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turned from his travels, and intent upon finding out the murderers, fell violently foul one day upon a gentleman in Dublin. He declared afterwards he had never seen him before, and could not account for his rage; only he was possessed with a belief he was one of those who killed his brother. They were soon parted, and the gentleman was

seen no more.

193

THE CURIOUS CLAIM TO THE HONOURS OF

THE EARLDOM OF CRAWFORD.

No title in the Scottish peerage is more remarkable than that of Crawford, on account of the historical importance of those who have borne it, and the extraordinary vicissitudes which have accompanied its transmission through an illustrious line of twenty-four earls.

This earldom was originally conferred in 1398 by Robert III., King of Scotland, upon Sir David Lindsay, Lord of Crawford, the husband of the Princess Elizabeth, that monarch's sister. Sir David's family had already been twice honoured by a direct Royal alliance; Sir William Lindsay having, about a century before, married Ada, the sister of King John Baliol—and Sir William Lindsay, about a hundred years

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earlier, the Princess Margery, sister of King Malcolm IV., and King William the Lion, and grand-daughter of the Royal Saint, David the First.

David Lindsay, fifth Earl of Crawford, was a · faithful friend of the unfortunate King James the Third, who raised him to ducal rank in 1488, creating him Duke of Montrose. This was the third time that so high a title had been conferred in Scotland; the two prior instances having been confined to the blood royal, Rothsay and Albany.

Within a year after raising the Earl to the rank of Duke, James was deprived of his crown and life by a faction of rebels, headed by his son. The young king, immediately after his accession to the throne, passed an act of grace in favour of the Duke, thus saving him from the effects of a subsequent act, which rescinded the titles conferred by the dethroned and murdered king during the last year of his reign. Thus Lord Crawford continued Duke of Montrose, and the ducal title is now claimed by his beir and representative, the present Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, whose case is at this moment before the House of Lords. The duke survived his unfortunate Master seven years, and died at his Castle of Finhaven, at Christmas, 1495. We will not here enter upon the curious question of the claim to the dukedom of Montrose, which is

at present made with good hope of a successful issue by the Earl of Crawford. We will only answer one objection which we have heard urged against it, viz. : that the claim should have remained so long dormant. The crime of fratricide which sullied the duke's son and successor, and the misfortunes of several subsequent earls may be supposed to have deterred them from assuming the new and higher title. And then we must consider the well-known policy of the Scottish sovereigns, ever anxious to depress the aristocracy, and also the jealousy of the high nobles in subsequent reigns, the Douglases and Hamiltons, who would ill have brooked a duke of the house of Lindsay, while they were only earls.

The Duke of Montrose's unhappy son, the sixth earl, died without issue. His nephew, David, the eighth Earl of Crawford, was cursed with a most unnatural son, who is styled the wicked Master." He imprisoned his aged father, and put him in peril of his life. Whereupon, the old man, outraged and heart-broken, obtained the royal assent to a transfer of the earldom to the next heir male, David Lindsay of Edzell, his second cousin, passing over the wicked master" as a parricide and traitor.

The aged earl died in 1542, and David of Edzell became ninth earl. He appears to have been a singularly generous and noble-minded man : for, moved with pity for the innocent son of "the wicked Master," he obtained the consent of the crown to a reconveyance of the earldom to him, after his own death. The rightful heir thus became tenth earl in 1558, and his descendants possessed the title for upwards of a century until 1671. But during this period the family did not prosper, The twelfth earl was an incorrigible spendthrift, and alienated his immense estates in the most wanton manner, and was imprisoned for life by the decree of a solemn family council. His only child, heiress of a lofty name, lived disgracefully as a common vagrant mendicant, and was at length rescued from the lowest wretchedness by the bounty of King Charles the Second. The last earl of this branch was Ludovic, the sixteenth, a gallant cavalier, and the friend and brother-in-arms of the great Montrose. He was unmarried, and without any near relative. The house of Edzell and its younger branch, Balcarres, descended from the generous David, ninth earl, stood next in succession. But their rights were trampled upon by a very able, powerful, and distinguished man, who was the head of a remote offshoot of the house of Lindsay, which, in point of wealth and lustre, had already surpassed the elder line of Crawford. This in

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