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Tartan Ferret
The Sobieski Bloodline Claim

The Sobieski Bloodline Claim

From the Romantic Story of the Highland Garb etc.
by MacKay.

Before parting with the Vestiarium, we should like to put before our readers a short sketch of the history of the authors.*

Their claim to Royal descent, apart from personal assertion, was put forth or suggested in a volume which they published in 1847, entitled, "Tales of the Century, or Sketches of the Romance of History." These tales were three in number, and refer to the birth, youth, and marriage of one person, who is generally described as the lolair Dhearg, or Red Eagle.

The object of the " Tales " was to represent that Prince Charles had, in 1773, by his wife, the Princess Louise of Stolberg, a son, whose birth was kept secret - why, they have not explained. The child was said, according to the romance, to have been removed privately on board a British frigate, under the command of Admiral O'Halloran, who afterwards brought up the child as his own. The boy appeared later on board a man-of-war among the Western Isles, where he was known by the Gaelic appellation of lolair Dhearg, or Red Eagle, and was still alive in 1831, and the authors of the tales being the sons of lolair Dhearg, were therefore the grandsons of Prince Charles. We have never heard of the West Highlanders using names of this description, like the Red Indians.

The first of the tales is entitled " The Picture " and tells of the experience of a venerable relic of the "45," Doctor Beaton, ** who in 1773, on the road from Parma to Florence, met a caleche and four with scarlet liveries. In the carriage were a lady and gentleman, and in the momentary glance as it passed he had no difficulty in recognising the latter as the " Bonnie Prince Charlie." The same afternoon the Doctor was walking in the church of St. Rosalie. He was roused from a reverie by a heavy step and the jingle of spurs upon the pavement, and upon looking up saw a tall man of superior appearance who accosted him with a slight salutation and hastily demanded " E ella il Signer Dottor Betoni Scozzese ? ';

On receiving his reply, he requested his assistance to one in need of immediate attendance. A carriage was waiting outside, and, to the Doctor's astonishment, the blinds were at once drawn down, and on arriving at their destination he had to submit to be blindfolded before entering the house. They proceeded through a long range of apartments, when suddenly the guide stopped and rang a silver bell which stood on a table. A page appeared, to whom the conductor spoke eagerly in German ; then taking the mask off the doctor's face, he addressed him : " Signor dottore, the most important part of your occasion is past, the lady whom you have been unhappily called to attend met with an alarming accident in her carriage not half an hour before I found you in the church, and the unlucky absence of her physician leaves her entirely in your charge. Her accouchement is over, apparently without any result more than exhaustion, but of that you will be the judge."

After attending to his patient, the Doctor was as unceremoniously dismissed as he entered the house, but not until he had sworn on the crucifix never to speak of what he had seen or heard that night, unless it should be in the service of his king - King Charles. He was further required to leave Tuscany that night.
Three nights later, walking at sunset at the seaport in the neighbourhood he was surprised to see a British frigate lying off the coast. He was informed that the vessel was the "Albina," Commodore O'Halloran.

Later he was attracted by the approach of a horseman followed by a closed carriage, and in the moonlight he recognised his mysterious guide of St. Rosalie. The party stopped at the margin of the water, and the cavalier, having glanced hastily around, blew a loud shrill whistle, when immediately a boat left the frigate and made for the shore, and straight for the spot where the party stood. The cavalier opened the door of the carriage and lifted down a lady closely muffled in a white mantle. As she descended, the Doctor observed that she carried in her arms some object which she held with great solicitude, and at the same time an officer leaped from the boat and hastened towards the travellers. The officer, who wore double epaulettes, made a profound bow to the lady and conducted them towards the boat. As they approached, the lady turned to the cavalier, and he could hear the faint cry of an infant. The officer immediately lifted her into the boat, and as soon as she was seated the cavalier delivered to her the child. A brief word and a momentary grasp of the hand passed between the lady and the cavalier, and the officer, lifting his hat, the boat pushed off.

This child, then, which was said to have been the son of Prince Charles, was adopted by Admiral O'Halloran, and was known in the Western Isles as the lolair Dhearg. He, in 1792, married in England a Catherine Bruce, by whom he had two sons, the John Sobieski and Charles Edward Stuart of the tales.

The Quarterly (Ed: Regency England's most influential conservative journal) points out that the tales were intended to confirm a rumour that was current in Scotland for twenty years as to the existence of grandsons of the Prince, and to connect the officer who had carried away the child with an Admiral Allen who died in the year 1800. It was claimed that this Admiral Allen was descended in the male line from the Hays of Errol, and on the removal of the family to Scotland the name was changed from the English Allen to the Scottish Allan, then Hay was added. On looking at Admiral Allen's will, it was found that while he had left his son John £2,200, he left Thomas, the lolair Dhearg of the Western Isles, only £100, the inference being that Thomas had incurred the Admiral's displeasure by making an imprudent marriage. By his marriage with Miss Manning, Thomas Allen had two sons, of whom the elder published a volume of poetry in 1822, to which he put his name as John Hay the title of Albany, a title by which he had himself been known for fourteen years. To legitimate his natural daughter, and give her the reversion of his own title, was certainly not very like the act of a man who had a lawful son in existence. Further, he left all he possessed to the Duchess of Albany, including such of the Crown jewels of Britain as had been conveyed to the Continent by James II., and the Polish jewels he had inherited from his mother. Were these likely steps to be taken by a man who believed he had a lawful son to inherit these heirlooms ? On the death of Prince Charles Edward, his brother. Cardinal York, set up his claim to be King of Great Britain under the title of Henry the Ninth - a claim he could never have asserted if his brother had left a son.

The claim of the Aliens was at once audacious and preposterous.

As already observed, John Sobieski Stuart replied to the article in the Quarterly in a pamphlet published by Blackwood in 1848, in which there is no attempt made to disprove the charges as to royal parentage.

* It is wonderful how the author selected such names as Urquhart and Beaton, the one the inventor of the universal language, and the other the name of the great family of Highland Physicians.
** From particulars in Quarterly Review.

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