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sheriff of the whole county of Dunbarton; which premises are declared to have belonged, and to belong at the date of the said charter, to the said Mathew Earl of Lennox, heritably. But in this charter of the earldom of Levenax, the lands are not given, as in the charter of the lordship of Dernely, to Mathew Earl of Levenax, and his heirs-male, but to Mathew Stewart Earl of Levenax, and his heirs-general, ( " heredibus suis,") which is repeated in several parts of the charter, without any indication of a limitation to heirs-male. This destination has probably been owing to the circumstance, that the ancient investitures of the earldom of Levenax had been in favour of heirs-general." Unquestionably, as we shall see, it was owing to the fact, that the basis of Dernely's assumption of the earldom was no special grant, but the charter of confirmation by King Robert III. to Earl Duncan in 1392, containing an ultimate substitution of the tailzied fief to the heirs-general of that Earl. These honours brought no good fortune to the race of Earls who succeeded the usurper. That nobleman was the only one of them who died a natural death. Mathew, the second Earl, very soon after the above-mentioned renewal of his titles, died in harness. He remained firmly attached to James IV., and at Flodden commanded, with the Earl of Argyle, the right wing of the Scottish battle. There the daring but unlucky blood of Dernele and D'Aubigny once more stained a disastrous field; for alas,
Stanley broke Lennox and Argyle,
Lennox, and Sir Alexander Napier of Merchiston,* (who ought to have been Lennox,) with many another noble and knightly patriot, died on Flodden field, t
* Son of Archibald.
f Mathew Stewart was succeeded by his son John, third Earl of that race, who was killed during the minority of James V. in the skirmish near Linlithgow, which occurred 4th September 1526. The young King hurried to the spot, but was too late to save Lennox. He found Arran mourning over his body with these words: "The wisest man, the stoutest man, the hardiest man, that Scotland ever knew is slain this day." His son and successor was Earl Mathew, the father of the ill-fated consort of Queen Mary. This earl survived his son, and was killed at Stirling on the 4th of September (the day and month fatal to his father) 1571, when the earldom merged in the crown of the infant James.
In the year 1572, new charters of the earldom were granted to Charles Stewart, the King's paternal uncle, and his heirs-male. He died in 1576, leaving only one daughter, the unfortunate Arabella Stewart. The earldom was then bestowed in 1578 upon Robert Stewart, (second son of John, third Earl of that race,) who very soon relinquished it in favour of his brother's son, the celebrated Esme, Lord of Aubigny, (whohad been reared in France,) and Robert became Earl of March instead. Esme got the earldom of Lennox in 1579, and in 1581 it was erected into a dukedom in his favour. The honours again merged in the Crown when Charles, sixth Duke of Lennox and fourth Duke of Richmond, dying without issue, King Charles II. was served to him as nearest collateral heir-male. This monarch then bestowed the honours of Richmond and Lennox upon his natural son by a French lady, from whom the modern Dukes of Richmond and Lennox.
THAT JOHN LOUD DERNELY WAS NOT EARL OF LENNOX BY VIRTUE OF ANY SPECIAL GRANT FROM THE SOVEREIGN, OR NEW CONSTITUTION OF THE HONOURS IN HIS FAVOUR HISTORIANS AND OTHER WRITERS REFUTED UPON THIS POINT.
No historian whatever has distinctly stated that John Lord Dernely was next heir of the earldom after the Duchess Isabella^ and that he succeeded accordingly. But there is a very general, though vague and groundless impression, that he was specially gifted by his sovereign with the honours. This latter theory has sometimes proceeded upon the supposition that the Lennox was forfeited in the person of Earl Duncan, an idea already completely refuted. Others again have held the same doctrine of a new grant, who were perfectly aware that the idea of forfeiture is out of the question. Pinkerton says, " Lennox received his title, and the command of Dunbarton Castle from the young monarch," meaning thereby from James IV. in 1488. Duncan Stewart, and Andrew Stewart, the genealogical historians of the house of Stewart, both assert in positive terms, that Dernely was created Earl of Lennox by that monarch.* Peerage writers concur in the same idea, which Mr Hamilton also adopts in his laborious antiquarian compilation for Woodhead. The Quarterly Review says, " We suspect there will turn out to have been some renunciation and regrantof'the honours before the Darnelys assumed them."* And last, though not least, Mr Riddell, in his recent critique upon the Memoirs of Merchiston, observes, "There may possibly have been a new constitution of the dignity in the Stewarts of Derneley, although not yet discovered, which the House of Lords might presume under the circumstances of the case ; but even admitting the fact, it might not compromise the descent of the ancient ear]dom."f
* "John Lord Dernely designed himself Earl of Lennox 1483, (1473) in right of his grandmother, daughter to Duncan Earl of Lennox; which title he gave up, and was afterwards created Earl of Lennox, by King James IV. ann. 1488."—Duncan Stewart's Hist. p. 153.
It is a remarkable and important fact, in reference to the question of Dernely's right, that Andrew Stewart, the genealogical historian of the house of Dernely, who most anxiously searched their private archives, having every facility for doing so, and who is particularly minute and accurate in his details of the progress of titles which successively established their feudal rights, has given a meager, incoherent, and erroneous account of the state of John Lord Dernely's titles to this his greatest acquisition. He offers this theory: "The reason of his being described Earl of Lennox in the Parliament held in the year 1475, has probably been this: John Lord Derneley, apprehending himself entitled to the peerage of Lennox, as well as to the principal part of the estate of Lennox, in consequence of his descent from Elizabeth, the second daughter of Duncan Earl of Lennox, and in consequence of the eldest daughter Margaret having died in 1452 without leaving issue, bad asserted his right to that peerage before the year 1475, and his claim had been so far listened to, that upon one occasion in that year he had been allowed to sit in-Parliament as Earl of Lennox ; but, upon better consideration, he was not allowed to continue to make use of that title, and accordingly reverted to his designation of Lord Dernely, which he continued till the year 1488, in the time of King James IV. when, either by creation or succession, he became Earl of Lennox, which title afterwards continued to him and his successors."*
"Mathew Earl of Lennox succeeded to his father John within a few years after the creation of the earldom in his favour."—Andrew Stewart's Hist. p. 218.
"Lord Derneley either usurped this dignity, or, as seems more probable, was created Earl of Levenax."—Case for Woodhead, p. 71 •
t No. civ. p. 445 Review of the Memoirs of Merchiston, November 1834.
| Tracts Legal and Historical, p. 110.
This mixture of incoherence and error on the subject is very perplexing. If Dernely really took the honours of Lennox by right of succession, what is meant by his claim having been first admitted, and then " upon better consideration" disallowed? If, on the other hand, he took those honours in virtue of a special grant from the sovereign to himself, did that grant proceed upon Dernely's mere "apprehension that he was entitled" to them,—the right of succession, however, being actually elsewhere? Again, the eldest daughter of Earl Duncan was not Margaret, but Isabella; and if it be meant that Margaret was the elder of the two coheiresses who succeeded Isabella, this admission destroys the case for Dernely, it being unquestionable that Margaret is lineally represented, to this hour, by the representative of Menteith of Rusky. The paragraph quoted is sufficient to show how devoid the Dernely charter-chest, which has been well preserved, is of documents to instruct their right to the earldom of Lennox, since the historian who devoted himself to trace, through original
* P. 174.