Rob Roy

by Sir Walter Scott

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The second article of the Appendix to the Introduction to Rob Roy contains two curious letters respecting the arrest of Mr. Grahame of Killearn by that daring freebooter, while levying the Duke of Montrose’s rents. These were taken from scroll copies in the possession of his Grace the present Duke, who kindly permitted the use of them in the present publication.—The Novel had but just passed through the press, when the Right Honourable Mr. Peel—whose important state avocations do not avert his attention from the interests of literature—transmitted to the author copies of the original letters and enclosure, of which he possessed only the rough draught. The originals were discovered in the State Paper Office, by the indefatigable researches of Mr. Lemon, who is daily throwing more light on that valuable collection of records. From the documents with which the Author has been thus kindly favoured, he is enabled to fill up the addresses which were wanting in the scrolls. That of the 21st Nov. 1716 is addressed to Lord Viscount Townshend, and is accompanied by one of the same date to Robert Pringle, Esquire, Under-Secretary of State, which is here inserted as relative to so curious an incident:—

Letter from the Duke of Montrose, to Robert Pringle, Esq., Under-Secretary to Lord Viscount Townshend.

“Sr,Glasgow, 21 Nov. 1716.

“Haveing had so many dispatches to make this night, I hope ye’l excuse me that I make use of another hand to give yow a short account of the occasion of this express, by which I have written to my Ld. Duke of Roxburgh, and my Lord Townshend, which I hope ye’l gett carefully deleivered.

“Mr. Graham, younger of Killearn, being on Munday last in Menteith att a country house, collecting my rents, was about nine o’clock that same night surprised by Rob Roy with a party of his men in arms, who haveing surrounded the house and secured the avenues, presented their guns in at the windows, while he himself entered the room with some others with cokt pistolls, and seased Killearn with all his money, books, papers, and bonds, and carryed all away with him to the hills, at the same time ordering Killearn to write a letter to me (of which ye have the copy inclosed), proposeing a very honourable treaty to me. I must say this story was as surprising to me as it was insolent; and it must bring a very great concern upon me, that this gentleman, my near relation, should be brought to suffer all the barbaritys and crueltys, which revenge and mallice may suggest to these miscreants, for his haveing acted a faithfull part in the service of the Government, and his affection to me in my concerns.

“I need not be more particular to you, since I know that my Letter to my Lord Townshend will come into your hands, so shall only now give you the assurances of my being, with great sincerity,

“Sr, yr most humble servant, (Signed) “Montrose.”

“I long exceedingly for a return of my former dispatches to the Secretary’s about Methven and Colll Urquhart, and my wife’s cousins, Balnamoon and Phinaven.

“I must beg yow’ll give my humble service to Mr. Secretary Methven, and tell him that I must refer him to what I have written to My Lord Townshend in this affair of Rob Roy, believing it was needless to trouble both with letters.”

Examined, Robt. Lemon, Deputy Keeper of State Papers.


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