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The Stuarts of Today

British Isles Genealogy | Chapters From the Family Chest

      When the young Chevalier and his brother, the Cardinal of York, had passed away from this world, the royal line of Stuarts had, apparently, come to an end, and the Jacobites and Nonjurors, feeling that they had no longer any raison d'tre, resigned themselves to the inevitable, and gave in their allegiance, with more or less grace, to the reigning royal family of the Hanoverian line.
     Some years ago, however, when the present generation was quite young, visitors to the reading-room of the British Museum were startled at seeing there day by day two gentlemen clad in the garb of foreigners, who might have been Charles I and James II, risen from their graves; so exactly did they resemble in their features and general contour the portraits of those monarchs.
     In the list of those possessing tickets of admission to the reading-room, these gentlemen, no doubt, figured originally as John Carter Hay Allan and Charles Manning Allan; but by their personal friends they were addressed as the Chevaliers John Sobieski Stuart and Charles Edward Stuart, and they were held to be the grandsons of Prince Charles Edward.
     His youthful bride, it was said, was not barren, as is usually supposed; but gave birth to a son, whilst living with her husband at Sienna. In 1773, when obstinately clinging to his resolve, that he would leave no succession of I royal beggars, 'the prince commended his newly-born babe to a trusted friend, Carter Allan, Admiral of the White, who was then cruising off Sienna, and who undertook to bring up the royal babe, thus strangely ejected by his father, as his owl; younger son. The infant and his nurse were put on board the English man-of-war, and in the prince's household the event was never disclosed.
     Admiral Carter Allan's residence was in Devonshire Place, Marylebone. He was related to the Marchioness of Salisbury and the Marquis of Downshire; while he had a claim upon the title of Erroll, being descended from the old Hays, in the male line. The two boys made his house ring with childish mirth; the elder, John, when he grew up, became a captain in the British navy; the younger, Thomas, being at the time a lieutenant. This young man, when only nineteen years of age, was married, on October 2nd, 1792, at Goldaming, Surrey, to a Miss Katharine Matilda Manning, and he seems thereby to have offended his real, or adopted, father, for, while the admiral left a fortune to his elder son, he cut off Thomas with a legacy of only five hundred pounds.
     Mrs. Thomas Hay Allan, in due time, presented her husband with two boys, named respectively John Carter Hay and Charles Manning. The marriage of the younger is thus recorded in Blackwood for November, 1822: 'At London, Charles Stuart, youngest son of Thomas Hay Allan, of Hay, to Anne, daughter of the late Right Honorable John Beresford, M.P.'
     In the Edinburgh Weekly Journal, of October 26, 1845, maybe read among the marriages, `At the chapel of the Bavarian Embassy, London, the Chevalier John Sobieski Stuart, to Georgina, eldest daughter of Edward Kendall, Esq., of Cheltenham.
     Their reputed father lived to see both sons married, and died an admiral, in March, 1851.
     Eschewing the sea, the brothers devoted themselves to literary pursuits and produced several works, the most remarkable amongst which is one entitled 'Tales of the Century, or Sketches of the Romance of History, between 1146 and 1846.' This book, in three tales, narrates the birth, youth, and marriage of one and the self-same hero, who bears the Gaelic title of 'Solair Dhcarg,' or Red Eagle. In his youth this individual is taken to Scotland, and there is rapturously received by an aged Highland chieftain, as the 'Bonny Prince Charlie; for whom he fought at Preston and Culloden ; but he falls into an agony of despair when reminded that these battles were fought half-a-century ago, and, therefore, he must be mistaken in the identity.  In the third tale the hero contracts a stolen marriage, which alienates his friends and destroys his prospects; so there is little difficulty in perceiving that the joint authors were writing of their own father tinder a very transparent cloak.
     Whether the unquestionable proofs of legitimacy, which they claimed to possess, were ever submitted to the inspection of their numerous friends, does not appear; but their tale was certainly believed by many in the north, including the late Lord Lovat, who hospitably entertained them at Beaufort Castle, and lent them a house hard by as a residence. It was also accepted as true by many English men and -women; and by many, who, for a quarter-of-a-century, had almost daily met them in the great reading-room, where the occupant of the desk next to John Sobieski Stuart, a devoted Jacobite, and generally a late comer to the museum, used invariably to pass him with a nod, saying, 'I will speak to you, old friend, when I have paid my homage to my King.
     The throneless sovereign passed away from the earth nearly twenty years ago; and the Chevalier Charles Edward Stuart must have nearly reached his fourscore years when he died. The elder brother died childless; the other had one daughter, the Countess Marie Stuart, to whom the Tales of the Century' are dedicated by her father and uncle.
     No one, in the wildest dream, could imagine there would ever be an actual restoration of the Stuart line; but this Chevalier's fellow-countrymen would receive with gratitude and deep interest the publication of the proofs of these gentlemen's legitimacy; and even should these be never forthcoming, it may, at least, be conceded that their story is possibly, if not probably, correct ; since it would satisfactorily account for the Princess Louisa immediately leaving her husband, when, in order to carry out his own obstinate ideas, her husband had deprived her of the babe to which she had just given birth, without holding out any hope of it being ever restored to her arms.
     I have heard it said that, being Roman Catholics, and therefore unable to enter the British army, both of the brothers became naturalised in France, and obtained commissions under the great Napoleon; and also that the elder brother, acting as an aide-de-camp to the Emperor, helped him to effect his escape from the field of Waterloo, when he saw that all was lost. But, though I knew both of the brothers personally, I always felt a scruple at making any allusion to this part of their career, so I cannot certify to the fact above stated as positively true.

Chapters From the Family Chests, 1887

Chapters From the Family Chest

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