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ant and decisive judgment. It was in the slightest degree acquainted !" admitted by the Crown lawyers that made not post litem, but post conthe prisoner was the lawful son of troversiam motam! They might Hannah Alexander, and that she was have been voluntary affidavits, and the daughter of the Reverend John made for fraudulent purposes ! The Alexander, said to have died in 1743; Lord Ordinary, notwithstanding, but they strenuously denied its hav. deemed it advisable, on the whole, ing been proved that he was the son not to reject them in limine, as inadof John (No. 2) of Antrim, or that missible, but to admit them for the this last was the son of John (No. 1) purpose of considering their credit of Gartmore, the fourth son of the and efficacy. The affidavit of Sara first Earl of Stirling. “ The whole of Lyner was so Indicrously deficient in the defender's case," said the Lord all formal attributes of authenticity Ordinary emphatically, “ depends and attestation, that "it was difficult upon the genuineness of these two de- to imagine any document introduced scents.” In attacking that case, the into a case with poorer recommendaCrown lawyers proved incontestably, tions." The affidavit of Hovenden at starting, that John of Gartmore, presented itself in an infinitely more (30 called because he had married questionable shape, for, though proAgnes Graham, the heiress of Gart. fessing to have been sworn before, more,) had issue by her a daughter and to bear the signature of, one “ J. only! Unless, therefore, as was inti- Pocklington-admitted by the Crown mated by the Lord Ordinary during the lawyers to have been a Baron of the progress of the case, and coincided in Exchequer in Ireland in 1723, and by the prisoner's counsel, he con- attested by Hovenden, whose signatracted a SECOND MARRIAGE, the ture purported to be again attested whole case fell to the ground. The by a notary-public — they averred lucky suggestion was eagerly snatched that the paper on which the body of at; and it was asserted that there had the affidavit was written had been been such a second marriage. Of originally covered with some other such marriage, however, not a tittle writing, constituting the affidavit of evidence was offered, except infer- really sworn before Baron Pocklingentially, from the supposed proofs of ton; and which had been chemically his having had a son! " The fact of removed, to make way for the existthe second marriage,” said the Lord ing affidavit." "The evidence of this Ordinary, " is not even attempted to charge of fabrication," said the Lord be established by any direct or sepa- Ordinary," which is not directed rate evidence." This seemed like against the defender (i.e. the prisoner) laying the axe at the root of the tree. personally, consists of the appearance Next came the Lord Ordinary to the of the paper, and the uncontradicted proof of “the filiation of the two testimony of Dr Fyfe and Dr GreJohns," consisting of the two affida- gory, two gentlemen of undoubted chavits of Sara Lyner and Hovenden, racter and skill in chemistry." “ The a tomb-stone inscription, and the Lord Ordinary”-he continues in a examination of two very old female forbearing tone-"is very unwilling witnesses. First, as to the affidavits, to hold this painful charge to be even admitting them to be genuine, legally established, * and therefore they seemed liable to almost every carries the result no farther than this conceivable objection to their admissi- —that the paper is exposed to a debility : made, not by relatives or con- gree of suspicion which makes it unnections, but by total strangers to the safe to rely on this document." family, of whose means of knowledge Having thus tolerated the reception nothing was known ! in no judicial of these two disgraced documents, let cause ! before no opponent capable of us see what they contained. That of questioning and testing their truth, Sara Lyner stated that she was under circumstances " with which" eighty-four years old ; nursed the said the Lord Ordinary, “we are not mother of the Rev. John Alexander
* Neither of these affidavits formed an article of charge in the indictments against the prisoner.
(John No. 3) when he was born; and “I willingly bear testimony to the that he was the son of John of An- truth of this statement and the written trim (No. 2,) in whose family she had affidavit. Lord Stirling's charter was lived twenty years. “But how did trusted to my late father in troublous she connect John of Antrim with times, by ye decd Mary, Countesse of John of Gartmore? How pass over Mr Alexander, without the present this great gulf? She said that her Earl's consent. mother had lived in the service of
“Carlow, 20th July 1723. Lord Montgomery ;” and while there
“Thos. COXYERS." (no date given) Mr John Alexander By " the present Earl," was meant of Gartmore, a son of the Lord Stir- the fifth and last Earl of Stirlingline, in Scotlond, came to see my who survived the year in which this lord, and brought with him his only affidavit purported to have been made son"—who was—“Mr John Alex- sixteen years! It is pertinent here, ander of Antrim !” This is the whole with a view to subsequent elucidascope of the affidavit-"the unex- tion, to remind the reader of another plained assertion, or conjecture, of that similar attestation, by this Mr "Thosolitary witness—" he brought with mas Conyers"-ante, p. 470) -to the him his only son, and that son was accuracy of Mr William Gordon's ab-John of Antrim !" The second stract of the same clause of limitation affidavit is one which, if true, settled in the charter in question. the whole matter compendiously, As this affidavit was put forward completely, and conclusively, in fa- before the Lord Ordinary only for the vour of the prisoner. Mr Hovenden sake of its statement of pedigree, he commenced by the invaluable state despatched it on the same ground as ment, that he was “ intimately ac- that on which he had disposed of the quainted with the reverend minister, affidavit of Sara Lyner - viz., as John Alexander, grandson, and only only a general assertion by a stranger male representative of John Alerander to the family, with no circumstance of Gartmore, the 4th son of William, stated in support of that assertion. first Earl of Stirling, in Scotland ; So much for the affidavits. Then which said John Alexander was for- comes some tombstone evidence. merly of Antrim; “but was then “Tombstones," said the Lord Or. (16th July 1723) dwelling in War- dinary, with a sort of subdued sarwickshire, in Great Britain !" It was casm, “have sometimes gone far to to establish as facts the above com- decide pedigrees; but probably none plete little course of descent that this were ever founded on, in circumaffidavit had been offered in evidence: stances like the one relied on by the but the above pregnant sentence defender.” And the reader will proformed only an introductory state- bably be of the same opinion. The ment, the body of the affidavit con- evidence consisted of an alleged insisting of an account of its deponent scription on a tombstone in the having been informed by the said Churchyard at Newtown-lands, in IreRev. John Alexander (John No. 3) land ; which inscription, quoth the that the original charter of the earl- Lord Ordinary, drily," is very strong dom was in the possession of Thomas in the defender's (the prisoner's] faConyers -- to whom the deponent vour ; as strong as if it had been comwent at the particular desire of Mr posed for this very case !” The reader Alexander, on the 10th July 1723, will bear in mind this observation, as and was shown the original charter, we shall hereafter have occasion to in Latin, dated the 7th December present him, in full splendour, with 1639 : and then followed “a faithful this “Inscription." Suffice it to say, translation of the clause" which for the present, that the tombstone operated that signal change in the which bore it was confessedly not in original destination, under which the existence; the copy relied on was prisoner claimed. And, finally, there alleged to have been inscribed on & was indorsed, or subscribed, to their page in a Bible, which also was conaffidavit, the following memorandum, fessedly not in existence! And the purporting to be by a son of the afore shape in which the copy was presaid Thomas Conyers :
sented was-a piece of paper, pur
porting to have been that page in the evidence, whether considered in that Bible! The alleged leaf was its separate parts, or as a whole, is headed thus :-"Inscription on my utterly insufficient to sustain the vergrandfather's [John No. 1-of Gart- dicts. And it is impossible not to be more] tomb, at Newton : copied for struck with the number of collateral me by Mr Hum. Lyttleton." Who facts by which, if the claim be well this last gentleman was no one knew: founded, the proof might have been no one proved his hand-writing—but strengthened, but in which there is a we shall shortly hear something not a total absence of evidence." The Lord little curious about him. And the Ordinary decreed accordingly, leavonly evidence in support of this all. ing the claimant to the Stirling peerimportant document was a sort of age prostrate. Bitter, indeed, must certificate by four persons—that “this have been his mortification and disleaf, taken out of poor John's bible, is appointment, at the blight thus fallen put up, with the other family papers, upon the fond hopes of so many years, for my son Benjamin. Done this rendering all his anxieties and exer16 Dec. 1766, in the presence of my tions utterly bootless. friends, who, at my request, have B ut how little he must have subscribed their names as witnesses !" dreamed of the wonderful events The absurdity of all this is cuttingly which a very few months, nay, weeks, exposed by the Lord Ordinary. It were to produce! They may have was then sought to corroborate this appeared to him like two direct and alleged "copy" by showing that very special interpositions of Provithere really had been such a tomb- dence in his behalf ! stone: and how thinks the reader ? It will have been remembered that By the evidence of a pauper eighty the Lord Ordinary emphatically deyears old, the widow of a mason, who, clared the two great gaps in the forty-four years before, told her that pedigree proof to be—the Rev. John he had seen a tombstone in the floor Alexander's (John No. 3) being the of the old church, with the words, son of John of Antrim (John No. 2;) “ John Alexander, Esq., Antrim," and John of Antrim's being the son "upon it; and that he had built this of John of Gartmore (John No. 1.) stone into the walls of the church for This decree was pronounced on the better preservation. If so, it was safe 10th December 1836; and on the 8th and visible in the wall at the time of day after the disastrous event-viz., his telling her that fact-viz., in 1792: on the 18th December 1836-pressed and that fact was directly and con- by pecuniary difficulties, and the vinclusively disproved by evidence ! dictiveness of his enemies, the pri
Finally, the old pauper aforesaid, and soner says he went to France, under a another elderly woman, were called feigned name, and lived in great seto speak to statements concerning the clusion in or near Paris, till the 15th fact of relationship in dispute, ex- August 1837, when he returned to ceeding in absurdity even what has Scotland, to vote at the election of gone before-hearsay, upon hearsay, Scotch Peers. During that otherwise upon hearsay! For instance, one of cheerless interval, occurred, in April them, a stranger, says-" I heard my and July, the two signal discoveries grandmother say, that she heard above alluded to. We shall give his her father say! that the said John of own summary of the results thus obAntrim was come of the Alexander tained, quoting from the official from Scotland, and was nearly related “Minute' given in by him to the to the Earl of Mount Alexander, in Court on the 15th Nov. 1837, in the Ireland. I heard my grandmother name of his two eminent counsel. also say that she had heard from her "The defender has lately come to the father, that John of Gartmore was- knowledge of various documents which the Honourable John Alexander, and tend very materially to strengthen was the father of John of Antrim !!!"* the evidence of propinquity, in re
"On the whole," concludes the gard to THE TWO DESCENTS referred Lord Ordinary," he is of opinion that to by the Lord Ordinary. By these
* Swinton, Appendix, xxix.
newly-discovered documents he trusts mission she had to execute having he will be able to establish that John prevented her, she is induced to send Alexander of Gartmore (John No.1,)* the enclosed packet to them by the after he had lost his wife, Agnes twopenny-post, with her particular Graham, heiress of Gartmore, mar request that they will forward it inried, as his second wife, Elizabeth stantly to the Earl of Stirling, or any Maxwell, of Londonderry, by whom member of his lordship's family, whose he had an only son, John, who died at residence may be known to them.Derry in 1665-6. That this son Hackney, April 19."—Who “Mrs InJohn (John No. 2) son of John of nes Smyth " was, neither the prisoner Gartmore, received his early educa- nor any of his family could discover; tion at Londonderry ; was afterwards and she remains to this hour, for sent to a German University ; and, aught we can gather to the contrary, after being many years abroad, set. utterly unknown, having come like a tled at Antrim ; married Mary Hamil shadow, and so departed. Mr Alexton, of Bangor; had by her one son, ander seems to have been not a little John (John No. 3,) and two daugh- flustered by the occurrence; and havters; died on the 19th April 1712, ing immediately consulted some soliand was buried at Newtown. That citors, he and they went to a notaryMr Livingston, an old friend of the public the next morning, and in his family, wrote the “ Inscription" + to presence opened the packet addressed his memory, which was on the tomb- to his father; when they discovered stone at Newtown-lands; and that another packet, cased in parchment, Mr Lyttleton's copy of it was known on which was written, “ Some of my in 1765. That the said John Alex wife's family papers." On seeing this, ander of Antrim (John No. 2) had he instantly exclaimed, “That is my encouraged the taste of his son (John grandfather's handwriting!” “ This No. 3) for the ministry of the Church inner packet," continued his son, in of Scotland, and that the said son, writing to his father, “was sealed who was the Rev. John Alexander, with three black seals, all the same died at Dublin, on the 1st Nov. impression - evidently my grandfa1743.” 1
ther's seals—not like those we have." These signal facts were sought to Accompanying this inner parchment be substantiated by two classes of packet was the following mysterious documents, of an equally remarkable note :-" The enclosed was in a small character, respectively finding their cash-box, which was stolen from the way to the prisoner anonymously, in late William Humphreys, Esq., at the April and July 1837-the one in time of his removing from Digleth London, the other at Paris.
House, Birmingham, to Fair Hill. I. Mr Eugene Alexander, the The person who committed the theft third son of the prisoner, happens, was a young man in a situation in towards the close of April 1837, trade which placed him above suspi. to call at Messrs De Porquet and cion. Fear of detection, and other Co.'s, booksellers in London, who circumstances, caused the box to be had been occasionally employed by carefully put away, and it was forgot the prisoner, was informed by them that the packet of papers was left in that they had just received, by the it. This discovery has been made twopenny-post, a packet addressed to since the death of the person alluded them, which inclosed another, ad. to, which took place last month. His dressed, “The Right Hon. the Earl family, being now certain that the son of Stirling,” accompanied by the fol- of Mr Humphreys is the Lord Stirling lowing note, addressed to them, in a who has lately published a narrative lady's hand, without disguise :-"Mrs of his case, they have requested a lady Innes Smyth's compliments to Messrs going to London to leave the packet De Porquet and Co. She had fully at his lordship's publishers, a channel intended calling in Tavistock Street, for its conveyance pointed out by the when she arrived in town yesterday book itself, and which they hope is from Staffordshire ; but another com- quite safe. His lordship will perceive
* Refer to the Pedigree, ante, p. 473. + Ante, p. 478.
Swinton, Appendix, p. xxxi.
that the seals have never been broken. soner.) Benjamin spoke, in this letThe family of the deceased, for obvious ter, about the missing tombstone ; its reasons, must remain unknown. They place, however, being supplied by make this reparation ; but cannot be “Mr Lyttleton's copy, which can be expected to court disgrace and infamy. proved;" abont “ Campbell's copy of
-April 17, 1837."* _" The sheet of grandfather A.'s portrait being very paper on which this was written," like ;" that a curious memorandum said young Mr Alexander, “ is a was pasted at the back, “ from wbich mourning one, with a deep black edge it appears that our grandfather [i. e. round, owing to the death of the John of Antrim) received his early thief." | The inner packet was then education at Londonderry, under the taken to a proctor, and opened by watchful eye of Mr MAXWELL, his young Mr Alexander in the presence MATERNAL grandsire. At the age of of four witnesses, and proved to con- sixteen, the dowager-countess wished tain five documents, all bearing most him to be sent to Glasgow College ; decisively, and indeed conclusively, but at last it was thought better for on that precise part of the prisoner's him to go to a German University, case pronounced by the Lord Ordinary He attained high distinction as a to have been defective. One was a scholar, remained many years abroad, genealogical tree, purporting to have and visited foreign courts. Yr. affe. been made out by a “ Thos. Camp- bro. BENJAMIN ALEXANDER. Lond. bell," on the 15th April 1759; and, to 20 Aug. 1765. To Rev. Mr Alexander, be sure, it was calculated to settle the Birmingham." A second letter was whole matter : for it set out the two to the same person, from one “A. E. marriages of John of Gartmore, the Baillie," dated 16th September 1765. second being with “ Elizabeth Mar. He also alludes to the missing tombwell of Londonderry ;" that by this stone. “But I shall be ready," he second wife he had a son, John, “who proceeds, " to come forward, if you married Mary Hamilton of Bangor, want me. I was about twenty-one and settled at Antrim, after living when I attended yr grandfr.'s funeral, many years in Germany-died 1712– [i.e. John of Antrim.] Mr Livingston, buried at Newtown." That this John a very old friend of yr family, wrote of Autrim had a son, “John, sixth ye inscription, wh ye claimant from Earl of Stirling (DE JURE)"!!! and America got destroyed.[!) I always died at Dublin, 1st November 1743; heard that yr great-grandfr. ye Honble. and that this de jure sixth Earl of Mr Alexander, (who was known in Stirling had four children ; the eldest, the country as Mr Alexander of “ John, born at Dublin, 1736, heir to Gartmoir,) died at Derry; but for ye the titles and estates !" the second, destruction of ye parish registers in Benjamin ; the third, Mary; the ye North by ye Papists, during fourth, “ Hannah, born at Dublin in ye civil war from 1689 to 1692, you 1741." And this inestimable docu- mit have got ye Certifs. you want." ment bore the following inscription: The above letters, thus first brought Z" Part of the genealogical tree of to light in April 1837, after “ fifty the Alexanders of Menstry, Earls of years" had elapsed since the alleged Stirling in Scotland, showing only the theft of the packet containing them, fourth and now existing [i. e. 1759, when connected with the statements being twenty years after the death of made in the affidavit of Eliza Pountthe fifth earl, and sixteen years after ney, I the prisoner's sister, on the that of tbe de jure sixth earl] branch. 27th of January 1826, became deeply Reduced to pocket size from the large significant. We allude to her obseremblazoned tree, in the possession of vations respecting her two uncles, Mrs Alexander, of King Street, Bir. John and Benjamin, and their intenmingham, by me, Thos. Campbell, tion to have claimed the peerage, but April 15, 1759.” The next enclosure for their “dying in their prime;" consisted of a letter from the above and, on comparing dates, it will be Benjamin to his elder brother, the found that the one (John) is alleged Rev. John, (both uncles of the pri- to have died in 1765, the year in