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only attempts hithe]^V-9j0^^^^\tiNus:lilstory are by legal antiquaries, whij.^ba^' ia^^v.-b^^ a partial view of the subject, and th^'na*jtjir*^wlihs.e cofnpilations are neither fitted nor inte^^edv&i^enjtrai circulation. Mr Hamilton, in his veVy'^bift Cqse for. Woodhead,* afforded a copious.repertory of l^njapx antiquities, drawn from various antiquarian aoufc^i, among which he acknowledges his obligations to" jiJrRiddell for the communication of .valuable notices' tferived from researches in the Register-House^ ; Biit this elaborate compilation was got up for the solejjjigjegepf supporting a pretension utterly untenable; jand Mr Hamilton's labours, therefore, have only tehdett- .siSil further to mislead other writers as to the history of-the
Lennox.. An older case (now rarely to be ttiet With) was printed sometime in last century/to support the claim for Haldane of Gleneagles.f This claim,', being ex parte very plausible, is entitled to a consideration which that for Woodhead can never obtain. But the . printed case alluded to, though the work of a distinguished lawyer, is both meager and inaccurate,:arid affords no history sufficient to enable the reader to appreciate the respective merits of all the competing claims.
Mr John Riddell, Advocate, the most competent' perhaps to have occupied such a field, was not induced todo
* " Case of Margaret Lennox of Woodhead in relation to the Title, Honours, and Dignity of the ancient Earls of Levenax or Lennox. 'Edinburgh, 1813." Drawnup by Robert Hamilton, Esq. Advocate.
t "Memorial relative to the succession to the ancient Earls of Levenax." Without date or signature, but drawn up by Mr Wedderhurn, afterwards Lord Chancellor Loughborough.
so even by some new lights he obtained on the subject, many years ago, in the course of his minute antiquarian researches. The discoveries alluded to were in favour of the claim for Napier of Merchiston, but no Case for that branch of the Lennox coheirs has hitherto been compiled, although their claim, to say the least of it, appears to be far more tenable than any other that can be advanced. Mr Riddell, indeed, published in 1828, some sheets of antiquarian controversy, relative to the House of Hamilton, and entitled " Reply to the Misstatements of Dr Hamilton of Bardowie," in the appendix to which he inserted a " Statement in reference to the late pretensions of the family of Lennox of Woodhead, to the Honours and Representation of the ancient Earls of Lennox." This statement is sufficiently conclusive against Woodhead, and also discloses a document positively instructing the circumstance, which so obviously vitiates that pretension. But the triumph was of minor importance in clearing the history of the Lennox succession. No one can read the Case for Woodhead without perceiving that it contains the materials of its own refutation,—the charters founded on proving, most obviously, the very fact which Mr Riddell more directly established.
The same learned antiquary, in a recent publication,* now for the first time lays before the public the evidence for Merchiston, which he discovered in the RegisterHouse more than twenty years ago. But certainly it
* "Tracts Legal and Historical," &c. containing inter alia, " Observations upon the Representation of the Rusky and Lennox Families, and other points in Mr Napier's Memoirs of Merchiston." 1835. could not have made its appearance in a less satisfactory shape for those who are really anxious to ascertain the true state of the question between the competitors for the Earldom of Lennox. His views of that evidence have, it seems, been in some degree altered by other evidence he has more recently discovered in favour of Gleneagles, but which, after all, by no means enables him to settle the question even to his own satisfaction. The result of his present publication, so far as concerns the Lennox question, is, to adopt the learned gentleman's own words,—" a kind of puzzle that is perplexing."
Underthese circumstances, it is hoped that a History Of The Partition Of The Lennox, with an examination of the various claims to the character of heir-general of the Earldom, will, as it is perfectly new, be acceptable to the public. The author regrets that the task had not been undertaken by some one more competent to do it justice, but he has spared no pains to throw light upon the subject. He has diligently perused and considered all the antiquarian compilations, besides examining every original record, public and private, connected with the history of this ancient Earldom, so far as open to his inspection. And in arriving at the conclusion that neither the Case for Gleneagles, nor the more modern pretension put forward on the part of Woodhead, could stand in law before a Case for Merchiston, he trusts the following pages will show that he is supported by legal evidence, and not misled by partial feelings.
The possession of the Merchiston charter-chest, intrusted to him by the late Lord Napier, furnished the author with valuable materials for the present undertaking; and he has also to acknowledge his obligations to William Dallas, Esq. W. S. who at all times most obligingly afforded access to inspect such of the Gleneagles papers as were in his hands.
Mr Riddell must have hastily written the following sentence of his publication alluded to, and, as that gentleman had no intention to mislead, he will thank us for explaining it: "The above view of things, with the relative evidence, the author communicated, at a distant period, to the late Lord Napier, and a few years ago to Mr Mark Napier, Advocate, at his request. He regrets to find that the learned gentleman in his Memoirs of Merchiston, which he did not see until published, while he represents Elizabeth Menteith, the Merchiston ancestrix, as the eldest coheir of Rusky, instead of standing upon probabilities and presumptions, gives the fact as an absolute certainty, from which he concludes that the Earldom of Lennox is indisputably in her line." * Now the "above view of things, with the relative evidence" here referred to, appears to be ten printed pages of elaborately illustrated matter, (some of it perfectly new) in reference to the Lennox claim, which the author of the Memoirs never saw in any shape until recently published. Not that he is so unreasonable as to expect to see a work before it is published, but the sentence quoted might convey an erroneous impression, to the effect that he had actually solicited and obtained some such
* Tracts, p. 103.
favour from the learned author of the Tracts. The author had long been aware of Mr RiddelPs discoveries in the Register-House relative to Merchiston. Several years ago, he was led by that circumstance to consult Mr Riddell, verbally, on the subject of the Lennox case for Napier, which they frequently discussed, and upon one occasion examined some of the Gleneagles papers together. No part of the following history (not contemplated at the time) is the result of these desultory conversations, from which, perhaps, the author did not reap the benefit he ought.
It may be necessary to add a few words in reference to the Vindication which forms a supplement to this volume. Mr Riddell, in the preface to his recent work, states that it originated in " a desire to clear up certain points that admitted of illustration, and to bring forward original notices. As every antiquarian knows—amid the fable that obscures Scottish antiquities nearly as greatly as the dearth of record, there is nothing so much wanting in every department as genuine and unexceptionable facts, which often, as our distinguished countryman Lord Hailes has demonstrated, are of far greater importance than the reveries of our writers, and ingenious and speculative inferences." If these excellent principles had really been applied in Mr Riddell's review of the Memoirs of Merchiston, the author, even though convicted of error, would most sincerely and cheerfully have acknowledged the obligation. But the controversial criticism displayed in that learned gentleman's "Observations" is by no means characteristic of the Hailes school of Scottish antiqui