Sir Thomas Urquhart (1653) Logopandecteision. Book V: Neleodicastes, or The pitiless Judge. Pages 3-26.*
Wherein the austerity of the Law of Scotland, together with the partiality of those that professed it a while ago, is made to appear to be a great hinderance to the present promulgation of the Universal Speech, and future evulgement of other excellent Inventions.
1. THE publike Pressures, which in Scotland I was inforc'd to undergo, (in matter of Tax and Loan, monthly maintenance, additional Sess-money, transient Quarters, constant and assistant quartering Horse, Foot, and Dragoon-Levies, besides neer 3000 l. sterling worth of goods, as it stands upon Record, under the hands of those Gentlemen authorized for Commissioners, to take upon Oath and Probation, the just account of their losses, most basely and unworthily (whilst I was absent from the Country) robbed and plundered from my Tenants : against whom, no pretext of quarrel could be had, but the love of their means, they being never sufferers, but for their innocencie, and too conscionable neighbourhood) did extend to so vast proportion, that my Lands thereby were more sadly dealt with then those of any Subject within the Dominion ; and my self, from time to time, brought under the sufferance of such exorbitant Impositions, as would have been almost insupportable to any of the Country, though of a free estate.
2. But that which made my condition the more bewailable, was, that in spight of that distributive justice according to which the then Estates of the Nation enjoyned each one ratably to lend his shoulder to the common burden, I was, by over-prizing of my Lands, emitting too great a proportion of Horse and Foot, and extraordinary quartering, at all occasions, singled out apart to sustain the calamity alone, without that wretched comfort (called Solatium misoris) of any other to share with me therein.
3. Which had it been inflicted on me as a punishment for an offence, albeit pretended, were somewhat tolerable : but all the doers could say, was that what they did then, they had warrant for ; under the mask and vizard whereof, the sordid and corrupt Commissaries, with the ravenous Neoptoleman Presidiaries, did grinde the faces of my poor men, and suck the very blood out of my estate.
4. This disorder of Order-monging multitudes (without prejudice be it spoke of a well-disciplined Souldiery) together with the specious pretences that some have grasped at, to do iniquity by a law, hath truly run in such an over-flowing speat and inundation of violence against me, that what by the cruelty and high hand of neighbouring Flagitators and others,1 and continual current of unavoidable Taxes, my poor tenants were so incompassionately plucked, mangled, torn in pieces, and shuffled, that they and I both, for all our endeavours, (the publike burden alone, besides other pressures, having in some yeers (over and above the whole rent of the Land) put me to a hundred pounds English money on the score) have not been able to give, in matter of the Principal, a full repast to the rest of those craving ahungred Creditors, who, by reason of the foresaid obstacles, barring my determination, remain as yet unsatisfied.
5. Of whom nevertheless2 not any almost (notwithstanding all these difficulties, which yet procreate this one and the greatest stop of all, that no Merchant is to be had for Land, without huge loss to the disponer ; men of flourishing estates having sold their Lands of late at easie rates, to shun the pressures of so frequent impositions, and Assessments) will abate a mite of that due the Law in its rigour doth allow, nor out of a fellow-feeling of my sufferings, relent never so little of the extremity.
6. For whether Land hath been undone, and impoverished by unseasonable years ; or begger'd, and exhausted by the rapine of unruly Soldiers,3 they will alwayes have their money to yeeld a super-abundant and fruitful Crop, and the Rent thereof (in despite of the fortune of the Nation) to hold out most plenteously to the full.
7. However, though to any judicious and well-poysed brain it would seem strange, that by such men what is naturally barren,4 shall be still made fruitfull, even when by the hardness of the times, what is naturally fruitful, is still made barren.
8. I could nevertheless, in so far as concerns my own particular, be well pleased not to decline the fertilizing of that sterility (if the State think such kind of men worthy of being so nearly taken notice of) provided the judicatory of the Land debar me not from the benefit of that justice which (without too palpable a partiality) cannot be denyed to a very stranger, though but passing by, never to returne again.
9. For the most of all that I demand, springeth from these two branches : first, that to have restitution of all that wrongously hath been taken from me and my Tenants, I be permitted to take my course against the meanes of the Robber,5 who by having disabled them, through so great a spoil, from paying their Farmes ever since, and these seven years to come, so well as formerly they did, will prejudge me in thrice as great a summe, as all they were pillaged of did amount to : and next, that King James his Act, concerning the most important clause in decrees of apprising, may be conceived as it ought to be : in favours of them that offer moveables of more worth then the debt that is required.
10. Now lest I should seem to protract time, and involve the Reader into a Labyrinth of discourse upon this so exuberant a purpose, the amplification whereof (should I give way thereto) would with little difficult drive from my Pen more volumes (time not failing me) then ever Origen wrote, as is manifest by those aporrectical interthetes I have already couched ; (whereof nevertheless I have not the twentieth part, nor any considerable portion of other more worthy Manuscripts of mine, which I having left behind me at Cromartie, were in the time of my imprisonment at London by the Sequestrator Dundasse's rifling of my Library, most wretchedly imbezled, and unluckily scattered amongst those that prefer'd clean paper to any writing that is) I will (after having mentioned somewhat of the matter, climacotially proposed in the seventieth Article of the second book) make bold to conduct the Reader to the reposing-room of a closure, there to remain, if it please him, till it be high time to require his progress towards the ten excogitable Cities mentioned in the 73 Article of the first book.
11. Seeing the matter already spoke of concerneth me and my Fathers Creditors, both of us ayming at one and the same thing to wit, the enjoyment of the Estate of my Progenitors, I shall desire the Reader, by what I am to say, to take notice, which of us hath best right thereto, first in conscience, then according to Law.
12. Conscionably therefore to talk thereof,6 in some of the most civil parts of the world, it is thought unjust, that the infection of debt, like a hereditary disease, should be derived to Posterity, but onely transmitted to those, that from the indebted receive a benefit equivalent to the debt ; conscience requiring that each one be a faithful Administrator to his Posterity of the means, which from his Predecessors he hath received : nothing being made lyable to his own debt, but his own conquest ; his Personal deservings, and nothing else being that, which ought to expiate his personal faults.
13. Hence it followeth by the same equity as aforesaid, seeing neither any of my fore-fathers, nor yet my self, were obliged in so much as one farthing to any of those Creditors ; that consequently neither their estate, nor mine, should be affected with the burthen, which concerned us not, but onely the means of him that was the Party-contractor ; whereby the whole shire of Cromartie, and Baronries of Bray and Fisherie in Scotland; ought clearly to be mine, for having belonged to my Progenitors five hundred and twenty yeers before the Incarnation ; it being enough, that I lose two hundred pounds sterling a yeer of old rent, which my father put away, together with all his own conquest, and moveables belonging either to him or any other of my Ancestors.
14. But the Lucripetary Poscinummios lending a deaf adders ear to these kinde of motions,7 because the rigour of the Scotish Law against the heirs of ancient families, alloweth not the admittance of such a desire, to soften the hardness of their hearts, it was told them,
15. First, that seeing I had nothing answerable to the annual Rents of those Creditors, but the yeerly Rent of the Land,8 and that estates in Land should b as well weighed in the balance of Justice, as stocks in money, it could not be but reasonable, that as much were defalked from Creditors interests, as by publike dues have been exhausted out of my Land-rents.
16. Secondly, that for the payment of what sums of debt the Creditor could with reason claim right to, he might be pleased to take peny-worths,9 not according to his own cutting and carving, but as judicious men employed therein should discern of their value ; there being nothing more common amongst burgers (whom the Law certainly cannot with reason favour more then landed men) then that if a Merchant fall into any decadence in his means (although by his own procurement) his Creditors must take of his moveables, as, by the prime Magistrates of the town, they shall be appreciated, and at no under-rate.
17. Thirdly, for further trial of their discretion, it was propounded, (seeing it was their resolution to have my Lands to go to the payment of another's debt) that they would therefore vouchsafe to give some voluntary courtesie, for lightning of the burthen10 ; which favour, considering the smalness of the sums at the first borrowing, and yet the smaller use they were put to, (there being none living, but the Creditors themselves, that had any benefit thereby, and yet how vastly and exsuperantly they have accresced since) may very well be granted.
18.The most reasonable Overtures prevailing as little as the former, with those cunning Creditors, who, when my father needed no money, knowing his disposition to borrow, and ability to pay, did for their own ends lend unto him whatever he pleased11 ; that thus by laying out a worm (as it were) to catch a Salmon, taking occasion of his profuseness, they might make their own covetousness the main ground-work of their enrichment.
19. For which prodigality, I have already dispensed with all that ever he acquired, and a hundred thousand pounds Scotish more, besides seven or eight yeers rents of my Lands, which I gave them totally, save so much thereof, as for Publike dues I could not get avoided to abalienate from their acceptance.
20. Yet as if this their covetousness were such an illustrious and heroick vertue, as could not be recompensed, all that ever they got from my father, or yet from my self, taking no more bulk in the immense gulph thereof, then would a grain of Millet-seed in the throat of an ass.12
20.13 They refused to take Land in part of payment of the superplus of the debt, not but that in their own thoughts they esteem the Land much more worth then the money to be discharged for it, themselves having given greater sums of money for worse Land, and less of it : but that by this their seeming refusal, to be free of their cruelty otherways, I might not be necessitated out of desperation, to cast it into their laps, half for nought.14
21. Which that I might the sooner be enforced to do, they demanded, besides their principal sums (which oftentimes were but sailies of bargains) their interests, reer-interests, expences in seeking after them, and the interest of those expences, without any regard to the difficulties of the times, which eat up the tents in publike disbursements15 ; and had laid such politick courses for insnaring me in the trap of an unthrifty bargain, that by their forestalling the bank, there was no money to be had in borrowing for my behove, but onely from themselves.
22. Had this been the worst, it should never by me have been mentioned ; but to conceal it, I were to blame. After that I was ascertained of what inward joy was conceived amongst them, when they had fondly assured themselves of the truth of my being killed at Worcester-battel, and for the gladness of the tidings had madified their nolls to some purpose with the liquor of the grape.
23. And how when afterwards they understood the contrary to be verified by Letters under my own hand ; and that by being (no thanks to them) in as good health as any of themselves, they were like to be disappointed of their abominable and unchristian hopes, they then threw in the way of my credit all the impediments that they could, to debar me from money, that the withholding of necessary helps might (if possible) snatch away what the sword had spared.
24. As also, what underhand-dealing there was for arresting of my person at London, by men with whom neither my father nor I had ever any dealing (notwithstanding of my being a prisoner upon Parole to the Councel of State)16 and likewise what plotting was in Scotland by that fry of men against me, after I was allowed by the State in the favour of five months time to go thither and return again, is well known by those that were employed by them in those unconscionable negotiations.
25. What congeeing, cringing, doffing of hats, making of legs, and petitioning there was of the Judges of Scotland, the Commissioners for the Sequestrations at Leith, and others, by many of those men, that they (good souls) who have always been found true and trusty (to their own profit) should not, for my lawless and unwarrantable joyning with Charles (for so some called him) in the invasion of England, be debarred from their legal rights to the enjoyment of my fathers lands apprised by them for their (most precious and inestimable) money, is not unknown to any that for business did frequent the Courts of Justice in that Country.
26. Furthermore, to shew the craftiness & subdolous pranks of some of those Creditors of whose discharges I was content some two yeers ago to accept, for sums of money I had given them towards the defrayment of certain debts due upon bonds, which they (perceiving my forwardness to relieve them, and having a further project in their own mindes) pretended they were so mislayd, that they could not come at them, so soon as the urgencie and pressing haste of my then-incident occasions might require, did, very subtilly (or rather, knavishly) at my last going down to Edinburgh from London, demand payment from me by vertue of those Bonds, which then they ha to shew readily enough, thinking the Discharges they had given me had been utterly lost at Worcester: and although some of them, by means of the clauses of Registration which they contained,17 might have been put upon Record, that nevertheless that should help me nothing, because the Scotish Registers were removed to the Tower of London, and therefore (in their conceit) never to be exposed hereafter to the inspection of any of the Scotish Nation. So cunning this generation of Usurers is of late become in Scotland.
27. But when they saw that those Acquaintances (which by the discretion of one Captain Goodwin, in Colonel Pride's Regiment, had been recovered out of the spoil at Worcester) were produced before them, they then looking as if their noses had been a bleeding, could not any longer for shame retard my cancelling of the aforesaid Bonds.
28. Who doth not account such a trick a deep piece of iniquity, doth not positively know what belongs to sin : but who thinketh any more of it, and of all the formerly-mentioned abominations, then of a Flea-bite to the stinging of a Scorpion, in regard of Robert Lesly of Finrasie's far more wicked contrivances against me, hath no skill in Comparatives.
29. For albeit of all the friends he ever had, the most deserving was my father, by whose intercession alone he obtained, for the space of one and twenty yeers together, fourscore pounds sterl. a yeer18 : yet for exchange (as it seemed then) of so great a favour, he having lent him eight hundred pounds English money, when my father neither needed nor required it ; and having by mischance on the one side, and subtilty on the other, got his Bond thereupon, he was the first that led apprisings against his Lands ; and not content with that, to the end he might obtain the marrow of his estate to himself, procured the most of all his other Creditors, to take the same violent course against him.
30. And though when in the time of my Lord Montross's over-running of the North of Scotland, he knew not what course to take for the securing of his Gold, Silver, Evidences, and other things of value, from the hands of the Irish, it pleased my mother, out of courtesie, to take into her own custody the Trunks wherein those things were,19 and place them within my house of Cromartie: all of which although she made such a good account unto him, that now he hath them at his own disposure, yet (like that Snake mentioned in the Fable, which, in stead of thanks for the warmth of a good fire bestowed on his almost-starv'd-for-cold joynts, without which he had assuredly died, did leap up in the face of his Host, to destroy him, with his whole family) he hath every since applied the utmost of his wit to the undoing both of her and me, and the utter subversion of all the remnant of our House.
31. That such bad acquitals20 should have by him been rendred to my father and mother for those so considerable favors of theirs conferred on him who was born a Gentleman (for he is the third in descent from Norman Leslie, that for killing his Master Card. Retoun, was justly forfeited of his estate) is truely very strange.
32. Strange likewise it is, that by the continuance of his miscarriages towards me, I should be necessitated in my own defence against him (who, as if there were a Cannibal-like Leprosie over his heart,21 impeditive of the susceptibility of thanks, hath never any way been sensible, in the least measure, of the several good offices done unto him) to afford yet another evidence of the height of his ingratitude ; which is this.
33. When some four yeers ago, with all the Horse and Foot he was able to command, he came in a hostile manner to take possession of a Farm of mine, called Ardoch; unto which (as Sir Robert Farquhair can testifie) he had no more just title,22 then to the town of Jericho mentioned in the Scriptures ; and that at the offer of such an indignity of our House, some of the hot-spirited Gentlemen of our name would even then have him, with his three sons, bound them hand and foot and thrown them within the Flood-mark, into a place called The yares of Udol, there to expect the coming of the Sea in a full tide, to carry him along to be seized in a soil of a greater depth, and abler to restrain the insatiableness of his immense desires, then any of my Lands within the shire of Cromartie.
34. Then, when in hopes he would behave himself more legally in times coming, prove a better neighbour, and more conscionable man, I had restrained their fury, curbed their sudden attempt, and allowing him, together with those were with him, a Pass and Safe-conduct to their own houses, I did not permit so much as a hair of any of their heads to be touched ; his retribution of thanks to me for my then so publikely manifested affection to him in the preservation of his life (under god) appeared in nothing else (he like another Mithridates, feeding his gall on no other nutriment but on the poyson of that rancour he had most maliciously conceived against me and my family) but in the present setting of himself to work for laying the platform of a most mischievous plot, to my total and unavoidable destruction.
35. In pursuance whereof, having adjoyned to himself Colonel Archibald Strachan (then designed Lieutenant-Colonel) good John Forbas of Innernass, Lieutenant Huchison, and others who may be named hereafter, that under pretext of saving my tenants from being quartered upon (with which punishment they were threatned, even out of the Pulpit of Cromartie, by an intimation made to that effect from the Ministers own mouth, who nevertheless (as I believe) knew nothing of the Plot) unless I should go to Innernass my self, to conduce with the Officers for some ease of an extraordinary Sess23 was then to be imposed on me ; hoping by such means, when I should be in that Town, that by vertue of a Caption stollen out against me by James Sutherland tutor of Duffas, I should be deprived of my liberty, and kept in durance there, till Finrasie should be fully satisfied in all his demands.
36. This wicked device24 proved so universally odious to all the ingenuous spirits that heard of it, that his own wife having it in a perfect abomination, because of the bad sequeles she was certain could not chuse but ensue upon such pernicious machinations, did not enjoy her self long after, but died very discontented at the wilfulness of her husband : for truely she was a very discreet and judicious woman, and so was his mother, who, though she loved him as well as any mother could do her son, was still, in all differences betwixt him and me, more for me then him, because she studied always to have reason on her side.
37. The above-written Robert finding that this his subtil contrivance had failed of its aimed-at effect, and that there appeared as much baseness in the one, as rashness in the other attempt, did forecast another way how to bring about his covetous designes ; which that he might the better do,25 after that he had most glibly insinuated himself into the favour of the afore-named Archibald Strachan, and that he had a pretty while before that, moved a young Gentleman in Morray (who afterwards married one of his daughters, and who (had he been free from the infection of his father-in-law's untoward suggestions) would have assuredly dealt very courteously with me, he being the heir of one of my fathers Creditors) to make over his rights to him, to be consolidated with his other pretended claims, for the which he was to give him a good round sum of money, and his daughter to the boot.
38. How to the end he might bestow his daughter with the least charge he could to himself,26 he procured an Order for Colonel Strachan to quarter a whole Troop of Horse upon my Tenandry, till I should transact for a sum to be paid to his son-in-law ; which verily was the greatest part of his portion ; he chusing rather my Land should lie waste, then that his daughter were not well laboured.27
39. The injustice of this action, against which Strachan, even at first, had some inward reluctancie, stamped within a little thereafter into the Colonels minde those deep impressions of regret for the perpetration thereof, from whence sprung forth so many various prickles of soul-disturbing thoughts for it, and some other of his more notorious actings upon the advice of a so oppressive counseller, as that his conscience being exceedingly stung with remorse, he was not able (a while before he died) to refrain from these abrupt exclamations, Wo to thee Finrasie, accursed be thy consultations, shame fall on them, and so forth : after this manner fretting and vexing himself several times in private, at the very single memory of that one man, as some of those that heard him in his Soliloquies a little before his decease, can bear record.
40. And truly thus much I can testify my self, that to my own hearing he did acknowledge his hearty sorrow for the indefatigable pains he took for neer upon twelve months together, at the request of the said Finrasie, in procuring a Garison to be setled within my house at Cromartie, whereof the Governour (being a Leslie) was (though otherways a passing civil young Gentleman) imbued in a very short space with such corrupt documents from his cousin Robert, that before the disbanding of that Garison (for which courtesie I owe the thanks to Lieutenant-General David Leslie, who I perswade my self did never approve of Finrasie's proceedings against me) begun to keep such a high hand in my absence over all that had in me any interest, that in the most unreasonable of his demands (as his written Order as yet can bear witness) his loftiness was such, that he kept a strain like that of Solyman the magnificent, to the petty Princes of Christendom.
41. Not without a design (as is supposed) to indear himself the more intrinsecally in the favours of the young Gentlewomen Finrasie's daughters, whose father (like another Charles of Burgundie) keeps them (by all appearance) the longer unhusbanded, that they may serve him for so many stalking-horses, whereby to intangle some neighbouring Woodcocks (through an expectation of wiving them) in a confederacy with him, and opposition to my Family, against which he hath so injustly denounced War.
42. The Garison being removed from Cromartie, and honest Robert thereby disappointed of any further substance from Governor Leslie in the driving on of his projects, he betakes himself to another course ; and laying hold on the occasion of a meeting amongst the Gentlemen of the name of Mackenzie, put in this humble suit unto them, that they would be pleased to move the Earl of Seaforth (their chief and his superior) to allow him the favour of protection, and to further him to the possession of those my Lands he had apprized for moneyes due by my Father to him; which discourse as he amplified after the best manner he could for his own advantage, so had he an especial care to make no mention of his ungrateful miscarriage within a year before that, unto my Lords own self; whose lawful commands (though both his Father and he had formerly unto that Honourable Family sworn unfeigned obedience) he not onely sleighted, in not undergoing those duties which (as a Vassal) it became him to discharge, and which the primest Gentlemen thereabouts (out of the meer tye of Neighbour-hood) did unanimously perform ; but contrary to the homage he did owe unto my Lord, and personal good Offices he had received from him, adjoyned himself with might and main, in both counsel and action, to those that had vowed the ruine of both him and his name, had plundred his and their Lands, dipt their hands in the blood of his servants, and burnt some of the best houses of his kinsmen.
43.28 All which things being very well known to the worthy Juncto of the aforesaid Gentlemen, his Petition was justly rejected ; not so much for that in both Consanguinity and Allyance I had unto his Lordship a very near relation, or that the Predecessors of us both, had for these many hundreds of years kept a most entire and amicable correspondence, as that his demands were totally of themselves unreasonable, and that (although they had been better grounded) my Lord was not conceived to be in honour bound to protect him, who had infringed his faith, and forfeited his loyaltie to him, whose Vassal he was.
44. Whereas these rubs in the way of a plain-meaning man would have quickly made him to desist from such violent undertakings, he on the contrary was by such repulses the more eagar on his game29 : what would have proved discouragements to others, did animate him ; and the greatest spur to his action, was the iniquity of the cause : he left no Winde unsailed by, nor Oar unplyed he could make use of : he importuned the Kirk, solicited the State, courted the Soldierie, feasted the Lawyers, cajoled, smoothed, and flattered Gentlemen, Merchants, and men of all degrees, to gain friends both in Heaven and Hell for my destruction, and that with such vigilance and circumspection, cunning and reservedness, without sparing either cost or travel, that had the time I was forced to bestow in my own defence30 on avoyding his grins, shunning his traps, and with no small charge and trouble preserving my self from his various and manifold snares, been spent after the manner I intended, I would (by Gods assistance) in that space of leisure have emitted those things, which (to the Isle of Britain) would have been of greater emolument, then all the estate he is worth in the world, twenty times told.
45. But he mis-regarding these things, which did no more relish with him, then a French Galliard in the ears of a Spanish Mule, and setting at nought my enjoyment of any spare hours upon what occasion soever, did even at my last being in Cromartie (where I was not to stay above two months, by reason of my being engaged to the State upon Parole to return to London at a prefixed day) plod and forecast how without offending Authority (I being a Prisoner of War) he might so secure my person in Scotland, as not to be released till he were contented in all his demands.
46. In the prosecuting of this Plot by his two elder sons and brother George, many of the English Officers both of Horse and Foot, together with the Deputy-Governour of that English Garison in my house, being most earnestly spoke to, he found them of such another temper then the Presbyterian Commanders he had formerly employed against me, that neither the beauty of his daughters nor glistering of his gold, being able to tempt them to a condescendment to his unjust desires, in spight of his way-laying of me, and conducing with English Messengers at Elguin in Morray to apprehend me, I securely traveled thorow all the best Towns of Scotland, and thereby making a safe retreat to London, wisht him for the future to employ his Motto of Gripe-fast, with the Griffin pounces of his Arms, upon some other prey then me, who knows him already so well, that he being of Normans extraction, there can no Proverb be more fitly applied to him, then that of Qualis Corvus, tale ovum.
47. Several Gentlemen of good account, and others of his familiar acquaintance having many times very seriously expostulated with him, why he did so implacably demean himself towards me, and with such irreconcilability of rancor, that nothing could seem to please him that was consistent with my weal ; his answers most readily were these : I have (see ye ?) many Daughters (see ye now ?) cannot be done for (see ye ?) without money ; the Interest (see ye ?) of what I lent (see ye ?) had it been termely payed (see ye ?) would have afforded me (see ye now ?) several stocks for new Interests : I have (see ye ?) apprized Lands (see ye ?) for these summes (see ye ?) borrowed from me ((see ye now ?) and (see ye ?) the Legal being expired (see ye now ?) is it not just (see ye ?) and equitable (see ye ?) that I have possession (see ye ?) of those my Lands (see ye ?) according to my undoubted Right (see ye now ?)
48. With these over-words of see ye, and see ye now, as if they had been no less material than the Psalmists Selah and Higgaion Selah, did he usually nauseate the ears of his Hearers, when his tongue was in the career of uttering any thing concerning me, who alwayes thought that he had very good reason to make use of suchlike expressions, do you see ?and do you see now ? because there being but little candour in his meaning, whatever he did or spoke was under some colour.
49. For under colour of Religion, he did sow the seeds of division betwixt me and the Kirk, and devised such abominable lyes of me, as the like were never hatcht in Hell : under colour of being against Tyranny, he sent his sons along with Col. Strachan to the overthrow of Montross, whom he called James Graham the. &c. as now he doth his Master by the name of Charles Stuart: under colour of being for Monarchy, he hyed away his Eldest Son to Dunbar, where being taken Prisoner, he was kept fast for a twelvemonth at New-Castle; and under what colour soever he can shew himself with the least detriment in publick, doth he alwayes with the greatest security drive on his private benefit.
50. So that such as talk and discourse with him, who goes alwayes Masked and Vizarded with colours and pretences to what he intends not, ought not onely to see, to see well, and better see ; to see well now, and see well then, but with all the perspicacity of sight, and prying inspection that may be, to look upon his concealed Objects, pore into them, and cast an eye on what from open view he purposely withholdeth, to the end that in discovering by such opticks the fallacies of the sight of our mind, we not be deluded by finding under the Cloak of Righteousness, nothing else but the Babylonish Garment and accursed thing.
Let the Reader (I beseech him) excuse my having so long detained him upon the wretched subject of this man, who like a Fox in his Den, living in my Progenitors Lands of Ethie, hides or shews his Pawes as he sees the Prey in a conveniencie to let go or lay hold upon : and in compensation (seeing contrariorum eadem est ratio) I will set before him another of my Fathers Creditors, who in the commendative delivereth as much to be insisted upon, as the other in the vituperatory part.
52.31 As of the ten Lepers whom Christ healed, one believed in him ; and of the two crucified Theeves, one was saved : so were it a pity, if amongst so many Creditors there could not be found one honest man : but far more pity it were, that (he being a man of such approved integrity) I should be silent in his praises ; and not extol his worth.
53. Vertue was the foundation of his wealth,32 and he never loved to gain any thing by the loss of another : of the many Debtors that have been beholden to him, he never offered to put the Bonds of any in the Register : yet hath God in his goodness towards him blessed him with prosperity, whilst others that had blamed him for his lenity, and had themselves extended the rigour of the Scotish Law to the extreamest cruelty imaginary, till they had obtained to the outmost farthing all that out of the depth of their covetousness they could have required from my Father, and afterward had in their jollity vaunted of the immense profit that thereby accrued unto them, are now (although it be not long since the time of their offensive rigour) in a despicable condition, and fit objects of Divine wrath, to be punished with that poverty, which most unmercifully for their own inrichment they would have inflicted upon their betters.
54.33 But may William Robertson of Kindeasse, or rather kindnesse, (for so they call this worthy man) for his going contrary to that stream of wickedness which carryeth headlong his fellow-Creditors to the black sea of unchristian-like dealing, enjoy a long life in this world, attended with health, wealth, a hopeful Posterity, and all the happiness conducible to eternal salvation : and may his children after him, as Heires both of his vertues and means, derive his Lands and riches to their sons, to continue successively in that Line from generation to generation, so long as there is a hill in Scotland, or that the sea doth ebbe and flow.
54.34 This hearty wish of mine, as chief of my kinred, I bequeath to all that do and are to carry the name of Urquhart, and adjure them, by the respect they owe to the Stock whence they are descended, for my Fathers love and mine to this man, to do all manner of good offices to each one that bears the name of Robertson, both for the Personal deservings of the Gentleman I have now mentioned, as for that (as it is a common saying that the Skeens ought to be Robertsons) there is nothing more certain then that the Robertsons should be Urquharts; for besides that their own Coat-Armour doth in some measure manifest it,35 the first of that name was a son of Robert, the second brother of Endymion Urquhart; which Robert, a little after the decease of Charlemain, in emulation of his Uncle Carolo, was so renowned for his Chivalrie and valiant atchievements in Italy and other forrain Countries, that his Off-spring hath ever after been designed by his name, as the Forbasses were by that of Φορβας, the second brother of Vocompos.
56. O that I might continue longer upon this subject ! But the scope of this Treatise not permitting it, I must of necessity have a fling at the Creditors of another temper.
57. For whose preying like wolves upon the innocent flock,36 whom by Captions, Arrestments, Inhibitions, Apprisings, and other base weapons of the rigour of the Scotish Law, they endeavour to devour, without Reason or Conscience, I may safely avouch (conform to that ancient saying, Arma tenenti, omni dat qui justa negat) that, expeit, ut, jus tenenti, qui justa negat, aliquid saltem de suo amittat.
58. Thus is it clear, in regard of their stubbornness, and refractory carriage, against all conscience, equity, and reason, as said is,37 that they get neither wrong nor injustice done them, although they be made to forgo their principal, as well as their annual ; it being more conducible to the publike good, that the innocent enjoy the means of their forefathers, then that the monuments of vertue become the inheritance of the vicious.
59. I know now they will exclaim, that they are scandalized, in being called vicious for doing what the Law allows them38 : but truely I must answer them that Fornication is accounted to be a sin, even by those from whom a permission floweth to commit it, as at Rome and Avignon; and that likewise for the hardness of the peoples hearts, Moses did tolerate Adultery ; and what else39 can be said of Foenory more then Venery, but that, as too much illicite kindness occasioneth the one, the meer lack of charity admits the other to be connived at, for the less prejudice of the poor, in behalf of whom, the Law suffereth rather that they should pay a little Usury, then to be altogether undone for want of trust ?
60. Yet not to call it a sin,40 were to bely both Divine and Humane Law ; under pretext of either whereof, that they should go about to undermine ancient and worthy Families, doth make their sin to be so much the more prodigious.
61. Those that are any thing versed in the Morals, will acknowledge Prodigality not to be a vice half so dangerous as Covetousness,41 because it swerveth less from Justice, which is the common measure of all Vertues : for as it is nobilius dare quam accipere; so may it be truely said, that he doth rather tribuere cuique suum that giveth too much of his own, then who exceeds in taking from his neighbours.
62. Now the properest effects of Justice, being to reward and punish, according to the receivers demerit, there is no doubt but that both Prodigality and Covetousness should fall under the compass of the penal Statues ; and this more then that, because, as the Apostle says, it is the root of all evil.
63. It is a tenet, that faults being personal, the punishment of them ought not to be transferred to after-ages, as is said in the twentieth Article of this Book, unless they did militate treasonably against a Prince or Commonweal ; in which case, for the publike good, ut amor filiorum terrorem parentibus incutiat incurrendi crimen lasæ Majestatis, necesse est, ideoque justum, aliquantillum deflectere ab ea justitia, quæ provatis accommodari solet negotiis; even as we finde, contrary to the ordinary course of nature, for the weal of the Universe ad evitandum vacuum, air to descend, water to amount.
64. Of this nature of punishment, I have been participant with all my predecessors of the Paternal Line, since the Reign of Eugenius Octavus, in the days of my fore-father Zeron, who had the greatest part of his estate taken from him, for no other trespass then his too great hospitality to a Prince of his own kinred, as in the Παντοχροναχανον, or Genealogie of our House lately published, is more fully deduced.
65. But this other kind of transgression,42 being in a matter onely twixt subject and subject, it follows that the successor of neither the prodigal, nor covetous man, should eo nomine be punished ; much less should any, for his predecessors covetousness be rewarded ; nothing more shocking against common sense it self, then to make the recompence for vertue be the reward of vice, whereby the very pillars of equity would be quite subverted and overthrown.
66. How can it then be called Justice, that the successor of the Prodigal, for no other reason but his predecessors prodigality,43 shall have his whole inheritance discerned to be the inheritance of the son of a covetous man, and that meerly for his covetousness ? the onely recommendable quality for which he obtains it being a constant purpose and resolution to hook his neighbours means unto him, by eights and tens in the hundred, and other such baits, whereby improvident and inconsiderate men of great Revenues are oftentimes entangled.
67. Were it not less prejudicial to the Publike, and more equitable in it selfe, that a covetous man should forgo both of his principal and interest, then that he who is neither prodigal, nor covetous, should be denuded of the estate of his forefathers, which never was acquired by him that contracted the debt ?44
68. Although the Lords of the Session, or any other inferiour Judicature, were never invested with power to judge otherways then according to the Customs of the Country positively written, and Municipal Laws of the Land of Scotland; yet the high Court of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, by vertue of their Legislative authority, may, for the weal of the Publike, transcend the bounds of any written Law, much more that unto which they were never tied, and of a stranger-Country now under their command.
69. And as it is a common saying, Interest Reipublicæ nequis re sua male utantur; so doth it very much concern the reputation of a Commonwealth, that ancient considerable families be preserved from ruine, if possible.
70. If Creditors say,45 they get injustice done to them by it, I answer with Tacitus, (Dato, sed non concesso) quod habet iniqui contra singulos, utilitate publica rependitur : or with Plutarch, A justitia in parvis negotiis deflectendum est, si ea uti volemus in magnis.
71. For if it be lawful to cut off an arm, for the preservation of the body, how much more lawful is it to defalk somewhat from the exorbitant sums of merciless Creditors, for the preservation of an ancient family, in favor of him, that never was the debtor ? seeing the Commonweal, for his appearance of good service thereto, may be highly concerned in his fortune.
72. These few points I have premitted, to make those Creditors pliable to Reason, in undergoing any such course as it shall please the State to command or perswade them to ; who, as I make account, will take them from off my hand, and settle me with freedom in the inheritance of my predecessors, and that for the reasons formerly mentioned.
73. Although the State pay them not to the full, or perhaps pay them (for so much as concerns me) with a pardon ; yet ought they to be thankful to the State for what is left them, and not grumble at the Publike severity, that others no less faulty then they, have sustained a milder lash ; seeing (as the Edecimation of Criminal Souldiers, the nine associates have no reason to complain of partiality, because the tenth escapes unpunished) it becomes these aforesaid Creditors to remain contented with that mercy to others, which proceeds from those who are just to them, although they suffer by it : nam plurimis damnum infligitur, quibus nulla fit injuria. And such of them as are most clamorous in seeking, considering what benefit by usurious bargains they had from my father, though they neither from the State nor me get any thing at all, can be no losers.
74. However it go, I should not be deprived of my fore-fathers Lands, because of many reasons which I have already deduced. Nor is this unwillingness in me to part from my Land a vice, as is their tenaciousness in keeping of money : for, si parva licet componere magnis, as the King of Spain spent in the defence of Flanders more Ryals of eight then would cover the face of the whole Country (as is commonly reported) so to preserve my inheritance (whatever it cost) it defends the honour and reputation of the House which I represent.
75. And ingenuously, as when I collationed in the fiftieth Article of this same Book, Prodigality with Covetousness (viz. that Prodigality, whereby one lavishly expendeth his rents, and unnecessarily involveth himself into a Labyrinth of debt ; and not that other,46 which by alienating his Predecessors ancient inheritance, destroyeth the whole stock in so far as lies in him) I did prefer Prodigality to Covetousness as the lesser vice : so should I now compare with the covetousness of an Usurer, the profuseness of him that maketh no conscience to dispone unto strangers the Land of his Ancestors, I would find his fault a great deal more unpardonable then that of the Usurer.
76. For who turnes his Land into money, devirilizeth and emasculates what is naturally procreative, and by consequence, bending his course to what is more imperfect,47 deserveth greater blame then who to the Eunuch and Spandonian money, allowes a constant pregnancy, by imagining every penny to be both Father and Mother,48 still begetting, and still bearing, and the child still growing per juxta Positionem; whom if the Debtor finde not beside the Parent at the semestral period,49 he must educe another of the pre-supposed Bulk, or lye by it, as one that hath not faith enough ; because although both be unnatural, yet for that the latter aymeth at what is of choicer worth, it merits less imputation ; the intention of making what is barren fruitful, (albeit impossible to do) being more commendable then of exchanging what is by nature fertile, for that which produceth and bringeth forth nothing but rust and dross.
77. However, although by what is already said my declining to pay those men, needed not be imputed to me, for want of equity towards them in my proceedings, they having received much from me, and often,50 and I from them never any thing at all ; my obligations to them being so prescinded from all specialities and particular restrictions, that they never could shew neither what, nor when, nor time, nor place, nor any other circumstance whatsoever, denotating the existence of any thing on earth, wherewith to upbraid my acceptance : yet I shall wish, (if so it please the Publike) that they be satisfied and reimbursed of what they can with any kinde of reason demand.
78. For as Julius Cæsar, after he had repudiated his wife, being desired to call her home, because the judges had absolved her from that adultery whereof with Clodius she was accused, did very gallantly reply, that the wife of Cæsar must be free of Suspicion, as well as Guilt : so, though I may vindicate my self, and the land of my progenitors from the stain of that debt, wherewith some peevish and malicious men would adulterate the hitherto-immaculate purity of our Family ; yet would I rather chuse some little coin should be bestowed on them, therewith to stop their bawling mouthes, then have any the meanest distrust or jealousie remaining though without a cause.
79. I expect, that the Publike will be pleased to undergo (after what manner to them shall seem most fit) the performance thereof : which that they do, even in the most expensive way, is no new thing, and in matters of far less concernment.
80. Many have had their estates made up by Monopolies, and other such publike exactions, who afterwards employed the utmost of their power for subverting the State, to which they had been so much beholding, although before that time they had never made apparent their deservings for so great a favour.
81. How many have there been about the Courts of Kings, who having no higher qualifications, then to sweep the Privie rooms, or at most, to make the Kings bed, were short while after so bedaubed with Honours, that (although their endowments continued still in the same degree of baseness) they disdained the touching of a Missive directed to them, whereof the Superscription spoke not, To the most noble, high, and potent Earl, wither other Signorial Titles, attended by an & cætera in the reer ?
82. Cheat at Cards, Dice, Bowling, Tennis, or any other Game, where confederacie or betraying of trust hath at any time proved advantagious, and all those other sneaking means that are commonly at corrupt Courts practised, for cramming their bags full of money, upon any terms, have been in many places, this long time, the usual Scale of Promotion, and very often the most infallible way for attaining to most sublime and splendid Dignities : which sort of Nobility, without Valour, Wit, or Learning, may be fitly termed a kinde of Metaphysical wonder, or relation sine fundamenta & fundandi ratione.
83. I have seen beyond sea a Marquess of twenty thousand Crowns a yeer, who albeit he obtained both his Title and Rents, for having served his Prince in the quality of a Pander, would nevertheless have sworn with as much Grandeur, and pretended conscience upon his Honour, as if he had been a Conqueror of several mighty Nations. I have likewise known of those that have been Lorded above their fellow-Courtiers, for their greater dexterity in the winding of a Hunting-horn ; in which faculty nevertheless, the education of a Shepherd or Postilion was sufficient to make one in a very short space by far to excel them.
84. This evidenceth many to have been enriched by the Publike, whose service thereto, or merit otherways, deserveth scarcely the retribution of private thanks. As for my self, because I have promised to do for the Publike that which shall be better then ten times my estate, I cannot think it will be imputed for boldness to me, to require it be made free for my proposed service ; and for doing thereof, such debt as shall be thought fit to defray, be forthwith made a Publike burthen, with the publike expence to be discharged, if so to them it seem expedient, and no otherways.
86.51 But seeing it hath been said by some, who not long since did sit at the Helm of the Scotish State, when by one of the most eminent persons in the Army, an exemption but from some few months maintenance (now called the Sess) of my own lands was demanded, in compensation of thrice as much which I had disbursed upon Warrants from the Publike, for which, by an Act of Parliament, there was allowed retention in future dues of that nature, with assurance that my endeavours to the honour of my Country, should quickly appear for deserving, worthy a greater courtesie, That when such endeavours should be made effectual, it would be then time enough to appoint a recompense : the illess noble Lord not considering, that the refusal was unjust, though I had not been endowed with faculties for any such designe, the like not having been denied to any well-affected Gentleman but my self ; nor taking any notice, that by those and such-like enormous pressures, I have been these twelve yeers past disabled from prosecuting so powerfully my intended purpose, as otherwise I would have done, had I been clear of those impediments.
87. I will therfore halt a little in the divulgement of this my great undertaking, lest I should participate in such kind of mens precipitancy, by shewing no less rashness in my exposing of precious things to their acceptance, then they have done of incogitancie, by their sudden rejecting the grant of my most equitable requests.
* The pagination began afresh at the introduction to the Fifth Book.
1. Nihil est profecto molestius quam Vicimus avarus, says Job. Decollo.
2. Stolidus est qui proper spem majores rem præsinam & certam licet parvam non ampllectitur.
3. Turpia lucra foenoris, & velox usura inopes trucidat.
Sed male parta male dilabuntur.
4. Hac prima est scelerum mater quæ semper habendo plus sitiens patulis rimatur faucibus aurum.
5. Sir James Fraser of Darkhouse, of whom no good can be truly spoken but that he is dead.
Avarus nisi cum moritur nihil recte facit) says Publius Mimus) avaro quid mali optes nisi ut diu vivat. Non sibi non aliis prodest dum vivit avarus & prodest aliis & sibi dum moritur
6. Vid. Art. 63.
7. Hydropico similos nunquam satiatur avaraus infælix, requie nocte dieque caret.
8. Non solum liberalitatis est, sed etiam commoditatis plerumque aliquid de suo jure relaxare.
9. Utilia non omnia quæ pro futura videntur. Effugere cupiditatem regium est vincere.
10. In luxando modus sectandus.
Sed illis crescentem sequitur cura pecunia.
11. Avari rectas cogitationes non admittunt, & lucri gratia corpus & animum diabola prostituunt.
12. In illis neq; pecunie modeus est, neque cupiditatem, quas nulla piæda, unquam improbe parta minuit, sed auget potius, atque inflammat.
13 There are two sections 20.
14. Ultroneæ vilescunt merces & pretia facilitate decrescunt. Retia ubique tendunt ad nummos.
15. Lucrum in arca, damnum in conscientia.
16. Voluntas fingendi & mentiendi est corum qui lucrum desiderant.
17. Divitias per falsuates accurrere, opprobium est.
18. Maxima cupiditas rationem pervertit, et mentem a suo statu removet.
19. Cupiebam tuam ingratitudinem silentio dissimulare, sed meam modestiam tua vicit improbitas.
20. Tu omnium in gratissime pro summis officiis, quantum potes maleficorum reponis.
21. Tu pro officiis ea reponis ingratissimum monstrum, quæ hostis non faceret hosti.
22. Improbi cum maxime beneficia acceperint, tunc maxime sed maleficia animantur.
23. Avarus etiam diis molitur fallacias.
24. Eo productus est furor, ut sit res periculosissima magna beneficia in aliquem conferre : nam quia turpe putat non reddere, non vult esse cui reddat.
25. Ingratitudo est ventus urens, siccans fontes pietatis, & fluenta gratiæ.
26. Ingratum dixeris, & omnis dixeris.
27. O tempora ! O mores !
28. The text has two sections 42, no section 43.
29. Lucri spes omnia difficilia facit jucunda.
30. Vid. lib. 2, Art. 19.
31. Quæstus magnus conscientiæ puritas. Bona est substantia, cui non est peccatum in conscientiæ.
32. Nemo injustum habet lucrum sine justo damno, tamen non sic sapit lucrum quam dolet damnum.
33. Honestum est lucrum, quo nemo læditur ; juste acquiritur, & nulli præjudicatur.
34. 54: misnumbered 45 in the text.
35. Arms: Robertsons (assuming I got the right ones): Gules three wolves heads erased argent armed and langued azure; Urquharts, Or three boars heads erased gules armed proper and langued azure.
36. Avaritia (inquit Chrystost.) est canis rabidus, & insatiabilis ebrietas.
37. Tantum est malum non se continere inura proprios penates majoribus inhiando, ut propria sæpe pereant.
38. Pejor existimatur civis foeneratur, quam fur, says Cato de re rustica [In the preface to De agri cultura].
39. Usuarius super omnes mercatores, est maledictus, says Chrysost. in his 38 Hom. upon Matthew. [He says similar things in V and in LXVIII, but not, so far as I can tell, in XXXVIII.]
40. Avaritia omnis improbitatis, est metropolis. Nullum est vitium tetrius avaritia : nam inopiæ pauca desunt avaritiæ multa.
41. Avaritia animam & corpus esseminat nec iam firmum præsidium habet, quod avaritia infringere, & debilitare non poterit.
42. In nullum avarus bonus in se pessimus. Omnia des cupido, sua non perit inde cupido.
43. Æstimat esse parum sibi quicquid habet cor avarum, ac quoque semper hiat major pars, ut sibi fiat.
44. Avaro tam deest quod habet quam quod non habet, quia aut non habita conconcupiscit ut habeat, aut habita metuit ne amittat ; & dum in adversis sperat prospera, in prosperis formidat adversa.
45. Nulla est res quæ ad maleficium magis impellat quam avaitia, nec justitiæ sit infestior.
46. Suum cuique pulchrum.
47. Est amor & rerum cunctu tutela suarum.
48. Avarus est insatiabilis cui nec totus mundus obolus est.
49. Avaritia latentium indegatrix lucrorum, manifestæ prædæ avidissima vorago, neque habendo fructa foelix, quamvis cupiditate quærendi miserrima.
50. Omnis avarus ex potu sitim multiplicat, quia cum ea quæ appetit adeptus fuerit, ad appetenda alia amplius anhelat.
51. 86: there is no section 85.
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