Graham, Robert (d.1701) (DNB00)

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GRAHAM or GRIMES, ROBERT (d. 1701), colonel and Trappist monk, was son of a certain 'Colonel' William Grimes, who is described in the contemporary letters of Lord Manchester as a lieutenant of horse under John Graham of Claverhouse, viscount Dundee, who was afterwards commander of the Bass Rock, later a recipient of Jacobite bounty in Edinburgh, and (in 1701) an alleged conspirator against the life of William of Orange. He had two sons, both notorious libertines who turned monks, the elder becoming a Capuchin friar as Brother Archangel, the younger a Trappist, Brother Alexis. The life of the younger was a stormy one. He had been whipped in his boyhood by a presbyterian tutor for attending a Romish service in Edinburgh, which led to his being transferred to the guardianship of a kinsman, Lord Perth; but when that nobleman's affairs became involved he passed into the hands of a gloomy presbyterian uncle, whose harsh asceticism no doubt influenced his after course. His name cannot be traced with certainty in the military entry books in the Public Record Office, but he appears to have served in Flanders under William III. His excesses are said to have startled London, Flanders, and Paris, and when he left the service and was presented to James II at the fugitive English court at St. Germain he was one of the most accomplished scoundrels of his day. After alternate fits of rioting and fasting, of drinking and religion, he entered the monastery of La Trappe, and became one of the most ingenious and cruel of self-tormentors so that he may be said virtually to have committed suicide. Before he died it was the custom of English courtiers serving either king to visit the recluse, to whose cell King James and bevies of court ladies were wont to repair. His death, early in 1701, deprived the English court of one of its most edifying distractions.

|[Duke of Manchester's Court and Society (London, 1864), ii. 93, 100, 111. The details of the life of Brother Alexis form one of the most}} singular of the biographies published in 1716 under the title, 'Relations de la Vie et de la Mort de quelques Religieux de l'Abbaye de la Trappe.']

H. M. C.