~ CONFESSION: I GOT a man-crush on a dead guy. That’s him above, age 17, just before he got married.
Binks has written before about James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, one of the greatest Scots Generals ever. Slandered and written out of Scottish history by the deranged Scottish Taliban, a.k.a. Covenanters, Graham was historically rehabilitated 2 centuries after his hanging & dismemberment by lawyer and author Mark Napier, a distant relative of the famous Napiers of Graham’s own time, intermarried and connected with the Great Montrose and his family.
A Man In Full
I’ve been reading a full biography of the man, and admiring him more and more as I go. The young Montrose (13 upwards) turns out to have been kind, prudent, generous, charitable, well-educated, a poet, skilled with bow and musket, a fashionable young noble & cavalier, a true ornament to a famous and powerful family– someone who seems to have understood in his bones that power & wealth are opportunities to do good, gifts enabling one to help others, and live to the full.
From his private accounts-books, we find the young Graham travelling widely, attending the university of St. Andrews, visiting other nobility, friends, and family. Along with bills and payments for his rich taste in clothes, good books, good horses, and the usual accompaniments of a privileged life, what is striking is that on every possible occasion, he is dispensing charity and little thank-yous to servants, helpers, children, flood-victims or the hungry. He also paid for a small library to be established and maintained– all this when a teenager. These accounts were never meant to be publicized, and represent the man as he was, and not as he may have wished to be known or self-publicized.
What A Loss
There is what Montrose actually and nobly did do with his life; and then there is the sacrifice he made of his wealth, wide lands and houses and castles, his family, and his own possibilities as a man and a leader had his times been different and more peaceable. God bless Mark Napier and his friends and colleagues in the 19th century who helped set the record straight; to Nigel Tranter for his historical novel about the man; to the interweb & library nerds who put Napier’s works online for download in 2014, and for the manly, good, kind, and brave example of a life lived for the good of neighbour and unto God and King, by James Graham, one of the Binkses’ personal heroes. ~
|James Graham, Marquis of Montrose. 1612–1650|
|334. I’ll never love Thee more|