Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/189

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SIR RICHARD MA.ITLAND. 559

secretary Maitland, and a ready justification of this violent measure was found in the conduct of that statesman. After the death of the son, the enmity of the regent Morton was transferred to the aged and unoffending father, and his house and lands were still violently withheld from him. Although Sir Richard ap- pears to have requested the intercession of the English court, and for that pur- pose to have transmitted a representation to lord Burleigh, the queen, with her usual crafty and cautious policy in regard to Scottish affairs, did not interfere : the document is thus marked " This must be well considered before any thing is done." It was not, therefore, till the fall of Morton, that the worthy knight obtained restoration of his lands. He did not, however, droop into despondency during the long period of eleven years that he was thus " wrangit." In that period his poem of " Solace in Aige" is believed to have been written. It concludes thus :

Thocht I be sweir to ryd or gang, Thair is sum thing I've wantit lang,

Fain have I wald Thaim punysit that did me wrong,

Thoucht I be auld.

Some attempt seems to have been made by Sir Richard to obtain compensation at least for his losses. There is extant a list of " the guidis tane frae y e aid laird of Lethingtoun of his awin proper geir forthe of Blythe and y e Twllowss ; but it is to be feared that his endeavours were unsuccessful. At a later period of his life, he renewed his application for compensation ; and, although he ob- tained an act of parliament, recognizing his claims, and rescinding an act made in favour of captain David Hume of Fishwick, who had possessed Lethington, and intromitted with the rents of that estate, the benignity of his temper war- rants our supposing, in the absence of historical evidence, that he did not pur- sue his rights with any violent or revengeful feelings.

The age and infirmities of Sir Richard now appear to have incapacitated him in a great measure for the performance of his duties as a judge. Throughout his career the conduct of his brother judges towards him was marked by the ut- most kindness and sympathy for his distressing malady. As early as January, 1561, they had ordered the macers " to suffer one of the old laird of Lethin- tone's sones to come in within all the barres as oy r pro- doe, and to issue as they doe, for awaiting on his father for the notoriety of his father's infirmity," and he now (3d of December 1583,) obtained leave to attend court only when he pleased, with the assurance that he " should lose no part of the contribution in consequence of absence." In May 1584, he was further exempted from the examination of witnesses, " provyding he cause his sone (Thirlstane), or his good- son the laird of Whittingham, use the utter tolebooth for him in calling of mat- ters, and reporting the interloquitors as use is." When he was at last under the necessity of retiring altogether from the bench, it was under circumstances which no less strongly show the public estimation of his character. He was al- lowed the privilege of nominating his successor, a privilege of the extension of which lord Fitmedden considers this as the first instance. Accordingly on the 1st of July, 1584, he resigned in favour of Sir Lewis Bellenden of Auch- noull, being now, as his majesty's letter to the court expresses, " sa debilitat that he is not able to mak sic continual residens as he wald give, and being movit in conscience that, be his absence, for laik of number justice may be re- tardit and parteis frustrat." At length, after a life, certainly not without its troubles, but supported throughout by the answer of a good conscience and by