This text represents most of what is written about the Hume/Home family in this book, however, there are other Hume /Home references within these two volumes especially in the pages discussing the Douglas family.
The author notes in his preface that this work does not "discuss difficult or disputed genealogical questions, but merely to give sketches..of the great historical families of Scotland."
THE Homes are among the oldest and most celebrated of the historical families of Scotland. Their founder was descended from the Earls of Dunbar and March, who sprung from the Saxon kings of England and the princes of Northumberland. After the conquest of that country by William of Normandy, Cospatrick, the great Earl of Northumberland, and several other Saxon nobles connected with the northern counties, fled into Scotland in the year 1066, carrying with them Edgar Atheling, the heir of the Saxon line, and his two sisters, Margaret and Christina. Malcolm Canmore, who married the Princess Margaret, bestowed on the expatriated noble the manor of Dunbar, and broad lands in the Merse and the Lothians. Patrick, the second son of the third Earl of Dunbar, inherited from his father the manor of Greenlaw, and having married his cousin Ada, daughter of the fifth Earl by his wife, a natural daughter of William the Lion, obtained with her the lands of Home (pronounced Hume), in Berwickshire, from which the designation of the family was taken. The armorial bearings of his ancestors, the Earls of Dunbar, which were a white lion on a red field, were assumed by him on a green field for a difference, referring to his paternal estate of Greenlaw.
Under the protection of their potent kinsman, the De Homes flourished
and extended their possessions, and kept vigilant
'watch and ward' on the Eastern Marches against the incursions of the
Northumbrian freebooters. One of their chiefs, a Sir
John de Home, was so conspicuous for his successful forays across the
Border, always fighting in a white jacket, that he
obtained from the English the sobriquet of 'Willie with the
White Doublet.' The son of this redoubtable Border chief
acquired the estate of Dunglass (from which the second title of the
family is taken) by his marriage to the
heiress of Nicholas Pepdie, in the reign of Robert III. The second son of this couple was the founder of the warlike family of Wedderburn, from which the Earls of Marchmont are descended.
Hitherto the De Homes had acknowledged as their feudal lords the Earls of Dunbar and March, the heads of the great house from which they sprung, who, from their vast possessions and their strong castle of Dunbar, on the eastern Border, having the keys of the kingdom at their girdle, as they boasted, were among the most powerful nobles in the kingdom. Partly from ambition, partly, it would appear, from a hereditary fickleness of character, these barons were noted for the frequency with which they changed sides in the wars between England and Scotland. The eleventh Earl was in the end unfairly deprived of his earldom, castles, and estates by James I., towards the middle of the fifteenth century, in pursuance of his policy to break down the power of the great nobles. As some compensation for this treatment, the King conferred upon him the title of Earl of Buchan, but he indignantly refused to accept of the honour, and sought an asylum in England, from which he never afterwards returned. His father, the tenth Earl of Dunbar and March, who was one of the heroes of Otterburn, in consequence of the manner in which the contract of marriage between his daughter and the Duke of Rothesay was broken off (see THE DOUGLASES), renounced his allegiance for a time to his sovereign; the De Homes, his kinsmen, abandoned his banner, and fought against him and Harry Percy at the sanguinary battle of Homildon, where their chief, SIR ALEXANDER HOME, was taken prisoner. On regaining his liberty he accompanied the Earl of Douglas (Shakespeare's Earl, nicknamed Tineman) to France, shared in his triumphs and disasters, and fell along with him at the battle of Verneuil, in 1424, where the Scottish auxiliaries were almost annihilated. Sir Alexander's second son, THOMAS, was the ancestor of the Homes of Tyningham and the Humes of Ninewells, the family of which David Hume, the philosopher and historian, was a member.
After the final overthrow of the Earls of Dunbar and March, in January,
1436, the Homes succeeded to a portion of their
vast estates, and to a great deal of their power on the Borders as
Wardens of the Eastern Marches. SIR ALEXANDER HOME, the head
of the family, was created a peer by the title of LORD HOME, 2nd
August, 1473, and seems to have possessed considerable diplomatic ability,
as he was frequently employed by James III. in carrying out important negotiations
the English Court. His father and his uncle had held in succession the office of bailie of the lands belonging to the monastery of Coldingham, and he induced the prior and chapter to make the office hereditary in his family. He exerted all his influence in that situation to obtain possession of the large conventual property, and indeed seized and appropriated it to his own use. He was, therefore, greatly irritated by the attempt of King James, with the consent of the Pope, to attach the revenues of the priory to the Chapel Royal at Stirling, and joined the disaffected nobles in their conspiracy against that ill-fated sovereign. His Border spearmen contributed not a little to the defeat and death of James at Sauchie. The Homes obtained a liberal share of the fruits of the victory gained by the rebellious barons. The revenues of Coldingham, the prize for which Lord Home had rebelled and fought against his sovereign, were allowed to remain in his possession, and ALEXANDER HOME, second baron, his grandson and heir, was appointed immediately after the murder of James to the office of Steward of Dunbar, and obtained besides a large share of the administration of the Lothians and Berwickshire. He was also sworn a Privy Councillor in 1488, and was appointed for life to the important office of Great Chamberlain of Scotland. In 1489 he was nominated Warden of the East Marches for seven years, and at the same time was made captain of the castle of Stirling, and governor of the young King. The tuition of John, Earl of Mar, the brother of James IV., was likewise committed to this potent noble. He obtained also a charter of the bailiery of Ettrick Forest, and in the following year was appointed by the Estates to collect the royal rents and dues within the earldom of March and barony of Dunbar. In 1497 Lord Home repaired to the royal standard with his retainers when James IV. invaded England in support of the pretensions of Perkin Warbeck. In retaliation for his ravages in Northumberland and Durham, an English army, under the Earl of Surrey, laid waste the estates of the Homes, and 'demolished old Ayton Castle, the strongest of their forts,' as Ford terms it, in his dramatic chronicle of 'Perkin Warbeck.'
The Homes had now gained a position in the foremost rank of the great
nobles of Scotland, and ALEXANDER, the third
lord, who succeeded to the vast estates of the family in 1506, elevated
them to the highest summit of rank and power ever
attained by their house. In 1507 he was appointed to the office of
Lord Chamberlain, which
had been held by his father, and succeeded him also in the warden-ship of the Eastern Marches.
When war was about to break out between James IV. and his brother-in-law, Henry VIII., Lord Home, at the head of three or four thousand men, made a foray into England and pillaged and burned several villages or hamlets on the Borders. On their return home laden with booty, and marching carelessly and without order, the invaders fell into an ambush laid for them by Sir William Bulmer among the tall broom on Millfield Plain, near Woolet, and were surprised and defeated with great slaughter. According to the English chronicler, Holinshead, five or six hundred were slain in the conflict, and four hundred were taken prisoners, among whom was Sir George Home, the brother of Lord Home. Buchanan, however, estimates the number of prisoners at two hundred, and says that it was the rear only which fell into the ambuscade, while the other portion of the force with their plunder arrived safely in Scotland.
This mortifying reverse deeply incensed the Scottish king, and made him doubly impatient to commence hostilities in order to avenge the defeat sustained by his Warden.
When James took the field shortly after, Lord Home brought a powerful array of his followers to the royal banner, in that campaign which terminated in the fatal battle of Flodden. The Homes and the Gordons, under Lord Huntly, formed the vanguard of the Scottish army in that engagement, and commenced the battle by a furious charge on the English right wing, under Sir Edmund Howard, which they threw into confusion and totally routed. Sir Edmund's banner was taken, he himself was beaten down and placed in imminent danger, and with difficulty escaped to the division commanded by his brother, the Admiral. The old English ballad on 'Flodden Field' thus describes Home's attack on the English vanguard:—
'With whom encountered a strong Scot,
Which was the King's chief Chamberlain,
Lord Home by name, of courage hot,
Who manfully marched them again.
'Ten thousand Scots, well tried and told
Under his standard stout he led;
When the Englishmen did them behold
For fear at first they would have fled.'
Lord Dacre, who commanded the English reserve, however, advanced to
Sir Edmund's support, and kept the victorious
Homes and Gordons
* The baggage-waggons were drawn
up behind Edmund Howard's division - a fact which may account for the Borders
having secured so much spoil.
better authority for the story than the sexton of the parish having said that if the well were cleaned out he would not be surprised at such a discovery. Lord Home had no motive to commit such a crime. He was the chamberlain of the King, and his chief favourite; and, as it has been justly remarked, he had much to lose (in fact, did lose all) in consequence of James's death, and had nothing earthly to gain by that event.
Six months after the battle of Flodden, Lord Home was nominated one
of the standing councillors of Queen Margaret, who
had been chosen Regent, and was also appointed Chief Justice of all
the country south of the Forth. He was deeply
implicated in all the intrigues of that turbulent and factious period
of Scottish history, and was alternately on the side of the
Queen Dowager and of Albany, who succeeded her as Regent after her
marriage to the Earl of Angus. He protected
Margaret in her flight into England in 1516, and concocted with Lord
Dacre measures to overthrow the Government of the
Regent. In revenge for these proceedings Albany marched into the Merse
at the head of a powerful army, overran and
ravaged Home's estates, captured Home Castle, his principal stronghold,
and razed Fast Castle, another of his fortalices, to
the ground. Under pretence of granting him an amnesty and a pardon,
Albany induced Home to meet him at Dunglass,
where he was treacherously arrested and committed a prisoner to the
castle of Edinburgh, then under the charge of the Earl
of Arran, his brother-in-law. He contrived, however, to prevail on
Arran, not only to let him escape from prison, but to
accompany him in his flight into England. A few months later Home made
his peace with the Regent and was restored to his
estates on condition that if ever he rebelled again he should be brought
to trial for his old offences. But, unmindful of the
warning he had received, and disregarding his promise, he speedily
renewed his treasonable intrigues with Lord Dacre, the
English Warden, who hired Home's retainers to plunder and lay waste
the country, so that, as Dacre himself admits, the
Eastern Marches were a prey to constant robberies, fire-raisings, and
murders. Incensed at this behaviour, Albany resolved
that he would no longer show forbearance to this factious and turbulent
baron, and having by fair promises induced him and
his brother William to visit Holyrood, in September, 1516, he caused
them both to be arrested, by the advice of the
Council, tried on an accusation of treason, condemned and executed.
Their heads were exposed above the Tolbooth and
their estates confiscated.
Buchanan mentions that one of the charges brought against the Chamberlain
was that he was accessory to the defeat at Flodden and the death of the
King, which shows at what an early period this unfounded report was prevalent.
The historian adds that the accusation, though strongly expressed, being
feebly supported by proof, was withdrawn. Another brother, David Home,
'Prior of Coldingham, was shortly after assassinated by the Hepburns. The
execution of Lord Home was keenly resented by his vassals and retainers.
Among the fierce Border race the exaction of blood for blood was regarded
as a sacred duty. Albany himself retired to France and thus escaped their
vengeance, but they determined to revenge the death of their chief by slaying
the Regent's friend, the Sieur de la Bastie, a gallant and accomplished
French knight, whom he had appointed Warden of the Eastern Marches in the
room of Lord Home. For this purpose, David Home of Wedderburn and some
other friends of the late noble pretended to lay siege to the tower of
Langton, in the Merse of Berwickshire, which belonged to their allies and
accomplices, the Cockburns. On receiving intelligence of this outrage,
the Warden, who was residing at Dunbar, hastened to the spot accompanied
by a slender train (19th September, 1517). He was immediately surrounded
and assailed by the Homes, and, perceiving that his life was menaced, he
attempted to save himself by flight. His ignorance of the country, however,
unfortunately led him into a morass near the town of Dunse, where he was
over-taken and cruelly butchered by John and Patrick Home, younger brothers
of the laird of Wedderburn. That ferocious chief himself cut off the head
of the Warden, knitted it in savage triumph to his saddlebow by its long
flowing locks, which are said to be still preserved in the charter-chest
of the family, and galloping into Dunse, he affixed the ghastly trophy
of his vengeance to the market cross. The Parliament, which assembled at
Edinburgh on the 19th of February, 1518, passed sentence of forfeiture
against David Home of Wedderburn, his three brothers, and their accomplices
in this murder. The Earl of Arran, a member of the Council of Regency,
assembled a powerful army and marched towards the Borders for the purpose
of enforcing the sentence. The Homes, finding resistance hopeless, submitted
to his authority. The keys of Home Castle were delivered to Arran, and
the Border towers of Wedderburn and Langton were also surrendered to him.
The actual perpetrators of the murder, however, made their escape into
England, and it is a striking proof of the
weakness and remissness of the Government at that time that none of them were ever brought to trial or punishment for their foul crime.*
The forfeited title and estates of Lord Home, who left no male issue, were restored, in 1522, to his brother GEORGE, who became fourth Lord. Like his predecessors, he appears to have possessed the fickleness and instability of character which the family probably inherited from their versatile ancestors, the Earls of March. He deserted the party of the Earl of Angus—Queen Margaret's second husband—whom the Homes had hitherto supported, and became for a time a strenuous partisan of Albany, probably in return for the restitution of the family estates and honours. But two or three years later he was found fighting on the side of Angus at the battle of Melrose, where Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch made an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the young King, James V., from the hands of the Douglases. Shortly after he assisted the Earl of Argyll in driving Angus across the Border and compelling him to take refuge in England. It is due to Lord Home, however, to state that, though thus inconstant in his adherence to the cause of his brother nobles, the remark which Sir James Melvil made respecting his son is equally applicable to him, that 'he was so true a Scotsman that he was unwinnable to England to do any thing prejudicial to his country.' There were very few Scottish nobles of that day of whom this could with truth be said. In August, 1542, Lord Home, along with the Earl of Huntly, defeated, at Haddon-Rig, a few miles to the east of Kelso, a body of three thousand horsemen, who were laying waste
* David Home, the leader in the
plot for the murder of De la Bastie, was one of the 'Seven Spears of Wedderburn,'
who fought at Flodden, where his father and eldest brother were killed.
He seems to have been as noted for his ferocity and blood-thirstiness as
for his bravery. He was so powerful in the Merse that it was said
' none almost pretended to obtaining his leave.' Blackadder, Prior
of Coldingham, however, refused to submit to his arbitrary control and
claims; and Home, meeting him one day while he was following the sports
of the chase, assassinated him and six of his attendants. His brother,
the Dean of Dunblane, shared the same fate. The object which the
Homes had in view was to obtain possession of the estate of Blackadder,
that had belonged to Andrew Blackadder, who fell at Flodden, leaving a
widow and two daughters, at that time mere children. The Homes attacked
the castle of Blackadder, where the widow and her daughters resided.
The garrison made a brave resistance, but were ultimately obliged to surrender.
The widow was compelled to marry Sir David Home, and her two daughters
were contracted to his younger brothers, John and Robert (the former one
of the murders of De la Bastie), and were closely confined in the castle
until they came of age. The estate was entailed in the male line,
and should have passed to Sir John Blackadder of Tulliallan, but he was
waylaid and assassinated by the Homes in 1526, and they ultimately succeeded
in retaining possession of the estate by force.
the country under the command of Sir Robert Bowes, the English Warden, the banished Earl of Angus, and Sir George Douglas. The encounter was fierce and protracted and was decided in favour of the Scots by the timely arrival of Lord Home with four hundred lances. The English were completely defeated, and left six hundred prisoners in the hands of the victors, among whom were the Warden himself, his brother, and other persons of note. A few months later, in conjunction with Huntly and Seton, Home did good service by harassing a formidable army which invaded Scotland under the Duke of Norfolk, and compelling him in little more than a week to retire to Berwick and disband his forces. In a skirmish with the English horsemen, on the 9th of September, 1547, the day before the battle of Pinkie, Lord Home, who commanded the Scottish cavalry, was thrown from his horse and severely injured, and his son, the Master of Home, was taken prisoner. His lordship was carried to the castle of Edinburgh, where he died. His wife, a co-heiress of the old family of the Halyburtons of Dirleton, stoutly defended Home Castle against the Protector Somerset, but was ultimately obliged to surrender, and it was garrisoned by a detachment of English troops. Lord Home left two sons and a daughter.
ALEXANDER, his elder son, fifth Baron, was a true representative of
his family both in its strength and its weakness. He
was personally brave, and fought with great distinction against the
English invaders in the campaign of 1548 and 1549.
Unlike a large body of the nobles, he steadfastly supported the independence
of the country, and was proof against the
bribes and threats of the Protector Somerset and his agents. He recovered
Home Castle from the enemy in a very daring
manner. A small band of his retainers, who were on the watch for an
opportunity of surprising it, perceiving on a certain
night that the guards had relaxed their vigilance, boldly scaled the
precipitous rock on which the fortress was built, and,
killing the sentinel, obtained possession of the castle without difficulty.
Fast Castle, another fortalice of the family, was
retaken in a manner equally adventurous. A number of armed men concealed
themselves in the waggons which were
bringing a supply of provisions for the garrison. Suddenly starting
out of their hiding-place, the Scots seized the castle gates
and admitted a strong body of their countrymen, who were waiting their
signal in the immediate vicinity of the fort. The
garrison being taken unawares, were easily
overpowered, and the place secured. Lord Home was appointed to the office of Warden of the Eastern Marches, so often held by his ancestors, and was one of the commissioners who negotiated the treaty between England and Scotland at Norham in 1559. He supported the Reformation, and sat in the Parliament which abolished Popery and established the Protestant Church in 1560; but in 1565 he attached himself to the party of Mary and Darnley, who in the following year, with a splendid retinue, visited the family castles of Home, Wedderburn, and Langton. He seemed to stand so high in the favour of the Queen at this time that it was expected that the ancient title of Earl of March would be revived in his favour. He was one of the nobles who signed the discreditable bond in favour of the Queen's marriage to Bothwell, but only a few weeks later he joined the association for the defence of the infant King, her son, and along with the Earls of Morton, Mar, Glencairn, and Athole, Lords Lindsay, Ruthven, Graham, and Ochiltree, he subscribed the order for Mary's imprisonment in Lochleven Castle. After the Queen's escape from that fortalice, Home brought a body of six hundred spearmen to the assistance of the Regent Moray at the battle of Langside, where he was wounded both in the face and the leg; but the fierce charge of the Border spearmen contributed not a little to the defeat of the Queen's army. In 1569, however, he once more changed sides, and joined Queen Mary's party. He assisted Kirkaldy of Grange and Maitland of Lethington in holding out the castle of Edinburgh to the last against Regent Morton; but on its surrender in May, 1573, he was more fortunate than his associates, for though he was brought to trial before the Parliament and convicted of treason, he was pardoned, and obtained the restoration of his estates. He died 11th August, 1575.
ALEXANDER, sixth Lord Home, stood high in the favour of King James VI., by whom he was created Earl of Home and Baron Dunglass, 4th March, 1605.
In the Parliament held in 1578 Lord Home obtained the reversal of the
forfeiture passed against his father for his adherence
to the party of Queen Mary. David Home of Godscroft represents this
as having been mainly brought about by the
intervention of his brother, Sir George Home of Wedderburn, with the
Earl of Morton; and, according to Godscroft, it was
against the will and judgment of the Regent that Wedderburn's mediation
was effectual. The affair
affords a striking illustration of the influence of the feeling of clan-ship and fidelity to the chief overpowering even the dictates of self-interest. Morton frankly informed Sir George Home that 'he thought it not his best course.' '.For,' he said, 'you will never get any good out of that house, and if it were once taken out of the way you are next; and it may be you will get small thanks for your pains.' Sir George answered that 'the Lord Home was his chief, and he could not see his house ruined. If they were unkind, that would be their own fault. This he thought himself bound to do. And for his own part, whatsoever their carriage were to him, he would do his duty to them. If his chief should turn him out at the fore-door, he would come in again at the back-door.' 'Well,' said Morton, 'if you be so minded it shall be so. I can do no more but tell you my opinion.' And so he consented.*
The Earl appears, however, to have been largely imbued with the ferocity of the Borderers. It is mentioned by Patrick Anderson that in May, 1593, 'Lord Home came to Lauder, and asked for William Lauder, bailie of that burgh, commonly called William at the West Port, being the man who hurt John Cranston (nicknamed John with the Gilt Sword). Lauder fled to the Tolbooth, as being the strongest and surest house for his relief; but the Lord Home caused put fire to the house, and burnt it all. The gentleman remained therein till the roof-tree fell. In the end he came desperately out amongst them, and hazarded a shot of a pistol at John Cranston, and hurt him; but it being impossible to escape with life, they most cruelly, without mercy, hacked him with swords and whingers all in pieces.'
Lady Marischal, sister of Lord Home, 'hearing the certainty of the cruel murder of William Lauder, did mightily rejoice thereat, and writ it for good news to sundry of her friends in the country. But within less than twenty-four hours after, the lady took a swelling in her throat, both without and within, after a great laughter, and could not be cured till death seized upon her with great repentance.'
A remission for this barbarous slaughter was granted by the King in 1606 to the Earl of Home, Hume of Hutton Hall, Thomas Tyrie, tutor of Drunkilbo, John Hume in Kells, and other persons.†
A conspiracy of Bothwell and certain discontented nobles, in 1593-4, for the seizure of the King's person, was directed also
* History of the House
of Douglas, ii. p. 260.
† Domestic Annals of Scotland,i.pp. 299,300; Pitcairn's Criminal Trials,pp. 111-16.
against Home and other Popish leaders, who were to have been put to death; but it was fortunately detected in time, and Home was ordered by the King to encounter Bothwell when he was advancing to attack the capital. Home's forces were put to the rout, but Bothwell, who had been thrown from his horse, was so severely injured that he made no attempt to follow up his success. When the Popish lords were excommunicated by the Assembly, Home escaped that sentence by making professions of penitence, and promising to sign the Confession of Faith, to attend public worship in the Reformed Church, and to abstain from all intercourse with Jesuits and seminary priests. The Assembly, on this, ordained that he should be formally released by the Moderator from the spiritual burden under which, according to his own profession, he was suffering so much distress of mind. The Earl died in April, 1619. His only son, JAMES, second Earl, was twice married, but died without issue.
The family titles devolved on the heir male, SIR JAMES HOME of Cowdenknowes, a descendant of the second son of the first Lord Home, who obtained from Charles I. a ratification of all the honours, privileges, and precedencies enjoyed by the two previous Earls. But the greater part of the extensive estates of the family were divided between the two sisters of the late Earl, one of whom was Countess of Moray, the other the Duchess of Lauderdale, the first wife of the notorious persecutor of the Covenanters.
The political power of the Homes was now at an end. The successive heads
of this ancient, and at one time great house,
were in no way distinguished for their abilities or activity, and shorn
as they were of their territorial influence, they sank into
obscurity. They were so unfortunate also as to espouse the losing side
in the Great Civil War, and they suffered severely by
pecuniary penalties for their loyalty. It would appear, however, that
the Earl had at last become hopeless or lukewarm in the
cause. He and the Earl of Roxburgh invited the Marquis of Montrose
to the Borders after the battle of Kilsyth, but they
were surprised by a party of Leslie's men, and carried prisoners to
Berwick. Montrose evidently suspected that there had
been collusion between them and the Covenanting general, for in a letter
which Sir Robert Spottiswood, who was with the
Marquis, wrote to Lord Digby from Kelso, he says, 'He [Montrose] was
invited hereunto by the Earls of Roxburgh and
Home, who, when he was within a dozen miles of them, have rendered
and their houses to David Leslie, and are carried in as prisoners to Berwick.' The Earl was colonel of the Berwickshire regiment in the army of the 'Engagement,' levied in 1648 for the rescue of Charles I. As a 'Malignant,' he was of course excluded from the Covenanting forces which, under General David Leslie, were raised in behalf of Charles II. But after the battle of Dunbar and the capture of Edinburgh Castle in 1650, Cromwell, to whom the Earl seems to have been peculiarly obnoxious, despatched Colonel Fenwick to reduce Home Castle. Whitelock gives a somewhat amusing account of the reduction of this stronghold. 'February 3rd, 1656. Letters that Colonel Fenwick summoned Home Castle to be surrendered to General Cromwell. The governor [whose name was Cockburn] answered, "I know not Cromwell; and as for my castle, it is built on a rock." Whereupon Colonel Fenwick played upon him a little with the great guns. But the governor still would not yield; nay, sent a letter couched in these singular terms:—
"I, William of the Wastle,
Am now in my castle,
And a' the dogs in the toun
Shanna gat me gang doun."'
So that there remained nothing but opening the mortars upon this William of the Wastle, which did 'gar him gang doun,' and allow the castle to be garrisoned by English soldiers. These doggrel rhymes are familiar in the mouths of Scottish children down to the present day.
At the Restoration, Earl James was reinstated in his property; but that was only a mere fragment of the ancient patrimony of the family. He died in 1666. His eldest son ALEXANDER, fourth Earl, and his second son JAMES, fifth Earl, both died without issue.* CHARLES, sixth Earl, his youngest son, did not concur in the Revolution of 1668, and took a leading part in the opposition to the union with England; consequently his fortunes were not improved by the favour of the Court or of the Government. He died in 1706, while the Treaty of Union was pending. James Home, the
* It was Earl James who, when
the Covenanters held a Communion in the open air at East Nisbet, on the
banks of the Whitadder, was said to have 'intended to assault the
meeting with his men and militia, and profanely threatened to make their
horses drink the Communion wine, and trample the sacred elements under
foot.' To protect the assembled multitude, amounting to at
least four thousand persons, from molestation, pickets were appointed to
reconnoitre the places from which danger was apprehended and a body of
horse was drawn round the place of meeting, but no attempt was made to
second of his three sons, took part in the rebellion of 1715, and his estate was in consequence forfeited. The rental was at that time £323 10s. 5d., while that of Wedderburn, which was also forfeited, was only £213 0s. 10d. The Earl's eldest son, ALEXANDER, was so strongly suspected of disaffection to the Government that on the breaking out of the rebellion in 1715 he was committed a prisoner to the castle of Edinburgh. The eldest of his six sons predeceased him; but WILLIAM, the second son and eighth Earl, wiser in his generation than his father and grandfather, supported the Government in the rebellion of 1745, displayed the hereditary valour of his house at the luckless battle of Prestonpans, where he strove, but in vain, to rally the panic-stricken dragoons, and was appointed Governor of Gibraltar, where he died in 1761, with the rank of Lieutenant-General in the British army. His three successors—one of whom, ALEXANDER, ninth Earl, was a clergyman of the Church of England—were obscure and uninfluential persons.
There was one of the chiefs of this fierce race, Sir David Home, whose character, as drawn by his son, the author of the 'History of the House of Douglas,' presents a pleasing contrast to that of his sanguinary predecessors. He was the first of his family who died a natural death, all the rest having lost their lives in defence of their country.
'He was,' says Godscroft, 'a man remarkable for piety and probity, ingenuity
[candour], and integrity;' neither was he
altogether illiterate, being well versed in the Latin tongue. He had
the Psalms, and particularly some short sentences of them,
always in his mouth, such as, "It is better to trust in the Lord than
in the princes of the earth," "Our hope ought to be placed
in God alone." He particularly delighted in the 146th Psalm, and sung
it whilst he played on the harp with the most sincere
and unaffected devotion. He was strictly just, utterly detesting all
manner of fraud. I remember when a conversation
happened among some friends about prudence and fraud, his son George
happened to say that it was not unlawful to do a
good action and for a good end, although it might be brought about
by indirect methods, and that this was sometimes
necessary. "What," says he, "George, do you call an indirect way? It
is but fraud and deceit covered under a specious
name, and never to be admitted by a good man." He himself always acted
this principle, and was so strictly just and so little desirous of what was his neighbour's, that in the time of the Civil Wars, when Alexander, his chief, was forfeit for his defection from the Queen's party, he might have had his whole patrimony and also the abbacy of Coldingham, but refused both the one and the other. When Patrick Lindsay desired that he would ask something from the Governor [Morton], as he was sure whatever he asked would be granted, he refused to ask anything, saying that he was content with his own. Lindsay still insisted, and told him, "If you do not get a share of our enemies' estates, our party will never put sufficient trust in you." To this David answered, "If I never can give proofs of my fidelity otherwise than in that manner, I will never give any, let him doubt of it who may. I have hitherto lived content with my own, and will live so, nor do I want any more." Being educated in affluence, he delighted in fencing, hunting, riding, throwing the javelin, managing horses, and likewise in cards and dice; yet he was sufficiently careful of his affairs without doors. Those of a more domestic nature he committed to the care of his wife, and when he had none, to his servants; so that he neither increased nor diminished his patrimony. Godscroft, in the true spirit of his age, cites his father's love to the house of Home as 'not the least of his virtues.' The chief was prejudiced against him, but 'he bore it patiently, and never failed giving him all due honour.' Ultimately Lord Home came to understand his real character, and to place in him that confidence which he so well merited.
Sir George Home, the son and successor of this worthy old laird, seems to have been a kindred spirit, and to have possessed accomplishments of no common order. His brother, David of Godscroft, mentions that he had been trained to pious habits by his parents, and completed his education at the Regent's Court in company with the young Earl of Angus. He knew Latin and French, and acquired such an extensive knowledge of geography that 'though he had never been out of his own country, he could dispute with any one who had travelled in France or elsewhere. He learned the use of the triangle in measuring heights without any teaching, or ever having read of it; so that he may be said to have invented it.
'He was diligent in reading the Sacred Scriptures, and not to little
purpose. He was assiduous in settling controverted points,
and, at table or over a bottle, he either asked other people's opinions
gave his own. He had read a great deal when his public and private business allowed him. He likewise wrote meditations upon the Revelations, the soul, love of God, &c. He also gave some application to law, and even to physic. He was polite and unaffected in his manners. He sang after the manner of the Court. He likewise sang psaltery to his own playing on the harp. He also sometimes danced. He was very keen for hare-hunting, and delighted much in hawks. He rode skilfully, and sometimes applied himself to the breaking of the fiercest horses. He was skilful in the bow beyond most men of his time. He was able to endure cold, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and watching.…He was moderate both in his eating and drinking, which was in those days scarce any praise, temperance being then frequent, though it is now very rare.*
Meanwhile a junior branch of the family, the Humes of Polwarth, had risen to distinction and influence. Sir Patrick Hume, the head of the house during the latter part of the seventeenth century, was elevated to the earldom of Marchmont, and appointed Lord Chancellor of Scotland at the Revolution of 1688, as a reward for his sufferings in the cause of Presbyterianism and religious liberty under Charles II. and James VII. He acquired a considerable portion of the estates of the main line of the family, including Home Castle, the cradle of the race, and completely overshadowed them by his combined official and patrimonial influence.
The estates of the main stock of the family—which at one time extended from the Tweed to the German Ocean, and included a very extensive tract of the most fertile and highly cultivated land in Scotland—had by this time dwindled down to an inheritance of only two thousand acres, which at the commencement of the present century was rented at about £2,000 a year, and even at the present day yields a rental of only £5,000 per annum, while the moderate abilities of the owners did not counterbalance the insignificance of their patrimony. But the fortunate marriage of Cospatrick, eleventh Earl, to the heiress of the Douglas estates, has revived the decayed fortunes of this ancient house. His lordship was created a British peer in 1875 by the title of Baron Douglas. [See THE. DOUGLASES.] The contrast between the fortunes of the two families is very striking. The estates of the Homes, as we have seen, have almost entirely passed into other hands, while the family itself is numerous and
* History of the House of
flourishing. The late Countess, who was the eldest daughter of the second Baron Montague, was the mother of five sons and four daughters. The main line of the house of Douglas has long been extinct, while their extensive possessions, in spite of their frequent rebellions against the royal authority and the consequent forfeitures and vicissitudes which they have undergone, for the most part remain unimpaired. It is to be hoped that the Homes, now restored to their former position in the foremost rank of our historical magnates, will long continue, as they well deserve, to flourish in Douglasdale. The present representative of the family is Charles Alexander Douglas-Home, twelfth Earl of Home and second Baron Douglas of the new creation.
Of the numerous branches of the Home family, the earliest, as well as the most powerful and prolific, were the Homes of Wedderburn, whose courage and savage cruelty have already been noticed. Their founder was Sir Thomas Home of Thurston, second son of Sir Thomas Home of Home, who obtained, in 1413, from Archibald, Earl of Douglas, a grant of the barony of Wedderburn, and became the ancestor of the Homes of Polwarth, Kimmerghame, Manderston, Renton, Blackadder, and Broomhouse. David Hume of Godscroft, author of a 'History of the House and Race of Douglas and Angus,' was a cadet of this line. The Homes of Blackadder, as we have seen, were descended from John Home, one of the 'Seven Spears of Wedderburn,' who married the heiress of the estate. His grandson, John Home, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1671. His younger son, Sir David Home of Crossrig, was one of the first judges in the Court of Session nominated by King William at the Revolution. From Lord Crossrig's eldest surviving son descended the Homes of Cowdenknowes, one of whom was the author of several valuable medical works. Henry Home, Lord Kames, the well-known judge and philosopher, belonged to the Homes of Renton, whose ancestor was the second son of Sir Alexander Home of Manderston. Sir Everard Home, Bart., the eminent surgeon, was descended from the Homes of Greenlaw Castle. His sister was the wife of John Hunter, the celebrated anatomist.
The Homes of Manderston were a branch of the Wedderburn family, and seem to have possessed the characteristics of that race. One of them, David Home, was commonly termed 'Davie the Devil,' and his deeds of darkness well merited that sobriquet.
GEORGE HOME, the third son of Alexander Home of Manderston, was a special favourite of James VI., and held various offices about the Court. In 1601, he was appointed High Treasurer of Scotland. He attended the King to London on his accession to the English throne in 1603, and in the following year he was created an English peer by the title of Baron Home of Berwick. In 1605 he was made Earl of Dunbar in the peerage of Scotland, and was subsequently appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in England. From this time forward he had the chief management of Scottish affairs, and was the principal instrument in establishing Episcopacy in Scotland. In 1609 the Earl was sent down from London accompanied by two eminent English divines, Dr. Abbot, subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury, and Dr. Higgins, for the purpose of promoting this object, on which the King had set his heart. On the approach of the Earl and his clerical associates, Calderwood states that 'the noblemen, barons, and councillors that were in Edinburgh went out to accompany him into the town. So he entered in Edinburgh with a great train. The Chancellor [the Earl of Dunfermline], the Provost, the Bailies, and many of the citizens met him at the Nether Bow Port. It was spoken broadly that no small sums of money were sent down with him to be distributed among the ministers and sundry others. The English doctors seemed to have no other direction but to persuade the Scots that there was no substantial difference in religion betwixt the two realms, but only in things indifferent concerning government and ceremony.'
The Earl had a different service entrusted to him, and had recourse
to very different means to perform it, when, in 1603, he
was appointed 'his Majesty's Commissioner for ordering the Borders.'
Sir James Balfour says, 'he took such a course with
the broken men and sorners that in two justiciary courts holden by
him he condemned and caused hang above a hundred
and forty of the nimblest and most powerful thieves in all the Borders.'
The Chancellor informed the King that the Borders
were 'now settled far by anything that ever has been done there before.'
It was soon made manifest that the effect of these
severe proceedings was only temporary, for in 1609 it became necessary
for Lord Dunbar to go once more to Dumfries to
hold a justice court, and the King was informed by the Chancellor that
the Earl 'has had special care to repress, baith in the
in-country and on the Borders, the insolence of all the proud bangsters,
oppressors, and Nembroths [Nimrods], but
[without] regard or respect to
any of them; has purgit the Borders of all the chiefest malefactors and brigands as were wont to reign and triumph there…has rendered all those ways and passages betwixt your Majesty's kingdoms of Scotland and England as free and peaceable as Phoebus in auld times made free and open the ways to his awn oracle in Delphos, &c. These parts are now, I can assure your Majesty, as lawful, as peaceable, and as quiet as any part in any civil kingdom of Christianity.'
The chronic disorders and outrages of the Border districts were not, however, to be so easily remedied. Not long after a representation was made to the King by the law-abiding inhabitants of the district, declaring that 'Lord Dunbar being now gone with his justice-courts, the thieves are returned to their old evil courses.'
The Earl obtained the Order of the Garter in 1609, and was installed at Berwick with extraordinary pomp and magnificence. He is described by Archbishop Spottiswood as a man of 'deep wit, few words, and in his Majesty's service no less faithful than fortunate.' Calderwood, who naturally took a very different view of the Earl's services, narrates with evident satisfaction how in 1611 he was 'by death pulled down from the height of his honour, even when he was about to solemnise magnificently his daughter's marriage with the Lord Walden (afterwards Earl of Suffolk). He purposed to celebrate St. George's day following in Berwick, where he had almost finished a sumptuous and glorious palace. He was so busy and left nothing undone to overthrow the discipline of our Church, and specially at the Assembly holden last summer in Glasgow. But none of his posterity enjoyeth a foot broad of land this day of his conquest in Scotland.' As the Earl left no male issue, his titles expired at his death. The elder of his two daughters married Sir James Home of Cowdenknowes, and was the mother of the third Earl of Home.
Two incidents which occurred at this time in connection with the family
of Home cast a striking light on the lawless state of
the country even towards the close of the seventeenth century. The
only daughter of the late Laird of Ayton, who was under
age, was left in charge of the Countess of Home. The father of the
young girl had bequeathed to her his whole estate, and
when the time approached for her to choose her curators, Home of Plendergast,
the next heir male of the Ayton family,
presented, in December, 1677, a petition to the Privy Council requesting
that she should be brought as usual to their bar to
make that choice in the presence of her general kindred, no doubt with
aview to the young lady
marrying a member of his family. The Countess of Home, however, the young lady's guardian, and Charles Home, the brother of the Earl, with whom the heiress of Ayton resided, had a different object in view. On the evening of the day when the petition was presented to the Council, Charles Home, accompanied by Alexander Home of Linthill, Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth (afterwards first Earl of Marchmont), John Home of Ninewells (grandfather of the celebrated David Hume), Robert Home of Kimmerghame, elder, and Joseph Johnston of Hilton proceeded to the residence of the young lady, who was only twelve years of age, and carried her off across the Border. 'There they, in a most undutiful and unchristian-like manner, carried the poor young gentlewoman up and down like a prisoner and malefactor, protracting time till they should know how to make the best bargain in bestowing her, and who should offer most. They did at last send John Home of Ninewells to Edinburgh and take a poor young boy, George Home, son of Kimmerghame, out of his bed, and marry him to the said Jean, the very day she should have been presented to the Council.' At the same time the Countess of Home appeared before the Council, and apologised for the absence of her ward 'as being sickly and tender, and not able to travel, and not fit for marriage for many years to come.'
The Council were justly indignant at the manner in which the statutes had been violated and their commands trifled with, and they inflicted heavy penalties on all the offending parties. The boy-husband was fined in £500 Scots, and was deprived of his interest jure mariti; the young wife lost hers jure relictæ, and was fined in a thousand marks for their clandestine marriage. Further, for contempt of the Council, the lady was fined in a thousand marks, to be paid to Home of Plendergast; Home of Ninewells was amerced in a thousand marks to be paid to Plendergast; and a fine of two thousand was imposed upon Johnston of Hilton. The young couple were besides sentenced to three months imprisonment in the castle of Edinburgh.*
The other incident, which occurred a few years later at Hirsel, the seat of the Earl, was of a much more tragical character. During the absence of Lord Home in London, the Countess invited a party of the neighbouring gentlemen to the house during the Christmas holidays. Amongst these were Johnston of Hilton, Home of Ninewells, and the Hon. William Home, brother of the Earl and the
* Privy Council Records.
Domestic Annals, ii. p. 290.
Sheriff of Berwickshire—three gentlemen who, like the Countess, had all been connected with the abduction of the young heiress of Ayton. They resorted to cards and dice, at which Home lost a considerable sum of money. A quarrel in consequence took place, and Johnston, who was of a fiery temper, struck Home in the face. The affair, however, seems to have been amicably settled, and all the company had gone to bed, when William Home, who must have brooded over the affair, rose and went to Johnston's bedroom to call him to account for the insult he had offered him. Nothing is known of what passed between the two except that Home stabbed Johnston in his bed, inflicting upon him no less than nine severe wounds. Home of Ninewells, who slept in an adjoining chamber, came to see the cause of the disturbance, and as he entered Johnston's room, he received a sword-thrust from the sheriff, who was now retiring, and who immediately fled into England upon Johnston's horse.
Ninewells recovered, but Hilton died in a few days. The murderer, who was never caught, was supposed to have entered some foreign service and to have died in battle. But after the lapse of a good many years, he is said to have returned to Scotland, and to have hazarded an experiment to ascertain if he could be allowed to spend the remainder of his days in his native country. A son of the murdered Johnston, while at a public assembly, 'was called out to speak with a person who professed to have brought him some particular news from abroad. The stranger met him at the head of the staircase, in a sort of lobby which led into the apartment where the company were dancing. He told young Johnston that the man who had slain his father was on his death-bed, and had sent him to request his forgiveness before he died. Before granting his request, Johnston asked the stranger one or two questions, and observing that he faltered in his answers, he suddenly exclaimed, "You yourself are my father's murderer" and drew his sword to stab him. Home—for it was the homicide himself—threw himself over the balustrade of the staircase and made his escape.'*
* Domestic Annals, ii.
pp. 455, 456. Sir Walter Scott relates this ancecdote on the authority
of Mrs. Murray Keith.
-Notes to Fountainhall's Chron. p. 33.
THE Marchmont Humes are cadets of the great family of the Homes, who once held paramount authority on the Eastern Borders. [See HOMES.] A junior branch of the house settled at Wedderburn in 1413, and the grandson of the first Baron of Wedderburn was the immediate ancestor of the Marchmont Humes.
The estates which afterwards formed the patrimony of this family anciently
belonged to the St. Clairs, and as far back as the
fifteenth century fell into the possession of two co-heiresses. In
these 'auld times o' rugging and riving through the hale
country,' as Edie Ochiltree said, 'when nae man wanted property if
he had strength to take it, or had it langer than he had
power to keep it,' the abduction of a wealthy heiress was an event
as common in Scotland as it was in Ireland at the close
of last century. The young ladies in question were courted by as many
lovers as was the renowned Tibby Fowler, who had
'two-and-forty wooing at her, suing at her.' But an uncle who was anxious
to keep them unmarried, in order that he might
inherit their large estates, carried them off from Polwarth, the family
seat, and immured them in his own castle in East
Lothian. The ladies, however, had singled out from the crowd of suitors
the stalwart sons of their powerful neighbour, David
Home of Wedderburn, and had lent a favourable ear to their addresses.
In spite of the jealous precautions of their uncle,
they contrived by means of a female beggar to transmit information
to their lovers of the place of their confinement, and they
were soon gratified by the appearance of the two youths, accompanied
by a band of stout Merse men, before the gates of
the castle. In spite of the remonstrances and resistance of the uncle,
the ladies were forcibly released, and carried off in
triumph to Polwarth, where their nuptials were immediately celebrated.
The marriage festivities terminated with a merry dance round a thorn-tree which grew in the centre of the village green. In commemoration of this event, it became the practice for marriage parties in Polwarth to dance round this thorn; and the custom, which continued for well-nigh four hundred years, was only given up about fifty years ago, on the fall of the original tree, which was blown down in a fierce gale of wind. There is a well-known tune called 'Polwarth on the Green,' to which several songs have been successively adapted. The first stanza of one of these productions of the Scottish muse thus refers to this old custom:—
'At Polwarth on the green,
If you'll meet me the morn,
When lasses do convene
To dance around the thorn.'
PATRICK, the younger of the two Homes, married the elder of the St. Clair ladies, and became the founder of the MARCHMONT HUME family.* He was evidently a man of energy and activity, and in 1499 obtained the important office of Comptroller of Scotland, which he held till 1502, when he received the honour of knighthood. His
* It has not been discovered at what time or for what reason the difference in the spelling of the family name—which is pronounced Hume—originated. David Hume, the philosopher and historian, in a letter to Alexander Home of Westfield, of date 12th April, 1758, says: 'The practice of spelling Hume is by far the most ancient and most general till about the Restoration, when it became common to spell Home, contrary to the pronunciation. Our name is frequently mentioned in Rymer's Foedera, and always spelt Hume. I find a subscription of Lord Hume in the Memoirs of the Sydney family, where it is spelt as I do at present. These are a few of the numberless authorities on this head.'
John Home, the author of the tragedy of Douglas, on the other hand, resolutely maintained that Home was the original and proper spelling, and the historian and he had many good-humoured discussions on the subject. On one occasion David proposed that they should cast lots to decide the matter. 'It is all very well for you, Mr. Philosopher, to make such a proposal,' was John's rejoinder; 'for if you lose you will obtain your own proper name; but if you win I lose mine.' In the last note which David Hume sent to Dr. Blair, inviting him to dinner, he thus began it: 'Mr. John Home, alias Hume, alias The Home, alias the late Lord Conservator, alias the late Minister of the Gospel at Athelstaneford, has calculated matters so as to arrive infallibly with his friend in St. David's Street on Wednesday evening,' &c.
It is well known that John Home had a strong dislike
to port wine, and in playful allusion to this feeling, as well as to their
dispute about the proper spelling of their name, David added the following
codicil to his will, on 6th August, 1776, nineteen days before his death:
'I leave to my friend, Mr. John Home of Kilduff, ten dozen of my old claret
at his choice, and one single bottle of that other liquor called port.
I also leave to him six dozens of port, provided that he attests under
his hand, signed John Hume, that he has himself alone finished that
bottle at two sittings. By this concession he will at once surmount the
only two differences that ever were between us concerning temporal matters.'
descendants inherited his intellectual abilities as well as his estates, and had the sagacity and good fortune to be always on the winning side in the successive struggles for supremacy between Popery and Protestantism, and between the King and the people. While the heads of the main line—the Earls of Home—were Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, and Jacobites, the Marchmont Humes were Protestants, Presbyterians, and Hanoverians. The former, from the Great Civil War downwards, have produced no man of great intellectual power or commanding influence in the country; but the latter were prominent in all the great contests for civil and religious liberty, and rose to the highest offices of the State. The broad acres of the Homes, which at one time stretched from the Tweed on the south to the German Ocean on the north, have passed away almost entirely from the house; while the Humes, 'brizzing yont' as their kinsmen receded, gradually extended their borders and augmented their domains till Greenlaw—which Cospatrick, the great Earl of March, bestowed on his nephew and son-in-law, the first Home, from which he took the colour of his shield—and even Home Castle, the cradle and patrimonial stronghold of the house, and the subject of many a Border story, passed into the possession of this prosperous junior branch of the family.
The great-grandson of the founder of the family, Patrick Hume of Polwarth, took a leading part in promoting the Reformation in Scotland, and was a member of the association which was formed in 1560 to protect the Protestant ministers. Sir Patrick's eldest son, fifth Baron of Polwarth, who bore his Christian name, was appointed by James VI., in 1591, Master of the Household, one of the Gentlemen of the Bedchamber, and Warden of the Eastern Marches. He wrote some pieces of poetry which appear to have been popular in the Court of King James. Sir Patrick Hume, his son, seems to have been a favourite both of King James and Charles I., for the former gave him a pension of £100 a year, and the latter created him a baronet in 1625. He died in 1648. His younger brother, Alexander, was the author of a volume of 'Hymns and Sacred Songs,' noted for their pious spirit rather than for their poetical merit.
The power and rank of the family culminated under Sir Patrick's son,
SIR PATRICK HUME, the second Baronet and first
Earl of Marchmont. This distinguished statesman and staunch Covenanter
was born in 1641. He entered public life in 1665
as member for the county of Berwick, and joined the small but faithful
band of patriots
who, under the Duke of Hamilton, offered a strenuous and constitutional resistance to the wretched administration of the notorious Duke of Lauderdale. In 1674 he accompanied Hamilton and other leading Scotsmen to London, for the purpose of laying the grievances of the country before the King, who in reply to their petition for redress said, 'I perceive that Lauderdale has been guilty of many bad things against the people of Scotland, but I cannot find he has acted anything contrary to my interest.' In the following year Sir Patrick was imprisoned in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh by the Privy Council, on account of his appeal to the Court of Session for protection against the arbitrary and illegal assessment levied for the support of the troops in garrison. This imprisonment, which lasted two years, so far from repressing, only seems to have lent fresh ardour to his patriotic zeal. He was again imprisoned in 1679, and on his release by order of the King, he became a participator in the councils of Russell, Sydney, and other leading Whigs, who were anxious to exclude the Duke of York from the succession to the throne. On the judicial murder of these eminent patriots, and the arrest of his venerable friend Baillie of Jerviswood, Sir Patrick, knowing that he was a marked man, and that the Government was bent on his destruction, quitted his mansion of Redbraes Castle, and while he was supposed to have gone on a distant journey, took up his residence in the family burial vault underneath the parish church of Polwarth. This ancient edifice stands in a lonely sequestered spot, on a knoll surrounded with old trees and a brawling burn at its foot, with no dwelling near it. The place of his retreat was known only to his wife, his eldest daughter, and a carpenter named James Winter. The only light which Sir Patrick enjoyed in this dismal abode was by a slit in the wall, through which no one could see anything within. As long as daylight lasted he spent his time in reading Buchanan's Latin version of the Psalms, which he thus imprinted so deeply on his memory that forty years after, when he was above fourscore years of age, he could repeat any one of them at bidding without omitting a word.
The duty of conveying food to Sir Patrick devolved upon his eldest daughter,
Grizel, a young lady of nineteen. 'She at that
time had a terror for a churchyard,' says her daughter, Lady Murray,
'especially in the dark, as is not uncommon at her age
by idle nursery stories; 'but her filial affection so far overcame
the fears natural to her sex and youth, that she walked night
after night through the
woods of her father's 'policy' and amid the tombstones of the churchyard, at darkest midnight, afraid of nothing but the danger that the place of her father's concealment might be discovered. The barking of the minister's dog, as she passed the manse on her nightly visits to the sepulchral vault, put her in great fear of discovery. But this difficulty was overcome by the ingenuity of her mother, who by raising a report that a mad dog had been seen roaming through the country, prevailed upon the clergyman to destroy the fierce mastiff which annoyed her daughter. It was not always easy to secrete the victuals which Grizel conveyed to her father without exciting the suspicions of the domestics, and the remarks of the younger children. Sir Patrick was partial to the national dish of a sheep's head, and one day at dinner Grizel took an opportunity, when her brothers and sisters were busy at their kail, to convey the greater part of one from the plate to her lap, with the intention of carrying it that night to her father. When her brother Sandy, afterwards second Earl of Marchmont, raised his eyes and saw that the dish was empty, he exclaimed, 'Mother, will ye look at Grizzy While we have been supping our broth she has eaten up the whole sheep's head' When Sir Patrick was told this amusing incident that night he laughed heartily, and requested that in future Sandy might have a share of the highly prized viands.
Another of the services which this heroic young lady performed for her
father at this period of her life was conveying a letter
from Sir Patrick to his friend Robert Baillie of Jerviswood, then imprisoned
on a charge of treason in the Tolbooth of
Edinburgh. Baillie, who was as eminent for his abilities and learning
as for his fidelity to his religious principles, had shared in
the councils of the English patriots, and it was of the utmost importance
that intelligence should be communicated to him
respecting the state of affairs since his imprisonment. Miss Grizel
readily undertook this difficult and dangerous task, and
managed it with great dexterity and perfect success. The son of Mr.
Baillie, a youth about her own age, had at this time
been recalled from Holland, where he was educated, to attend his father's
trial. In a cell in the famous old Tolbooth these
two young persons met for the first time, and an attachment then commenced
which was destined to lead to their union in
happier days, when the Revolution had expelled the tyrant and his infamous
tools from the country. Shortly after this
interview the Ministers of State, who, as Bishop Burnet says, 'were
most earnestly set' on Mr. Baillie's destruction,
arraigned the venerable patriot, though he was in a dying condition, before the High Court of Justiciary. In flagrant violation both of law and justice, he was found guilty, on the morning of December 24th, 1684, and, lest he should anticipate the sentence by a natural death, he was executed on the afternoon of the same day, with all the revolting barbarities of the penalties attached to treason.
Meanwhile, on the approach of winter, Lady Hume and Jamie Winter, the carpenter, had been contriving a place of concealment for Sir Patrick more comfortable, and less injurious to health, than the damp and dark burial vault. In one of the rooms on the ground-floor, beneath a bed, Grizel and the faithful retainer dug a hole in the earth, using their fingers alone to prevent noise, and under cover of night carrying out the earth in a sheet to the garden, and scattering it in places where it was least likely to be noticed. The severity of this task is evident, from the fact that when it was finished the nails were quite worn off the young lady's fingers. In the hole thus excavated Winter placed a box large enough to contain some bedclothes, and to afford a place of refuge for the hunted patriot, the boards above it being bored with holes for the admission of air. Sir Patrick lived for some time in this room, of which his daughter kept the key, but an irruption of water into the excavation compelled him to seek another asylum; and the search after him having become keener after the judicial murder of his friend Baillie, he decided on making an attempt to escape from the country in disguise. A few hours after he had quitted Redbraes a party of soldiers came to the house in search of him. He had set out on horseback during the night, accompanied by a trustworthy servant named John Allan, who was to conduct him part of his way to London. In travelling towards the Tweed, Sir Patrick and his guide accidentally separated in the darkness, and the former was not aware that he had quitted the proper road till he reached the banks of the river. This mistake proved his safety, for Allan was overtaken by the very soldiers who had been sent in pursuit of his master. In the assumed character of a surgeon, Sir Patrick reached London in safety, and thence made his way by France to Holland, where a number of other patriots, Scots and English, had found refuge.
Sir Patrick had a wife and ten children, all young, residing at Redbraes
at this time, and they, too, were subjected to harsh
treatment by the Government. The eldest son, Patrick, a mere youth,
was apprehended and put in prison, and on the 26th
1684, he presented a petition to the Privy Council, setting forth the piteous condition of the family, now deprived of their father and threatened with the loss of their estate. He was but 'a poor afflicted young boy,' he said, who could do no harm to the State; he, moreover, cherished loyal principles and a hatred of plots. All he craved was liberty, that he might 'see to some livelihood for himself,' and 'be in some condition to help and serve his disconsolate mother and the rest of his father's ten starving children.' The boon was granted grudgingly by the Ministers, who were no doubt mortified at Sir Patrick's escape, and before the young man was set at liberty he was obliged to obtain security for his good behaviour to the extent of two thousand pounds sterling. Young Patrick was subsequently enrolled in the bodyguards of the Prince of Orange, afterwards William III., and served with distinction in the campaigns of the Duke of Marlborough. But his promising career was eventually cut short: he, by many years, preceded his father to the grave.
In the following year (1685) Sir Patrick Hume accompanied the Earl of
Argyll in the disastrous expedition which cost that
unfortunate nobleman his head. The ruin of the enterprise, which from
the outset was evidently doomed to failure, was
mainly brought about by the mutual jealousies and contentions of the
leaders. More fortunate than his chief and Sir John
Cochrane, the other second in command, Sir Patrick, after lying in
concealment for some weeks in Ayrshire, a second time
made his escape to the Continent, in a vessel which conveyed him from
the west coast, first to Ireland and then to
Bordeaux, whence he proceeded to Geneva, and finally to Holland. At
Bordeaux he gave himself out for a surgeon, as he
had done during his former exile, and as he always carried lancets,
and could let blood, he had no difficulty in passing for a
medical man. He travelled on foot across France to Holland. where he
was joined by his wife and children. Under the
designation of Dr. Wallace, Sir Patrick settled in Utrecht, where he
spent three years and a half in great privation, as his
estate had been confiscated, and his income was both small and precarious.
His poverty prevented him from keeping a
servant, and he was frequently compelled to pawn his plate to provide
for the necessities of his family. One of Sir Patrick's
younger children, named Juliana, had been left behind in Scotland,
on account of ill-health, and her eldest sister Grizel was
sent back to bring her over to Holland. She was entrusted at the same
time with the management of some business of her
father's, and was commissioned to collect what she could of the money that was due to him. All this she performed with her usual discretion and success.
The ship in which she took a passage to Holland for herself and her sister encountered a severe storm on the voyage, the terrors of which were aggravated by the barbarity of a brutal captain. The two girls were landed at Brill, whence they set out the same night for Rotterdam in company with a Scottish gentleman whom they accidentally met on landing. The night was cold and wet, and Juliana, who was hardly able to walk, soon lost her shoes in the mud. Grizel had to take the ailing child on her back and carried her all the way to Rotterdam, while the gentleman—a sympathising fellow exile—carried their baggage.
During Sir Patrick's residence in Holland, the greater part of the domestic
drudgery devolved upon his devoted and
self-denying daughter, who was often obliged to sit up two nights in
the week to complete her work. According to the
simple and affecting narrative of her daughter, Lady Murray of Stanhope,
'She went to the market, went to the mill to have
their corn ground, which it seems is the way with good managers there;
dressed the linen, cleaned the house, made ready
the dinner, mended the children's stockings and other clothes, made
what she could for them; and, in short, did everything.
Her sister Christian, who was a year or two younger, diverted her father,
mother, and the rest, who were fond of music.
Out of their small income they bought a harpsichord for little money.
My aunt played and sang well, and had a great deal of
life and humour, but no turn for business. Though my mother had the
same qualification, and liked it as well as she did, she
was forced to drudge; and many jokes used to pass between the sisters
about their different occupations. Every morning
before six my mother lighted her father's fire in his study, then waked
him, and got what he usually took as soon as he got
up—warm small-beer with a spoonful of bitters in it; then took up the
children, and brought them all to his room, when he
taught them everything that was fit for their age: some Latin, others
French, Dutch, geography, writing, English, &c., and my
grandmother taught them what was necessary on her part. Thus he employed
and diverted himself all the time he was there,
not being able to afford putting them to school; and my mother, when
she had a moment, took a lesson with the rest in
French and Dutch, and also diverted herself with music.
I have now a book of songs of her writing when she was there, many of them interrupted, half writ, some broke off in the midst of a sentence. She had no less a turn for mirth and society than any of the family, when she could come at it without neglecting what she thought was necessary.'
Sir Patrick's eldest son and young Mr. Baillie were at this time serving together in the Guards of the Prince of Orange, and Grizel's constant attention, continues Lady Murray, 'was to have her brother appear right in his linen and dress. They wore little point cravats and cuffs, which many a night she sat up to have in as good order for him as any in the place; and one of their greatest expenses was in dressing him as he ought to be. As their house was always full of the unfortunate banished people like themselves, they seldom went to dinner without three, or four, or five of them to share with them.' And it used to excite their surprise that notwithstanding this generous hospitality, their limited resources were almost always sufficient to supply their wants. In after years, when invested with the rank of an Earl's daughter, and the wife of a wealthy gentleman, Grizel used to declare that their years of privation and drudgery were the most delightful of her whole life. Some of their difficulties and straits, though sufficiently annoying, only served to afford amusement to the exiled family. Andrew, then a boy, afterwards a judge of the Court of Session, was one day sent down to the cellar for a glass of alabast beer, the only liquor with which Sir Patrick could entertain his friends. On his return with the beer, his father said, 'Andrew, what is that in your other hand?' It was the spigot of the barrel, which the boy had forgotten to replace. He hastened back to the cellar with all speed, but found that meanwhile the whole stock of beer had run out. This incident occasioned much mirth and laughter, though at the same time they did not know where they would get more. It was the custom at Utrecht to gather money, for the poor from house to house, the collector announcing his presence by ringing a hand-bell. One night the sound of the bell was heard at Sir Patrick's door, when there was no money in the house but a single okey, the smallest coin then used in Holland. They were so much ashamed to offer such a donation that none of the family would go with the money, till Sir Patrick himself at last undertook the duty, philosophically remarking, 'We can give no more than all we have.'*
In 1688, when the Prince of Orange undertook the deliverance of
* Memoirs of Lady Grizzel
Britain from the tyranny of the Stewarts. Sir Patrick accompanied the expedition, and shared in all its difficulties, and ultimately in its rewards. High honours proportioned to his services and sufferings and character were showered upon him. His attainder was reversed and his estates were restored. He took his seat as member for Berwickshire in the Convention Parliament, which met at Edinburgh in 1689. He was soon afterwards sworn a Privy Councillor, and in 1690 was elevated to the peerage by the title of Lord Polwarth. In 1692 he was nominated Sheriff of Berwickshire; in the following year he was made one of the extraordinary Lords of Session, and in 1696 was appointed to the chief Scottish State office, that of Lord Chancellor. In 1697 he was created Earl of Marchmont, Viscount Blasonberry, and Baron Polwarth, and was made one of the Commissioners of the Treasury and Admiralty, and subsequently filled the office of Lord High Commissioner both to the Parliament of 1698 and to the General Assembly in 1702. Shortly after the accession of Queen Anne he was deprived of his offices of Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, and Sheriff of Berwickshire; but notwithstanding this slight he took a prominent part in promoting the union between Scotland and England, and after a long life spent in the service of his country, he died in 1724, in the eighty-third year of his age, full of years and honours. Mackay, in his Memoirs, describes the Earl as 'a clever gentleman of clear parts, but always a lover of set long speeches, zealous for the Presbyterian government and its divine right.'
The Earl of Marchmont was undoubtedly possessed of eminent abilities
and extensive attainments, and was held in esteem
by his contemporaries. But Lord Macaulay, who cherished a strong prejudice
against the Earl, represents him as 'a man
incapable alike of leading and of following, conceited, captious, and
wrong-headed, an endless talker, a sluggard in action
against the enemy, and active only against his own allies.' 'It may
be,' felicitously rejoins Mr. Campbell Swinton, 'that Sir
Patrick Hume was fond of hearing himself talk. But if it was so, those
best acquainted with the social qualities of the noble
historian will concur with me in thinking that the fault is not one
which he at least should regard as unpardonable. And I
cannot comprehend how Lord Macaulay can reconcile his own description
of the statesmanlike sagacity of his favourite
idol, William of Orange, with the picture he draws of the man who,
both before and after that prince's accession to the
English throne, was
among his most trusted counsellors and his most highly honoured friends.'
The diary of George Home of Kimmerghame, whose father was the Earl of Marchmont's first cousin, gives a very pleasing view of the character of the Earl and the feeling which his kinsmen cherished towards him. 'The foreground of the picture,' says Mr. Swinton, 'is always occupied by the Lord of Marchmont. Without the presence of "the Chancellor" neither a business meeting nor a convivial party seems to have been considered complete. His sayings are chronicled with a Boswell-like fidelity—as when we are told that "after dinner my Lord fell in commendation of tobacco, and said he was told it was observed that no man that smoked regularly fell into a consumption, or was troubled with the gout." When he journeys to London in his family coach—a journey, by the way, which occupies him twelve days—he is waited on as far as Belford by his friends, including Kames, Coldenknowes, and his loving cousin of Kimmerghame. His return from the south as his Majesty's Commissioner resembles nothing but a royal progress. And in the exercise of his viceregal authority we find him dubbing knights, and ruling with firmness and dignity an assembly as turbulent as a modern American Congress. Yet in the midst of all this he is a kind friend, a hospitable host, an active country gentleman, a welcome guest at bridals and christenings; deeply interested in everything that occurs in Berwickshire, and consulted regarding the marriage, and revising the marriage settlements, of his every female cousin in the fourth or fifth degree.'*
His noble-minded daughter, Grizel, came over to England in 1688, in the train of the Princess of Orange. After the settlement of the crown on William and Mary, the latter, who wished to retain Sir Patrick's daughter near her person, offered her the situation of one of her maids of honour. But, like the Shunammite of old, Grizel preferred to dwell among her own people; and about two years after the Revolution she married her faithful lover, Mr. George Baillie, who had now regained his paternal estates, and spent with him forty-eight years of wedded life, in the enjoyment of an amount of happiness proportioned to the remarkable virtues and endowments of both husband and wife.
* Men of the Merse. By
Archibald Campbell Swinton of Kimmerghame. A delightful little volume,
which it is earnestly hoped the accomplished author will be induced to
Mr. Baillie filled with great honour several important offices under Government, and was distinguished equally for his eminent abilities and his high-toned integrity. Rachel, the younger daughter of this excellent couple, inherited the family estates, and was the common ancestress of the elder branch of the Earls of Haddington and of the Baillies of Jerviswood, who have now succeeded to the Haddington titles and estates. The elder daughter, Grizel, who became the wife of Sir Alexander Murray of Stanhope, wrote a most interesting memoir of her mother, Lady Grizel, whose appearance she thus describes: 'Her actions show what her mind was, and her outward appearance was no less singular. She was middle-sized, clean in her person, very handsome, with a life and sweetness in her eyes very uncommon, and great delicacy in all her features; her hair was chestnut, and to the last she had the finest complexion with the clearest red in her cheeks and lips that could be seen in one of fifteen, which, added to her natural constitution, might be owing to the great moderation she observed in her diet throughout her whole life.' Lady Murray speaks of her mother's poetical compositions, and several of her songs or ballads were printed in Ramsay's 'Tea-Table Miscellany.' The best known of these is the beautiful and affecting but unequal pastoral song, 'Were na my heart licht, I wad die,'which is associated with a most pathetic incident in the life of Robert Burns. This admirable woman died in 1746, in the eighty-first year of her age, having survived her husband about eight years.
The two eldest sons of the first Earl of Marchmont predeceased him, and he was succeeded in his titles and estates by his third son, ALEXANDER, who, like his father, held a number of important public offices. He was a Lord of Session, under the title of Lord Cessnock, a Commissioner of the Exchequer and a Privy Councillor, and represented the British Government at the Courts both of Denmark and Prussia. By his marriage with the heiress of Cessnock, in Ayrshire, he acquired that estate* and the title under which he was raised, before he was thirty years of age, to a seat on the Bench. On the breaking out of the rebellion of 1715, he raised four hundred men in Berwickshire, to assist in its suppression, and marched with three battalions to join the Duke of Argyll at Stirling, before the battle of Sheriffmuir. In 1721 he was appointed first ambassador to the celebrated congress at Cambray, and made his public entry into
* The sale of this Ayrshire estate
in 1768, provided the funds by means of which Hume Castle and the adjoining
became the property of the Marchmont family.
that city in a style of great splendour and magnificence. But his opposition to Sir Robert Walpole led to his dismissal from the office of Lord Clerk-Register in 1733. Earl Alexander died in 1740, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. He had four sons and four daughters, but his two eldest sons died young. He was succeeded in his titles and estates by the elder of his two surviving sons, born in 1708. They were twins, and were celebrated for their extraordinary personal resemblance to one another. Alexander Hume Campbell, who bore the name which his father assumed on his marriage, was an eminent member of the English Bar, and represented his native county of Berwickshire in the British Parliament. For some years previous to his death, in 1760, he held the office of Lord Clerk-Register of Scotland.
HUGH, the third and last Earl of Marchmont, born in 1708, was remarkable for his learning, his wit, and his eloquence. At the general election of 1734 he entered the House of Commons as member for Berwick, and made himself so formidable to the Government as one of the leaders of the Opposition, that Sir Robert Walpole, then Prime Minister, declared that there were few things he more ardently desired than to see that young man at the head of his family, which would have had the effect of removing him from Parliament altogether, as the earldom of Marchmont was only a Scottish title, which did not entitle its possessor to a seat in the House of Lords. According to Horace Walpole, Sir Robert used to say to his sons, 'When I have answered Sir John Barnard and Lord Polwarth, I think I have concluded the debate.'
Earl Stanhope, speaking of the severe blow which the removal of this
accomplished debater from the House of Commons,
by the death of his father, in 1740, dealt to the Opposition, says,
'Polwarth was a young man of distinguished abilities, of
rising influence in the Commons, of great—perhaps too great—party warmth;
an opinion in which the famous Sarah,
Duchess of Marlborough, did not concur. 'I have heard some say,' she
writes, 'that Lord Polwarth and his brother are too
warm; but I own I love those that are so, and never saw much good in
those that are not.' Earl Hugh was held in high
esteem by his contemporaries, and was the intimate friend of Pope,
St. John, Peterborough, Arbuthnot, and the other
members of the brilliant Twickenham circle. Lord Cobham placed his
bust in the Temple of Worthies at Stow. Pope makes
affectionate mention of him in his poems, and introduces his name into the well-known inscription on his grotto at Twickenham:—
'There the brightest flame was shot through Marchmont's soul.'
The Earl was one of the executors of the poet, and also of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, who left him a legacy of £2,500. Dr. Samuel Johnson, who had an interview with his lordship for the purpose of obtaining some information about Pope for his 'Lives of the Poets,' was so delighted with the Earl, in spite of his Scottish nationality, that he said to Boswell, 'Sir, I would rather have given twenty pounds than not have come.'
Lord Marchmont sat for thirty-four years in the House of Lords as one
of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland, and
took an active part in the business of the House, in which his abilities,
experience, and learning gave him great weight. He
died in 1794 at the age of eighty-six. The Earl was twice married,
and had one son by each of his wives. PATRICK, the
first born, died young. The younger, who was named ALEXANDER, married
in 1772 Annabel, Baroness Lucas, the
heiress of the great family of the Greys, Dukes of Kent, and was created
in 1776 a British peer by the title of Baron Hume
of Berwick. He unfortunately died without issue in his father's lifetime.
But the untimely death of this promising young
nobleman did not heal a family feud which had originated in a contested
election for the county of Berwick in 1780. The
rival candidates were Sir John Paterson of Eccles, the Earl's nephew
and nominee, and young Hugh Scott of Harden, the
Earl's grandson by his eldest daughter, Lady Diana Scott. Lord Polwarth
and his father took opposite sides in the contest,
which was carried on with great keenness, and terminated in the return
of Mr. Scott. The old peer, who had inherited a
good deal of the obstinate disposition as well as the talents of the
first Earl, never forgave his grandson for what he termed
an act of rebellion, and he in consequence disinherited him and settled
his extensive estates on the heirs of his sister, Lady
Anne Purves, who had married Sir William Purves of Purves Hall, a descendant
of Sir William Purves who was
Solicitor-General for Scotland in the reign of Charles II. The present
worthy Baronet of Marchmont, who has assumed the
name of Hume-Campbell, is the great-grandson of Lady Anne Purves.