User:Rich Farmbrough/DNB/A/n/Anna Mackenzie Campbell

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{{subst:Quick infobox|Anna Mackenzie, Countess Of Balcarres, And Afterwards Of Argyll Campbell|||}} Anna Mackenzie, Countess of Balcarres, and afterwards of Argyll Campbell (1621?–1706?), was the younger daughter of Colin the Red, earl of Seaforth, chief of the Mackenzies; her mother was Margaret Seyton, daughter of Alexander, earl of Dunfirmline. After her father’s death, in 1633, she lived at Leslie, the seat of her cousin, Lord Rothes. Here she was married in April 1640, against the wish of her uncle, then the head of the family, to another cousin, Alexander Lindsay, master of Balcarres, who became Lord Balcarres in the following year. She was a woman, if the picture apparently painted in Holland during the protectorate and preserved in Braham Castle may be trusted, of extreme beauty, the face being full of vivacity, sweetness, and intelligence. Her husband fought for the covenant at Marston Moor, Alford, and Kilsyth, was made governor of the castle of Edinburgh in 1647, was a leader of the resolutioners, and after the defeat at Preston retired with his wife to Fife. At the coronation of Charles at Scone in 1651, Balcarres was made an earl. On 22 February 1651 the king paid her a visit shortly before the birth of her first child, to whom he stood godfather. On the invasion after Worcester she went with her husband to the highlands, where he had command of the royalists. To pay for the debts incurred by Balcarres in the royal cause, she sold her jewels and other valuables, and many years of her subsequent life were spent in redeeming the ruin in which the Balcarres family had been involved. In 1652, being obliged to capitulate to the English, Balcarres settled with his wufe at St. Andrews. After the defeat of Glencairn’s rising in the highlands, in which the earl joined, he received a summons from Charles II, then at Paris, to join him with all speed. His wife determined to accompany him. In the depth of winter, through four hundred miles of country occupied by the enemy, she travelled in disguise with her husband, the children having been left behind, and arrived safely in Paris in May 1654. For the next four years they followed the court, the queen-mother, Henrietta Maria, bestowing much kindness upon the countess, who was at this time appointed gouvernante to the young Prince of Orange. They were settled at the Hague in 1657 and there Balcarress died on 30 August 1659. The countess’s letters to Lauderdale and others on the occasion are preserved among the Lauderdale papers in the British Museum, and are models of sincere and intelligent piety. Between her, her husband, Lauderdale, Kincardine, and Robert Moray there existed a friendship of the closest intimacy, as well as family connection, so much so that she and her husband, in the letters which pass between the friends, are always familiarly alluded to as 'our cummer' and 'gossip'. The countess returned immediately to Fifeshire, but shortly went on to France, where, being herself warmly attached to the Presbyterian church, she was instrumental in securing the support of the French protestant ministers for the king in 1660 (Lauderdale Papers, Camden Society, i.) At the Restoration a pension of £1,000 a year was settled upon her by Charles, who often expressed for her a deep admiration, but it was some years before it was paid. During the interval she and her children suffered great privations — 'Not mistress of sixpence', she says of herself on 4 July, and 'unable to pay the apothecary'. She remained in England until May 1662, and there became intimately acquainted with Baxter, who declares that "her great wisdom, modesty, piety, and sincerity made her accoimted the saint at the court". The conversion of her eldest daughter and her subsequent death in a nunnery were a great blow to the countess. In 1602 she returned to Scotland, when from poverty and anxiety she became very ill. Her eldest son died in October of this year. She was now of service to Lauderdale m warning him of the plots set on foot by Middleton to oust him from the secretaryship (ibid'.'.) In 1664 her condition was rendered easier by the fuller payment of the promised pension, for which she had petitioned in November 1663, but the friendship with Lauderdale appears to have been in a great measure broKen off. The next few years were spent in endeavouring, by careful economy, to pay off the debts upon the estates, and in 1669 her son's rights on the Seaforth estates were given up by her for the sum of 80,000 marks. On 28 January 1670 the Countess of Balcarres became the second wife of Archibald, eififhth earl of Argyll, having previously, by wise management, brought everything connected with her son's property into exact order. This marriage unfortunately, for reasons not very obvious, lost her in a great measure the friendship of Lauderdale, her letters of remonstrance to whom are full of affectionate and dignified feeling. With Arcyll,who was chiefly engaged in raising the fallen estate of his family, she lived a life of quiet affection until the catastrophe of 1681. It was her daughter, Sophia, doubtless by her advice and assistance, who accomplished his escape from the castle. The forfeiture of his estates again brought her into great straits. By the Scottish law the forfeiture extended to herself. Nothing remained to her except her house at Stirling and her revenue of 4,000 marks a year from a small estate of Wester Pitcorthie, a jointure settled on her by her first husband. On 4 March 1682, however, Charles gave her a provision of 7,000 marks a year out of the forfeited lands, on account of 'the faithful services done to him by the late Earl of Balcarres and the severe hardships which she herself had suffered, and because she and her first husband's family had constantly stood up for the royal authority'. By April 1684, however, she had only received 4,600 marks, and the utmost she had was 2,400 more ; and a fresh inventory of her movables, drawn up in 1682, shows that she had been compelled to sacrifice the greater part of the ' womanly furniture ' still left her. In December 1683 she was brought before the privy council to decipher some intercepted letters of Argyll, implicating him in the Rye House plot. She replied that she bad a key, but that upon the breaking out of the English plot she had burnt it. It was finally discovered that this key was not the one to the cipher used in these letters, and she was not troubled further. When news arrived, 15 May 1686, of Arjfyll's landing, the countess and Lady Sophia were at once arrested at Stirling and imprisoned in the castle, whither also her husoand was brought upon his capture, and was only permitted to see him on the day previous to his execution. Ilis last letter to her but a few hours before his death is preserved, and testifies to the deep affection between husband and wife. After Argyll's execution the countess was at once released, and went to London, spending three months in attendance on the court, but returned again shortly to Scotland. In 1689 she settled finally at Balcarres, managing the estates of her son, Colin, who was in exile. By her care she paid off the burdens still remaining on that estate, and in addition gave up a part of her jointure of 7,000 marks from the Argyll estate for the other members of that family. Her last signature, of 1 October 1706, is given to a provision of 1,000 marks a year to her grandchild, Elizabeth Lindsay. She appears to have died in this year. She was buried probably beside her first husband and her son Charles in the chapel of Balcarres ; no record of interment is found in the parish books. [DNB 1][1]


  1.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

    O. A.

    (1886). "Campbell, Anna Mackenzie (DNB00)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 08. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 0.

DNB references[edit]

These references are found in the DNB article referred to above.

  1. The chief source of this article is an interesting monograph by the present Earl of Lindsay, privately printed, the Memoirs of Lady Anna Mackenzie.

External links[edit]


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