hut under no necessity whatever of concealment. So far, then, the tradition is in fault. The portrait itself, however, sufficiently establishes the main fact that it is Montrose, by Jamesone. It displays every characteristic of the master, and has been more elaborately executed than the Kinnaird portrait, but not so well preserved. Moreover, we have the date, 1640, in the corner of the picture, where Jamesone usually painted it, and in the same kind of figures.’ When Mr. Napier wrote, the picture was the property of ‘Robert Colquhoun, Esq., late of Camstraddan, H.B.M. Consul-General at Bucharest,’ and deposited with Principal Macfarlan of Glasgow. It was Required by the Duke of Montrose in 1871, on the death of ‘Sir Robert G. Colquhoun, K.C.B.’ (Bulloch’s, Life of George Jamesone, 1885, p 160). [J. M. G.] 

(338) Lent by the DUKE OF MONTROSE. 

   CHAIR of the Marquis of Montrose. It has a high back, is a pretty design, richly carved, and bears the following inscription on a silver plate:- ‘This chair was presented to the Duchess of Montrose by William Lockhart, Esqr, and belonged to the Marquis of Montrose.’ 

(339) Lent by the DUKE OF MONTROSE. 

   The leading events of Montrose’s life and his tragic death are so well known that it is quite unnecessary to repeat them here. His vigour, bravery, and genius are frankly admitted by those who think least of him; while those who regard him as one of the most brilliant of generals and most chivalrous of patriots experience more or less difficulty in trying to establish his consistency. During the first part of his public career he was a most enthusiastic Covenanter, surpassing all others in his impetuous zeal, but, during the latter portion, the open and daring adversary of his former friends. It has long been the common belief that disappointment and envy wrought the change. His apologists, of course, have found other reasons. Wishart, his biographer and chaplain, attributed it to his discovery, in 1639, of the real object of the Covenanters – a desire to extirpate the Stewarts, beginning with the king; but there are abundant proofs of their loyalty. Although, according to Wishart, Montrose detested ‘such horrible wickedness,’ yet, as the Covenanters ‘had drawn over almost the whole nation to their side, he judged himself alone too weak to check their power; and therefore thought it proper not to declare his purpose too suddenly or too rashly’ (Wishart’s Memoirs of Montrose, 1819, p. 23). His most voluminous and devoted champion lays great stress on the expression of Principal Baillie – ‘the canniness of Rothes had brought in Montrose to our party’ (Laing’s Baillie, ii. 261); and maintains that the proceedings in the General Assembly of 1639, and in the Parliament of 1639 and 1640, which ratified those of the Assembly, ‘attracted the attention of Montrose, and arrested his progress in that downward path’ (Napier’s Memoirs of Montrose, 1856, i. 127, 221). But he has published a letter from Montrose to the king, written after that Parliament, in which he declares that ‘they have no other end but to preserve their Religion in purity, and their liberties entire. That they intend the overthrow of monarchical government is a calumny.’ Mr. Napier is careful to state that this refers to ‘the Scottish nation generally,’ not to ‘the covenanting faction’; but at that time the nation were Covenanters, and Montrose further says in the same letter:- ‘Any difference that may arise upon the Acts passed in the last Parliament, your Majesty’s presence, and the advice and endeavours of your faithful servants, will easily accommodate’ (Ibid. pp. 311, 312). The most recent vindication of the great marquis – a calm, clear, and able article – appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine for November 1887; and, though savouring of the bar as well as the bench, it has been publicly attributed to ‘the highest judicial functionary in Scotland.’ The writer disdains the supposed influence of Rothes in winning Montrose to the Covenanters as derogatory to his intelligence, and as involving on his part ‘reckless indifference to his country’s and his sovereign’s interests,’ and, by charging the change on the Covenanters themselves, endeavours to prove that Montrose was consistent throughout. He has proved that Montrose adopted this line of defence, but he has not evinced that it was well founded. The National Covenant of 1638 he characterises as ‘a vigorous, manly, and perfectly legal declaration and protest in favour of liberty’; and asserts that ‘the nation were left without any alternative, and were bound to rise, as they did in such strength of numbers and influence, in defence of their constitutional rights.’ And on the other hand, he tries to show that the Solemn League and Covenant was of quite a different nature, emphatically declaring that it was ‘aggressive and revolutionary,’ that its ‘obvious and undisguised object was the subversion of the National Church of England, the abolition of its government, worship, and discipline,’ and that it ‘preached a crusade of intolerance’; and that Montrose repudiated it ‘as unconstitutional and rebellious, and on that ground broke away from the extreme party in the Church, and supported the King.’ At the same time he scathingly condemns the fanaticism, the faithlessness, the absolutism of Charles. On behalf of the Covenanters it may be urged that as they knew the perfidious character of the King they were warranted in uniting with their English brethren to overthrow Episcopacy in that country, in order to preserve their own hard-won liberties in this; and that, even although such a step had been unnecessary to secure their own safety, they were only fulfilling their duty to their fellow-subjects in striving to gain for them a liberty equal to their own. The Solemn League and Covenant breathes the same loyalty to the King as the National Covenant had done before it; and it must not be forgotten that almost a year before it was drawn up the English Parliament had decided that the hierarchy should be dissolved. The charge of intolerance against the Solemn League would be a curious plea to excuse the resiling of one – the only one – who had forced subscription to the National Covenant at the point of the sword. And if Wishart and Napier are right in fixing on 1639 as the date of Montrose’s defection, the blame cannot possibly be laid on a document which was not penned till four years afterwards.

Plate XIV. – Portrait of the Marquis of Montrose.


   DUNBAR MEDAL. Bust of Cromwell to left, in armour, bare-headed, long hair, and battle in the distance. Legend – ‘WORD AT DUNBAR. THE LORD OF HOSTS, SEPTEM. V. 3. 1650.’ Below the shoulder, in small letters, there is the artist’s name – T. SIMON. F. This small oval medal, which was made in two sizes, is described in Cochran-Patrick’s Catalogue of the Medals of Scotland, p. 81, and in Hawkin’s Medallic Illustrations, i. 391, 392. Its design was suggested by Cromwell; and Thomas Simon, who had been appointed joint-chief engraver of the English Mint in 1645, ‘was specially ordered by Parliament to proceed to Scotland to take the “effigies, portrait, or statue of the Lord General to be placed on the medal.” ’ The smaller size is now extremely rare. Others were struck at a later period after the die of the reverse – which shows the House of Commons – was lost, and these are less rare. This specimen, which is in silver, is one of the smaller size, but the reverse is plain. 


   LETTER or ORDER, from Charles the Second, to ‘Sir Charles Erskin knt Govemour of our Castle of Dumbarton, or in his absence to his Lieutenant there.’ This letter, which was ‘given at our Court at Sterling the 24th day of July 1651,’ bears that the King’s will is that the Governor deliver to the bearer, ‘George Browne, Gent, secretarie to our right trustie and right welbeloved cozen the Earle of Derbie, two of those gunnes which were brought lately from the Isle of Silly… together with a proportion of ball for each gunn.’ He was also to assist him to impress a vessel to transport them to the Isle of Man, and to give orders for getting them aboard. On the back there is a note from Erskine to Lieutenant-Col. Crawford asking him on sight of ‘the inclosit ordor’ to deliver two of the guns that came from ‘Sillie, excep the long coper sekkar,’ with forty shot for each gun, if ‘ther be anie amongest thes ball cam from Sillie.’ ‘Feall not heiarin as you will ansuer.’ And, by way of postscript, he adds:- ‘As you respect me be cevill to this worthie gentillman the bearer heiarof.’ Sir Charles Erskine was the god-son of King Charles the First, and the fourth son of John, Earl of Mar, and his countess. Lady Marie Stewart. He married Mary Hope, second daughter of Sir Thomas Hope, the famous covenanting Lord Advocate; and was appointed a Commissioner to the Westminster Assembly. By his cousin, the Duke of Lennox, he had been appointed Governor of Dumbarton Castle. 


   TWO DRAFTS OF THE CAPITULATION OF DUMBARTON CASTLE. Neither is dated. Both have been subjected to many alterations, especially one, which is no doubt the earlier. Some of the stipulations are that the garrison was to be dismissed, the cannons dismounted, all the new fortifications dismantled, the arms and ammunition laid in since the place was garrisoned to be delivered up, that the Castle be not re-garrisoned either for the Scots or English, that the prisoners be dismissed, that no oath or engagement be imposed on any in the garrison, that Sir Charles Erskine have liberty to dwell in the Castle with his family at what times he pleaseth, and at other times to have a servant or two in his stead. In the earlier of the two drafts, Lieutenant-General Monck undertakes that it shall not be garrisoned by the English; and the Governor, that it shall not be garrisoned by the Scots. The conditions signed by Lambert on the 29th of December 1651, which differ materially in several respects from the drafts, are given in Irving’s History of Dumbartonshire, 1860, pp. 201, 202. 


   EMBARKATION MEDAL of Charles the Second. Bust of Charles in armour. The face is almost full, and the hair is long. Legend – ‘CAROLVS • H • D: G • MAGNÆ • BRIT • FRA • ET. HIB • REX.’ On the reverse there is a fleet under sail, over which Fame blows a trumpet, and holds in her right hand a scroll, with the motto – ‘SOLI DEO GLORIA.’ Below, a shell is inscribed – ‘S.M. is úit Hollant Van Scheveling afgevaren naer sÿn Conincrÿken A° 1660 Júni 2.’ The legend is: ‘IN NOMINE MEO EXALTABITUR CORNU EIUS. PSAL. 89.’ This medal, which is 2.75 inches in diameter, was executed in Holland by Peter Van Abeele, and, like his other medals, is embossed and chased, the two sides being joined by a rim. It commemorates the embarkation of Charles at Scheveningen on his Restoration. The date is according to the new style, which had then been adopted in Holland. There are four varieties of this medal, two of which are very rare, one indeed perhaps unique, but the variety of which this is a specimen is not uncommon. 

(321) Lent by the MARQUIS OF BUTE. 

   SAMUEL RUTHERFURD’S LETTERS. 1664. ‘Joshua Redivivus, or Mr. Rutherfoord’s Letters, Divided in two Parts… Printed in the year CID IDC LXIIII.’ 12mo, pp. xlviii, 576. Also ‘The Third Part, containing some more Letters by the same Author,’ and the postscript by another author, N.D. Pp. 120. 

   Born at Nisbet, in the parish of Crailing, in or about the year 1600, Samuel Rutherfurd successively became a Regent of Humanity in Edinburgh University, the pastor of Anwoth, a prisoner at Aberdeen, Professor of Divinity and Principal of St. Mary’s College, St. Andrews; and was the author of twenty-three publications, most of which were issued in his lifetime. Among his more famous works are his Lex Rex, and the Tryal and Triumph of Faith, first printed, respectively, in 1644 and 1645; the rarest is The Last and Heavenly Speeches and Glorious Departure of John, Viscount Kenmuir, published in 1649; while that by which he is now most widely known – written not for the press, but out of the fulness of his heart to his dearest friends – is the collection of Letters gathered by his faithful amanuensis, Robert McWard, who was one of the ministers of Glasgow from 1656 to 1661, and who died in exile in 1681. Rutherfurd narrowly escaped martyrdom. After the Restoration he was deprived of his professorial chair and of his ministerial charge; he was confined to his house, and his stipend confiscated; and, though dying, he was cited to appear before Parliament on a charge of high treason. The principles of his Lex Rex are now acknowledged to underlie the British constitution, but then it was ignominiously burned at St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and London. McWard relates, in his preface to the Letters, that when ‘he was upon the threshold of glory, ready to receive the immortall crown,’ he said, ‘Now my tabernacle is weak, and I would think it a more glorious way of going hence, to lay down my life for the cause, at the Cross of Edinburgh or St. Andrews; but I submit to my Master’s will.’ He died on the 19th of March 1661. The first edition of his Letters was printed in Holland in 1664. Another, which McWard repudiated, came out in 1671, and the third in 1675. The last contained a Third Part, consisting of sixty-eight epistles not formerly printed; and as many copies of that part were printed separately ‘as they, who have the first’ edition, ‘may have that part by itself, 
without being put to a necessity of buying the whole again together.’ This is a very nice copy of
 the first edition in vellum, with gilt edges, and with it the third part is bound up, but it is quite a 
different impression from that found in the copies of 1675. 

(448) Lent by WM. MACMATH.

   BIBLE, said to have been used by the Marquis of Argyll on the scaffold. The binding is 
modern, but the book itself is an old black-letter. It is a quarto, containing the Old and New
 Testaments, printed at London by Robert Barker in 1606. It also embraces the Apocrypha and
 two concordances printed by Barker in that year; and Sternhold and Hopkins’ version of the
 Psalms, with music, ‘London, imprinted for the Company of Stationers, 1605.’ Paul Delaroche, 
in his picture of the execution of Argyll, used this volume, and it was presented to the leader by
 the Rev. W. W. Havergal. Argyll, who, though naturally timorous, met his hard fate with great
 courage and composure, was beheaded by the maiden, at the Cross of Edinburgh, on the 27th of 
May 1661, and his head was placed on the Tolbooth, where Montrose’s had previously been. In 
his dying speech, which is printed in Naphtali, Wodrow’s History, the Scots Worthies, and Mackenzie’s Memoirs, he declares:- ‘God hath laid engagements upon Scotland: we are tied by 
Covenants to Religion and Reformation: these that were then unborn are yet engaged.’ 

(325) Lent by A. J. SYMINGTON. 

One thought on “The Great Montrose, pp.97-101.

Leave a Reply