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dency, and that these bearings were not otherwise explained or accounted for, this adminicle (for it is no more,) gave a value to the family tradition, which even the apocryphal seeming legend of the change of surname could not destroy.” But this evidence had been lost in the errors of our best heraldic writers. Sir George Mackenzie and Mr Nisbet understood the bearings in question to indicate a Lennox descent, and both those celebrated authors recorded, as a fact, that they were first assumed by John Napier of Merchiston, to the oblivion of his paternal coat, upon his marriage with the heiress of Lennox
* Father Hay, in his manuscript memoirs, mentions a charter dated 1150 to Sir Thomas de la Haye de Locharward; he adds, that he had married, “ Montfiguett, heretrix of Locharwart, and of this marriage had Sir William, who succeeded him, and Margaret married to Donald, sone to the Erle of Lennox, of n'hom is come the family of Naper.”—MS. Advocates' Library. It is to be remarked that the writer who here strengthens the Merchiston legend by recording a fact not contained in the family version of it, had, a few pages before, refuted the legend of his own family surname (Hay), which he treats as a fable. Father Hay inspected charters which are not now extant, and the above, which I had not seen when compiling the Memoirs of Merchiston, is at least worthy of notice.
Sir Archibald (afterwards Lord Napier) in the year 1625 declared in writing, to the Garter of England, that the undoubted tradition from father to son in his family, that it was a male cadet of Len. nox, was then immemorial. But he does not found upon, nor attribute this tradition to, the armorial bearings; indeed, if those bearings had some other origin than a Lennox descent, it is difficult to understand why they should not rather have transmitted the true tradition than a false one. The Merchiston seals are quoted, not (as the Quarterly Review supposed) that similar arms infallibly indicate the same descent, but because the seal of a Napier of Merchiston who must have been born about 1370, being found to display Lennox nith a mark of cadency, was curiously corroborative of the family tradition. So the interesting case of Sir Richard Scrope and Sir Robert Grosvenor, instanced by that journal, is not in point.
about the year 1455. Now it happened that the respective seals of John's father and grandfather, before the date of that marriage, could be produced, and they carried the very same insignia, said to be derived by John from his Lady.
Mr Riddell at one time entertained the theory of these authors. And even now he will not yield a gracious or unqualified assent to the most direct and unequivocal refutation their theory could receive. "Nesbit and Sir George Mackenzie (says he) account for the Napiers of Merchiston carrying the Lennox arms by the marriage of John Napier with Elizabeth Menteith, who they think disused his own arms on the occasion, and assumed those that accrued to her as a Lennox coheir. This of course is redargued by the evidence of the seal—holding it to be genuine; had it not been for the latter the thing would have been extremely natural," &c.
Our learned antiquary had not well weighed the effect of this vague insinuation. The person who first observed the seal that refutes Sir George Mackenzie and others, was the late Francis Lord Napier, in compiling the genealogy of his family, published in Wood's Peerage, where the refutation is recorded. The seal and relative deed had been always in his charter-chest with the other parchments; if it benoiheldtobe genuine, it must be held to have been concocted, and for the special purpose of supporting a heraldic theory comparatively of no importance, which imputation would rest with that nobleman, or some one of his equally honourable ancestors,—a reductio ad absurdum that cannot have occurred to Mr Riddell, or it would probably have made him ashamed of the sceptical expression he has published. Long before the publication of the Memoirs of Merchiston, the author had heard the very same expression drop from the author of the Tracts, and though heconsidered thedubietyas an accidental shadowpassing across a cautious mind, and certainly never expected to see it in print,he determined notto leave the point unfortified, and was so fortunate as to obtain another seal of the family distinct from that of John of Rusky, and the one doubted. This rendered the proof conclusive, for it was the seal of John's father, Alexander Napier, (comptroller of the household, and designed of Philde,) and carried precisely the Lennox bearings of the seal Lord Napier observed, which belonged to Alexander Napier of Merchiston, (designed burgess of Edinburgh) John's grandfather. Moreover, it was discovered, not in the family charter-chest, but among the manuscripts of the Advocates' Library. The following is a tolerably accurate delineation of the three seals, numbered chronologically in reference to the owners.
Now all these seals are engraved and explained in the memoirs of Merchiston, though the author of the Tracts is silent upon that fact, and takes no more notice of the intermediate seal,—affording so unanswerable a reply to his scepticism, ridiculous as that is,—than if it had not been produced. No work, whatever may be its research and accuracy, is independent of a fair consideration of the proofs and materials that compose it. Without attempting further to refute the doubt in question, I must take the liberty to amend the reading of it thus ; " This
of course is redargued by the evidence of the two seals, holding both or either of them to be genuine."*
There are several other ancient races of Napier besides Merchiston, none of which carry the Lennox shield, though some of them were for centuries distinguished vassals of the Lennox, while Merchiston was planted in the Lothians. The theory of vassalage fails, therefore, as an explanation of the Lennox arms of the latter. Nor have I been able to trace Merchiston into a cadency with any of the other families of the name. Mr Riddell has indeed asserted, "It is not unlikely that the first Alexander Napier of Merchiston was a younger son of some of the feudal stocks of Napier, the most ancient of whom was the family of Kilmahew; Mr Thomas Crawfurd, Professor of Mathematics in the College of Edinburgh, an antiquarian of some note, and who lived in the reign of
* See Memoirs of Merchiston as to these seals.
Mr Riddell observes, "Mr Napier supposes that the first Alexander died in 1454, but there is no proper evidence of the fact." As the fact is of no importance, except in the eyes of such minute writers as the author of the Tracts, the proofs were not given. There is no question that the first two Napiers of Merchiston were Alexanders, for in a deed dated 6th September 1432, Alexander junior is designed son and heir of Alexander senior. The latter was only designed of Merchiston, and burgess of Edinburgh. The former, after the gift of Philde to him in 1449, is designed of Philde, and sometimes comptroller, down to 22d July 1454 inclusive. After that date, he is invariably designed of Merchiston, and miliiem, and sometimes master of household. In the deed to which seal 1. is attached, dated a few days before the close of 1453, Alexander is simply styled "burgess of Edinburgh." Hence it is likely that the first Alexander died at an advanced age, about the year 1454. Mr Riddell objects to the supposition that a man survived to 1454 who was Provost in 1403! But the second seal corroborates the Jirst, even if they both belonged to the same Alexander. Seal 2, is impressed on a paper obligation dated April 1452, by " Alexander Napare of Philde" to James II. Seal 3, is John of Rusky's in 1482.
Charles I., says, that the family of Merchiston before the time of their elevation to the peerage, impaled the arms of Kilmahew with Lennox, which, according to Nesbit and Mackenzie, they bore as descended from the Lennox coheir. Sir David Lindsay also, in his blazoning of their arms, while he inserts the Lennox insignia, leaves two quarters vacant, evidently for the reception of others, which rather tends to corroborate Crawfurd's account."*
But these quotations could only have been made for the sake of contradiction. In the Memoirs of Merchiston there is an engraved plate of the seals of that family taken from the family papers, and arranged in chronological order, from Alexander the first of Merchiston to the Inventor of Logarithms inclusive. Every one of these seals carry a shield with precisely the same bearings, namely, the engrailed saltier and roses, without a vestige of quartering. The seal of the philosopher's son is also engraved beneath his portrait in the work, the seal of his son, the second Lord, is in the charter-chest, and both carry the same as above. Of course these nine successive seals, holding them to be genuine, refute both Mr Crawfurd, who had not the benefit of the proof, and Mr Riddell, who had; and when the latter ingenious antiquary, in support of his repetition of Crawfurd's error, quotes Sir David Lindsay,—who, in his manuscript adversaria, places the Merchiston coat quarterly, but with the hypothetical quarters blank,—we may well say of the author of the Tracts what he has said of Crawfurd the peerage writer, "our genealogists are odd logicians."f
Upon the supposition that the surname of Napier