Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 39.djvu/388

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

hanged him at his father's gate at Inverary, had the privy council not interfered to prevent it (Lauder of Fountainhall, Hist. Notices, p. 655). On 29 May 1687 Atholl was made a knight of the Thistle, on the revival of that order by James II.

At the revolution the part played by Atholl was very equivocal, and the weakness and irresolution that characterised his conduct lost him the confidence of both parties. He was one of the secret committee of King James which met in September 1688 to plan measures in opposition to the threatened expedition of the Prince of Orange (Balcarres, Memoirs, p. 6), but on the arrival of the prince went to wait on him in London. His readiness to acknowledge the prince is supposed to have been due partly to the influence of his wife, a daughter of the seventh Earl of Derby, who was related to the house of Orange by her mother, a descendant of the family of Tremouille in France. In any case his conduct seems to have been chiefly regulated by personal interests, for being disappointed at his reception by the prince he again attached himself after a fashion to the party of King James. At the convention of the Scottish estates on 14 March 1689 he was proposed by the Jacobites in opposition to the Duke of Hamilton, who, however, had a majority of fifteen. After James II by his imprudent message had fatally ruined his prospects with the convention, Atholl consented to the proposal of Dundee and Balcarres to hold a convention of Jacobites in the name of James at Stirling (ib, p. 16), but his fatal irresolution at the last moment, and his stipulation for a day's delay, caused the frustration of the scheme (ib. pp. 27, 30). Subsequently he proposed that the Duke of Gordon, who held the castle of Edinburgh, should fire on the city, to intimidate the convention (ib. p. 31). He remained in Edinburgh after the withdrawal of Dundee. When the vote was taken in the convention as to the dethroning of James II, he and Queensberry withdrew from the meeting, but after the resolution was carried they returned, and explained that since the estates had declared the throne vacant they were convinced that none were so well fitted to fill it as the Prince and Princess of Orange (ib. p. 36). On 13 April Atholl wrote a letter to King William, professing sincere loyalty, but hoping that the king would not assent to the abolition of episcopacy in Scotland (Leven and Melville Papers, p. 12). To avoid entangling himself in the contest inaugurated by Dundee he withdrew from Atholl to the south of England, explaining to King William's government that he had 'to go to the baths for his health, being troubled with violent pains' (ib. p. 22), and that he had left his eldest son to manage his interests for the king's service. It is quite clear that personally he had no desire to further the interests of the Prince of Orange, or to do more than was necessary to save himself from prosecution. Macaulay, with an excess of emphasis, calls him 'the falsest, the most fickle, the most pusillanimous of mankind,' but, he adds with truth, a word from him 'would have sent two thousand claymores to the Jacobite side;' but while 'all Scotland was waiting with impatience and anxiety to see in which army his numerous retainers would be arrayed he stole away to Bath and pretended to drink the waters' (History, 1885, i ii. 53). When the majority of his clan afterwards declared for Dundee, he asserted that he had been betrayed by his servants, but he adopted no adequate precautions to prevent this. On news reaching the government of the disaster at Killiecrankie, due in great part to the attitude of his followers, Atholl was brought up from Bath to London in custody of a messenger (Luttrell, Short Relation, i. 567), but he does not appear to have been detained after his examination. In 1690 he was concerned in intrigues against the Prince of Orange, and he was in the secret of the Montgomery plot (Balcarres, Memoirs, p. 61; see Montgomery, Sir James, fl. 1690). In a Jacobite memorial of October 1691 it is stated that Arran answers 'body for body for Argyll and Atholl' (Ferguson, Ferguson the Plotter, p. 290), and it was proposed that he should act as one of the lieutenant-generals in an intended Jacobite rising (ib.) Afterwards, with the Marquis of Breadalbane, he was appointed by the government to conduct negotiations for the pacification of the highlands (Leven and Melville Papers, p. 625).

Atholl died 6 May 1703, and was buried on the 17th in the cathedral church of Dunkeld. By his wife Lady Amelia Sophia Stanley, third daughter of James, seventh earl of Derby, he had five sons and one daughter: John, second marquis and first duke [q. v.]; Lord Charles, first earl of Dunmore [q. v.]; Lord James of Rowally, who with a large number of men joined Dundee in 1689, but on making submission received a free pardon; Lord William, who became Lord Nairn; Lord Edward, for some time captain in the royal Scots; and Lady Amelia, married to Hugh, tenth lord Lovat, and after her husband's death carried off by Simon Fraser, twelfth lord Lovat [q. v.]

[Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. and 12th Rep. App. pt. viii.; Balfour's Annals of Scotl.; Bur-