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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


350 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CXL. SIR DAVID RAE OF ESKGROVE, BART., LORD JUSTICE-CLERK. SIR DAVID RAE was the son of the Rev. David Rae, a clergyman of the Episcopal persuasion in Edinburgh, by Apes, a daughter of Sir David Forbes of Newhall, Baronet, brother to the celebrated Duncan Forbes of Culloden. He was born in 1729, and acquired his classical education at the University of Edinburgh, where he studied for the bar, and was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1751. When the celebrated Douglas cause was before the Court, he was appointed one of the Commissioners who accompanied Lords Monboddo and Gardenstone (then advocates) to France, in 1764, for the purpose of investigating the proceedings which had been carried on in Paris relative to the case. After thirty years of honourable and successful practice at the bar, Mr. Rae was promoted to the bench on the death of Alexander Boswell of Auchideck in 1782, and succeeded Robert Bruce of Kennet as a Lord of Justiciary in 1785. On his promotion, he assumed the title of Lord Eskgrove, from the name of a small estate near Inveresk, not far from Musselburgh. On the bench he was distinguished by that depth of legal knowledge and general talent for which he was eminent as an advocate. His opinions were generally expressed in a clear, lucid manner ; and he sometimes indulged in humorous illustration. In a cause relating to the game-laws, decided in 1790,' after parties had been heard, and the Lord Justice-clerk (Macqueen), as well as Lord Hailes, had severally delivered their opinions in favour of the pursuer, Lord Monboddo, as he frequently did, held quite a different opinion from the rest of his brethren. He contended that, in order to prevent our noblemen and gentlemen from growing effeminate, and for preserving their strength and bodies in good order, the legislature meant to encourage sportsmen, and allowed them to pursue their game where they could find it; and he desired to see what law took away this right. There were laws, indeed, prohibiting them from hunting on enclosed grounds; but when it prohibited them from those grounds, it certainly implied that they were tolerated on grounds not enclosed. Although he should stand single in his opinion, he could see no reason for altering it. Lord Eskgrove observed in reply, that he was no hunter himself, and he The parties were the Earl of Breadalbane 'DL. ivingstone of Parkhall ; the latter having killed game on the lands of the Earl without permission. The w e was decided against the defender.
Volume 8 Page 488
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