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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 243 KO. XCIX. JOHN DAVIDSON, ESQ., AND LORD HENDERLAND. GEORGE PATON, ESQ. LORD MONBODDO AND DR. HUTTON. MR. JOHN DAVIDSON, the first figure in the division entitled " Conversation,'' was the son of a bookseller in Edinburgh, and followed the profession of a Writer to the Signet. During the greater part of his life he enjoyed, perhaps, the most lucrative and respectable business in Edinburgh. He was a man of superior abilities, and of great acuteness and industry. His literary acquirements were highly estimated by his friends, to whom he frequently rendered valuable assistance. Principal Robertson, in the preface of his History of Scotland, which was given to the world in 1759, makes honourable mention of Mr. Davidson in these words :-'' The facts and observations which relate to Mary's letters, I owe to my friend Mr. John Davidson, one of the Clerks of the Signet, who hath examined this point with his usual acuteness and industry." Mr. Davidson printed, but did not publish, two tracts: the one on the Regiam Majestatem, and the other on the Black Acts. In 1771 he printed for private distribution a thin 4to volume, entitled " Accounts of the Chamberlain of Scotland in 1329, 1330, and 1331, from the originals in the Exchequer, with some other curious Papers." 1 He had an only son, who died before him in early life. The late Mr. Hugh Warrender, his first clerk, succeeded to his business at his death, which occurred at Edinburgh on the 29th December 1797. The house built by Mr. Davidson, and for sixty years successively inhabited by him and Mr. Warrender, was the uppermost house on the Castle Hill, next to the Castle, on the north side of the street, and became the property of Sir George Warrender, Bart., who inherited it under the settlement of his relative. The founder of the family, and first baronet, was a tradesman of Edinburgh at the beginning of last century ; a circumstance on which Sir George prides himself exceedingly. The estate of Stewartfield, acquired by Ifi. Davidson, was, in consequence of a destination in his settlement, inherited by a younger son of Lord Glenlee. For many years Mr. Davidson was agent for the Crown. LORD HENDERLAND is represented as engaged in conversation with Mr. Davidson--each in the attitude which, upon such occasions, he was wont In some copies a third appendix is to be found, of which only about a dozen copias were thrown pff.
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244 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. to assume. These two gentlemen *had been acquainted from infancy; and duriug a long period their intimacy had suffered no interruption. His lordship’s name was Alexander Murray. He was the son of Archibald Murray, Esq. of Murrayfield, advocate, and born at Edinburgh in 1736. Being early designed for the profession of the law, he was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1758. He was appointed to the Sheriffdom of Peebles in 1761, and succeeded his father as one of the Commissaries of Edinburgh in 1765. In the course of a few years he became Solicitor-General for Scotland, in the room of Mr. Henry Dundas, who had been made Lord Advocate. He was elected member of Parliament for the county of Peebles, and soon after was raised tQ the bench, and received what is called a double gown,-on which occasion he assumed the designation of Lord Henderland, from an estate he possessed in Peeblesshire. He also held the office of Clerk of the Pipe in the Court of Exchequer; an office which, through the interest of Lord Melville, was given to his two sons. Lord Henderland died in 1795, leaving two sons and a daughter, the issue of his marriage with Katherine, daughter of Sir Alexander Lindsay of Eveleck. Mrs. Murray died in 1828. The eldest son, William, joined the English bar. John Archibald, his youngest son, while Lord Advocate for Scotland, was four times elected member of Parliament for the Leith district of burghs.’ His daughter, Amelia Jane, died unmarried in 1798. MR. GEORGE PATON, whose figure occupies the centre division, was a keen bibliographer and antiquary. His father, hlr. John Paton, a respectable bookseller in the Old Parliament Square, was one of the committee of philanthropic citizens who, in conjunction with the worthy Provost Drummond, originated that invaluable institution, the Royal Infirmary. The facts and circumstances in the history of Mr. Paton, the younger, are scanty. He received a liberal education, but without any professional design, having been bred by his father to his own business. This, however, he relinquished, on obtaining a clerkship in the Custom-House, at a salary for many years of only 360. In this humble situation, the emoluments of which were subsequently augmented to S80, he continued during the remainder of his long life, apparently without the smallest desire of attaining either to higher honour or greater wealth. The chief aim of his ambition seemed to be the acquisition of such monuments of antiquity as might tend to elucidate the literature, history, and topography of his native country. His father had been an antiquary of some research, and at his death left a valuabIe collection, which the subject of our sketch took care, by every means within the compass of his narrow income, to augment. As illustrative of the strong bibliomania both in father and son, it is told of them, that whenever they happened to meet with any curious publication, instead of exposing it in the shop for sale, they immediately placed it in Nr, Murray was afterwards raised to the bench, and took the title of Lord Mumy.
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