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Series Three: The Lauderdale Papers, c1647-1682, from the British Library, London

Series Three of our microfilm project on Crown Servants covers the Lauderdale Papers, c1647-1682, from the British Library, London. This material comprises the Papers of John Maitland, second Earl and first Duke of Lauderdale (1616-1682).

Correspondence and Papers cover the following topics:

- the Scottish commissioners
- Deputations from Scotland to the English Parliament
- Negotiations between Charles I and Scotland, 1647-1649
- Religious Affairs in Scotland
- Negotiations with the Prince of Wales (the future Charles II)
- Scottish affairs, 1660-1680
- Relations between England and Scotland, 1660-1680
- Politics of the Restoration period
- Lauderdale’s influence over Charles II
- The "cabal" of 1667

Although there is a three volume Camden Society edition providing selections from the Lauderdale manuscripts, this microfilm edition offers comprehensive coverage of the large collection of Lauderdale manuscripts and letters from the British Library, London (BL Add. Mss. 23113-23138).

It is an important source for all scholars looking at the Restoration period in England and Scotland, politics and religion in the reign of Charles II, as well as patronage, culture and society, c1660-1682.

There is important material too on the earlier period featuring Lauderdale’s activities in the 1640s and 1650s, his role as a Scottish commissioner, the Civil War, the fate of the King and the possible role of a Scottish Army . According to Baillie, Letters and Journals, i.473, he was in London in March 1641 with the Scottish commissioners. By 1643 he was an elder in the Assembly at St Andrews which named him as one of the commissioners for the Solemn League and Covenant. The commissioners presented their case at Westminster and Lauderdale won praise from colleagues for his skill in dealing with Parliament. In February 1644 he was a member of the Committee of Both Kingdoms and had established himself as a leading Covenanter. On 20 November 1644 he was named as one of the Scottish commissioners to take the propositions of peace to Charles at Uxbridge. With John Campbell, First Earl of Loudoun, in the spring of 1645 at Uxbridge, he tried to induce Charles to accept Presbyterianism, before returning home to Scotland. The following year, in London again as a commissioner, Lauderdale was spokesman to the Common Council for his colleagues. He was determined to uphold the Covenant.

At this time Lauderdale kept in close touch with the King, as well as corresponding officially with Scotland. He advised the King to ignore the offers of the independents and in the Committee of Both Kingdoms vehemently opposed the proposal to dispose of the King’s person without reference to Scotland. Bishop Burnet argues that in 1647 Lauderdale continued to defend the King’s interest. In April he went to London again to urge the English Parliament to accept a settlement with Charles without further conditions, but the mission was not successful.

With the King he discussed plans to bring a Scottish Army into England. They also weighed up the idea of Charles escaping to Scotland. Lauderdale urged the King not to flee to Scotland unless he was prepared to give full satisfaction on religious matters and also warned of the dangers of going to London which was in the hands of the Army. Lauderdale suggested going to Berwick. The King chose to flee to the Isle of Wight after Lauderdale had again warned him on 9 November 1647 that without fresh concessions on Presbyterianism the Scots would not help.

On 8 December Lauderdale further warned the King making it clear that he was about to made close prisoner. On 26 December Lauderdale returned from Carisbrooke with the famous "Engagement" and with a further most important document signed by Charles agreeing to the employment of Scottish nobility in England and promising frequent residence by the King and the Prince of Wales in Scotland.

Lauderdale spent January 1648 in London with his fellow commissioners making further protests and lobbying the King’s friends before returning once more to Scotland to try to rouse the Scots against the English. He declared that the English would "endure neither the covenant, presbytery, monarchical government, nor the Scots". He also tried once more to get the King to make greater concessions to Scottish opinion on the subject of religion. From April to June 1648, Lauderdale was in constant correspondence with the royalists in England.

There were great doubts about Lauderdale’s loyalty to the Covenant. In 1648 he was left out of the list of commissioners appointed to arrange uniformity of worship with England. Baillie records that Lauderdale expressed strong views against the violent methods of the covenanters. Gardiner notes in Volume III of his work on the Great Civil War: "More than any other man in Scotland he (Lauderdale) represented the insurrection of the lay feeling against clerical predominance".

The Scottish invasion took place in July 1648 and was crushed by Cromwell and Lambert at Preston on 17 August 1648. Lauderdale was elsewhere. He had been appointed on 19 July to carry the invitation of the committee of estates to the Prince of Wales to come to Scotland upon comparatively easy conditions. He corresponded with the Queen, Lord Holland and Lady Carlisle. He joined the Prince on 10 August carrying with him further letters from the estates to the Prince of Orange and the King and Queen of France. The negotiations were conducted on board ship. With the arrival of the news of Hamilton’s defeat, the Prince sailed for Holland. It is reported in the Hamilton Papers that Lauderdale accomplished his mission with dexterity and success. The Prince accepted all his terms. Without doubt it was at this juncture that Lauderdale laid the foundation of his great influence with Charles II.

The "Engagement" was condemned by the Scottish Parliament. Lauderdale remained with the Prince of Wales until the end of April 1649. Lauderdale was instrumental in inducing him to reject the proposals of Ormonde and Montrose. He persuaded him to accept the Scottish Parliament’s invitation to Scotland despite the tough conditions imposed by the dominant Argyll faction. Lauderdale accompanied Charles to Scotland.

But back in Scotland, Lauderdale was debarred from the presence or councils of Charles, until Lauderdale repented in full his involvement with the "Engagement". This he did at Largo Church on 26 December 1650. Despite this he continued to be under some suspicion and it was at this point in time that Lauderdale took to concealing his identity in correspondence under the pseudonym of "John Reid" or "Red".

He supported Charles’s cause in Scotland in 651 and at the Battle of Worcester in the same year where he was captured. Lauderdale was to spend the next 9 years imprisoned, first in the Tower, then at Windsor and finally at Portland, until Monck’s entry into London in March 1660.

Lauderdale was excepted from Cromwell’s Indemnity Act of 1654 and so had all his estates confiscated.

Upon his release Lauderdale sent at joint letter with Crawfurd and Sinclair to their friends in Scotland with the intention of reviving the old "Engagement" party. Lauderdale also wrote to the Prince of Wales at Brussels. Charles replied in April 1660 signing his letter "Your most affectionate friend".

Poverty at first prevented Lauderdale from going over to Brussels in person to see Charles. Instead Lauderdale sent further letters via James Sharp until John Leslie, Seventh Earl of Rothes, came to his assistance to provide funds to travel to Breda in May 1660 (as recorded in the Lauderdale Papers). Immediately Lauderdale resumed his close connection with Charles "having very much of the king’s ear". Some of the correspondence in the Lauderdale Papers hints that Lauderdale was now already recommending the re-establishment of the episcopacy, but if this is a possibility, the design was certainly kept very secret so as not to compromise Lauderdale’s position in Scotland.

A big political battle in Scotland now ensued. Lauderdale had fixed his ambition on the key prize, the Secretaryship in Scotland, which would give him constant access to "the king’s ear" with far reaching influence both in London and in Scotland.

The constant for power in Scottish affairs was a dual between those of the old "Engagement" party including Lauderdale and, ranged on the other side, Monck, the powerful Clarendon, leaders of the old cavalier party such as John Middleton, First Earl of Middleton, William Cunningham, Ninth Earl of Glencairn and Sir Archibald Primrose, most staunch Presbyterians and the Bishops.

Middleton was appointed High Commissioner; Cunningham took the post of Chancellor and Primrose became Clerk Register. Lord Rothes, who had helped Lauderdale, was appointed President of the Council and another close friend of Lauderdale, though a staunch Presbyterian, John Lindsay, Seventeenth Earl of Crawford, became Treasurer. Many schemed to have Lauderdale appointed Chancellor to keep him away from London. This plan did not work and Lauderdale succeeded in his principal ambition.

Lauderdale was well fitted in character to succeed in such political scheming and manoeuvred himself into a strong position primarily because of his influence with Charles, by playing up his Presbyterianism, by emphasising his services to Charles and stressing the deprivations of his long imprisonment. Lauderdale possessed a great knowledge of affairs, of opponents’ weaknesses, of any character traits he could manipulate for advantage, and he could always bring to bear his own fertile resources in character: strong will, courage, coolness in adversity, deceit, devious disposition, extreme selfishness, opportunism, utter unscrupulousness and a sharp discernment of the most appropriate path at any given moment.

Established in the Secretaryship, Lauderdale had overcome the jealousies of his rivals in Scotland, the antagonism of Clarendon, and the difficulties of his own personal financial position following imprisonment. By dexterity, industry and debauchery at Court he now made himself indispensable to Charles II. Pepys, in a diary entry for 2 March 1664, notes that "he was a very cunning fellow". "Never from the king’s ear", he resided in Whitehall near the Privy Gardens.

The Lauderdale Papers reveal how, after 1660, Lauderdale set about overturning Clarendon’s arrangements for Scotland, especially the placement of Englishmen on the Scottish Privy Council. Charles II soon agreed to Lauderdale’s demands to allow the Committee of Estates to meet and to remove the English garrisons from Ayr, Leith, Inverness and Perth. In May 1662, Lauderdale even secured a grant for himself of the ground upon which the fortifications at Leith stood; subsequently sold to Edinburgh by Lauderdale for the sum of £5,000.

Lauderdale also set about regaining other lands in Scotland. He received charters for the lordship and regality of Musselburgh, the barony of Cranschawis, the barony and regality of Thirlestane, the lands of Rodgerslaw and other estates on 15 May 1661. Soon he was to add the Forest of Lauder, 13 October 1664.

Lauderdale was also at pains to build support in Scotland. He benefited from the support and influence of Lord Rothes. This allowed Lauderdale to further the career of his brother, Charles Maitland, and also that of his private agent, William Sharp, brother of James Sharp. The latter had become Primate of Scotland.

By 1662-1663 Lauderdale also had won over Sir Archibald Primrose, his most capable opponent. In allying himself with the interests of the Marquis of Argyll’s son, Archibald, Ninth Earl of Argyll, Lauderdale secured another important friend. To gain further popularity Lauderdale persuaded Charles II to remit half the fines levied upon those who were excepted from the Act of Indemnity. This flew against the wishes of Middleton who brought an unsuccessful challenge by private warrant. Middleton’s opposition to the remission figured in his ultimate downfall.

A flagrant political battle between Lauderdale and Middleton now developed. Middleton devised a scheme to force all persons in the public employment to renounce on oath both the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant. Middleton and his supporters hoped that this would force Lauderdale to resign as he had been such a prominent upholder of both the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant. The plan did force out the conscientious Lord Crawford from the Treasurership, but there was no way that the pragmatic Lauderdale would fall victim to this. He declared himself "prepared to take a cartload of oaths" and his readiness to follow this course is clearly shown in the Lauderdale Papers. Also well detailed is the next step taken by Middleton.

Middleton decided to attach to the Act of Indemnity an additional clause to except from public service a further twelve individuals selected by secret ballot. Middleton made sure that the twelve names included Lauderdale. Crawford and Sir Robert Moray were also include in the twelve. Lauderdale exposed Middleton’s secret plotting to the King and Charles took steps to stop the addition of the relevant clause.

Middleton next asserted that he had proof of Lauderdale’s double dealing regarding the surrender of Charles I to the English. The papers put together by Middleton and his friends to show this were forgeries. Lauderdale called for a full investigation of the matter; Lauderdale was cleared and Middleton was forced to resign as High Commissioner. Lord Rothes took his place as High Commissioner, further securing Lauderdale’s position. He took revenge on Middleton’s co-conspirators as well. Middleton’s actions were exposed before the Scottish Privy Council in a masterful performance of rhetoric and cunning by Lauderdale on
7 September 1663.

Lauderdale secured the services of Sir Robert Moray as he deputy in London at times when he was away on business in Scotland.

From this point forward all Scottish business was conducted solely by the following three:
Charles II, Lauderdale and Sir Robert Moray. Lauderdale was now in full control. He set about making the Crown absolute both in State and Church in Scotland: The lords of the articles were changed back to the footing of 1633 making the Crown supreme over Parliament Strong Acts were passed against the Covenanters (further displaying Lauderdale’s pragmatic approach and disregard of previous principles) His passage of the National Synod Act placed the Church in total subservience to the Crown

With these measures successfully in place, Lauderdale deputed Lord Rothes and James Sharp to manage affairs in Scotland, whilst he turned his attention to further matters in Whitehall.

The mismanagement of Rothes and Sharp led to the Covenanting Rising of 1666. In addition, Rothes, Sharp and other supposed friends, Hamilton, Archbishop Burnet and Dalyel plotted to overthrow Lauderdale’s dominance and replace him by their own party backed by troops.

Lauderdale displayed great skill in breaking up this new coalition against him. Lord Rothes was restored to his old allegiance; Sharp was disgraced; others were marginalised. With the waning influence of Clarendon over state affairs, Lauderdale’s power base in London was also much enhanced by 1667. In June that year, Lauderdale sent Sir Robert Moray to Scotland to make a full report on the "state and affairs of the country".

Moray came up with some damning criticisms and, by the end of 1667, Lord Rothes was forced to resign both as High Commissioner and Treasurer. Lauderdale placed two trusted colleagues in these positions. He disbanded the troops that Rothes and his supporters had gathered and ensured the disgrace of Archbishop Burnet of Glasgow. To replace the troops Lauderdale created a militia of 22,000 men and then decided to retain the post of High Commissioner for himself.

In October 1669 Lauderdale went again to Scotland in his capacity as High Commissioner and pressed through the Scottish Parliament measures he had agreed with Charles II:

An Act allowing Charles II to use the militia when and how he pleased.
The Act of Supremacy (further strengthening the Crown over the Church, forcing the resignation of Burnet).
Various forfeitures

Only the package dealing with the Union proved abortive, as documented in the Lauderdale Papers, and had to be postponed on 13 November 1669. Despite this reverse, Lauderdale could truly claim "The king is now master here in all causes and over all persons". Lauderdale’s last act before returning to Court at the end of 1669 was the annexation to the Crown of the Orkneys and Shetlands, formerly granted to the predecessors of the Earl of Morton, now persecuted by Lauderdale because he was son-in-law of Middleton.

The Lauderdale Papers reveal that on his return to Scotland in July 1670, Lauderdale passed a swathe of further measures to enhance his domination:

- the empowerment of Commissioners for the Union to confer with the English
- the suppression of Conventicles
- the quartering of the militia upon the disaffected
- the raising of troops of horse, foot and dragoons for his benefit
- toleration for submissive ministers

Meanwhile Charles II was busy duping Lauderdale and other Protestant Ministers in his dealings over the secret Treaty of Dover (May 1670).

On 17 February 1672 Lauderdale married his second wife, Elizabeth Murray, who was the eldest daughter of William Murray, whipping-boy to Charles I, created Earl of Dysart. For many years the relationship between John and Elizabeth had been very close. The ongoing affair had embittered relations between Lauderdale and his first wife who eventually died in Pais in 1671.

Under the heightened influence of Elizabeth, it now seems that Lauderdale at the height of his insolence and power, tossed aside the good councils of Sir Robert Moray and other friends who had been instrumental in helping him secure such a dominant place in English and Scottish politics. Lord Rothes now also had been compelled to give up his post as President of the Council in Scotland. There was no longer any opposition to any of Lauderdale’s commands; his position was supreme; even with the King his influence was little short of total.

Lauderdale is credited as being a member of the "cabal" along with Lords Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham and Ashley. However, he was not a member of the "cabal" in the same way as the "English ministers" were; Lauderdale was included as the intimate of Charles II. Perhaps this is why his career survived the "cabal" whilst the English ministers were not so fortunate.

For the most part Lauderdale cared little for the politics of England; he was ready to support the King in any course he might choose. Charles therefore used Lauderdale as an instrument to press through measures in England that others would never accept and that only Lauderdale would entertain. An example is the money treaty of 1676 made by Charles II with Louis XIV. Danby refused to be associated with this; only Lauderdale was trusted by Charles II to secure the King’s wishes.

In Scotland, Lauderdale purged the militia of all discontented men and made sure it was ready to march whenever he gave notice. He issued instructions to accompany the Declaration of Indulgence to put an end to the Conventicle difficulty by either indulgence or severity.

In Scotland Lauderdale continued to exercise his dominance with a reputation for harshness and corruption. He was the only member of the "cabal" whose political career survived its fall following the Test Act of 1673. Upon James’s resignation as Lord High Admiral, Lauderdale was placed upon the Commission for the Admiralty. Lauderdale’s position with regard to Scotland remained unchanged. He merely lost his interest in indulgences as an issue in Scotland.

In October 1673, Lauderdale returned north to raise money for the Dutch War. He also took further steps to persecute the Conventiclers, to raise more troops, again quarter garrisons of men upon disaffected persons, and to impose bonds by which landlords and tenants became mutual pledges for each other’s good behaviour and compliance with Lauderdale’s authority.

Lauderdale now met with a further resurgence of opposition in Scotland, with the Scots aided by Shaftesbury’s scheming in England. The Scottish opposition also sensed that with the fall of the "cabal" that Lauderdale’s influence might be on the wane, but this was to prove false.

The Scottish opposition "party" was led by William Douglas, Third Duke of Hamilton, but he was disconcerted by the dismissal of Shaftesbury and by the steady support Lauderdale continued to receive from Charles and James. On 13 January 1674 a major attack was launched against Lauderdale in the House of Commons. The two principal grievances were that he had suggested the Militia Act of 1669 and that he had declared in Council that "the king’s edicts were equal with the laws". By an unanimous vote of the House it was decided to present an address to the King requesting Lauderdale’s removal from all his employments and from the King’s presence and councils. Charles II decided on a quick prorogation of Parliament on 24 February 1674, saving Lauderdale and ending the matter. Lauderdale had defended his position to Charles II saying he was simply his private servant carrying out the King’s instructions even if they were not amenable to the English Parliament.

Alexander Bruce, Second Earl of Kincardine, now Lauderdale’s deputy, refused to answer questions from a Committee of the House of Commons. From both Charles and James Lauderdale received letters of support on 13 and 14 January 1674 promising that their favour was secure whatever happened. Lauderdale now set off for Scotland, but Charles II would not go as far as to assent to Lauderdale’s wishes to "ostracise" Hamilton and other leaders of the "party". Nevertheless the King sent away, defeated and ignored, the deputation that had gone to Charles II to complain about his favourite. Lauderdale did procure the imprisonment of General Drummond on a baseless charge and this action now alienated the Earl of Kincardine, Lauderdale’s deputy and one of the ablest as well as the most moderate of his supporters.

With the Scottish Parliament also prorogued, opposition to Lauderdale wavered for a time. The King lavished further honours on Lauderdale and placed him on the Privy Council.

In April 1675 the English Parliament renewed its attacks upon Lauderdale. Burnet gave evidence as a hostile witness. Three further separate addresses to the King were made demanding Lauderdale’s removal. Charles II ignored the requests again and Lauderdale made sure that he remained on good and intimate terms with both Danby and his master.

By the winter of 1677 troubles in Scotland had reached a head once more. Deserted by the Lowland landlords and encountering strong resistance from all quarters because of the Conventiclers and those resisting the savage laws he had passed, Lauderdale called to his aid some of the Highland nobility and with the active support of the Bishops, set loose 8,000 highlanders to wreak havoc upon the west country. This resulted in a further series of complaints and Hamilton’s decision to come down to London with all the discontented Scottish nobles, under the patronage of Monmouth, to pursue their cause.

This contest between Hamilton and Lauderdale was but one phase of an even greater battle for supremacy between two trans-national groupings, involving both the Dutch and French, seeking to dominate much of Northern Europe:

Monmouth, Shaftesbury and the "Anti-Catholic party", backed by Louis XIV of France Charles II, James, Danby and Lauderdale

But the King could ill afford war with either the Dutch or the French. The Treasury could not sustain long periods of war on the Continent of Europe with votes of additional finance from the English Parliament. Peace had been made with the Dutch in February 1674. Danby encouraged the vigorous application of laws against Nonconformity and Catholicism and this found favour in the House of Commons. The Dutch continued to wage war against the Catholic enemy, Louis XIV who had his own expansionist visions. In December 1677, by a Treaty signed with the Dutch, Danby secured Charles II’s approval to join the Dutch in war against France. But before too long Danby’s extravagant Anglican foreign policy would be in ruins. Charles II would glad of peace with France at the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678.

In the dispute between Hamilton and Lauderdale, the King chose to instruct Lauderdale to dismiss his highlanders in spite of the "Narrative" Lauderdale produced to defend his conduct.

On 23 April 1678, Charles II summoned the Scottish Council to make sure the disturbances were brought to a swift conclusion. The House of Commons prepared another address asking for the dismissal of Lauderdale, but this was overturned by one vote due to a judicious use of court influence. Lauderdale departed to Scotland once more to preside over a Convention of Estates summoned to provide the Crown with the finance it was now lacking for its foreign policy. The old opposition in Scotland resurfaced but was brutally crushed by Lauderdale, who secured more funds. He received personal letters of congratulation from Charles and James on 19 and 24 July 1678. All this is well documented in the Lauderdale Papers.

Yet again, on 8 May 1679, the English Parliament in an address to the King asked for Lauderdale’s "removal from his councils and presence, and from all offices of trust, on account of his arbitrary and destructive counsels, and as contriving to raise jealousies between England and Scotland". However, the language of this fresh address bore all the hallmarks of a tirade of Shaftesbury’s party against a personal friend of James. Charles II dissolved Parliament on 26 May in order to save Lauderdale.

In concert with Shaftesbury, the Scottish nobles under Hamilton also chose to make a fresh attack upon Lauderdale. They laid out their grievances for Charles II in a paper called "Matters of Fact". A conference was held on 8 July before the King to decide the matter. Lauderdale triumphed.

In 1679 Lauderdale oversaw the defeat of the final rising of the Covenanters. They were crushed at Bothwell Brigg on 22 June. As Secretary, Lauderdale was responsible for the very limited indemnity issued by Charles II on 27 July. He was not present, however, at the judicial cruelties that followed as he remained, at arms length in Whitehall, monitoring proceedings from a distance. The following year Lauderdale’s health began to give way. At the end of October 1680 he was forced due to ill-health to resign the Secretaryship of Scotland. His deputy at the time, Alexander Stuart, Fourth Earl of Murray, took over the post Lauderdale had coveted and then enjoyed for so long. By June 1681 Lauderdale had fallen from favour with James and Charles II had only four more years to reign. The influence of James was growing and he replaced Lauderdale as High Commissioner in Scotland. James had been upset by Lauderdale’s condemnation of the Catholic Earl of Stafford in the vote of 29 November 1680.

In 1682 Lauderdale was deprived of all his other offices, save that of Extraordinary Lord of Session, which he held for life. He still retained all his pensions as Duke of Lauderdale and retired to Tunbridge Wells with his wife, exhausted by his toils in service to the Crown, worn out by the debaucheries of court life and finally tired of unrelenting political intrigue. He died in August 1682 and was buried, with magnificent ceremony (as recorded in the Lauderdale Papers), at Haddington, on 5 April 1683.

Despite the splendour of his final exit, John, First Duke of Lauderdale, according to most accounts was not well liked by friend or foe.

"He was the coldest friend and the most violent enemy that ever was known," reported Bishop Burnet.

In Stuart England ed. Blair Worden, Malcolm Oxley notes "that even a close friend, no less than Charles II, had his snuff box altered to prevent Maitland dipping into it, and at royal suppers this lord though not invited, ever intruded himself. But Charles II was loyal to his friends and fellow debauchees, and Maitland was both of these."

The length of John Maitland’s imprisonment under Cromwell also gives an indication of the dislike he aroused. Malcolm Oxley notes that his life may have been spared only because of the influence of his future mistress and wife, Elizabeth Murray. Many in Scotland were upset that Maitland had deserted the clerical world of the Covenant to support a kingship which would secure power for the big Scottish landowners, including himself.

When Maitland was created First Duke of Lauderdale in 1672 he began to look for a more suitable London residence. As mentioned above, his first wife died and he was thus free to marry Elizabeth Murray. Most contemporary accounts describe both John and Elizabeth as strong-willed, unscrupulous and greedy; Elizabeth more so than John. Bishop Burnet writes: "All applications were made to her, she sold places and disposed of offices, and took upon herself … to direct his private conduct likewise. "

The pair chose to remodel a property built in 1610, with guidance from William Murray. This was Ham House on the River Thames near Richmond, which can still be visited today - a museum set out according to the Lauderdales’ inventory for the House of 1677. They had in common extravagant cultural and artistic interests.

Lauderdale also had a sound knowledge of Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He was trained as a builder and in Scotland he had rebuilt Thirlestane House and introduced Baroque architecture to Holyrood Palace. Ham House, with its ornate furnishings and well laid-out gardens was arguably Lauderdale’s greatest achievement.

In a section on Ham House in Stuart England ed. Blair Worden, Malcolm Oxley notes: "It has an air of Holland about it with its inset paintings, four of them sea-pieces by William Van de Velde the Youger. There were Dutch joiners at work, too, alongside English craftsmen, and much of the furniture is Dutch. Portraits by Lely and his contemporaries offer a cross-section of Restoration portrait painting. But in the inventory of 1667 it is the furniture which conveys the greatest sense of luxury…Marquetry and plasterwork set off lacquered cabinets and silk covered chairs. All these indicate wealth and taste, but also signify that Ham was a product and expression of political status as wellFrom 1672 both John and Elizabeth lived their political and social lives to the full, having survived Revolution, Civil War, Republic and Restoration. They were never behind in seizing the latest chance or pursuing the latest fashion, and Ham is a splendid statement of their achievement and of their taste."

It is this lifestyle, the politics, the social gatherings, the cultural pursuits and the ability, after 1660, for Lauderdale to exert, more or less, total and comprehensive control in Scotland from his power base in London, that is well documenting in the material, papers and correspondence reproduced here.

The material at the British Library is basically arranged chronologically in 26 volumes with items for the 1620s, 1630s, 1640s, 1650s and 1660 in Volume I; with a progression to September-December 1663 by Volume VIII; with most material for the 1660s and 1670s; finally progressing to the 1680s by Volume XXVI.

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