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If the author of the Tracts, or any other antiquary of equal zeal and information, shall completely refute this history, the author of the Memoirs of Merchiston will most cheerfully confess the error of that "Genealogical scheme showing the Philosopher's Representation of Duncan VIII. Earl of Levenax" which was engraved for his work. He cannot help thinking, however,—and will be consoled by, and take credit for the result—that a flight above the elucidation the subject has now received, must determine in some quarter the right to the honours of this ancient and interesting Comitatus,—the Arcadia of Scotland—the romantic land where
Endrick, in wildly lyric mood,
Displays her laurel crown,
Sage Napier earned renown;
* The Endrick issues from Lochlomond, flowing, through Strathendrick, close to Gartness an ancient place belonging to the philosopher, who frequently pursued his studies in that beautiful retreat. If the history I have now recorded be accurate, he was de jure an Earl of that ancient race whom Sir David Lindesay of the mount quaintly calls " the Erles of Lanox of auld"—and in that right he is represented by the present Lord Napier.
ANTIQUITIES OF MERCHISTON AND THIRLESTANE,
IN REPLY TO
"OBSERVATIONS UPON THE REPRESENTATION OF THE RUSKY AND LENNOX FAMILIES, AND OTHER POINTS IN MR NAPIER'S MEMOIRS OF MERCHISTON.11
REPLY TO MR KIDDELL's INSINUATION THAT THE EVIDENCE FOR THE ANCIENT ARMORIAL SEALS OF MERCIIISTON MAY NOT BE GENUINE ANTISUITIES OF RACES OF NAPIER DISTINCT EROM MEECHISTON.
Upon the memorable occasion when Captain Charles Napier, Count Cape St Vincent, took the fleet of Portugal, the legend, that his family surname was derived from a warlike ancestor having been complimented by a King of Scotland with an appellation equivalent to non-pareil, appeared in the London newspapers. That story had been put on record by some heraldic writers, but the history of its first publication was unknown. The author of the Memoirs of Merchiston happening to trace the original promulgation of it into connection with a characteristic scene that occurred in the presence chamber of James VI., considered the anecdote as fairly belonging to the antiquities of the domestic history he was illustrating. The legend might indeed, as the Quarterly Review somewhat testily observed, be but an old woman's tale, yet it was better once for all to give the version as now published in the Memoirs, than to leave its vague statement to the Globe or Courier.
But while laying no stress upon the more fanciful
part of this tradition, namely, the punning, or, as heralds would say, the canting transition to a new surname; and classing the particular derivation of Napier (which certainly may be otherwise accounted for) with that of Douglas, or Hay or Forbes, the author was bound to point out more seriously a very curious heraldic corroboration, of that part at least of the immemorial family tradition which asserted for Merchiston a male descent from the old Earls of Levenax, long prior to the female descent indisputably acquired through Elizabeth Menteith. So far back as the line of Merchiston can be traced, between four and five centuries, the original armorial seals of the heads of the family are extant, and those seals are invariably found to bear the shield of Levenax, with a mark of cadency. This circumstance can by no means be held to found an unanswerable modern argument of descent; and both the Quarterly Review and Mr Riddell were under misapprehension in supposing that it was so adduced.” When, however, in confirmation of the tradition that Merchiston was originally a male cadet of the Levenax, (a tradition which was immemorial in the year 1625,) it was recently discovered that the most ancient charter-seal of the family, belonging to one who must have been born about the year 1370, was Levenax, with a mark of ca
* Mr Riddell (Tracts, p. 126,) alludes, with a sneer, to a discovery of his own in the Cumbernauld charter-chest, of one William Pertus of the county of Peebles in 1439, who, he says, “actually displays upon his seal the simple arms of Lennox.” But there was no claim or tradition of cadency, nor are the simple arms a proper indication of cadency, and, moreover, Mr Riddell appears to be not very well informed as to what the simple arms of Lennox were. The Ragmanroll records a Napier of the county of Peebles, so we recommend our learned antiquary to look again into the Cumbernaud charter-chest, as he may have misread Pertus instead of Perlus, the old spelling for Peerless, i. e. Napier.