Character etc. of all the Cat[holic] Gentlemen unmarried in 1767

Now let’s take a look at what Mary was up to before she married into the family at Traquair - doing some careful research into eligible Catholic bachelors! Her main consideration in her choice of husband would appear to be his financial prospects, highly important for young women of her class at this time and on into the Jane Austen era. There are three possible husbands noted here, none of them Scottish.

But Mary put money considerations aside when she settled for Charles Stuart, son of the 6th Earl of Traquair. His family was living within its slender means, having suffered financially over a long period for its political allegiances.

This document has been described by William Turnbull, who catalogued the Traquair archives in the 1860s, as “A very curious fragment of gossipry”.

A very curious fragment

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Mr Eyeres when his father Dies will have 4 or 5 thousand per annum & if Lord Widdrington makes his will in his favour will have 2 or 3 thousand per annum . – brought up at Douay his Char[acter] Can't indure the Jesuites, of a close disposition positive to the last degree takes after his father, is very nice in regard of ye Ladies & satirical, thinks no woman handsome or Complete, very Bookish likes no sort of exercise or deversion, has a high Opinion of him self, never writes when absent to his father or mother, has good Share of Sence, by some reckoned good Natured but even his best of friends Calls him a whim & an oddity by his mother's side madness, for which reason Lady Mary Eyers never wishes him to marry. Miss Langdale she having some thing of the same by her mothers side, age 3 or 4 twenty a very good family.

Ralph Sheldon when his father dies will have 4 thousand p[e]r an[num] brought up at ---------------- Char[acter] very proud & Conceited fond of his Glass reckon'd a rake a fortune hunter has died for several; is rather extravagant & not over polite in Company Esteemed rather a loose Christian a great fox hunter. is Called Sensible & by some good natured; but makes nothing of saying an Ill natured thing. his mother by Adultery, his father not an Old family, lives in Oxfordshire Age 6 or 7 & twenty

Mr St Tunstal between 2 & 3 thousand p[e]r an[num] & if his uncle Constable leaves him his Estate will have 9 or 10 thousand p[e]r an[num] brought up at Douay, is not prejudiced against the Society. Char[acter] very Bookish loves retirement don’t like to stir when he is once settled in a place vastly fond of London don’t like Company never Dines out a great Phylosipher is fond of talking like one of Books & his great delight & only pleasure is in having all sorts of Birds etc. Cats & such animals, is fond of paintings, Can’t indure music Spends most of the summer in Town but never goes to any diversions, the Chiefest places he frequents is the Tavern & Coffee houses in the mouring [morning]. his passion is for Books birds etc. which takes place of every thing else takes no exercise is not fond of Riding etc. nor traveling he never went on his travels; is very Childish. – has prayers every day. is Called Sensible & every ones says very good natured but his best friends allow he has an odd turn, & fear he will take after his father. he seems generously inclined, & Charitable he was an admirer of Mrs Welds, & wou’d like such a one as her Lady Arundell or Mrs Townly for a wife, by the by, all 3 very different women. Age 23 or 24 very good family.