Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/107

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GEORGE LOCKHART. 477


court, and his ceaseless activity in behalf of the fallen episcopal church, and the exiled royal family. Singularly unlike his father, in discernment of the jus- tice of a cause and liberality of principle, he appears to have resembled him in the stubborn courage with which he pursued any favourite object. To all the principles of the Revolution, he professed a deep aversion, and the union of the kingdoms of Scotland and England he considered, especially in regard to the former, as likely to terminate in that misery which a peculiar class of poli- ticians always argue to be the consequence of any change, or some reason which it is difficult to fathom ; he was, however, named, by the queen, one of the commissioners upon that famous treaty, and, with the exception of the arch- bishop of York, was the only tory that was so named. " He had no inclina- tion to the employment," he has himself told us, " and was at first resolved not to have accepted it, but his friends, and those of his party believing he might be serviceable, by giving an account how matters were carried on, prevailed with him to alter his resolution." Before entering upon the duties of his high office, he accordingly took their advice, in what manner he was to conduct himself, and in particular, " whether or not he should protest and enter his dissent against those measures, being resolved to receive instructions from them, as a warrant for his procedure, and to justify his conduct : so, when they all unanimously returned this answer, that if he should protest, he could not well continue longer to meet with the other commissioners ; and, if he entered his dissent, it would render him odious to them, and that they would be extremely upon the reserve with him, so as he would be utterly incapable to learn any thing that might be useful afterwards in opposing the design ; whereas, if he sat quiet, and concealed his opinion as much as possible, they, expecting to persuade him to leave his old friends and party, would not be so shy, and he might make discoveries of their designs, and thereby do a singular service to his country ; therefore they agreed in advising him, neither to protest or dissent, nor do any thing that might discover his opinion and design, unless he could find two or three more that would concur and go along with him, (which was not to be expected,) but to sit silent, making his remarks of every thing that passed, and remain with them as long as he could ; and then, at last, before signing the result of the treaty, to find out some pretence of absenting himself." Such were the feelings and intentions which he brought to the accomplishment of a transaction Avhich he was chosen for the purpose of furthering, in the most expeditious and most efficient manner ; and he relates with pride that he acted up to his instructions, that he acted as a spy on the proceedings of the others, and, at least, was enabled to interrupt and render more laborious the consum- mation of a measure which his party was unable to stifle. The archbishop, dis- daining to follow a similar course, absented himself from the meetings.

But Lockhart had other and more dangerous duties to perform for his party ; he held a commission from the Scottish Jacobites to communicate with the Eng- lish tories, and, if possible, to ascertain how far the latter might be brought to concur in a scheme, projected in Scotland, for the restoration of the son of the abdicated monarch by force. This commission he executed with similar fidelity, but he found the English less zealous than the Scots, and disinclined to any attempt, at least during the lifetime of the queen. All the transactions which might be interesting to the exiled family, he faithfully reported to the courts of Versailles and St Germains, through the instrumentality of an emissary, called captain Straiton, while he submitted his proceedings to the cognizance of his brother Jacobites, whom he aptly termed his constituents. His account of the proceedings of the commissioners, is distorted by party colouring, beyond the usual allotment of such documents, and one is tempted to ask how a pei-son, who