Copy of the Right Honourable Lord L----t's Letter
My Dear Lord,
I Received the Honour of your Lordship's Letter, late last Night, of Yesterday's Date, and I own I never received one like it since I was born; and I give your Lordship ten thousand Thanks for the kind Freedom you use with me in it: For I see, by it, that, for my Misfortune in having an obstinate stubborn Son, and an ungrateful Kindred, my Family must go to Destruction; and I must lose my Life in my old Age Such Usage looks rather like a Turkish or Persian Government, then like a British: Am I, my Lord, the first Father that has had an unnatural Son? Or am I the first that has made a good Estate, and saw it destroyed in his own Time by the mad foolish Actings of an unnatural Son, who prefers his own extravagant Fancies to the solid Advice of an affectionate old Father? I have seen Instances of this in my own Time, but I never heard till now that the Foolishness of a Son would take away the Life and Liberty of a Father that lived peaceably, and was an honest Man, and well inclined to the rest of Mankind. But I find, the longer a Man lives, the more Wonders and extraordinary Things he sees. Now, my dear Lord, I beg Leave to tell you my Mind freely in my Turn, I thank GOD, I was born with very little Fear in my greatest Difficulties and Dangers by Sea and Land, and, by GOD's Assistance, I often saved my Life by the Firmness and Steadfastness of my Resolutions; and tho' I have now but a little Remains of a Life that is clog'd with Infirmities and Pain; yet, by GOD's help, I am resolved to preserve it it long as I can; and tho' my Son should go away with the young People of his Clan, yet I will have 600 brave Frasers at Home, many of them about my own Age, that will lose the last Drop of their Blood to preserve my Person: And I do assure your Lordship, if I am attack'd, that I will sell my Life as dear as I can; for since I am as peaceable a Subject as any in the Kingdom, and as ready to pay the King's Taxes, and to do every Thing else that a faithful Subject ought to do, I know no Law or Reason that my Person should not be in Safety.
I did use, and will use the strongest Arguments that my Reason can suggest to me, by my Cousin Gortleg that he may repete them to my Son, and if they should not prevail, is it any ways just or equitable that I should be punished for the Fault of my Son? Now, my dear Lord, as to the unhappy civil War that occasions my Misfortunes, and in which, almost the whole Kingdom is involved, on one side or other, I humbly think that Men should be moderate on both Sides, since it is morally impossible to know the Event; For Thousands, nay Ten thousands on both Sides, are positive that their own Party will carry. And suppose this ventorious Prince should be utterly defeat, and that the Government should carry all in Triumph, no man can think that any King upon the Throne would destroy so many ancient good Families, for engaging in a Cause that was always their Principal, and what they thought their Duty to support.
King William was as great a King, as to his knowledge of Government and Politicks, as sat for many Hundred Years upon the Throne of England; and when his General, who was one of the best in Europe, was forced to run to save his Life, and all his Army routed at Killichranky, by a Handful of Highlanders not full 2000 in Number, King William was so far from desiring to extirpate them, that he sent the Earl of Breadalbane with 25000 L. Sterling, and sought no other Condition from them than that they should live peaceably at home: So, my Lord, we cannot imagine, that, tho' the Highlanders should be defeat at this Time, and most of them killed, and the Government full Master of the Kingdom, that any Administration would be so cruel, as to endeavour to extirpate the whole remains of the Highlanders; besides, it would be a dangerous Enterprise, which neither we nor our Children would see at an End. I pray GOD we may never see such a Scene in our Country, as Subjects killing their Fellow-subjects.
For my Part, my Lord, I am resolved to live a peaceable Subject in my own House, and do nothing against the King or Government; and if I am attacked, if it was by the King's Guards and his Captain General at their Head, I will defend myself as long as there is Breath in me; and if I am killed here, it is not far from my Burial-place, and I will have, after I am dead, what I always wish'd, the Cromach of all the Women in my Country to convey my Body to the Grave; and that has been my Ambition when I was in my happiest Situation in the World.
I am your Lordships, &c.