Friday, October 5, 2012

James Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater

The Earl of Derwentwater was one of the noblemen who joined James III during the Jacobite Rising of 1715.  He was captured after the Battle of Preston, tried, and condemned to death.  His wife visited George I in person and pleaded for her husband, but to no avail.  Lord Derwentwater was executed on February 24, 1716.

"'Lord Derwentwater,' says his associate, the Rev. Robert Patten, 'was formed by nature to be universally beloved; for his benevolence was so unbounded, that he seemed only to live for others.  He resided among his own people, spent his estate among them, and continually did them kindnesses.  His hospitality was princely, and none in that country came up to it.  He was very charitable to the poor, whether known to him or not, and whether Papists or Protestants.  His fate was a misfortune to many who had no kindness for the cause in which he died.'  Smollett also has awarded a passing encomium to the memory of Lord Derwentwater, which deserves to be his epitaph. 'He was an amiable youth,' he says; 'brave, open, generous, hospitable, and humane: his fate drew tears from the spectators, and was a great misfortune to the country in which he lived; he gave bread to multitudes of people whom he employed on his estate; the poor, the widow, and the orphan rejoiced in his bounty.'"--pgs. 61-62, Memoirs of the Pretenders and their Adherents by John Heneage Jesse

1 comment:

  1. I read about Lord Derwentwater once before in a magazine article dealing with his relationship with Bishop Bonaventure Giffard, an underground Catholic prelate in England who acted as his spiritual father and wrote him a "last letter" before his death. A excerpt of it, comparing Derwentwater's execution to Christ's passion, runs as follows (as reproduced in "The Latin Mass" magazine):

    "His fear merited all the courage which appeared in the martyrs, and will obtain for you all that firmness and fortitude of mind which will accompany you to the scaffold. His sadness will raise a holy grief and sorrow in you for your sins, and will raise a holy grief and sorrow in you for your sins, and at the same time settle a most solid joy in your heart. In fine, all the circumstances of His most bitter agony will sweeten to you all that is most terrible in death.....God to your savior in his dolorous garden; kneel down with Him; join in prayers with Him, and shutting your heart up with His, pronounce with Him these great words: - Father, Thy will be done!....(These are) the poor thoughts of me, that truly loved you; who is continually with you in his prayers, and who hopes to join with you for all eternity in a canticle of praise to the infinite mercies of our great God."