Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/109

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GEORGE LOCKHART. 479


herself against such attempts, and did avowedly solicite a great many members of both houses of parliament, that they would not consent to a motion to deprive her of the liberty allow'd to the meanest housekeeper in her dominions, viz., that of choosing her own domestic servants." " And I accordingly," continues the narrator, in a very remarkable passage bearing on one of the most obscure points in British history, " procured an address, in a very high monarchical style, from the barons and freeholders in the county of Edinburgh; and having brought it up with me when I came to parliament, I was introduced by the duke of Hamilton to present the same ; and having read it to her majesty, she seemed very well pleased, gave a gracious return to the address, and then told me, tho' I had almost always opposed her measures, she did not doubt of my affection to her person, and hoped I would not concur in the design against Mrs Masham, or for bringing over the prince of Hanover. At first 1 was somewhat surprised, but recovering myself, I assured her I should never be accessary to imposing any hardship or affront upon her ; and as for the prince of Hanover, her majesty might judge, from the address I had read, that I should not be ac- ceptable to my constituents, if I gave my consent for bringing over any of that family, either now or any time hereafter. At this she smiled, and I withdrew ; and then she said to the duke, she believed I was an honest man ; and the duke replied, he could assure her I liked her majesty and all her father's bairns." l The gradual steps towards a delicate and dangerous subject, so naturally laid down in this valuable passage the hope expressed by the queen that the Jaco- bite partisan was averse to the removal of the favourite, and the introduction of the prince the surprise of the Jacobite, and his ingenious extension of the re- quest the queen's smile and remark on his honesty and, finally, the cautious but bold extension of the insinuations in the kindly rejoinder of the duke, all speak to the authenticity of the scene, and the accurate observation of the nar- rator. That he may be depended on, there is little doubt The cautious Hal- lam considers that the Lockhart Papers sufficiently prove that the author " and his friends were confident of the queen's inclinations in the last years of her life, though not of her resolution." Nor can a vanity to be esteemed the depo- sitory of the secrets of princes, be likely to operate on a man whose works are not to be witnessed by his own age. On the whole, the passage may be said almost to prove that the queen's " inclinations" were with her brother; but a " resolution " on either side, she appears to have never attained.

The circumstance last mentioned was soon followed by the renowned downfall of Anne's whig ministry. Strong but ineffectual attempts were made by the whigs at the elections. Lockhart was violently opposed in Edinburghshire, but carried his election by a great majority, as did Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn for the shire of Stirling, and Sir Alexander Areskine, lord lyon king at arms, for the shire of Fife, both thorough paced Jacobites and violent episcopalians. The last of these gentlemen, along with Mr Carnegie of Boysack, Mr James Murray, se- cond son to the viscount Stormont, afterwards created by the Pretender lord Dunbar, and Sir Alexander Cuming of Cantar, joined Mr Lockhart in a close confederacy, agreeing to mutual support, in cordially prosecuting the great ob- jects for which they had come into parliament, viz., the dissolving of the treaty of union, and the breaking up of the protestant succession. Keeping their agree- ment as secret as was compatible with its efficacy, and prudently cultivating the friendship of the English tories, they soon became conspicuous, and were re- garded by both sides of the house as men of superior consequence, whose feel- ings and views it was necessary to consult in all measures regarding Scotland. The first fruit of this confederacy was a breach of the union, committed by the i Lockhart Papers, i. 307