« PreviousContinue »
Genealogical Hiftory of the Stewarts, from the earliest Period of their authentic Hiftory to the prefent Times. Containing a particular Account of the Origin and Succeffive Generations of the Stuarts of Darnley, Lennox, and Aubigny, and of the Stuarts of Caftelmilk; with Proofs and References; an Appendix of Relative Papers; and a Supplement, containing Copies of various Difpenfations found in the Vatican at Rome, in the Course of a Search made by the Author in the Year 1789; particularly Copies of two very interefting Difpenfa tions which had long been fought for in vain, relating to Ro bert the Stewart of Scotland (King Robert II.) his much contefted Marriages with Elizabeth More and Euphemia Rofs. To which is prefixed a Genealogical Table relative to the Hiftory. By Andrew Stuart, Efq. M. P. 4to. 11. 10s. Boards. Cadell and Davies. 1798.
THE genealogy of the house of Stuart being interwoven with important events, not only in the history of these kingdoms, but in that of other states, it is no wonder that several antiquaries have directed their attention to fuch a fubject. In the last century fome trifling efforts were made in England; but they defervedly funk into oblivion under the more powerful illumination of later exertions. Dr. Kennedy published at Paris, in 1705, his genealogy of this illuftrious family, in which he is chiefly occupied in the deduction of its defcent from the fabulous kings of Ireland of the Milefian race. Crawford, in 1710, prefented to the world his hiftory of Renfrew, and of the house of Stuart, whofe original poffeffions were in that county. His work was followed, two years after, by David Symfon's Genealogical Account of the Stuarts, a careless and fuperficial performance, which added little to Crawford's researches. Mr. Duncan Stuart, in 1739, communicated to the public his labours on this topic, in a small quarto volume, which, comprifing the difcoveries of preceding writers, remained the laft publication of the kind, till the apCRIT. REV. VOXV. May, 1799. Vo B
pearance of the present work, which far exceeds all the former in accuracy, refearch, and abundance of materials.
It must be allowed, that works of this clafs are little calculated for amufement, or for the inftruction of the general reader. Their chief utility confifts in their being books of reference, by which hiftorical researches may be illuftrated.
We are informed that the prefent elaborate work originated in an amicable conteft, between the earl of Galloway and Stuart of Caftelmilk, concerning the paternal rank in this ancient family, on the complete failure of the royal line. The fame and fortunes of the houfe of Stuart may defervedly excite fome curiofity on this topic, which, in the days of chivalry, might have led nations to war-and perhaps as juftly as the teterrima belli caufae of later times. In this point of view Mr. Stuart appears to us to have made out his cafe, unless the earl fhould employ more powerful aid, for the difcovery of fresh documents in his favour.
The late Mr. Gibbon ufed to complain, that in no literary journal had he met with any account of his hiftory, that could convey an idea of the whole to a reader who had not seen it. We wish (and our readers will join in the wifh) that Mr. Gibbon had been one of our coadjutors: he would then have perceived the extreme difficulty of putting an Iliad into a nutfhell, or of reducing to an inch fquare a map of twenty fheets. Notwithstanding this obftacle, we thall endeavour to give our readers an idea of the prefent publication, confidered in its whole plan; and then make fome extracts from the most popular and interefting parts,
In former hiftories of the houfe of Stuart, the royal line engaged the chief care and attention of the writers but it has fortunately happened that the main spring of Mr. Stuart's plan was the branch of Lennox and Aubigny, which produced greater perfonal characters than the monarchical line. By refearches in foreign countries he has been enabled to throw fuch a catching light, as painters exprefs it, on many heroes who diftinguished themfelves in the fields of France and Italy, that they caft a ftrong effulgence, even amidst the darkness of obfcure periods. This is the characteristic feature of the prefent work, conftituting, with the difpenfations now first published, its chief merit, as they prefent new topics of historical fcience and accuracy, the chief purpose which any book of genealogy can ferve.
On attentively perufing the work, we were impreffed with an idea, that an extreme attention to clearnefs had contributed, by too minute and precife divifions, rather to perplex than to illuftrate.
The general plan is conducted by parts and generations. As the latter are numerous, we need not specify them: the former ftand thus.
Part I. From Walter, in the twelfth century, to Robert, afterwards king of Scotland, 1371.
Part II. From fir John Stuart of Bonkyl, ancestor of the Stuarts of Darnley and Lennox, flain at Falkirk in 1298, to fir Alexander of Darnley, 1400.
Part III. Concerning fir John of Darnley, and his brother William, flain near Orleans in 1429.
Part IV. From fir Alan, fon of fir John, 1429, to Bernard Stuart of Aubigny, who died in 1508.
Part V. From Matthew, fecond earl of Lennox, to the fourth earl, who died in 1571.
Part VI. To 1672, when the race of Lennox failed.
At the clofe of this part we find a recapitulation of the chief facts, and a statement of the competition between the earl of Galloway and Stuart of Castelmilk, to which we shall return. Part VII. clofes the work, with the genealogy of the Stuarts of Caftelmilk, from the year 1398 to the present time.
The appendix contains feveral charters, before unpublished, in favour of the Stuarts of Darnley; and the fupplement ex-hibits the curious difpenfations for marriage, obtained by perfons of rank in Scotland, on account of confanguinity, &c. and registered in the Vatican.
As a fpecimen of Mr. Stuart's discoveries in France, we extract the following information.
Of all the diftinguifhed officers, or leading men who went from Scotland to the affiftance of Charles, fir John Stuart of Derneley, the conftable of the Scottish army, and his brother fir William Stuart, were those who the most uniformly, and during the greatest number of years, dedicated themselves to the interests of that unfortunate and perfecuted monarch, for enabling him to attain the crown which juftly belonged to him; and whose interests were at that time confidered to be the most intimately connected with those of Scotland.
'It is not poffible to give a particular account of the various ac tions or combats in which fir John Stuart or his brother were concerned, from the time of the battle of Baugé in 1421, to the close of their lives in the year 1429. The hiftories of France are very imperfect in their details of the numerous battles and fieges which happened during the years which immediately followed Charles's fucceffion to the crown. A French hiftorian of confiderable reputation, Villaret, makes a good apology for not entering into these details; he expreffes himself thus: "Si l'on vouloit s'attacher à rendre un compte exact de tous les evenemens, il faudroit à chaque inftant transporter le lecteur dans toutes les parties du royaume; il ne fe paffoit pas du jour qui ne fut marqué par quelque combat ; il n'y avoit pas de province qui ne fut un theatre d'hoftilités per petuelles.'