The Marchmont " HUMES " Scotland - 1431 ( Historical Ancestry )
The Marchmont Humes
THE Marchmont Humes are cadets of the great family of the Homes, who once held paramount authority on the Eastern Borders. A junior branch of the house settled at Wedderburn in 1413, and the grandson of the first Baron of Wedderburn was the immediate ancestor of the Marchmont Humes.
The estates which afterwards formed the patrimony of this family anciently belonged to the St. Clairs, and as far back as the fifteenth century fell into the possession of two co-heiresses. In these auld times o rugging and riving through the hale country, as Edie Ochiltree said, when nae man wanted property if he had strength to take it, or had it langer than he had power to keep it, the abduction of a wealthy heiress was an event as common in Scotland as it was in Ireland at the close of last century. The young ladies in question were courted by as many lovers as was the renowned Tibby Fowler, who had twa-and-forty wooing at her, suing at her. But an uncle who was anxious to keep them unmarried, in order that he might inherit their large estates, carried them off from Polwarth, the family seat, and immured them in his own castle in East Lothian. The ladies, however, had singled out from the crowd of suitors the stalwart sons of their powerful neighbour, David Home of Wedderburn, and had lent a favourable ear to their addresses. In spite of the jealous precautions of their uncle, they contrived by means of a female beggar to transmit information to their lovers of the place of their confinement, and they were soon gratified by the appearance of the two youths, accompanied by a band of stout Merse men, before the gates of the castle. In spite of the remonstrances and resistance of the uncle, the ladies were forcibly released, and carried off in triumph to Polwarth, where their nuptials were immediately celebrated. The marriage festivities terminated with a merry dance round a thorn-tree which grew in the centre of the village green. In commemoration of this event, it became the practice for marriage parties in Polwarth to dance round this thorn; and the custom, which continued for well-nigh four hundred years, was only given up about fifty years ago, on the fall of the original tree, which was blown down in a fierce gale of wind. There is a well-known tune called Polwarth on the Green, to which several songs have been successively adapted. The first stanza of one of these productions of the Scottish muse thus refers to this old custom :
At Polwarth on the green,
If youll meet me the morn,
When lasses do convene
To dance around the thorn.
PATRICK, the younger of the two Homes, married the elder of the St. Clair ladies, and became the founder of the MARCHMONT HUME family.
[It has not been discovered at what time or for what reason the difference in the spelling of the family namewhich is pronounced Humeoriginated. David Hume, the philosopher and historian, in a letter to Alexander Home of Westfield, of date 12th April, 1758, says: The practice of spelling Hume is by far the most ancient and most general till about the Restoration, when it became common to spell Home, contrary to the pronunciation. Our name is frequently mentioned in Rymers Fadera, and always spelt Hume. I find a subscription of Lord Hume in the Memoirs of the Sydney family, where it is spelt as I do at present. These are a few of the numberless authorities on this head.
John Home, the author of the tragedy of Douglas, on the other hand, resolutely maintained that Home was the original and proper spelling, and the historian and he had many good-humoured discussions on the subject. On one occasion David proposed that they should cast lots to decide the matter. It is all very well for you, Mr. Philosopher, to make such a proposal, was Johns rejoinder; for if you lose you will obtain your own proper name; but if you win I lose mine. In the last note which David Hume sent to Dr. Blair, inviting him to dinner, he thus began it:
Mr. John Home, alias Hume, alias The Home, alias the late Lord Conservator, alias the late Minister of the Gospel at Athelstaneford, has calculated matters so as to arrive infallibly with his friend in St. Davids Street on Wednesday evening, &c.
It is well known that John Home had a strong dislike to port wine, and in playful allusion to this feeling, as well as to their dispute about the proper spelling of their name, David added the following codicil to his will, on 6th August, 1776, nineteen days before his death: I leave to my friend, Mr. John Home of Kilduff, ten dozen of my old claret at his choice, and one single bottle of that other liquor called port. I also leave to him six dozens of port, provided that he attests under his hand, signed John Hume, that he has himself alone finished that bottle at two sittings. By this concession he will at once surmount the only two differences that ever were between us concerning temporal matters.]
He was evidently a man of energy and activity, and in 1499 obtained the important office of Comptroller of Scotland, which he held till 1502, when he received the honour of knighthood. His descendants inherited his intellectual abilities as well as his estates, and had the sagacity and good fortune to be always on the winning side in the successive struggles for supremacy between Popery and Protestantism, and between the King and the people. While the heads of the main linethe Earls of Homewere Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, and Jacobites, the Marchmont Humes were Protestants, Presbyterians, and Hanoverians. The former, from the Great Civil War downwards, have produced no man of great intellectual power or commanding influence in the country; but the latter were prominent in all the great contests for civil and religious liberty, and rose to the highest offices of the State. The broad acres of the Homes, which at one time stretched from the Tweed on the south to the German Ocean on the north, have passed away almost entirely from the house; while the Humes, brizzing yont as their kinsmen receded, gradually extended their borders and augmented their domains till Greenlawwhich Cospatrick, the great Earl of March, bestowed on his nephew and son-in-law, the first Home, from which he took the colour of his shieldand even Home Castle, the cradle and patrimonial stronghold of the house, and the subject of many a Border story, passed into the possession of this prosperous junior branch of the family.
The great-grandson of the founder of the family, Patrick Hume of Polwarth, took a leading part in promoting the Reformation in Scotland, and was a member of the association which was formed in 1560 to protect the Protestant ministers. Sir Patricks eldest son, fifth Baron of Polwarth, who bore his Christian name, was appointed by James VI., in 1591, Master of the Household, one of the Gentlemen of the Bedchamber, and Warden of the Eastern Marches. He wrote some pieces of poetry which appear to have been popular in the Court of King James. Sir Patrick Hume, his son, seems to have been a favourite both of King James and Charles I., for the former gave him a pension of £100 a year, and the latter created him a baronet in 1625. He died in 1648. His younger brother, Alexander, was the author of a volume of Hymns and Sacred Songs, noted for their pious spirit rather than for their poetical merit.
The power and rank of the family culminated under Sir Patricks son, SIR PATRICK HUME, the second Baronet and first Earl of Marchmont. This distinguished statesman and staunch Covenanter was born in 1641. He entered public life in 1665 as member for the county of Berwick, and joined the small but faithful band of patriots who, under the Duke of Hamilton, offered a strenuous and constitutional resistance to the wretched administration of the notorious Duke of Lauderdale. In 1674 he accompanied Hamilton and other leading Scotsmen to London, for the purpose of laying the grievances of the country before the King, who in reply to their petition for redress said, I perceive that Lauderdale has been guilty of many bad things against the people of Scotland, but I cannot find he has acted anything contrary to my interest. In the following year Sir Patrick was imprisoned in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh by the Privy Council, on account of his appeal to the Court of Session for protection against the arbitrary and illegal assessment levied for the support of the troops in garrison. This imprisonment, which lasted two years, so far from repressing, only seems to have lent fresh ardour to his patriotic zeal. He was again imprisoned in 1679, and on his release by order of the King, he became a participator in the councils of Russell, Sydney, and other leading Whigs, who were anxious to exclude the Duke of York from the succession to the throne. On the judicial murder of these eminent patriots, and the arrest of his venerable friend Baillie of Jerviswood, Sir Patrick, knowing that he was a marked man, and that the Government was bent on his destruction, quitted his mansion of Redbraes Castle, and while he was supposed to have gone on a distant journey, took up his residence in the family burial vault underneath the parish church of Polwarth. This ancient edifice stands in a lonely sequestered spot, on a knoll surrounded with old trees and a brawling burn at its foot, with no dwelling near it. The place of his retreat was known only to his wife, his eldest daughter, and a carpenter named James Winter. The only light which Sir Patrick enjoyed in this dismal abode was by a slit in the wall, through which no one could see anything within. As long as daylight lasted he spent his time in reading Buchanans Latin version of the Psalms, which he thus imprinted so deeply on his memory that forty years after, when he was above fourscore years of age, he could repeat any one of them at bidding without omitting a word.
The duty of conveying food to Sir Patrick devolved upon his eldest daughter, Grizel, a young lady of nineteen. She at that time had a terror for a churchyard, says her daughter, Lady Murray, especially in the dark? as is not uncommon at her age by idle nursery stories; but her filial affection so far overcame the fears natural to her sex and youth, that she walked night after night through the woods of her fathers policy and amid the tombstones of the churchyard, at darkest midnight, afraid of nothing but the danger that the place of her fathers concealment might be discovered. The barking of the ministers dog, as she passed the manse on her nightly visits to the sepulchral vault, put her in great fear of discovery. But this difficulty was overcome by the ingenuity of her mother, who by raising a report that a mad dog had been seen roaming through the country, prevailed upon the clergyman to destroy the fierce mastiff which annoyed her daughter. It was not always easy to secrete the victuals which Grizel conveyed to her father without exciting the suspicions of the domestics, and the remarks of the younger children. Sir Patrick was partial to the national dish of a sheeps head, and one day at dinner Grizel took an opportunity, when her brothers and sisters were busy at their kail, to convey the greater part of one from the plate to her lap, with the intention of carrying it that night to her father. When her brother Sandy, afterwards second Earl of Marchmont, raised his eyes and saw that the dish was empty, he exclaimed, Mother, will ye look at Grizzy! While we have been supping our broth she has eaten up the whole sheeps head! When Sir Patrick was told this amusing incident that night he laughed heartily, and requested that in future Sandy might have a share of the highly prized viands.
Another of the services which this heroic young lady performed for her father at this period of her life was conveying a letter from Sir Patrick to his friend Robert Baillie of Jerviswood, then imprisoned on a charge of treason in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. Baillie, who was as eminent for his abilities and learning as for his fidelity to his religious principles, had shared in the councils of the English patriots, and it was of the utmost importance that intelligence should be communicated to him respecting the state of affairs since his imprisonment. Miss Grizel readily undertook this difficult and dangerous task, and managed it with great dexterity and perfect success. The son of Mr. Baillie, a youth about her own age, had at this time been recalled from Holland, where he was educated, to attend his fathers trial. In a cell in the famous old Tolbooth these two young persons met for the first time, and an attachment then commenced which was destined to lead to their union in happier days, when the Revolution had expelled the tyrant and his infamous tools from the country. Shortly after this interview the Ministers of State, who, as Bishop Burnet says, were most earnestly set on Mr. Baillies destruction, arraigned the venerable patriot, though he was in a dying condition, before the High Court of Justiciary. In flagrant violation both of law and justice, he was found guilty, on the morning of December 24th, 1684, and, lest he should anticipate the sentence by a natural death, he was executed on the afternoon of the same day, with all the revolting barbarities of the penalties attached to treason.
Meanwhile, on the approach of winter, Lady Hume and Jamie Winter, the carpenter, had been contriving a place of concealment for Sir Patrick more comfortable, and less injurious to health, than the damp and dark burial vault. In one of the rooms on the ground-floor, beneath a bed, Grizel and the faithful retainer dug a hole in the earth, using their fingers alone to prevent noise, and under cover of night carrying out the earth in a sheet to the garden, and scattering it in places where it was least likely to be noticed. The severity of this task is evident, from the fact that when it was finished the nails were quite worn off the young ladys fingers. In the hole thus excavated Winter placed a box large enough to contain some bedclothes, and to afford a place of refuge for the hunted patriot, the boards above it being bored with holes for the admission of air. Sir Patrick lived for some time in this room, of which his daughter kept the key, but an irruption of water into the excavation compelled him to seek another asylum; and the search after him having become keener after the judicial murder of his friend Baillie, he decided on making an attempt to escape from the country in disguise. A few hours after he had quitted Redbraes a party of soldiers came to the house in search of him. He had set out on horseback during the night, accompanied by a trustworthy servant named John Allan, who was to conduct him part of his way to London. In travelling towards the Tweed, Sir Patrick and his guide accidentally separated in the darkness, and the former was not aware that he had quitted the proper road till he reached the banks of the river. This mistake proved his safety, for Allan was overtaken by the very soldiers who had been sent in pursuit of his master. In the assumed character of a surgeon, Sir Patrick reached London in safety, and thence made his way by France to Holland, where a number of other patriots, Scots and English, had found refuge.
Sir Patrick had a wife and ten children, all young, residing at Redbraes at this time, and they, too, were subjected to harsh treatment by the Government. The eldest son, Patrick, a mere youth, was apprehended and put in prison, and on the 26th of December, 1684, he presented a petition to the Privy Council, setting forth the piteous condition of the family, now deprived of their father and threatened with the loss of their estate. He was but a poor afflicted young boy, he said, who could do no harm to the State; he, moreover, cherished loyal principles and a hatred of plots. All he craved was liberty, that he might see to some livelihood for himself, and be in some condition to help and serve his disconsolate mother and the rest of his fathers ten starving children. The boon was granted grudgingly by the Ministers, who were no doubt mortified at Sir Patricks escape, and before the young man was set at liberty he was obliged to obtain security for his good behaviour to the extent of two thousand pounds sterling. Young Patrick was subsequently enrolled in the bodyguards of the Prince of Orange, afterwards William III., and served with distinction in the campaigns of the Duke of Marlborough. But his promising career was eventually cut short: he, by many years, preceded his father to the grave.
In the following year (1685) Sir Patrick Hume accompanied the Earl of Argyll in the disastrous expedition which cost that unfortunate nobleman his head. The ruin of the enterprise, which from the outset was evidently doomed to failure, was mainly brought about by the mutual jealousies and contentions of the leaders. More fortunate than his chief and Sir John Cochrane, the other second in command, Sir Patrick, after lying in concealment for some weeks in Ayrshire, a second time made his escape to the Continent, in a vessel which conveyed him from the west coast, first to Ireland and then to Bordeaux, whence he proceeded to Geneva, and finally to Holland. At Bordeaux he gave himself out for a surgeon, as he had done during his former exile, and as he always carried lancets, and could let blood, he had no difficulty in passing for a medical man. He travelled on foot across France to Holland, where he was joined by his wife and children. Under the designation of Dr. Wallace, Sir Patrick settled in Utrecht, where he spent three years and a half in great privation, as his estate had been confiscated, and his income was both small and precarious. His poverty prevented him from keeping a servant, and he was frequently compelled to pawn his plate to provide for the necessities of his family. One of Sir Patricks younger children, named Juliana, had been left behind in Scotland, on account of ill-health, and her eldest sister Grizel was sent back to bring her over to Holland. She was entrusted at the same time with the management of some business of her fathers, and was commissioned to collect what she could of the money that was due to him. All this she performed with her usual discretion and success.
The ship in which she took a passage to Holland for herself and her sister encountered a severe storm on the voyage, the terrors of which were aggravated by the barbarity of a brutal captain. The two girls were landed at Brill, whence they set out the same night for Rotterdam in company with a Scottish gentleman whom they accidentally met on landing. The night was cold and wet, and Juliana, who was hardly able to walk, soon lost her shoes in the mud. Grizel had to take the ailing child on her back and carried her all the way to Rotterdam, while the gentlemana sympathising fellow exile-carried their baggage.
During Sir Patricks residence in Holland, the greater part of the domestic drudgery devolved upon his devoted and self-denying daughter, who was often obliged to sit up two nights in the week to complete her work. According to the simple and affecting narrative of her daughter, Lady Murray of Stanhope, She went to the market, went to the mill to have their corn ground, which it seems is the way with good managers there; dressed the linen, cleaned the house, made ready the dinner, mended the childrens stockings and other clothes, made what she could for them; and, in short, did everything. Her sister Christian, who was a year or two younger, diverted her father, mother, and the rest, who were fond of music. Out of their small income they bought a harpsichord for little money. My aunt played and sang well, and had a great deal of life and humour, but no turn for business. Though my mother had the same qualification, and liked it as well as she did, she was forced to drudge; and many jokes used to pass between the sisters about their different occupations. Every morning before six my mother lighted her fathers fire in his study, then waked him, and got what he usually took as soon as he got upwarm small-beer with a spoonful of bitters in it; then took up the children, and brought them all to his room, when he taught them everything that was fit for their age: some Latin, others French, Dutch, geography, writing, English, &c., and my grandmother taught them what was necessary on her part. Thus he employed and diverted himself all the time he was there, not being able to afford putting them to school; and my mother, when she had a moment, took a lesson with the rest in French and Dutch, and also diverted herself with music. I have now a book of songs of her writing when she was there, many of them interrupted, half writ, some broke off in the midst of a sentence. She had no less a turn for mirth and society than any of the family, when she could come at it without neglecting what she thought was necessary.
Sir Patricks eldest son and young Mr. Baillie were at this time serving together in the Guards of the Prince of Orange, and Grizels constant attention, continues Lady Murray, was to have her brother appear right in his linen and dress. They wore little point cravats and cuffs, which many a night she sat up to have in as good order for him as any in the place; and one of their greatest expenses was in dressing him as he ought to be. As their house was always full of the unfortunate banished people like themselves, they seldom went to dinner without three, or four, or five of them to share with them. And it used to excite their surprise that notwithstanding this generous hospitality, their limited resources were almost always sufficient to supply their wants. In after years, when invested with the rank of an Earls daughter, and the wife of a wealthy gentleman, Grizel used to declare that their years of privation and drudgery were the most delightful of her whole life. Some of their difficulties and straits, though sufficiently annoying, only served to afford amusement to the exiled family. Andrew, then a boy, afterwards a judge of the Court of Session, was one day sent down to the cellar for a glass of alabast beer, the only liquor with which Sir Patrick could entertain his friends. On his return with the beer, his father said, Andrew, what is that in your other hand? It was the spigot of the barrel, which the boy had forgotten to replace. He hastened back to the cellar with all speed, but found that meanwhile the whole stock of beer had run out. This incident occasioned much mirth and laughter, though at the same time they did not know where they would get more. It was the custom at Utrecht to gather money for the poor from house to house, the collector announcing his presence by ringing a hand-bell. One night the sound of the bell was heard at Sir Patricks door, when there was no money in the house but a single okey, the smallest coin then used in Holland. They were so much ashamed to offer such a donation that none of the family would go with the money, till Sir Patrick himself at last undertook the duty, philosophically remarking, We can give no more than all we have.
In 1688, when the Prince of Orange undertook the deliverance of Britain from the tyranny of the Stewarts, Sir Patrick accompanied the expedition, and shared in all its difficulties, and ultimately in its rewards. High honours proportioned to his services and sufferings and character were showered upon him. His attainder was reversed and his estates were restored. He took his seat as member for Berwickshire in the Convention Parliament, which met at Edinburgh in 1689. He was soon afterwards sworn a Privy Councillor, and in 1690 was elevated to the peerage by the title of Lord Polwarth. In 1692 he was nominated Sheriff of Berwickshire; in the following year he was made one of the extraordinary Lords of Session, and in 1696 was appointed to the chief Scottish State office, that of Lord Chancellor. In 1697 he was created Earl of Marchmont, Viscount Blasonberry, and Baron Polwarth, and was made one of the Commissioners of the Treasury and Admiralty, and subsequently filled the office of Lord High Commissioner both to the Parliament of 1698 and to the General Assembly in 1702. Shortly after the accession of Queen Anne he was deprived of his offices of Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, and Sheriff of Berwickshire; but notwithstanding this slight he took a prominent part in promoting the union between Scotland and England, and after a long life spent in the service of his country, he died in 1724, in the eighty-third year of his age, full of years and honours. Mackay, in his Memoirs, describes the Earl as a clever gentleman of clear parts, but always a lover of set long speeches, zealous for the Presbyterian government and its divine right.
The Earl of Marchmont was undoubtedly possessed of eminent abilities and extensive attainments, and was held in esteem by his contemporaries. But Lord Macaulay, who cherished a strong prejudice against the Earl, represents him as a man incapable alike of leading and of following, conceited, captious, and wrong-headed, an endless talker, a sluggard in action against the enemy, and active only against his own allies. It may be, felicitously rejoins Mr. Campbell Swinton, that Sir Patrick Hume was fond of hearing himself talk. But if it was so, those best acquainted with the social qualities of the noble historian will concur with me in thinking that the fault is not one which he at least should regard as unpardonable. And I cannot comprehend how Lord Macaulay can reconcile his own description of the statesmanlike sagacity of his favourite idol, William of Orange, with the picture he draws of the man who, both before and after that princes accession to the English throne, was among his most trusted counsellors and his most highly honoured friends.
The diary of George Home of Kimmerghame, whose father was the Earl of Marchmonts first cousin, gives a very pleasing view of the character of the Earl and the feeling which his kinsmen cherished towards him. The foreground of the picture, says Mr. Swinton, is always occupied by the Lord of Marchmont. Without the presence of "the Chancellor" neither a business meeting nor a convivial party seems to have been considered complete. His sayings are chronicled with a Boswell-like fidelityas when we are told that "after dinner my Lord fell in commendation of tobacco, and said he was told it was observed that no man that smoked regularly fell into a consumption, or was troubled with the gout." When he journeys to London in his family coacha journey, by the way, which occupies him twelve dayshe is waited on as far as Belford by his friends, including Kames, Coldenknowes, and his loving cousin of Kimmerghame. His return from the south as his Majestys Commissioner resembles nothing but a royal progress. And in the exercise of his viceregal authority we find him dubbing knights, and ruling with firmness and dignity an assembly as turbulent as a modern American Congress. Yet in the midst of all this he is a kind friend, a hospitable host, an active country gentleman, a welcome guest at bridals and christenings; deeply interested in everything that occurs in Berwickshire, and consulted regarding the marriage, and revising the marriage settlements, of his every female cousin in the fourth or fifth degree. [Men of the Merse. By Archibald Campbell Swinton of Kimmerghame. A delightful little volume, which it is earnestly hoped the accomplished author will be induced to enlarge.]
His noble-minded daughter, Grizel, came over to England in 1688, in the train of the Princess of Orange. After the settlement of the crown on William and Mary, the latter, who wished to retain Sir Patricks daughter near her person, offered her the situation of one of her maids of honour. But, like the Shunammite of old, Grizel preferred to dwell among her own people; and about two years after the Revolution she married her faithful lover, Mr. George Baillie, who had now regained his paternal estates, and spent with him forty-eight years of wedded life, in the enjoyment of an amount of happiness proportioned to the remarkable virtues and endowments of both husband and wife.
Mr. Baillie filled with great honour several important offices under Government, and was distinguished equally for his eminent abilities and his high-toned integrity. Rachel, the younger daughter of this excellent couple, inherited the family estates, and was the common ancestress of the elder branch of the Earls of Haddington and of the Baillies of Jerviswood, who have now succeeded to the Haddington titles and estates. The elder daughter, Grizel, who became the wife of Sir Alexander Murray of Stanhope, wrote a most interesting memoir of her mother, Lady Grizel, whose appearance she thus describes: Her actions show what her mind was, and her outward appearance was no less singular. She was middle-sized, clean in her person, very handsome, with a life and sweetness in her eyes very uncommon, and great delicacy in all her features; her hair was chestnut, and to the last she had the finest complexion with the clearest red in her cheeks and lips that could be seen in one of fifteen, which, added to her natural constitution, might be owing to the great moderation she observed in her diet throughout her whole life. Lady Murray speaks of her mothers poetical compositions, and several of her songs or ballads were printed in Ramsays Tea-Table Miscellany. The best known of these is the beautiful and affecting but unequal pastoral song, Were na my heart licht, I wad die, which is associated with a most pathetic incident in the life of Robert Burns. This admirable woman died in 1746, in the eighty first year of her age, having survived her husband about eight years.
The two eldest sons of the first Earl of Marchmont predeceased him, and he was succeeded in his titles and estates by his third son, ALEXANDER, who, like his father, held a number of important public offices. He was a Lord of Session, under the title of Lord Cessnock, a Commissioner of the Exchequer and a Privy Councillor, and represented the British Government at the Courts both of Denmark and Prussia. By his marriage with the heiress of Cessnock, in Ayrshire, he acquired that estate [The sale of this Ayrshire estate in 1768, provided the funds by means of which Hume Castle and the adjoining lands became the property of the Marchmont family.] and the title under which he was raised, before he was thirty years of age, to a seat on the Bench. On the breaking out of the rebellion of 1715, he raised four hundred men in Berwickshire, to assist in its suppression, and marched with three battalions to join the Duke of Argyll at Stirling, before the battle of Sheriffmuir. In 1721 he was appointed first ambassador to the celebrated congress at Cambray, and made his public entry into that city in a style of great splendour and magnificence. But his opposition to Sir Robert Walpole led to his dismissal from the office of Lord Clerk-Register in 1733. Earl Alexander died in 1740, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. He had four sons and four daughters, but his two eldest sons died young. He was succeeded in his titles and estates by the elder of his two surviving sons, born in 1708. They were twins, and were celebrated for their extraordinary personal resemblance to one another. Alexander Hume Campbell, who bore the name which his father assumed on his marriage, was an eminent member of the English Bar, and represented his native county of Berwickshire in the British Parliament. For some years previous to his death, in 1760, he held the office of Lord Clerk-Register of Scotland.
HUGH, the third and last Earl of Marchmont, born in 1708, was remarkable for his learning, his wit, and his eloquence. At the general election of 1734 he entered the House of Commons as member for Berwick, and made himself so formidable to the Government as one of the leaders of the Opposition, that Sir Robert Walpole, then Prime Minister, declared that there were few things he more ardently desired than to see that young man at the head of his family, which would have had the effect of removing him from Parliament altogether, as the earldom of Marchmont was only a Scottish title, which did not entitle its possessor to a seat in the House of Lords. According to Horace Walpole, Sir Robert used to say to his sons, When I have answered Sir John Barnard and Lord Polwarth, I think I have concluded the debate.
Earl Stanhope, speaking of the severe blow which the removal of this accomplished debater from the House of Commons, by the death of his father, in 1740, dealt to the Opposition, says, Polwarth was a young man of distinguished abilities, of rising influence in the Commons, of greatperhaps too greatparty warmth; an opinion in which the famous Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, did not concur. 'I have heard some say, she writes, that Lord Polwarth and his brother are too warm; but I own I love those that are so, and never saw much good in those that are not. Earl Hugh was held in high esteem by his contemporaries, and was the intimate friend of Pope, St. John, Peterborough, Arbuthnot, and the other members of the brilliant Twickenham circle. Lord Cobham placed his bust in the Temple of Worthies at Stow. Pope makes frequent and affectionate mention of him in his poems, and introduces his name into the well-known inscription on his grotto at Twickenham:-
There the brightest flame was shot through Marchmonts soul.
The Earl was one of the executors of the poet, and also of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, who left him a legacy of £2,500. Dr. Samuel Johnson, who had an interview with his lordship for the purpose of obtaining some information about Pope for his Lives of the Poets, was so delighted with the Earl, in spite of his Scottish nationality, that he said to Boswell, Sir, I would rather have given twenty pounds than not have come.
Lord Marchmont sat for thirty-four years in the House of Lords as one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland, and took an active part in the business of the House, in which his abilities, experience, and learning gave him great weight He died in 1794 at the age of eighty-six. The Earl was twice married, and had one son by each of his wives. PATRICK, the first born, died young. The younger, who was named ALEXANDER, married in 1772 Annabel, Baroness Lucas, the heiress of the great family of the Greys, Dukes of Kent, and was created in 1776 a British .peer by the title of Baron Hume of Berwick. He unfortunately died without issue in his fathers lifetime. But the untimely death of this promising young nobleman did not heal a family feud which had originated in a contested election for the county of Berwick in 1780. The rival candidates were Sir John Paterson of Eccles, the Earls nephew and nominee, and young Hugh Scott of Harden, the Earls grandson by his eldest daughter, Lady Diana Scott. Lord Polwarth and his father took opposite sides in the contest, which was carried on with great keenness, and terminated in the return of Mr. Scott. The old peer, who had inherited a good deal of the obstinate disposition as well as the talents of the first Earl, never forgave his grandson for what he termed an act of rebellion, and he in consequence disinherited him and settled his extensive estates on the heirs of his sister, Lady Anne Purves, who had married Sir William Purves of Purves Hall, a descendant of Sir William Purves who was Solicitor-General for Scotland in the reign of Charles II. The present worthy Baronet of Marchmont, who has assumed the name of Hume-Campbell, is the great-grandson of Lady Anne Purves.
Till qwe meet again - Regards - edmondsallan