Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 35.djvu/198

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Maclaine
Maclaren
192

the Hague. Meanwhile he concocted by letter with Plunket, who was in Ireland, a grand matrimonial scheme, the prize being 'adoe of 40,000l.' The plot failing, on 26 June 1750 Maclaine nerved himself for a desperate venture. With Plunket's aid he stopped, first, the Salisbury Flying Coach at Turnham Green, and then, on Hounslow Heath, Lord Eglinton's coach. Traced by means of an advertisement respecting some finery, of which he had relieved a Mr. Higden, Maclaine was arrested on 27 July 1750, and carried to the Gatehouse, whence he was committed for trial at the Old Bailey by Justice Lediard. At his lodgings were found twenty-three purses, a quantity of clothes and wigs, and a 'famous kept mistress.' His arrest created an extraordinary stir. Troops had to attend him to and from the Gatehouse, many people of quality attended his examination, and great ladies 'shed tears in abundance.' Soame Jenyns appended to the line in his 'Modern Fine Lady', 1750, 'She weeps if but a handsome thief is hung,' the note 'Some of the brightest eyes were at this time in tears for one Maclean.' The prisoner hinting his poverty, 'several persons made him considerable presents.' Yet his conduct was the reverse of heroic. He confessed, retracted his confession, and strove to save himself by giving evidence against Plunket, who was, however, not taken. He was tried on 13 Sept. 1750, and the jury found him guilty without leaving the box. A speech was expected from the condemned after sentence, but the poor wretch could only whimper 'My lord, I cannot speak,' an incident to which Gray alluded in his 'Long Story:'

 A sudden fit of ague shook him,
 He stood as mute as poor Maclean.

The first Sunday after his condemnation, according to Walpole, three thousand people went to see him in Newgate, and White's Club, it was stated, visited him en masse. He fainted away twice with the heat of his cell. His brother 'early renounced him, though he made all the interest he could for him,' and wrote a letter to him after condemnation, which is given in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' (1750, p. 436). He was executed at Tyburn on 3 Oct. 1750, a fulsome account of his pious behaviour being drawn up by the Rev. Dr. Allen at Maclean's 'own earnest desire.' Many portraits of 'the gentleman highwayman,' or 'the ladies' hero,' as he was called, are extant. His features were good, but his face broad and pitted with small-pox. ' He was of sandy complexion, square-shouldered, andwell made downwards.' One of two daughters survived him.

[A Complete History of James Maclean, 1750 (portrait); A Genuine Account of the Life and Actions of James Maclean, 1750; Allen's Account of the Behaviour of Mr. James Maclaine, 1750; M—cL—n's Cabinet broke open, or his Private List of the Duchess Dowagers, Countesses, Widow Ladies, Maiden Ladies, Widows, and Misses of Honour, Virtue, and Large Fortunes in England (a burlesque), 1750; Walpole's Correspondence, ed. Cunningham, 1857, ii. 218-230; The World, 19 Dec. 1754; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 452; Gent. Mag. 1750, freq., and other London papers of that date; Wheatley and Cunningham's London; Caulfield's Remarkable Characters, iv. 87.]

T. S.


MACLAREN, ARCHIBALD (1755–1826), dramatist, born in the highlands of Scotland on 2 March 1755, entered the army, and served in the American war under Generals Moore and Clinton. His regiment returned to Scotland to recruit, and in 1783 Mr. Jackson's company produced his farce of the 'Coup de Main' at Edinburgh. On the conclusion of the war he was discharged, and joined Ward's itinerant troop of players at Montrose. He is said to have been a bad exponent of English parts, in consequence of his strong Scottish accent, but in Scottish, Irish, and French characters he was not unsuccessful.

In 1794 he enlisted as a sergeant in the Dumbartonshire Highlanders, and went with them to Guernsey, where he was engaged to act as prompter in the theatre, and where several of his pieces were performed. Thence his regiment proceeded to Ireland, and took part in the suppression of the rebellion. While in Ireland he wrote another farce, 'What News from Bantry Bay?' but it was not immediately produced, from fear of the United Irishmen. After the battle of Vinegar Hill he was discharged and went to London, where his dramatic writings afforded precarious support to his family till his death in 1826.

The following is a list of his works: I. Dramatic Pieces.—1. ‘The Conjuror, or the Scotsman in London,’ farce, Dundee, 1781. 2. ‘Coup de Main, or the American Adventurers,’ musical entertainment, Perth, 1784. 3. ‘Humours of Greenock Fair, or the Tailor made a Man,’ musical interlude, Paisley, 1789; ib. sine loco, 1790; both editions the same. 4. ‘Highland Drover,’ interlude, Greenock, 1790. 5. ‘What News from Bantry Bay?’ farce. 6. ‘Bonny Lasses of Leith,’ supposed to be ‘Scottish Volunteers,’ with only a change of title, 1790 or 1800. 7. ‘First Night's Lodging,’ farce. 8. ‘Ame-