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credit for a service of no value, than against William."
This is absolutely certain, it would seem, as Lord Wolseley proves. Say that Marlborough's letter was written on May 4 (May 14, new style, as used in France), Louis could not receive the deciphered and translated version before May 8 (18). But in the French archives is a letter of Louis's, dated April, in which he warns Vauban of the English attack, about which he has received intelligence, bids him assume command of Brest, and promises to send reinforcements. Manifestly, then, Marlborough's news was calculated to arrive nearly a month late. Hence, Lord Wolseley decides, "Tollemache's disastrous failure was due, it is proved beyond doubt, to the completeness of the preparations made by Vauban, in obedience to orders from Louis three weeks before the date of Marlborough's letter on the subject."
Marlborough indicates in his letters. Admiral Russell, he says, had known the fact for six weeks, but it only became a certainty on May 4. This constitutes Marlborough's claim of merit in James's eyes. He sends a certainty! But Louis had issued his orders as if on a certainty three weeks earlier. Again, how did Louis know? Our earliest hint of information previous to Marlborough's was only presented to Louis on May 1. The source of our knowledge is the 'Original Papers,' published by Macpherson in 1775. There occurs, in French, in the hand of Nairne, secretary to Melfort, one of James's Ministers, "Accounts brought by Captain Floyd" (usually written Lloyd) "lately arrived from England." 2 Godolphin told Lloyd "that Russell would infallibly appear before Brest." Lloyd himself suggested Brest to Russell as a probable point of attack. Marlborough's letter of May 4 could not reach Louis till several days, say a week, after he had received the same intelligence, through Lloyd, from Godolphin. According to the 'Life of James II.,' the king also had previous intelligence from Lord Arranlater, and immortally, Beatrix Esmond's Duke of Hamilton.3 From one or another source news had reached Louis long before Marlborough's letter, and William well knew it.4
It seems proved, then, to demonstration that Marlborough merely "hedged" against the off chance
1 Wolseley's Marlborough, ii. 314. 2 Macpherson, ii. 479.
3 Life of James II., 523. The name of Arran is a later insertion into one of the blanks usually left for names in the MS. Life of James.' The author of the Life here indicates his strong suspicions of Marlborough's sincerity as regards
William to Shrewsbury. Coxe's Shrewsbury Correspondence, 45, June 18,
of a Restoration; merely made friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, James, by sending intelligence of no real value. This, therefore, argue Lord Wolseley and Mr Paget-this, and not "the basest of his hundred villanies," is the real measure of Marlborough's roguery.
This contention seems satisfactory. Marlborough is a sly dog, but not a perfidious murderer. But now arrives a new defender, Lieut. Colonel the Hon. Arthur Parnell, who will prove that neither Marlborough nor Godolphin sent any intelligence at all. Colonel Parnell's remarkable essay is entitled "James Macpherson and the Nairne Papers."1 As Colonel Parnell's theory would upset English history during much of William's reign, as he thinks that the treacheries of the Revolution statesmen Godolphin, Danby, Shrewsbury, Sunderland, Marlborough, and Russell-have been accredited on evidence which is "waste paper," I propose to examine his contention. The "waste paper" is, first, the "Nairne Papers," published by James Macpherson; next, to some degree, the anonymous Life of James II.' (1816), of which extracts, pretending to be from a MS. in James's autograph, are also pub lished by Macpherson. The Colonel, for one argument, superfluously impeaches the character of Macpherson, the illustrious bard of Clan Chattan, and introducer of Ossian. He was a Government hack in 1775, and would stick at nothing to disparage the Whigs of 1688. Again, he gave us a tawdry sham epic, and forged the Gaelic originals. But, we reply, in these days, and later, a man would forge a ballad, or "fake" an epic, who
would not forge a historical document. Surtees of Mainsforth is an instance in point. The Colonel then impugns the authenticity of the Nairne Papers, one source of our knowledge of Marlborough's letter. He asks what is the real provenance of the Nairne Papers, which, according to Macpherson, Carte procured, and which, later,
were placed in the editor's " (that is, Macpherson's) "hands, as materials for a history"? Now on this question Macpherson is certainly vague, with good reason, as we shall make probable. He says in his preface: "Mr Nairne's papers came into the possession of Mr Carte some time before his death. . . . How Nairne's collection came into the possession of Carte is as unimportant as it is imperfectly known.” The Colonel cries, "Observe the impudence with which he again faces the crucial point of the whole affair!" To this crucial point we shall return in a moment. Meanwhile, it is said in Macray's 'Annals of the Bodleian Library' that, in 1753-54, Carte consigned a vast supply of his MSS. collections to the Bodleian. He died, perhaps heart - broken, when Prince Charles broke, for Clementina Walkinshaw's sake, with the English Jacobites in 1754. In 1757 Carte's widow presented nine more volumes of MSS. to the Bodleian. The rest (including the Nairne Papers) remained with her second husband, Mr Jerningham, to whom Macpherson paid £300 for leave to read and publish them. The Colonel is very angry with Macpherson for saying that these MSS. "were placed in his hands" for purposes of history. Well, we could scarcely expect Macpherson
1 English Historical Review, April 1897.
to publish an explicit account of his pecuniary dealings with Mr Jerningham! He says: "It is needless to explain minutely why papers of such value lay so long neglected and almost unknown. They are jumbled together in a mass of confusion." And the Colonel asks: "Why did Carte think them so unimportant as to leave them huddled away in this style, and to maintain perfect silence on their existence?" And why did he omit them from the parcels consigned by him to the Bodleian? "Is it not possible . . . that, knowing, as he must have known, something of their antecedents, he may have looked on them as especially worthless, and may therefore have especially avoided to send them?"
Before raising these "crucial" difficulties, and making these conjectures, the Colonel might have examined the romantic life of Carte himself. After George Kelly was arrested in 1723, Carte acted as agent between Atterbury and James III. He characteristically uses "manuscripts," not the usual "muslin," as a cant word for money or munitions of war.1 But the excellent Carte, in his later years, had little time for historical composition. Manuscripts were his heart's desire; the delightful sport of document-hunting Carte never abandoned. Deep in the intrigues of the hidden Prince, he tasted the joys of trying to make secret history; but he was the collector all the time. He was the conspirator first, but he never ceased to be the amateur. Till his death, in 1754, Carte was coming and going to and from France as an emissary to Prince Charles. He helped to get George Kelly
dismissed from his secretaryship to the Prince. Pickle the Spy says (December 1752), "Mr Carte, the historian, has carried frequent messages," in the thick of the Elibank Plot to kidnap George II. Again (March or April 1753), "Carte has been several times over, he is trusted, and it is by his means chiefly that the P. turned off Kelly," to whom the P. was much attached.2
Now, it must be said that Mr Pickle's intelligence, as far as it can be tested, is usually accurate. A great Highland chief, he had access to the best information, and he frequently marks the limits to which his exact knowledge does. not extend. We see, then, that just before his death, in 1754, Carte was often in France, and was in the highest trust with Prince Charles. What cheaper yet more satisfactory reward could an impoverished prince grant to an enthusiastic collector of documents than the papers of Nairne, the secretary of his father's and grandfather's Ministers Ministers (16891718), and of his grandmother. Carte, like Bishop Forbes, must have dreamed of presenting his History to the king, at St James's!
Very probably Carte was only permitted to borrow the MSS. from the Scots College, the Jacobite Record Office. If so, of course he could not, and did not, send them in 1753 to the Bodleian. But even if Carte got the papers from the Nairne of 1753 (at whose house near Paris a spy reports Charles to have lain concealed), it would have been very unsafe for Carte to send them to the Bodleian. "How and whence did you get these, Mr Carte?" would
1 See "The Report of the Lords' Committee on Layer's Case."
2 Pickle the Spy, pp. 178, 190.
have been a natural and damaging question. Again, if Carte got the Nairne Papers while he was actively engaged, just before his death, in a plot to seize St James's and the royal family, he would not have leisure to arrange them. They would come to Macpherson, as the Stuart Papers avowedly came to George IV., when Prince Regent, "jumbled together in a mass of confusion," as Macpherson says. Finally, Macpherson, writing in 1775, shortly after the marriage of Charles, and while there were French and American schemes for raising the royal standard in America, while Nairne, as ever, was true to his king, would not, could not, be explicit as to how Carte got the Nairne Papers.
Thus the information of Pickle the Spy, which could not conceivably have been designed to that end, shows at once how Carte may have got the Nairne Papers into his possession, why he "kept silence about them," why Macpherson could not explain the facts in public, why the papers were in a jumble of confusion, and why Carte, and, later, Mrs Carte, did not send them to the Bodleian.
The circumstances which Colonel Parnell thinks suspicious really afford presumptions of the truth of Macpherson's statement.
Next we turn to the anonymous 'Life of James II.,' the other source of information as to the treasons of Arran, Godolphin, Shrewsbury, Danby, Russell, and Marlborough. The MSS. of the Life have their own romance. Burns's "Bonnie Lass o' Albany," Charlotte, daughter of Charles Edward and Miss Walkinshaw, died within a year
of the death of her royal father. She bequeathed to the Abbé Waters, of the great Jacobite banking family, Prince Charles's confidants, the papers "found in her father's library at Florence," including four volumes of a MS. 'Life of James II.' The Life, says the Abbé, is "asserted to have been collected from Memoirs written in his own hand, to which they bear continual references, citations, and long extracts." i Nobody denies the existence of the autograph Memoirs of James II. On March 24, 1701, he deposited them in "Our Scotch Colledge of Paris," under the care of Lewis Innes, the Queen's Almoner. On January 12, 1707, his son, James III., had them sent to him at St Germains, and then and there, probably, the
Life of James II.' was compiled from the king's own autograph Memoirs. We know, from a letter of worthy James Edgar, the loyal servant of James III., dated January 10, 1740, that Carte was given access to "the Complete Life of the late King"-that is, to the Life founded, in or near 1707, on his autographs. That Carte saw these, is doubtful; and, in 1802, Charles Fox was informed, by survivors of the Scots College, that Macpherson never saw them.2 They were destroyed, in the Reign of Terror, by a timid lady at St Omer, to whose husband they had been intrusted. She did not like to have royal MSS. in her possession. Thus perished, in all probability, the ciphered original of Marlborough's famous letter of May 4, 1694, with all other original reports from Arran, and from Godolphin, Shrewsbury, Sunderland, and the rest of William's
1 Life of James II., 1, xiv., January 12, 1805. 2 Edinburgh Review, June 1816.
dubious Ministers. For these we have only the evidence of (1) the drafts of translations into French, for Louis, in the Nairne Papers, and (2) the extracts and reports in the Life of James II.'
But Jamie Macpherson, who could never run straight, has mystified the facts. In his introduction to the "Original Papers" (1775), he says that Carte (in 1740) obtained access "to such papers, belonging to the family of Stuart, as LAY OPEN in the Scotch College at Paris. In particular, he made very large and accurate extracts from the 'Life of James II.,' written in that Prince's own hand."1
The blushless Jamie now insinuates that he, as well as Carte, made extracts from the autograph MSS. of James II. But Edgar's letter of 1740 does not admit Carte himself to these sources. Macpherson doubtless worked on the anonymous 'Life of James II.,' perhaps receiving information from Jesuits who had seen the original. Thus our Celtic bard mystified matters, more suo: it does not follow that he forged documents.
Colonel Parnell's first difficulty, then, as to the provenance of the Nairne Papers, as to how Carte got them, why he was silent about them, why he left them in disorder, and did not send them to the Bodleian, we have tried to solve. Next we have admitted that, as an able writer in the 'Edinburgh Review' showed long before Macaulay wrote (June 1816), Macpherson equivocated, even fabled, as to his use
of King James's autograph Memoirs.
We e now turn to Colonel Parnell's other objections to the Nairne Papers. They are not "original." "All are projects or drafts, with corrections. All are written by Ministers of James. Six are in the handwriting which Macpherson attributes to Nairne," the other two, Colonel Parnell admits, are in the writing of Melfort, attested by "harmless papers in the same collection, which would not repay the trouble of forging." Again, none of the papers have been folded, or show signs of having been transmitted to Versailles. No fair copies are in the French archives.
That drafts of letters afterwards despatched in fair copies are not original documents, one can hardly admit. What can be more "original"? Such drafts are not folded or sent anywhere; they are kept by the writer or by his secretary. As to the absence of fair copies from the French archives, I have reason to know that the absence of later Stuart memorials, certainly sent, from the French archives (as far as they have been searched) is searched) is very inexplicable. But Macaulay (iv. 158, 159, 166) avows that one, at least, of the fair copies from the Nairne drafts
King James's Memorial of November 1672-is actually in the archives of France. The question of "the handwriting attributed by Macpherson to Nairne," can be tested by Nairne's other letters, which must exist at Windsor, and, probably, in the possession of his representative. Moreover,
1 Macpherson adds, "But his most valuable acquisition was the papers of Mr Nairne." Edgar says nothing about giving to Carte Nairne's papers. Jamie himself says, in the next page but one, that how Carte got Nairne's papers "is imperfectly known." Then it is not known that he got them in 1740. My hypothesis that he got them in 1752-53 is unshaken.