Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Scott, James (1649-1685)

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SCOTT, JAMES (known as Fitzroy and as Crofts), Duke of Monmouth and Buccleugh (1649–1685), born at Rotterdam on 9 April 1649, was the natural son of Charles II, by Lucy, daughter of Richard Walter or Walters of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. Charles seems to have met Lucy Walters at The Hague, while she was still under the protection of Robert Sidney (third son of Robert Sidney, second earl of Leicester [q. v.]), whom Monmouth was said to closely resemble (see Clarke, Life of James II, i. 491–2). Evelyn, who met her in Paris in August 1649, when she went by the name of Barlow, describes her as a ‘browne, beautifull, bold, but insipid creature.’ After a narrow escape from being kidnapped as an infant (Heroick Life, pp. 9–12), James was taken to Paris in 1650, and in January 1656 brought by his mother to England. Courted by the cavaliers, ‘Mrs. Barlo’ was placed in the Tower with her boy, whom she declared to be the son of King Charles. On her discharge on 12 July there was found on her a grant signed ‘Charles R.’ of an annuity of five thousand livres (Whitelocke, p. 649). Expelled from England, Lucy repaired at once with her child to Paris; but before long she became completely estranged from Charles, relapsed into evil courses, and died, wrote James II, ‘of the disease incident to that profession’ (for pedigree see Dwnn, Heraldic Visitations of Wales, i. 228; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ii. 374–5, but cf. Miscellanea Genealog. et Herald. 2nd ser. iv. 265).

After her death, the youth was entrusted to the charge of Lord Crofts, as whose kinsman he now passed, and by whose name he was known. His tutors were first an English oratorian named Stephen Goffe or Gough [q. v.], and then Thomas Ross (d. 1675) [q. v.] According to James II (Life, i. 490) this last appointment was not made nor the boy's instruction in the protestant religion begun till Charles II had resolved to send for him to England. In July 1662 ‘James Crofts,’ after being presented to the king at Hampton Court, accompanied him to Whitehall, where he was assigned apartments in the privy gallery. Grammont describes the furore created by his reception, but contrasts his deficiency in mental accomplishments with ‘the astonishing beauty of his outward form.’ As early as 31 Dec. 1662 Pepys mentions rumours of an intention to recognise him as the king's lawful son in the event of the marriage with the queen remaining childless. Scandal asserted (Grammont, p. 295) that the Duchess of Cleveland for the sake of her children made love to him, and that this gave rise to the plan of marrying him without delay. According to Clarendon (Life, ii. 253–6), Lauderdale, in order to baulk Albemarle's wish to secure this prize for his own son, suggested the choice of Anne Scott, by her father's death Countess of Buccleuch in her own right. She had 10,000l. a year, besides expectations. Disregarding Clarendon's advice, Charles II resolved to follow French precedent, and own his natural son. Accordingly on 14 Feb. 1663 ‘Mr. Crofts’ was created Baron Tyndale, Earl of Doncaster, and Duke of Monmouth (the title of Duke of Orkney having been abandoned); he received precedence over all dukes not of the blood royal (Pepys, 7 Feb.), and on 28 March was elected a K.G. (Collins). On 20 April of the same year ‘the little Duke of Monmouth’ (Pepys) was married to the Countess of Buccleuch ‘in the king's chamber,’ and on the same day (Collins) they were created Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, and he took the surname of Scott. Already on 8 April 1663 he had been empowered to assume arms resembling the royal; on 22 April 1667 the royal arms themselves with the usual bar were granted to him ‘as the king's dear son’ (ib.) Honours military, civil, and academical were heaped upon him during the first decade of his dukedom. The fact that the king continued to ‘doat’ on his son (Pepys, 20 Jan., 8 and 22 Feb. 1664), even so far as to bestow a place at court upon the youth's maternal uncle (ib.), sufficiently accounts for the repeated revival of the rumour as to his intended legitimisation (ib. 15 May and 19 Nov. 1663, 11 Sept. and 7 Nov. 1667), and for the early suspicion that this fondness produced unkindness between the king and his brother (ib. 4 May 1663). Meanwhile Monmouth was ‘always in action, vaulting and leaping and clambering’ (ib. 26 July 1665), dancing in court masques (ib. 3 Feb. 1665), acting with his duchess in the ‘Indian Emperor’ (ib. 14 Jan. 1668), and accompanying the king to Newmarket for racing, to Bagshot for hunting, and on divers royal progresses (Historick Life, pp. 19–31). In 1665 he followed the fashion in volunteering under the Duke of York, and was present on 3 June at the battle in Solebay (Life of James II, i. 493). In the following year he obtained a troop of horse, preparatory to his being in 1668 named captain of the king's ‘life guard of horse’ (Historick Life, p. 20; cf. Pepys, s.d. 16 Sept. 1668). He was made a privy councillor in 1670, an ugly year for his reputation. He may be freely acquitted of the indirect share attributed to him in the death of the Duchess of Orleans, at whose interview at Dover with her brother he had assisted (Reresby, p. 82); but neither filial affection nor the brutality of the times can excuse his share in the assault upon Sir John Coventry [q. v.] for his reflection upon the king's intimacy with ‘female actors’ (ib.; cf. Burnet, i. 496). Dryden in his ‘Absalom and Achitophel,’ pt. i. l. 39, reproaches Monmouth under the character of Absalom with Amnon's (i.e. Coventry's) murder (cf. Scott and Saintsbury ad loc.) Coventry escaped with his life; not so an unfortunate beadle whom Monmouth and the young Duke of Albemarle killed as a sequel to beating the watch on 28 Feb. 1670 (see ‘On Three Dukes killing the Beadle,’ ap. Poems on Affairs of State).

When in January 1670 Monmouth succeeded Albemarle (Monck) as captain-general of all the king's forces, notwithstanding the opposition of the Duke of York, his first serious difference with the latter seems to have taken place (Life of James II, i. 494–5; cf. Dartmouth's note to Burnet, ii. 239). In 1672 he commanded the English auxiliary force against the Dutch under the eyes of Turenne and of Louis XIV himself, and on his return, in the company of the Earl of Feversham, to the seat of war in 1673, he took an active part in the siege of Maestricht, which capitulated on 2 July. ‘Much considered’ on account of his services (Burnet, ii. 19), he was fêted, pensioned, and, on letters commendatory from the king, elected chancellor of the university of Cambridge (15 July 1674). In 1674 or 1675 the chancellor danced in Crowne's ‘Calisto’ at court, when Lady Wentworth, afterwards his mistress, acted Jupiter (Crowne, Works, i. 248–9); before this he had been involved in an intrigue with Eleanor, daughter of Sir Robert Needham (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 305; cf. Horace Walpole, Letters, ed. Cunningham, i. 381 and note). In February 1678 he was sent at the head of a small force to protect Ostend against the French (Reresby, p. 128; Burnet, ii. 127), and to raise the siege of Mons on the eve of the conclusion of the peace of Nimeguen. He was now the ally of the Prince of Orange, to whose English marriage in the previous year he was said to have objected from motives of both interest and pique (Ossory ap. Burnet, ii. 61 n.) On his return to England in August he found the popish plot agitation just astir, and Charles II now began his policy of balancing the rights of his brother by the popularity of his bastard son (Burnet, ii. 172). Monmouth more and more identified himself with the protestant movement; detailed (24 Oct. 1678) to the House of Lords his measures for dealing with papists in the army and providing for the safety of the king (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. pt. ii. p. 88, cf. 7th Rep. App. p. 471), and was himself proved on the testimony of Bedloe to be in danger of assassination. He lost no opportunity of heightening his popularity (cf. Autobiography of Roger North ed. Jessopp, p. 38), and the report of his being the king's legitimate son was revived so vigorously that Charles II on two successive occasions thought it worth his while to declare solemnly (6 Jan.) and attest (3 Mar. 1679) before the privy council that the story of his marriage with Lucy Walters was a fiction, and that he had married no woman but the queen (Ellis, Original Letters, 1st ser. iii. 344–5). Already in April 1679 Reresby (p. 167) wrote of him as ‘the man in power.’ It was with the distinct object of preventing Monmouth from being put at the head of an aggressive protestant administration that Sir William Temple devised his scheme of a large privy council in which Monmouth, Shaftesbury, and their associates should be included, but would not be omnipotent. For to Monmouth, in conjunction with the Duchess of Portsmouth and Lord Essex, Temple attributed the overthrow of Danby, imputing to him the design of bringing Shaftesbury, with whom he was now intimate, into power, and tampering with the succession (‘Memoirs of Sir W. Temple,’ pt. iii., Works (fol. 1750), i. 333). On the other hand, at court Monmouth was thought to have favoured Temple's scheme, using it as the occasion on which he ‘began to set up for himself’ (Reresby, p. 167). He was named a member of the committee of intelligence in matters both foreign and domestic, which was formed early in the year (Sidney, Diary and Correspondence, i. 5 n.)

After the Exclusion Bill had passed its second reading in the new House of Commons, parliament was prorogued, and a schism manifested itself among the opposition leaders. At the head of the party of action, along with Shaftesbury, stood ‘exercituum nostrorum generalis,’ as Monmouth was designated in his writ of summons to the House of Lords (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. pt. ii. p. 90); nor was his popularity diminished when he was chosen to quell the insurrection which ensued in Scotland on the murder of Archbishop Sharp (Examen, p. 81). Monmouth arrived in Edinburgh on 18 June 1679, and his easy victory at Bothwell Bridge on 22 June virtually put an end to the rebellion. The clemency shown by him to many of the numerous prisoners taken in the battle (cf. Scott, Old Mortality) was disapproved by the Duke of York, and even by the king (Burnet, ii. 236 n.), but in conjunction with his military success insured him an enthusiastic reception on his return to London (Temple, u. s., p. 340). The king had again dissolved parliament, but James was still in exile, and on the king's falling seriously ill in August Monmouth ventured to request that the duke might be prohibited from returning. Charles II, however, gave the desired permission, and the warm reception of the Duke of York by the king was, on the recovery of the latter (15 Sept.), followed by Monmouth's being deprived of his commission as general, and ordered to absent himself for some time from the kingdom (Luttrell, i. 21). He was loth to go, and began to despair of his father (Sidney, Diary, i. 127, 151 n.), so that during the latter part of September there were various rumours in London as to his movements and intentions (cf. Verney MSS. in Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 475). Ultimately he left for Holland at the close of the month, after an interview in Arlington Gardens with the king, who insisted on his departure, but told him it should not be for long (ib.). His submission to the royal wish had been advised by his whig friends (Burnet, ii. 238). At the Hague he seemed in a melancholy mood, went twice to church on one day, and was feasted by the fanatics at dinner (Sidney, i. 154, 166). During this visit the first personal approximation between Monmouth and the Prince of Orange seems to have taken place (ib. i. 190, 194).

At midnight on 27 Nov., the Duke of York being now in Scotland, Monmouth, though he had in vain sought to obtain the royal permission for his return, reappeared in London, where he was received with much popular rejoicing (Reresby, p. 181; Evelyn, ii. 359; Luttrell, i. 29). The king immediately issued orders for Monmouth's chief military and civil offices to be taken from him, and for Monmouth to be formally sent out of the kingdom by order in council (Life of James II, i. 579; but see Luttrell, i. 26, 27). He refused to see the letter which Monmouth wrote in reply, or to be moved by Nell Gwyn's description of the wan, pale looks of his unhappy son (1 Dec. 1679; Verney MSS. u.s. 478). Monmouth in his turn courageously held his own, quitting Whitehall for his house in Hedge Lane, and declaring that he would live on his wife's fortune (Life of James II, u. s.). In the meantime he made the most of his opportunities, worshipping in St. Martin's Church so as to provoke a demonstration of sympathy (Verney MSS.), and paying his court to Nell Gwyn (Sidney, i. 207) and others of his father's mistresses (ib. p. 298). About the same time (30 Jan. 1680) he was said to be involved in two guilty intrigues, one with Lady Grey, the other with Lady Wentworth (ib. i. 263–4).

Faction now raged among ‘Addressers’ and ‘Abhorrers,’ and in February 1680 the Duke of York returned from Scotland. London playhouse audiences clamoured against him, and vowed to be ‘for his highness the Duke of Monmouth against the world’ (ib. i. 237), and in ‘An Appeal from the Country to the City,’ attributed to Robert Ferguson [q. v.] (Ferguson the Plotter, p. 42), which one Harris was unsuccessfully prosecuted for publishing, the succession of Monmouth was advocated on the ground that ‘he who has the worst title makes the best king,’ and that ‘God and my People’ would in his case make a good substitute for ‘God and my Right’ (Life of Lord William Russell, i. 173). A design in which the Duchess of Portsmouth co-operated was talked of, to empower the king to name his successor (Burnet, ii. 260–1; cf. Sidney, i. 15). But bolder projects were discussed in the secret meetings by the chief leaders of the opposition (Reresby, p. 182), and it was determined to place the claims of Monmouth on a legal basis.

Not a tittle of real evidence exists in favour of the supposed marriage between Charles II and Lucy Walters. Monmouth is said by Sir Patrick Hume (Marchmont Papers, vol. iii.) to have informed him, when about to start on the expedition of 1685, that he possessed proofs of his mother's marriage, and Sir Patrick Hume may have told the truth. Nor can any significance be attached to the fact that in 1655, writing to her brother about Lucy Walters, the Princess of Orange twice referred to her as his wife (see Hallam's note to Const. History, c. xii.). A story which obtained wide acceptance was to the effect that the contract of marriage between Charles and Lucy Walters was contained in a black box entrusted by Cosin, afterwards bishop of Durham, to his son-in-law, Sir Gilbert Gerard. No proof of the existence of the box was given. The king remembered a report that Ross, Monmouth's tutor, had actually, though in vain, sought to induce Cosin, whose ‘penitent’ Lucy Walters pretended to be at Paris, to sign a certificate of the marriage (Life of James II, i. 491). Sir Gilbert Gerard was on 26 April summoned before the privy council, where he denied any knowledge of box or marriage contract (Luttrell, i. 42). Monmouth's partisans issued a pamphlet called ‘The Perplexed Prince,’ and under the fashionable disguise of a romantic narrative which asserted the facts of the marriage Ferguson maintained the truth of the marriage story in able pamphlets [see Ferguson, Robert, (d. 1714)]. Monmouth is said to have given Ferguson an annuity of fifty guineas. Ferguson's first pamphlet produced a new declaration from Charles embodying the preceding two.

In August of the same year Monmouth started on an expedition among his friends in Wiltshire, Somersetshire, and Devonshire. Besides several smaller towns, Ilchester, Ilminster, Chard, &c., he visited Exeter, where he was greeted by about one thousand ‘stout young men.’ Once in the course of this journey he touched for the evil. Dryden (Absalom and Achitophel, pt. i. l. 741) cannot be wrong in supposing Shaftesbury to have suggested this quasi-royal progress, on which Monmouth was received with the utmost enthusiasm. In October he was back in London, where he still abstained from attending court (Luttrell, i. 56); on lord mayor's day he was received with loud acclamations in the city (Verney MSS. u.s. p. 479); in December he was present at Lord Stafford's trial (Heroick Life, p. 105).

The Exclusion Bill had now passed the commons, but had been rejected by the lords. Just before the prorogation (10 Jan. 1681) the former house, among a series of defiant resolutions, voted one demanding the restoration to Monmouth of his offices, of which he had been deprived through the influence of the Duke of York (Life of Lord Russell, i. 253). When a new parliament was summoned to Oxford, Monmouth's name headed the petition against its being held anywhere but at Westminster. At Oxford he appeared with a numerous following, and, like the other whig chiefs, kept open table, and did his best to secure the goodwill of the commons (Lord Grey, Secret History, p. 10). Shaftesbury's attempt to make the Exclusion Bill unnecessary, by inducing the king to name Monmouth his successor, having failed (North, Examen, p. 100), the Oxford parliament was dissolved, and the reaction promptly set in. The protestant joiner, who in his dying speech represented himself as a kind of detective commissioned by Monmouth, was sacrificed, and Shaftesbury was put on trial for his life. Monmouth, like others, visited him on the night of his arrest (Luttrell, i. 106); but the tories still hoped to separate Absalom and Achitophel, as is shown by the mitigations introduced by Dryden into the second (December) edition of his great satire (published November 1681, and itself tender towards Monmouth). Part of this year was spent by Monmouth at Tunbridge Wells (ib. i. 111, 118); in October he threw up his Scottish offices, rather than submit to a parliamentary test; in November, returning from a visit to Gloucestershire, he became one of Shaftesbury's bail (ib. pp. 143, 147), whereby he incurred the renewed displeasure of the king, who appointed the Dukes of Richmond and Grafton to vacant appointments formerly held by their half-brother (Reresby, p. 225; Luttrell, i. 150). Monmouth continued to maintain his attitude of resistance, thereby causing great uneasiness to his father, who for a time even feared that the murder of Monmouth's intimate friend, Thomas Thynne, would be popularly construed as a design upon the duke's own life (Reresby, pp. 225, 228). On the other hand, the university of Cambridge obeyed the royal injunction to deprive Monmouth of the chancellorship (April 1682), and burnt his portrait in the schools. His tenure of office had been chiefly signalised by his letter to the university, in reproof of the secular apparel which the clergy and scholars were beginning to wear (Plumtre, Life of Ken, i. 48 note). Monmouth himself seems in May to have been willing to submit; but he contrived to insult Halifax as having thwarted him in council, and was consequently severely reprimanded, and excluded from association with the king's servants (Reresby, pp. 250–1; cf. Luttrell, i. 189, and Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 352). Yet in August it was once more rumoured that the king intended to take him back into favour (Luttrell, i. 215).

But Monmouth was not his own master. According to Lord Grey (Secret History, p. 15 seqq.) an insurrection had been mooted between Shaftesbury and Monmouth early in 1681, when the king was again ill at Windsor; in 1682, immediately after the election of tory sheriffs in July, Shaftesbury strongly urged the necessity of a rising, and it was with this view that a number of meetings were held in the autumn (at one of which Monmouth and Russell agreed in rejecting the ‘detestable’ and ‘popish’ proposal to massacre the guards in cold blood; Life of Lord Russell, ii. 117), and that in September Monmouth went on a second progress in the west. On his return the insurrection was to be finally arranged, Sir John Trenchard [q. v.] having been engaged by him to raise at least fifteen hundred men in and about Taunton (Grey, p. 18). Monmouth was met by multitudes at Daventry and Coventry (ib. i. 219), and he passed by way of Trentham to Nantwich and Chester, where enthusiasm reached its height, and he presented the plate won by him at Wallasey races to the mayor's daughter, his god-child, ‘Heneretta’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 533). The progress ended by his arrest by the king's order in the county town of Staffordshire, of which he was lord-lieutenant. He arrived in London in the company of the serjeant-at-arms (23 Sept.), and, though he bore himself high under examination by the secretary of state, he was after some delay (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 359), bailed out by his political friends ({sc|Luttrell}}, i. 222; see ‘The Duke of Monmouth's Case,’ in Somers Tracts, viii. 403–5).

Shaftesbury bitterly inveighed against Monmouth's irresolution, and urged him on his release to return to Cheshire and begin the rebellion. He declined, but took part in the ‘cabals’ of Russell, Essex, and Sidney, who were hatching the plot for the murder of the king and the Duke of York. According to the most probable version of these obscure transactions, Monmouth knew of the design to take the king's life on his return from Newmarket in October. But he protested against it (cf. Life of Lord Russell, ii. 51), and fell in with Ferguson's device of preventing it by keeping up preparations for a general insurrection, and by diverting money from the murder scheme. Monmouth appeared in the city on the night of the king's return, having at the same time prepared everything for escape should it prove necessary (Ferguson the Plotter, p. 77 seqq.) After the breakdown of the first Rye House scheme Shaftesbury, who was in hiding, continued to press for a rising, while Monmouth continued to maintain a consenting but dilatory attitude. At the end of October or beginning of November were held the two fatal meetings at Shephard's house in Abchurch Lane, at both of which Ferguson and Rumsey were present, as well as Monmouth and his friends [see Russell, William, Lord Russell]. At the earlier of these meetings the night of Sunday, 19 Nov., was fixed for the rising in London, and Monmouth's house was appointed as one of the meetingplaces of the insurgents (for further details see Grey, p. 28 seqq.; Ferguson the Plotter, pp. 86 seqq.). At the second meeting at Shephard's it was announced that the preparations were incomplete, and the rising was again postponed. Hereupon Shaftesbury fled the country. His flight (28 Nov.), succeeded by his death (21 Jan. 1683), deprived the whigs of the only chief who could command the support of London; it also snapped the link between the ‘council of six’ (Monmouth, Essex, Howard, Russell, Hampden, and Sidney) and the assassination plotters. The two factions still carried on their designs separately, and Monmouth in February 1683 paid a visit to Chichester, where he was preached at in the cathedral on the subject of rebellion. But about this time Ferguson returned to London. The ‘council’ or ‘cabal,’ to which Grey, according to his own account (p. 43), was now admitted, resolved upon the simultaneous outbreak of three risings in England (London, Cheshire, and the south-west) and a fourth in Scotland. Monmouth and Russell insisted upon the issue of a declaration in conformity with their views rather than with the republican sympathies of Sidney and Essex, and it was agreed that on the outbreak of the insurrection in London Monmouth should at once start for Taunton to assume the command there. Lord Grey adds (pp. 61–2) that Monmouth privately assured him of his belief that the insurrection would lead to little bloodshed, and speedily end in an accommodation between king and parliament, and of his detestation of a proposal to murder the Duke of York. Monmouth knew of the assassination plot, and kept up relations with the plotters, but it cannot be known how far his conduct was the result of impotence or of a formed design to frustrate the scheme of assassination.

The king's unexpectedly early departure from Newmarket ruined the plot before it was ripe (March), and 1 June its ‘discovery’ began. A proclamation appeared 28 or 29 June offering a reward of 500l. for the apprehension of Monmouth, Grey, Armstrong, and Ferguson (Luttrell, i. 263). A true bill for high treason was found against Monmouth 12 July (ib. p. 267), and a proclamation against the fugitives was issued in Scotland (ib. p. 270). Monmouth's actual proceedings are obscure. Report (ib. p. 279) asserted him to be at Cleves, where Grey was officiously negotiating for his entry into the service of the elector of Brandenburg (Grey, pp. 69–70); his biographer, Roberts, who cites no authority, states that he retired to Lady Wentworth's seat at Toddington in Bedfordshire, and was then reported to have escaped to the continent from near Portsmouth (i. 148). He is said to have chivalrously offered to give himself up if he could thereby benefit Russell, who in the same spirit refused the offer (Life of Russell, ii. 25). Burnet (ii. 411) says that he was on the point of going beyond sea and engaging in the Spanish service when, 13 Oct., Halifax discovered his retreat, brought him a kindly message from the king, and with some difficulty persuaded him to write in return, craving the king's and the Duke of York's pardon, but protesting that all he had done had been to save his father. On 25 Oct. Charles II met Monmouth at Major Long's house in the city, and left him not unhopeful of mercy; at another interview on 4 Nov. he instructed Monmouth what to say to the Duke of York. Another letter, drafted like the former by Halifax, and couched in a tone of great humility towards the duke as well as the king, was accordingly signed by Monmouth on 15 Nov., and in a final interview at Secretary Jenkins's office on 24 Nov. Monmouth, in the presence of the Duke of York, revealed to the king all he knew concerning the conspiracy, naming those engaged in it, but denying all knowledge of the assassination project. He was then promised his pardon: ‘The king acted his part well, and I too; the Duke of York seemed not ill-pleased’ (Roberts, i. 152–62; Collins, iii. 376–8; Welwood, Memoirs of Transactions before 1688, 1700; Life of James II, i. 742–743; cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 368; Reresby, pp. 286–7; Luttrell, i. 292). On the next day Monmouth was brought before the council and discharged from custody; his first visit was to the Duke of York, who took him to the king and queen (Hist. MSS. Comm. Rep. p. 101). The former sent him a present of 6,000l. (Luttrell, i. 293).

The king, however, ignored his promise to Monmouth (or what Burnet, ii. 411, states to have been such), announced his confession at the council, and even ordered the fact of it to be published in the ‘Gazette.’ To his great chagrin, Monmouth, whose pardon had now passed the great seal, was thus exposed to the imputation of having confirmed the evidence given at the trials of Russell and Sidney. The Duke of York still continuing urgent, the king, at Ormonde's advice, called upon Monmouth to write a letter acknowledging his ‘confession of the plot’ (Burnet, i. 413); he complied, but was so perturbed by what he had done, that on the following day he prevailed upon the king to return him his letter. At the same time the king banished him from the court ([Sprat's] True Account, &c., 1685; cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 368; cf. Reresby, p. 288).

After lodging for a time in Holborn and then at his country seat, Moor Park, near Rickmansworth, Monmouth, though subpœnaed on Hampden's trial, crossed from Greenwich to Zealand, where he arrived about January 1684 (Luttrell, i. 294–5, 298). It is at least open to question whether he was not acting under advice from court; he refused to go to Hungary into the emperor's service, because it ‘would draw him too far off’ (Life of James II, i. 744). In March, April, and May he was reported to be living in great splendour in Flanders and at Brussels, provided with a command, an income, the title of royal highness, and his plate from England (Luttrell, i. 303, 306; Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 499). In October he was living luxuriously as the guest of the Prince of Orange at Leyden and The Hague, and treated by him with marked respect (Luttrell, i. 318; cf. Macaulay and Life of James II, i. 744–5). Shortly before the death of Charles II, Monmouth paid a secret visit to England, apparently about the end of November 1684 (cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. pp. 378–9); and it was believed that had the king lived a little longer he would have taken Monmouth back into favour. But Charles II died on 6 Feb. 1685, without recommending Monmouth with the rest of his natural children to his brother (Evelyn, ii. 444). Monmouth received the news with genuine grief.

He was immediately banished from the Spanish Netherlands, whither he had withdrawn (Luttrell, i. 333), having been dismissed by the Prince of Orange, so as to avoid a summons to give him up. According to Macaulay's authorities he pledged his word to the Prince and Princess of Orange to attempt nothing against the government of England, and was advised by the former to serve the emperor against the Turks. Burnet asserts (iii. 14–15) that he was prevented by those around him from adopting so inoffensive a course. He was accompanied to Brussels by Lady Wentworth, who now lived with him as his wife.

Monmouth had not engaged himself with the English and Scottish exiles before the death of Charles II. After the accession of James II he consented to see Sir Patrick Hume at Rotterdam, and discussed a concerted plan of action between the other exiles and Argyll. Monmouth was soon ready to co-operate, and to conciliate republican feeling by promising not to claim the crown except by the common consent of those concerned. Ferguson was once more busy, and an interview between Argyll and Monmouth ended in an agreement for simultaneous action in Scotland and England under their respective leadership (Marchmont Papers, iii. 7–15; Grey, p. 93). Meanwhile Monmouth had been carrying on a correspondence with England (Grey, pp. 94–5). According to Lord Grey, Monmouth and he determined to make the west the scene of the English rising, and to land at Lyme Regis about the beginning of May, while other risings were to follow in London and Cheshire (ib. pp. 99, 104–5). Though at the request of the English government the States-General consented to banish Argyll, Monmouth, and Ferguson, the preparations were carried on with the connivance of the Amsterdam authorities. The money for Monmouth's expedition was provided by pawning the jewels of the duke and his mistress, and by subscriptions from private friends, of whom Locke was one; none came from England or from public sources. On 2 May Argyll sailed, leaving behind Ferguson and Fletcher of Saltoun to share Monmouth's fortunes. Thus the Scottish enterprise forced the hand of the English. Monmouth embarked at Santfort unmolested on 24 May, and six days later joined his petty armada in the Texel. It consisted of a man-of-war, the Helderenbergh, and two tenders; on board were Lord Grey, Fletcher of Saltoun, Ferguson, a Brandenburg officer of the name of Buyse, with a few other gentlemen and men, including Monmouth, eighty-three in all (Macaulay; cf. Ferguson ap. Echard, iii. 756–7, and in Ferguson the Plotter, pp. 209–12; Burnet, iii. 26 n.) Bad weather kept Monmouth nineteen days at sea. As he passed the Dorsetshire coast, he sent Thomas Dare, who possessed great influence at Taunton, to announce his coming. On 11 June the expedition itself was off Lyme Regis, and in the evening Monmouth went ashore (Roberts, i. 220 seqq.). His declaration, composed by Ferguson, which was read in the market-place, claimed for him, as ‘the now head and captain-general of the protestant forces of this kingdom,’ a ‘legitimate and legal’ right to the crown, but distinctly promised to leave the determination of that right to a free parliament (Roberts, i. 235–50; cf. Echard, iii. 758–760). The declaration reached London on 13 June, and three days later a bill of attainder against him received the royal assent, while a price of 5,000l. was placed upon his head (Reresby, p. 332).

Four days were spent at Lyme, where Monmouth sojourned at the George Inn. Men came in fast, but though arms were landed for five thousand, they proved mostly unsuitable (Echard, iii. 787). A brawl in which ‘old Dare’ was shot down by Fletcher obliged Monmouth to dismiss the latter, his best officer (ib. p. 762). His worst was Lord Grey, who on Sunday, 14 June, being detached to Bridport against a body of Dorsetshire militia, contrived to spoil what might have proved an effective success (ib. p. 763; cf. Fox, History of James II, 1808, pp. 239–240). On 15 June, having learnt that the Devonshire militia under Albemarle and the Somersetshire under Somerset were marching on Lyme, Monmouth set forth at the head of from two to three thousand men, and all but crossed Albemarle on his march. He did not venture an attack (cf. Dalrymple, 4th edit. i. 134, in censure), but encamped between Axminster and Chard. On 18 June he entered Taunton (cf. Toulmin, History of Taunton, ed. Savage, p. 429). His reception here, including the presentation of colours by the ‘maids of Taunton’ (Roberts, i. 304), marks the climax of his undertaking. The number of his followers under arms had now increased to seven thousand men, and at his first council of war it was decided to continue the advance. On 20 June he was proclaimed king of England at Taunton market-cross, after which he assumed the royal style, both in a warrant for the impressing of scythes and in a letter to his ‘cousin’ Albemarle (Ellis, Original Letters, 1st ser. iii. 340; cf. Dalrymple, i. 175), was prayed for, and touched for the evil. To avoid confusion, his followers called him ‘King Monmouth,’ an odd designation which long survived among the people (Macaulay). A price was put upon the head of James II as a traitor, and the parliament at Westminster was declared a traitorous convention.

On Sunday, 21 June, leaving Taunton open to Albemarle, Monmouth moved on to Bridgwater, where he met with an enthusiastic reception, and was proclaimed king by the mayor. Thence he proceeded by Glastonbury to Shepton Mallet, where (23 June) he first communicated to his officers the project of an attack upon Bristol, where the Duke of Beaufort was about to assume the command of a garrison of four thousand men. The Avon was successfully crossed at Keynsham, but bad weather made a retrograde movement necessary, and after a slight skirmish with some king's horse, Monmouth, whether or not moved by Beaufort's threat to fire Bristol, decided to forego the attack upon that city, though it had been the object of his movements since leaving Lyme. He likewise rejected a scheme of marching by way of Gloucester into Shropshire and Cheshire, electing, in the hope of reinforcements, to make for Bath instead. But Bath refused to surrender (26 June); the promised Wiltshire regiments failed to appear, and Monmouth sent his chaplain, Hook, to London to hasten the rising of his friends (Ferguson, p. 233). But he was losing heart, and appears to have been at times in a state of nervous prostration (Wade ap. Roberts, ii. 16–17). The engagement fought by his force at Philip's Norton against the advanced guard of the royal troops under his half-brother, the Duke of Grafton, was on the whole successful (27 June); but at Frome next day he received the news of Argyll's defeat, and relapsed into despondency (Fox, p. 256). Many of his followers deserted, and a suggestion (according to Wade Monmouth's own) was momentarily entertained that the duke and his original following should escape by sea to Holland (Echard, iii. 766). It was now reported that a large body of peasantry had risen in Monmouth's favour and flocked to Bridgwater. Hither accordingly his army marched from Frome. Bridgwater was reached 3 July, but the number of rustics assembled there was insignificant. Two days later the king's army under Feversham and Churchill, consisting of some two thousand regulars and fifteen hundred Wiltshire militia, encamped on Sedgemoor, about three miles off. From Bridgwater church tower Monmouth recognised the Dumbarton regiment, formerly commanded by himself; but the want of discipline in the royal army was thought encouraging. At 11 P.M. on Sunday, 5 July, Monmouth led his army without beat of drum by a circuitous route of nearly six miles to the North Moor, where about 1 A.M. they crossed two of the ‘rhines’ separating them from the royal army. A third, which had not been mentioned to Monmouth, stopped his progress immediately in face of the royal troops, and the battle began. About two thousand of Monmouth's troops, largely Taunton men, took part in it; the infantry led by himself behaved gallantly, but his horse under Lord Grey was easily dispersed. Whether or not urged by Grey, Monmouth rode off the field before the fighting was over, and left his soldiery to their fate. Half of them were cut to pieces (Macaulay's note in ch. v.; Hardwicke State Papers, ii. 305–14; Echard, iii. 768–70, and Ferguson the Plotter, pp. 234–8).

Monmouth, Grey, and Buyse, with a party of about thirty horse, rode hard from the field of battle in the direction of the Bristol Channel, it is said to within twelve miles of Bristol. Rejecting the advice of Dr. Oliver, one of the party, to cross into Wales, Monmouth, Grey, and Buyse then turned south. They slept in Mr. Strode's house at Downside, near Shepton Mallet, and then went on in the direction of the New Forest and Lymington. On Cranbourne Chase their horses failed, and disguising themselves as rustics they pursued their journey on foot, Grey soon separating from the others. Next day one of the search parties under Richard, lord Lumley, afterwards first earl of Scarborough [q. v.], and Sir William Portman (1641?–1690) [q. v.] came on Grey, and the day after (8 July) on Buyse, and not long afterwards, at 7 A.M., on Monmouth, hidden in a ditch. From Ringwood, whither he was taken with the other prisoners, Monmouth was carried under the guard of Colonel Legge, who had orders to stab him in case of disturbance, by Farnham and Guildford to Vauxhall, whence a barge conveyed him to the Tower. Hither his children had preceded him, voluntarily followed by their mother.

Monmouth, whose courage had collapsed at the actual time of his capture (Dalrymple, i. 141, and n.), before leaving Ringwood addressed to the king a letter (published at the time, and repr. in Life of James II, pp. 32–3; Echard, iii. 771, &c.), in which, with many servile protestations of remorse, he entreated an interview in order to give to the king information of the utmost importance. This possibly reckless assertion has been variously interpreted to have referred to the Prince of Orange (cf. Dalrymple, u.s.) and to Sunderland (cf. Macpherson, Original Papers, i. 146; Life of James II, ii. 34–6; Fox, p. 269). Monmouth also wrote from Ringwood to the queen dowager and to Rochester (Ellis, Original Letters, 1st ser. iii. 343; Clarendon Correspondence, ed. Singer, i. 143). James II granted the interview demanded, and it took place on the afternoon of the day of the prisoner's arrival, at Chiffinch's lodgings (Lives of the Norths, ii. 6 n.) Monmouth seems to have striven to exaggerate the humiliation of his position. The king's account of the interview (Life, ii. 36 seqq.), though devoid of generosity, bears the aspect of truth; it seems to imply, in accordance with the statement of Burnet (iii. 53), that already on this occasion Monmouth offered to become a catholic. He was reminded by Dartmouth that his having declared himself king left him no hope of pardon, and the act of attainder previously passed against him made any trial unnecessary. His execution was fixed for the next day but one after his committal to the Tower. His appeal to the king for a short respite, even of a day, was refused (Ellis, Original Letters, 1st ser. iii. 346; Clarendon Correspondence, i. 144–5). It was dated 12 July, and advised the king to send troops into Cheshire (see Original Letters of the Duke of Monmouth, in the Bodleian Library, edited by Sir George Duckett for the Camden Society, 1879). To the bishops, Turner and Ken, who visited him, while seeking to avoid discussion of his political conduct, he spoke with sorrow of the bloodshed it had occasioned (Burnet, iii. 53–5), and, probably for his children's sake, declared in writing that Charles II had often in private denied to him the truth of the report as to the marriage with his mother, as well as that the title of king had been forced upon himself. On the other hand he refused to avow regret for his connection with Lady Wentworth, which he maintained to be morally blameless. Under these circumstances the bishops felt unable to administer the sacrament to him (Evelyn, ii. 471). He was more yielding towards Tenison, then vicar of St. Martin's, who at his request attended him early on the day of his death, but he too withheld the sacrament. On the same morning (Wednesday, 15 July) Monmouth took leave of his children and their mother (Roberts, ii. 132–134; Dalrymple, i. 144; Sidney Correspondence, i. 4n., 26 and n.; Burnet, i. 479; Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. pp. 264, 265, 268, 285). On the scaffold he avowed himself a member of the church of England, but declined specifically to profess the doctrine of non-resistance or to utter a ‘public and particular’ condemnation of his rebellion. He attempted once more to vindicate his relation with Lady Wentworth; after some hesitation responded by an ‘Amen’ to a repeated invitation to join in a prayer for the king; refused to make a dying speech, and died with perfect dignity, though the executioner (John Ketch) bungled his work. According to a trustworthy eye-witness, he struck the duke five blows and ‘severed not his head from his body till he cut it off with his knife’ (Verney MSS.) His remains were buried under the communion-table of St. Peter's Church in the Tower (Macaulay; Somers Tracts, i. 216; cf. Toulmin, pp. 493, 500; Plumptre, Life of Ken, i. 217 seqq.). The abstract of his speech on the scaffold published by his partisans seems fiction.

The duke had by his wife four sons and two daughters. One of the latter died in the Tower in August 1685. Of the sons, James, earl of Dalkeith, and Henry, created earl of Deloraine in 1706, survived their father. The latter is noticed separately. James, the elder son (1674–1705), married in 1693 Henrietta, daughter of Laurence Hyde, first earl of Rochester [q. v.]; he was buried in Westminster Abbey in March 1705, leaving a son Francis (d. 1751), who succeeded his grandmother (Monmouth's widow) as second duke of Buccleuch, and was grandfather of Henry Scott, third duke of Buccleuch [q. v.] Monmouth's widow became on 6 May 1688 the wife of Charles, third lord Cornwallis (Collins); she was much beloved by Queen Caroline when Princess of Wales (see Lady Cowper, Diary, 1716, p. 125), and died, aged 81, on 6 Feb. 1731–2. In the spring of 1686 Lady Wentworth died at Toddington Manor, in an old plan of which two adjoining rooms are stated to be called ‘the Duke of Monmouth's parlour’ and ‘my lady's parlour’ (Lysons, Magna Britannia, i. 143).

Macaulay has collected proofs of the attachment of the west-country people to Monmouth's name, and of the credulity with which it was intermixed (see also Ellis, Correspondence (1829), i. 87–8, 177). The popular instinct rightly recognised the significance of the cause which he so imperfectly represented; but he had in him many popular qualities and some genuine generosity of spirit. His personal beauty and graces, his fondness for popular sports, especially racing, which he loved as a true son of his father, and his bravery in war, were his chief recommendations to general goodwill; his intellect seems to have been feeble. But he was brought to ruin by his moral defects, reckless ‘ambition and want of principle’ (Evelyn, ii. 471).

The National Portrait Gallery contains two portraits of him, one by Sir Peter Lely, the other by his pupil, W. Wissing, who drew Monmouth several times. His house in Soho Square, which suggested the watchword ‘Soho’ on the night of the march to Sedgemoor, was pulled down in 1773, his name surviving, not very creditably, in that of the neighbouring Monmouth Street (Walford, Old and New London, iii. 186–7).

[G. Roberts's Life, Progresses, and Rebellion of James, Duke of Monmouth (2 vols., 1844), is a biography of rare industry and completeness, though occasionally deficient in vigour of judgment. There is also a life of Monmouth in Collins's Peerage of England (5th ed.), iii. 365–387. The Historical Account of the Heroick Life and Magnanimous Actions of the Duke of Monmouth, &c., is a partisan panegyric, published in 1683. The other authorities are cited above.]

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