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had from Sir Robert Napier of Puncknoll, in the county of Dorset, (with whom I was very intimate), being the extract original and ryse of the Napiers in Ingland and Irland, transmitted to him by my uncle Archibald Lord Napier, when he was thesaurer deputt, the first of King Charles the First, and recorded in the herald's books. It is not so cleir and full as I could wish; bot if the several papers and documents that were given out and entrusted to Sir George Mackenzie, Advocate, when he designed his heraldrie, and yet made no mention of the familie, which, if found, might be of use with what you may otherwise find in the charter-chest. Wishing all health to my prittie Lord, I pray God he may be a comfort to you, and others the relations, to the raising and standing of the families of Napier. Believe that I am, in all sincerities Sir,

Your most obedient most humble Servant, Blackestoun 24th March 1712. A. Napiek."*

Napier of Blackstoun was the intimate friend of Sir Robert Napier of Puncknoll, and neither of these gentlemen had any doubt of the fact, that the English fami

* Part of this letter is very imperfect in construction, but the sense is obvious. The writer of it, Alexander, son of Adam youngest son of the Inventor of Logarithms, was 69 years of age in 1712. He alludes, probably, to a work projected, but never executed, by Sir George Mackenzie, and these family papers had been intrusted to him, to inform him better on the subject of the Merchiston descent, than, as appears from his adversaria, Sir George had been. The first Lord Napier in his genealogical paper (1625) states, that he then possessed family documents in which his ancestors were called Napier alias Lennox. In the Merchiston charter-chest only a single charter of the first laird is to be found, and no document to throw any further light upon that laird's descent. The carelessness of restoring family documents " given out and entrusted" for antiquarian purposes, is cruel and destructive, and brings the respectable name of antiquary into disrepute with the possessors of historical charter-chests.

lies of Napier were all derived from the stock of Mercliiston. The above evidence proves that the first Lord Napier did, in point of fact, transmit that certificate of cadency to England in 1625. The copies of it, therefore, however erroneous in some particulars, are not in themselves fabrications; and if the asserted cadences be, as Mr Riddell says, totally without foundation, the odium of the invention {for it could not well be a mistake) rests, in the meantime, with James VI.—his treasurer-depute and privy councillor Sir Archibald Napier, (one of the highest minded men of his day)—and the various heads of the distinguished families of Napier at that time existing in England, and carrying armorial bearings in terms of that cadency.

Yet Mr Riddell is shocked at the author's " unhesitatingly affirming that the Napiers of England are cadets of Merchiston;" and he offers as a preferable inference, that if there be any connection between the English and Scottish Napiers, the latter derive their origin from the first!" But Sir Robert Napier of Luton-hoo, and the other knights and baronets of the name then living in England, entertained no doubt of their Scottish extraction. When Sir Robert's heraldic purity was carped at, the question was not as to his immediate extraction. The jealous criticism by the English courtiers was as to the aristocracy of the family of Merchiston, a family which rivalled them in the royal affections, and when Sir Robert appealed to his cousin and head of his house, surely he did not do so that he might be informed who his own father was. The formally attested certificate transmitted by Merchiston to the Garter of England is, undoubtedly, meager, inaccurate, and improbative in its antiquities; but where it speaks of Sir Robert himself, and brings down the genealogy to the

parties then in life, it would be strange indeed if all this were a dream, and the Napiers of Luton-hoo, &c. only “supposed Scoto-English Napiers.” Now the preamble of this document is as follows: “To all and sundry person or persons, to whom these presents shall come, greeting: Know ye that I Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston, in the kingdom of Scotland, knight, depute-treasurer, and one of his Majesty's privy-council there, for as much as my entirely beloved kinsman Sir Robert Napier of Luton-hoo, in the county of Bedford, knight, baronet, being desirous to be informed of his pedigree and descent from my house, I have, to satisfy his lawful and laudable request, herein declared the truth thereof, and the origin of our name, as by tradition from father to son (we) have generally and without any doubt received the same.” To this evidence of the Scotch extraction of Sir Robert and his brother, must be added the testimony of old John Aubrey, who was born about ten years before Dr Richard Napier died, and who was the best informed gossip of his day. He was a great friend and source of information to Anthonya Wood, author of the Athenae and Fasti Oxonienses. Anthony used to say, “Look, yonder goes such a one, who can tell you such and such stories, and I’ll warrant Mr Aubrey will break his neck down stairs rather than miss him.” After giving a very curious history of the astrological Doctor, in his miscellanies, Aubrey thus concludes: “This Doctor Richard Napier was rector of Lyndford in Bucks, and did practice physick, but gave most to the poor that he got by it. Tis certain he told his own death to a day and hour. He died praying upon his knees, being of a very great age, 1634, April the first. He was nearly related to the learned Lord Nepeir, Baron of M...

in Scotland; I have forgot whether his brother. His knees were horny with frequent praying.” Thus, though Mr Riddell treats with derision the idea that Sir Robert and his brother were “Scoto-English Napiers,” the fact even of their immediate Scotch extraction is proved ea abundanti by the universal understanding of the period,—by the Scotch alias Sandy, by the unhesitating admission of Sir Robert Napier himself-by the express declaration of Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston,—by the testimony of Aubrey, who had some idea that they were brothers of the Inventor of Logarithms,—and, we may add, by the universal and unhesitating admission and belief of every Napier belonging to these English Napiers of Puncknoll, Luton-hoo, Middlemarch, &c. down to the present day. It only remains to see what was the precise relationship. Sir Archibald in his certificate thus gives it. “Sir John Napier of Merchiston and Ruskie had issue Archibald, father to Sir Alexander and James; Sir Alexander had issue Sir Alexander, who had issue Sir Archibald and Alexander; Sir Archibald had issue Sir John and Sir Alexander; Sir John was my father.” Alexander, second son of Sir Alexander, and brother to Sir Archibald my grandfather as aforesaid, having spent the greatest part of his youth in foreign parts, came into England in the time of King Henry VIII., and had issue, the foresaid Sir Robert Napier, Knight and Baronet, Richard Napier of Lind-ford, now living, and divers other sons and daughters,” &c. According to this statement, Sir Robert Napier and his brother were the cousins-german of Sir Archibald's father, the Inventor of Logarithms; and, holding what we have quoted to be

* These lairds were not all knights. This probably is an inaccuracy of the transcript.

really the genealogy as transmitted by Sir Archibald, it is unlikely that he should be entirely mistaken as to the history and family of his own grand-uncle. But that the above is substantially an accurate transcript of the original certificate may be assumed, as it is in point of fact an accurate genealogy, so far as it goes, of the family of Merchiston. This can be proved by a comparison with the genealogy in the peerage, which was most carefully and accurately drawn out by Francis,seventh Lord Napier, from his family papers. His Lordship indeed had even been too cautious in making out that genealogy; for, going entirely by his charters and original deeds, and not finding the ancestor of Luton-hoo mentioned among the other children of that generation, he formed the opinion^ that there was no authority for his existence, and that the ancestor of Luton-hoo must have been Alexander Napier of Ingliston, a younger son of Merchiston some generations prior to the reputed father of Sir Robert. But his Lordship had not adverted to the circumstance, that the Alexander recorded by Sir Archibald, as Luton-hoo's father, had been foris-familiated at a very early period of his life, had spent his youth abroad, and then settled and married in England, which sufficiently accounts for the absence of his name from the family papers. Besides, Alexander Napier of Inglistoun could not have been (as the author of the Tracts himself takes most unnecessary pains to prove,) the ancestor of the English Napiers; for he lived, and married, and died in Scotland; the Merchiston charter-chest is full of parchments referring to him and his spouse Isobel Littill; and both of their seals and signatures are attached to some of those deeds. Now most assuredly, as Mr Riddell very gravely argues, Isobel Littill was not a Birchley of Herefordshire, or the mother of the baronet of Luton-hoo.

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