Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 08.djvu/340

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repugnant to the protestant religion and his loyalty. To this explanation, which Lockhart, Dalrymple, and others are doubtfully credited with having informed him he was entitled to make (Omond, Lord Advocates of Scotland, i. 217), he obtained James's assent on the day on which he resumed his seat in the council; he did not vote in the general explanation given by the council, as the debate was over before he arrived (Wodrow, iii. 315). The next day he had, as commissioner, to go through the same scene. This time he was required to put his reservation in writing, and to sign it. The latter, however, though at first willing, he skilfully avoided doing. He was thereupon immediately dismissed the council, as not having properly taken the test, and a few days later, 9 Nov., was committed to the castle on the charge of leasing-making, treason, perjury, and assuming the legislative power. On the 8th the council had written to Charles, who replied at once, requiring full notice before sentence was declared. A request for a private interview with James was refused, and though, through the activity of Gilbert Burnet, the intercession of Halifax, who declared that in England they would not hang a dog on such a charge, was not wanting with Charles, nothing came of it. It was clear that conviction was determined upon. The assistance of Lockhart, who, with Dalrymple, Stuart, and others, had given an opinion in Argyll's favour, was twice denied, James declaring, ‘If he pleads for Argyll, he shall never plead for my brother or me,’ and only granted when Argyll took the necessary legal steps to secure it. The trial, so far as the relevancy of the libel was concerned (Omond, Lord Advocates of Scotland, i. 218), that is whether or no his explanation brought him in law under the acts against leasing-making, began on 12 Dec. 1681, before Queensberry and four other judges, and was marked by shameless quibbling and illegality on the part of the crown. After Lockhart's defence the court adjourned, but the judges continued sitting until midnight. They were equally divided in opinion; their president, who had the casting vote, had himself offered an explanation. To save him from voting, Nairn, a superannuated judge, was brought from his bed, and the depositions were read to him, during which he fell asleep, and was awakened for his vote. The relevancy of the libel, as to treason and leasing-making, was then pronounced, and the question of fact was next day brought before a jury composed in great measure of his enemies; Montrose, his hereditary foe, sat in court as chancellor. Before such a tribunal Argyll refused to defend himself. The jury similarly acquitted him of perjury in receiving the oath in a false acceptation, and agreed with the judges on the other counts. Application was made to Charles for instructions by the council, and for justice by Argyll. Charles ordered that sentence should be pronounced, but execution suspended. Upon 22 Dec. the king's letter reached the council; and, though strictly illegal, inasmuch as forfeiture could only be pronounced in absence of the offender in cases of perduellion and riotous rebellion, sentence of death as well as of forfeiture was pronounced in Argyll's absence on the 23rd. His estates were confiscated, and his hereditary jurisdictions assigned to Atholl, in order to perfect his ruin (Lindsay's Mem. of Anna Mackenzie, p. 121). Every intimation, however, was given to Argyll that execution was immediately to follow. He was lying then in daily expectation of death, when about 9 p.m. on 20 Dec. his favourite stepdaughter, Sophia Lindsay (afterwards married to his son Charles), obtained leave to visit him for one half-hour. She brought with her a countryman as a page, with a fair wig and his head bound up as if he had been engaged in a fray. He and Argyll exchanged clothes, and she left the castle in floods of tears, accompanied by Argyll. But for her extreme presence of mind they would have been twice discovered. At the gate Argyll stepped up as lackey behind Sophia Lindsay's coach. On reaching the custom-house he slipped quietly off, dived into one of the narrow wynds adjacent, and shifted for himself (ib. p. 116). He first went to the house of Torwoodlee, who had arranged for the escape, and by him was conducted to Mr. Veitch, in Northumberland, who in turn brought him under the name of Hope to London (M'Crie, Memoirs of Veitch). From London he wrote a poetic epistle of five hundred lines to his stepdaughter, expressing himself as in safety amid noble friends and surrounded by comforts. This comfort appears to have been chiefly afforded by Mrs. Smith, wife of a rich sugar-baker. He also found refuge with Major Holmes, the officer who had arrested him when Lord Lorne in 1656–7. After a delay of some time Mrs. Smith brought him to her country house at Brentford. Wodrow states that offers were made to him on the king's part of favour if he would concur in the court measures; that he refused, and that then, in the loyal reaction before which Shaftesbury and Monmouth fled, he also went to Holland. It is certain that no real steps were taken to recapture him. Charles is said to have known that he was in London, but when a note was put into his hands naming the place of concealment, he tore it up, ex-