Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Livingstone, James (d.1674)

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LIVINGSTONE, JAMES, first Earl of Callender (d. 1674), was the third son of Alexander, first earl of Linlithgow [q. v.] When young he travelled beyond sea, and saw military service in Germany and the Low Countries. He was knighted before 1629, applied in that year for a commission from Charles I in one of the regiments being equipped for service in Holland, and probably entered the Dutch army. He is stated to have been one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber to King Charles, and on the occasion of Charles's coronation in Scotland, 19 June 1633, was created Lord Livingstone of Almond (Balfour, Annals, ii. 203).

In 1637 Livingstone was vainly seeking relief from the stone at Harrogate Spa. In 1638 he attended the parliament in Scotland in the interests of the king, and co-operated with Hamilton in opposing the covenanters. But when Hamilton dissolved the assembly, Livingstone joined Argyll and the covenanting party (Gordon, Scots Affairs, ii. 26).

In the army which General Leslie led to Duns Law against Charles in May 1639, the second command, that of lieutenant-general, was, according to Robert Baillie, ‘destinate for Almond, in whose wisdome and valour we had but too much confidence.’ But he pretended that his health rendered it needful that he should go to France for an operation, and when ‘it was found there that he needed not incision,’ he went to take up a military command already assigned him in Holland (Letters, i. 212). In 1640 he returned to Scotland at the invitation of his countrymen, to take part in the resumption of the war with England, and was appointed lieutenant-general in Leslie's army. Thereupon Charles induced the States-General to cancel the commission he held from them as colonel of a regiment.

But, while accepting office from the covenanters, Livingstone secretly signed Montrose's band, which was drawn up at Cumbernauld in August 1640, just before the army marched for England. The fact was soon discovered, and Montrose was compelled to hand over the original deed to the parliament, who ordered it to be burnt. Meanwhile, Livingstone led the van of the Scottish army across the Tweed, and at the engagement of Newburn on the Tyne he was reported killed (Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. pt. iv. p. 393). After the Scottish army took possession of Newcastle he returned to Scotland, where he discharged military duties and attended parliament, refusing an offer of continental service on behalf of the queen of Bohemia. When peace with the king was arranged, Lord Almond met Charles I at Gladsmuir, near Haddington, and convoyed him to Holyrood. He was afterwards sent to lead home the army from the Tweed (Balfour, Annals, iii. 34, 47).

Charles knew Livingstone's secret leaning towards the royalist claims, and recommended him to the parliament of Scotland for the office of lord high treasurer. Argyll, notwithstanding, as he said, his private friendship for the king's nominee, objected on the ground of his connection with the Cumbernauld band. Almond angrily refused to ‘quit the king's honor done him as long as he had any blood in [his] veynes’ (Nicholas Papers, Camden Soc., i. 51, 54; Baillie, Letters, &c. i. 391). But Argyll carried the parliament with him, and Livingstone was rejected.

The ‘incident’ plot, hatched about the same time by the royalists, for the abduction of the covenanting leaders, Hamilton, Argyll, and Lanark, was arranged, according to one of the conspirators, in Almond's house, and Almond was to have taken a leading part in its execution. Almond, however, protested his innocence and requested the fullest investigation, and the charge was afterwards withdrawn (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. pp. 163–170). The parliament, on Almond's own petition, passed a vote (1 Oct. 1641) approving of his services as lieutenant-general in the late campaign, and relieved him of his commission (Balfour, Annals, iii. 87). He declined the offer of a pension, and on 16 Oct. was created by the king Earl of Callander, Baron Livingstone and Almond. In the following year he refused Charles's offer of a high command in the royalist army.

In 1643 the Scots resolved, at the request of the English parliament, to send an army into England under the Earl of Leven. Callander declined an offer of his former post, or of any subordinate commission. But he accepted, as lieutenant-general, the command of the army subsequently raised for the purpose of suppressing Huntly's rising in the north, with the proviso that, in respect of authority, no one should come between him and Leven. He and his forces, however, instead of marching against Huntly, were sent across the border to assist Leven in England, the parliament voting him the sum of 40,000l. Scots (3,333l. 6s. 8d. sterling) in recompense of his services in the former expedition (ib. iii. 172–88, 255). Sir James Turner in his ‘Memoirs’ (pp. 36–8) denounced Callander for taking up arms against the king, on the ground that he had already sworn the ‘deepest oathes in his oune house of Callander, and upon a Lord's day, too, that he would faithfullie serve the king.’ Even after assuming his command, Turner asserts that he ‘did not give over to give me all imagineable assurances that he wold act for the king, and that the greater pouer he was invested with, the more vigourouslie and vigilantlie would he show himselfe active and loyall for his Majestie.’ There can be little doubt that it was only fear of the risk incurred by any other course that led him to support the parliament. But he played the part that he had assumed thoroughly. At Berwick he wrote to the parliament of Scotland to send him some printed covenants (Balfour, Annals, iii. 190), and at Penrith he contended that none ought to bear command in the army who had not first taken the covenant (State Papers, Dom. 1644–5, p. 559).

Callander with his army of ten thousand men reduced Morpeth, Hartlepool, and other places, and assisted Leven in the recapture of Newcastle. After Montrose had seized Perth, Callander was sent to Scotland to arrest his progress, but returned to England in 1645, and took part with Leven in that year's campaign (Whitelocke, Memorials, pp. 92, 98, 100; Baillie, Letters, ii. 226). Late in 1645 he again returned to Scotland, and left the army apparently on some personal grievance. In December it was stated in parliament that as a condition of his future service he desired the rank of commander-in-chief of all the forces within the country. By invitation of the house he addressed it personally, but his claim was voted exorbitant. Next day the Marquis of Argyll and the Earls of Lothian and Lanark, by order of the parliament, induced him by adroit flattery to undertake the command of the forces for the suppression of the rebellion of Montrose. The clerk-register was ordered to draw up his commission in general terms, and without derogation from the commission granted to the Earl of Leven as lord general of all the forces within and without the kingdom. But Callander declined to accept the qualification, and the commission was finally handed to Middleton (Balfour, Annals, iii. 348, 354, 367, 370). Middleton, however, fell ill after setting out on the expedition, and Callander raised the hopes of his friends by temporarily taking his place as lieutenant-general. But he declined to retain it, and the expedition came to nothing. ‘Callander,’ Baillie writes (6 March), ‘after all could be done to him, hes refuissed that all pressed him to. He would be at a greater sovereignty than could be granted, thinking he could not miss it in any termes he pleased’ (Letters, &c. ii. 345, 357, 417).

Later in the same year (1646) Callander visited Charles in the Scottish camp at Newcastle, and obtained from him a patent, dated 22 July, empowering him, in the event of his having no heirs male, to nominate some other successor in his lands and dignities. He returned to Scotland with a letter, in which the king informed the committee of estates of his intention to comply with the desires of the Scottish parliament. On the withdrawal of the Scottish army from England Callander received sixty thousand merks out of the 200,000l. paid by the English parliament for the brotherly assistance. An act of approbation and exoneration acknowledged at the same time his services as lieutenant-general in the two expeditions in which he had been engaged.

Callander was in England when the ‘Engagement’ between the king and the Scots was first suggested, and he entered into communication with Charles, and actively promoted the movement. On 24 Dec. 1647 Charles signed a commission making Callander sheriff of Stirling and keeper of Stirling Castle. A few months later the parliament confirmed his custody of the castle. Of the army, raised in pursuance of the engagement to proceed into England and attempt the liberation of the king, Callander became lieutenant-general. His superior in command was the Duke of Hamilton, with whom he was on bad terms. Baillie says that his supporters in parliament were powerful enough to have made him general, ‘but his inflexibility to serve against Montrose upon the sense of private injuries, whereby indelible marks of disgrace were printed on the face of Scotland, and his very ambiguous proceedings in England, at Hereford, and elsewhere, make us that we dare not put our lives and religion in his hand’ (Letters, &c. iii. 40).

In carrying out the ‘Engagement’ Callander was soon involved in misfortune. He had difficulty in obtaining his levies, owing to the opposition of the church. An armed demonstration made against him at Mauchline in Ayrshire he suppressed after a severe struggle, and at a later date those whom he injured there sought and obtained damages against his estate. When his army had taken Carlisle, he was (9 July 1648) appointed governor of the city, but he accompanied the troops southwards until their progress was arrested by Cromwell at Preston. Sir James Turner, who was with the expedition, attributes that defeat chiefly to a want of harmony between Hamilton and Callander. After the battle high words passed between the two commanders. ‘Callander,’ says Turner, ‘was doubly to be blamed, first for his conduct, for that was inexcusable, and next for reproaching the duke for that whereof himself was guilty.’ To add to their difficulties a mutiny broke out in the camp, and the troopers made prisoners of both Hamilton and Callander. Turner himself persuaded the mutineers to withdraw their guards, whereupon Callander, disregarding the entreaties of the duke and his brother officers that they should stand together, sought his own safety in flight. He reached London in disguise, and succeeded in escaping to Holland. Hamilton and the rest of the officers surrendered to the governor of Stafford, and Hamilton was executed at London, 9 March 1648 (Turner, Memoirs, pp. 56–72).

The overthrow of the ‘Engagement’ brought about a revolution in the government in Scotland, and Callander was forbidden to return. He accompanied Charles II, however, from Holland to Scotland in June 1650, but was immediately ordered to leave, and not to return without express permission of the parliament, under a penalty of 100,000l. Scots (Whitelocke, Memorials, p. 458). After the defeat of the Scots at Dunbar in September 1650, Callander wrote from Rotterdam to the Earl of Lothian, requesting him to procure the king's permission for him to go to some more remote place. He could be of no use, he said, to king or country, and was ashamed to be seen in Holland while such actions were taking place at home (Correspondence of the Earls of Ancrum and Lothian, p. 308).

After offering to submit to the parliament and to the church, he received permission to return to Scotland in December 1650, and arrived there in February following. A proposal made at a meeting of the committee of estates at Stirling in May to appoint him field-marshal of the army fell through (Balfour, Annals, iv. 297), but in the following month he became a member of the committee of estates, and was present at Alyth in August, when the committee was surprised by English troopers from Dundee. Callander had the good fortune to escape capture, and met the committee later at Aberdeen. In October he was summoned to attend a meeting of the committee in the Isle of Bute, but wrote from Ruthven (probably in Badenoch) excusing his absence (Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. App. p. 645; Fraser, Memorials of the Family of Wemyss of Wemyss, iii. 57).

During Cromwell's campaign in Scotland Callander's house was made a royal garrison, and in July 1651 it was stormed and burned, and sixty persons who were within at the time were put to the sword (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. App. p. 435). The earl did not accompany the king and his army into England. Popular rumour attributed his absence to his jealousy of David Leslie [q. v.] But Callander asserted that his sole desire was to remain in quiet and peace. In November of 1651 he submitted himself to General Monck, and received his formal protection. But he was exempted from Cromwell's act of grace in 1654, and had his estates confiscated. For refusing bond and parole for his peaceable behaviour, he was moreover imprisoned first in the castle of Burntisland, and afterwards at Edinburgh. Many of his fellow-prisoners made their escape from Edinburgh Castle by tying together sheets and blankets, and descending the wall and castle rock. Callander refused to run the risk, remained behind, and was after six months' detention allowed by Monck to proceed to London and plead his own cause with the Protector and his council. He succeeded in his efforts, and obtained his release and also the discharge of his estates, which were now, however, hopelessly burdened with debt (Lothian and Ancrum Correspondence, p. 391).

Callander welcomed the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and re-entering political life, took an active part in the parliament of 1661. After making formal resignation of his earldom he received a regrant of it to himself, with succession to his brother's son, Alexander Livingstone. He was confirmed in the hereditary sheriffship of Stirling, and was allowed precedence of the Earl of Leven, son of the first bearer of that title. Some recompense for the losses he had incurred in the service of the king was made him, and he was one of the fourteen earls who carried the body of Montrose on the occasion of its state interment in the church of St. Giles, Edinburgh (Napier, Life of Montrose, p. 834). He attended parliament until 1672, and died in March 1674 at Callander House, whence his body was borne and interred at Falkirk on the 25th of that month (Fraser, Stirlings of Keir, p. 507).

About 1633 he married Lady Margaret Hay, only daughter of James, seventh lord Yester, and widow of Alexander, first earl of Dunfermline. She was permitted to retain the rank and precedency due to her as Countess of Dunfermline (Earl of Stirling, Register of Royal Letters, p. 845). She died in 1660, and was buried at Dalgety in Fifeshire beside her first husband. Callander had no issue.

Callander founded a hospital in Falkirk in 1640 for the support of four aged and infirm persons, the foundation of which he ratified by charter in 1668 (Old Statistical Account, xix. 79). During an epidemic in that town in 1644 he wrote to his factor there to see that meal and coal and four-tailed coats were supplied to the suffering families (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. pt. ii. p. 734).

[Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, Wood's edit. i. 304; Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1641–72 passim; State Papers, Dom. 1628–57 passim, and authorities above cited.]

H. P.