v 6.30.00
28 Jan 2022
updated 28 Jan 2022

148. ERSKINE, Earl of Mar.

ALtho 'tis not above three hundred Years since the Erskines had any Title to the Earldom of Mar, yet this illustrious Family considered in it self is very great and eminent, if we respect either its Antiquity, or the many great Employments and Perferments they have been honoured with these four Hundred Years past, and tho I cannot show the precise Time when, or by whom the Name was first assumed, yet 'tis certain, it was derived from the Barony of Erskine in the Shire of Renfrew, and so being a local Sirname, is of Consequence very ancient; tho the first mention I have found of them, is no higher than the Time of King Alexander II. in the 12th of whose Reign Henry de Erskine is Witness in the Gift which Amelick Brother of Maldwin, Earl of Lennox, made to the Chanons of Paisly of the Patronage of the Church of Roseneth, with the Tithes thereunto belonging, for the welfare of the King his Sovereign Lord. Sir John de Erskine Knight his Successor is a Witness to that Donation, which Walter Stewart Earl of Montieth made to the Abbot of Paisly of the Church of St. Colmonelv, for the Good of his Soul, according to the Devotion of those Days. He was the Father of Sir John de Erskine, and he of William, who succeeded him in the Barony of Erskine, and of John who obtained a Grant from James High Steward of Scotland of sundry Lands within his Tenement of Largis; in which Deed he's designed Joannes de Erskine filius Joannis de Erskine filii & heredis Joannis de Erskine Militis, reserving the Lands which William the Son of Sir John Erskine, held of him there.

Sir William Erskine the next of this Noble Family, was a forward Asserter of the Right of King Robert Bruce, to whose Interest faithfully adhering, he was one of those Patriots, who in the [Page 298] 1322 joined the Earl of Murray and Sir James Douglas, when they made an Expedition into England, where his gallant Behaviour procured him the Honour of Knighthood and other Marks of the royal Favour. He le[...]t behind him two Sons Robert his Successor, and Sir Alan Erskine who [...]ined the Barony of Inchmartine in Perth Shire, by the marriage of the Heir of Sir John of Inchmartine Knight, which came the same way to the Glens, and so to Sir Andrew Ogilvy Ancestor to the Earl of Finlater in the Reign of King James II.

Which Sir Robert Erskine of Erskine being a Person well versed both in Peace and War, was no less conspicuous for his firm and stedfast Loyalty to King David, than his Father had been to King Robert, even when his Interest was at the very lowest, and the Usurper Baliol upon the Throne; for as soon as the Loyalists took the Fields, and Declared for their lawful Sovereign, Sir Robert Erskine joined the Lord High Steward and other Patriots, who fought with, and defeated the Rebels, and thereby recovered a great part of the Country to the King's Obedience; for which he was afterward rewarded as his singular Merit deserved.

When a Treaty was set on Foot for redeeming King David from Captivity, when he was taken Prisoner at the Battle of Durham Anno 1346, Sir Robert Erskine Lord of Erskine, as he is called in the Record, was one of the Commissioners employed in that honourable Negotiation; but that Treaty not taking effect, he was always one of the Plenipotentiaries that were appointed for the same purpose, and renewed every Year, tho all of them were unsuccessful till the 1357, that Robert Lord High Steward, Guardian of Scotland, then commissioned Sir Robert Erskine and other Noble Persons to treat about the Redemption of the King, and a final Peace with the English Nation, who at length agreed, that King David should be released, set free, and ransomed for 100000 Merks Sterling Money, to be paid Yearly by 10000 Merks, till the whole Sum was paid; to which no Man seems to have contributed more frankly than Sir Robert, and gave his eldest Son one of the Hostages for Performance of the Treaty. This signal Loyalty to his distressed Sovereign could not fail to be nobly rewarded; and therefore his Majesty no sooner returned home, than he constituted him Justiciary for the Northern District of Scotland Anno 1359, and the same Year he was appointed to go upon a solemn Embassy to France, to renew the ancient League betwixt the two Crowns, Sir John Grant and Norman Lesly Esq being his Colleagues. Also in the 1364 he was appointed one of the Commissioners to treat about a final Peace with those named by the King of England for the same effect, when a Truce was prorogued betwixt the two Nations; not long after which, Sir Robert Erskine was constituted Lord High Chamberlain, in place of Mr. Walter Biggar Parson of Errol, in the 40th of his Reign, and made High Sheriff of the County, and Governour of the Castle of Stirling during Life, likewise of Edinburgh and Dumbartoun. All which he had under his Command at the Death of the King Anno 1371, when he declared for King Robert II. which Contributed not a little to bring that Prince peaceably to the Throne, and to [Page 299] extinguish the hopes of any other Pretender to the Crown. Having done all the Service he could for King Robert II. toward his advancement to the Throne, his Majesty did not then forget to dispence his Royal Favours to him, and more particularly he made him a Grant of an Annuity of Forty Me[...]ks Sterling for merly payable to the Crown, out of the Barony of Cadzow, which he exchanged with Sir David Hamilton for his Lands of Alands, Barns and Barn hill, within the Barony of Renfrew.

But his Majesty's Bounty did not stop to him here, for soon thereafter he bestowed on him a third part of the Revenue acrescing to the Crown out of the Burrough of Dundee, together with a third of the Lands of Pitcarach then in the Crown, by the demise of John Campbel Earl of Athole.

He was a great Benefactor to the Church; for to the Cathedral of Brichen, he gave an Yearly Rent out of the Barony of Dundee, for the support of two Priests, to celebrate Divine Service for the good Estate of himself and his Wife during their Lives, and for the health of his Soul after his Departure hence, and the Souls of his Ancestors and Successors for ever. Also to the Monks of Cambuskenneth, he made over his Right of the Patronage of the Church of Kinnoul, with the Lands of Fintalach, pro salubritate status nostri & Christianae Keith Sponsae nostrae dum vixerimus, & pro salute Animarum nostrarum, cum ab hac luce migraverimus; nec non pro salute Animarum omnium Antecessorum, & Successorum nostrorum, & omnium fidelium defunctorum.

He married first Beatrix Daughter of . . . Lindsay of . . . . and again Christian Relict of Sir Edward Keith, and dying Anno 1385, left Issue, two Sons and a Daughter.

Sir Thomas his Successor.

Sir Nicol Erskine of Kinnoul. Which Branch in the Reign of King James II. determined in an Heir Female, Christian, Daughter and sole Heir of Sir John Erskine of Kinnoul, married to Sir Robert Crichton of Sanquhar, Ancestor to the Earl of Drumfrise.

Marion married to Sir Maurice Drummond of Concraig.

Sir Thomas Erskine had a large share of Favour with King Robert II. by whom he was raised to the Honour of Knighthood, and in 1384 appointed to go to England, upon a solemn Embassy, to treat about the Prorogation of a Truce betwixt the two Realms. He was no less valu'd and esteem'd by Robert III. for his Wisdom, Prudence and Experience; for in 1392 that King sent him his Ambassador into England, to treat with that State upon Affairs of the highest Consequence. 'Tis not unworthy our Remark, that in both the Commissions the King calls Sir Thomas Erskine Consanguineus noster. He married first Janet Daughter of Sir Edward Keith of Sinton Knight, by Christian his Wife, Daughter and Heir of Sir John Montieth, and of Helen his Wife, Daughter of Gratney Earl of Mar, by whom he had Robert his Successor: And next Jean Daughter of . . . . Barclay of . . . . By her he had a Son John, who was the first Baron of Dun, in Forfar-Shire, of whom branched the Erskine's of Pittodry, whose Ancestor Sir Thomas Erskine of Brichen, was Secretary of State in the Reign of King James V.

Robert Lord of Erskine the next of this noble Family, in Imitation of [Page 300] his Ancestors, signalized his Loyalty to King James I. when that Prince was a Prisoner in England, and as soon as an Attempt was made by the Governour toward effecting his Majesty's Freedom anno 1421, Robert Lord of Erskine was one of the Commissioners appointed to go to England, to ascertain the Faith of the Treaty: And as soon as it was finally concluded in the 1424, he was one of the Hostages sent into England for the Security of the Ransom. But the King being unwilling to be deprived of Sir Robert's Services, upon the payment of the first Moiety of 2000 Merks, he was by the King of England's Order set at Liberty upon the 19th of June 1425. Upon the Death of Alexander Earl of Mar anno 1436, he laid Claim to the half of that Earldom, for the Reasons which have been mentioned before; and accordingly was served Heir to Isabel Countess of Mar his Cousin, before the Sheriff of Aberdeen, on the 22d of April 1438, and thereupon assumed the Title of Earl of Mar. But the Ministry in the Minority of King James II. intenting a Process against his Lordship in reference to his Right, and the Case coming to be tried, it continued a long Plea with the Crown, which was not determined in his Days, Death putting a Period to his Life Anno 1453. Leaving Issue by . . . . Stewart his Wife, Daughter to the Lord Lorn, Thomas his Successor, and a Daughter Agnes, married to Henry Douglas of Lochlevin, Ancestor to the Earl of M [...]r [...]u [...].

Which Thomas did prosecute his Father's Claim to the Earldom of Ma with all the Vigour imaginable, but, having a powerful Party, the King, to deal with, at length a final Sentence was given against him in Parliament, on the 5th of November 1457, which he was obliged to acquiesce in: But notwithstanding the hard Measure he thought he had undergone from the Crown, and which might have been thought would have made him ready to have taken all Occasions of being severe to it, yet he was a Person of so much Honour and Vertue, that in the succeeding Reign of James III. when he had a very fair Opportunity to be revenged, yet he no sooner saw the ways of Duty toward the King declined, and his just Power invaded by a strong Party of the Nobility, than out of pure Conscience to serve his Majesty when he was in Distress, he frankly ingaged in his Quarrel, and when the War broke out, accepted a Command in the Army, in which he continued till the very End, that the King was miserably killed in the Field of Stirling on the 11th of June 1488, where some Authors, without any just Ground, have asserted that his Lordship had the same Fate with his Master; But that it was not so, evidently appears from several Memorials concerning him, which I have seen after that time. He married Janet Daughter to the Earl of Morton; By her he had Alexander his Successor, and two Daughters;

Elizabeth married to Sir Alexander Seaton of Touch, and had Issue.

Mary to William Livingstoun of Kilsyth and had Issue

Alexander Lord Erskine was Governour of Dumbartoun Castle in the 15th of King James IV. and of the Privy Council to that Prince. He sounded a Chaplainry within the Paroch Church of Alloa of his own Patronage, [Page 301] In honorem sanctae & individuae Trinitatis, Patris, Filii & Spiritus Sancti, Beatae Mariae virginis, & Sancti Kentigerni, to which he mortified a certain Annuity, for the Maintenance of a fit and qualified Person, to celebrate Divine Service at St. Katharines Altar, pro salute animae quondam Jacobi III. Regis Scotorum, pro prosperitate Jacobi moderni Regis, necnon prosalute animae sui ipsius, & animae Christianae Crichton quondam sponsae suae, & pro salute Elenae Hume sponsae suae modernae, & omnium heredum & successorum suorum. By Christian his Wife, Daughter of Robert Lord Crichton of Sanquhar, he had Robert a Son, and two Daughters, Christian married to David Stewart of Rossyth; and Agnes to Sir William Montieth of Carse.

Which Robert married Elizabeth Daughter of Sir George Campbel of Lowdo[...], Ancestor to the present Earl of that Name, and had Issue, John Lord Erskine, James Erskine of Sauchy, first of that Branch of Balgony, Katharine married to Alexander Lord Elphinstoun, and Margaret to John Halden of Gleneagles, and had Issue. This Lord accompanying his Soveraign King James IV. to the Battle of Flowdon, was there slain with the Flower of the Nobility and Gentry, on that memorable Day 9th September 1513, and was succeeded by John his Son, who being a Noble-Man of great Honour and Probity, upon the untimely Death of James IV. had the Tuition of the young King, James V. committed to him, and Stirling Castle being thought the most proper place for his Residence, his Lordship was then made Governor thereof. In that High Trust he approved himself with so much Fidelity, that the King, when he came to Age, highly valued him, insomuch that he sent him upon a solemn Embassy into France anno 1534, to propose a Match betwixt the King and a Daughter of that Crown; which having performed to his Majesty's Satisfaction, he soon thereafter employed his Lordship in the same Quality to Henry VIII. of England, to congratulate that King for their joint Prosperity, and to consult with him about a Marriage betwixt his Nephew King James, and a Daughter of the Duke of Vendosme's, whom the French King had offered him, his own Daughter being of a weak and sickly Constitution, which Office he discharged with Exactness and Fidelity, and was one of those Peers who attended his Master into France when he espoused Magdalene Daughter of Francis I. anno 1537.

Upon the King's Death in the end of the Year 1542, he had the keeping of the Young Queen Mary his Infant Sovereign committed to him in Stirling Castle: which great Trust his Lordship discharged with the same Fidelity he had done in her Father's Minority till the 1548, when the Governor and the Three Estates thought fit to order him to carry over his Royal Pupil into France. He married Margaret Daughter of Archibald Earl of Argyle, by whom he had

  1. Robert Master of Erskine who was taken Prisoner at the Battle of Solway anno 1542, for which he was obliged to pay a Ransom of 200 Lib. before [Page 302] he obtained his Freedom. He married Margaret Daughter of William Earl of Montrose; But was slain at the Feild of Pinky September 10th 1547b, leaving no lawful Children.
  2. Thomas Master of Erskine, who being a Nobleman of great Parts was imployed in several Embassies into England, whereby he won great Reputation to himself, and served his Country very faithfully. He married Margaret Daughter of Malcolm Lord F[...]eeming: But was taken away in the Flower of his Age, leaving no lawful Issue behind him.
  3. John who succeeded his Father in the Honour, and was thereafter Earl of Mar.
  4. Sir Alexander Erskine of Gogar, Ancestor to the Earl of Kelly.
  5. Arth[...]r Erskine of Blackgrange. Margaret married to Robert Douglas of Lochlevin, Ancestor to the present Earl of Mortoun.

Elizabeth to Walter Seaton of Touch, and had Issue.

Janet to John Murray of Polmais, and had Issue.

John Lord Erskin was a Person of such noble Nature generous Disposition, and other bright Qualities, as rendred him very capable of acting the Part of a most consummate Statesman, which he did afterward in the highest and most eminent Stations a Subject could attain to. Being at first a younger Brother, his Father judged the best way was to provide for him in the Church, and therefore having given him Education accordingly, he was in due time made Commendator of Inchmach [...]mo [...] in the end of King James V's. Reign, no doubt for his better Support in the prosecution of his Studies to qualif[...]e him for a higher Office in the Church; but both his Brothers dying without Heirs of their Bodies, he was obliged to quit the Character of a Churchman and marry, in order to raise up Heirs to the Family: Which he did, and matched with Annabella Daughter of William Murray of Tillibardin, Paternal Ancestor to the present Duke of Athole, by whom he had John his Successor, and a Daughter Margaret married to Archibald Earl of Angus.

Upon his Accession to the Honour, through the Demise of his Father, tho he was but then a very young Man, he had so fair a Reputation, and was so generally well esteemed, that the Queen Regent thought fit in the 1553, to give his Lordship the Command of the Castle of Edinburgh, in which Station he behaved so well, that he preserved himself in the good Opinion of the Queen's Majesty, and the whole Nation.

When Queen Mary returned from France Anno 1561, her Majesty having made Choice of a new Privy Council, my Lord Erskine was named one of that Number, in which Station he soon rendred himself very gracious to the Queen, insomuch that she made him a Grant of the Abbey of Inchmachomoe and diverse other Church Lands then newly dissolved. His Interest at Court now being very great, he thought it a favourable Opportunity, and a proper Season for him to renew his Claim to the Earldom of Mar, and having made good a Title through a long deduced Pedigree from Gratney Earl of Mar, his Pretensions being supported by the Queen's Countenance, [Page 303] his Claim was allowed and ratified by Act of Parliament: And tho' my Lord Mar was a very zealous Protestant, 'tis worthy our Remark, Queen Mary trusted him as much as she could have done any of her own Profession, which she did eminently manifest by the Confidence she reposed in him, for as soon as she was happily delivered of the Prince, James VI. her Majesty committed him to the Tuition and Custody of the Earl, in the Castle of Edinburgh, then under his Command, and he discharged that great Trust so well, and was so much superior to all Tentations of Infidelity that when the Earl of Bothwell had married the Queen, he could not prevail with my Lord Mar, either by Promises or Menaces, to deliver up the Prince to him, which was the Thing in the World, that wicked Earl had set his Heart most upon, when 'tis known his Lordship could have made his own Terms: In the End, when Bothwell found all his Offers rejected, he was glad to allow the Earl to carry the Prince to Stirling-Castle, of which he himself was heritable Governor, and then delivered up Edinburgh Castle to Bothwell, on the 21st of May, 1566, who immediately plac'd a Creature of his own, Sir James Balfour, in it, by which Means, the Earl of Mar became, under God, the happy Instrument of the Prince's miraculous Preservation, during his long Minority: However, he still retained great Duty and Affection to the Queen, even after Things came to an Extremity; so it would appear, that nothing but a pure Principle of Conscience for the Preservation of the Heir of the Kingdom, first engaged his Lordship in the Company of those who set the Crown upon the Head of the Prince, when he was an Infant little more than one Year old. When the Civil War began, I do'nt find this generous and prudent Lord much engaged on either Side, for his particular Province being to take Care of his Royal Pupil, he stay'd himself much with him, and as he grew up in Years, gave him a Princely Education, appointing the famous Mr. Buchannan, Mr. Peter Young, Mr. David Eriskine, Commendator of Cambuskenneth, and Mr. Adam Erskine, Commendator of Dryburgh, to be his Instructors, Gentlemen who wanted none of those Qualities which were to be wished to be in the Persons to whom the Education of a great and hopeful Prince was committed, and for framing his Mind and Manners, in his young and tender Years.

My Lord Mar bore no publick Office in the State till the 1571, that upon the Death of Matthew Earl of Lennox, the Regent, the Earl of Mar, was a Nobleman so generally well esteemed, that he was, by the unanimous Consent of the King's Party, chosen Regent of Scotland, in his Room, Sept. 5, 1571. In which great Office he had, says one, Less Satisfaction than he expected, for when he had strugled no less under the turbulent Councils of his own Party, than the Insolencies of his Adversaries, died for very Grief, after he had governed only Thirteen Months, upon the 28th of October 1572, and left behind him so unblemished a Reputation, as cannot be very easily parallel'd in the like Circumstances: He was interr'd in the Vault of his Family, among his Ancestors, in the Paroch Church of Alloa, under a plain Monument, without any other Inscription, than signifying him to be the Person there interr'd.

To John Earl of Mar succeeded John his Son, then under Age, of whom I have found little memorable, till the 1582, his Lordship being then very young, he was induced to join with others of the discontented Nobility, who seized on the King at Ruthven-Castle, and petition'd his Majesty, that he would remove Sir James Stewart, [Page 304] who then stiled himself Earl of Arran, from his Councils, being a Person of evil Fame, and Disaffection to the publick Peace of the Kingdom, and an Instrument of Discontent between the King and his Nobility: But the Way and Manner of that Enterprize being afterwards adjudged treasonable, the Earl was obliged to give up the Command of Stirling-Castle, and to leave his Majesty's Dominions, which he did, and transporting himself into Ireland, from whence he came over to England, and joined the Lord Hamiltoun, and others who had been outlaw'd during the Regency of the Earl of Mortoun, with whom he returned to Scotland Anno 1585, when he obtained his Majesty's Pardon, was restored to his Command of Stirling-Castle, and to a more than ordinary Share of his Majesty's Favour, which his Lordship never afterward forfaulted by any undutiful Behaviour.

In the 1593, when it pleased God to bless his Majesty with a Son, Prince Henry, the King reposing full Confidence in his Lordship's Fidelity, committed the Tuition of his Royal Highness to him, and his Majesty was at the same Time pleased to write with his own Hand the following Letter to his Lordship.

My Lord of Mar,

BEcause in the Security of my Son, consisteth my Security, I have concredited to you the Charge of his Keeping, upon the Trust I have in your Honesty. This I command you out of my own Mouth, being in the Company of those I like, otherwise from any Charge that can come from me, you shall not deliver him; and in Case God call me at any Time, see that neither for the Queen, nor Estates, their Pleasure, you deliver him, till he be Eighteen Years of Age, and then he command you himself.

How the Earl discharged this great Trust, will best appear from the Exoneration which his Majesty gave him, under the Great Seal, when his Lordship carried the Prince to London, upon his Father's Accession to the English Crown, a Copy of which I shall here insert. 'JAMES, by the Grace of GOD, King of Great-Britain, France, and Ireland, &c. Whereas it is not unknown, that upon just and necessary Considerations, we did commit in the Year of our Lord 1596, the Custody of the Prince our Son, to our Right Trusty and wellbeloved Cousin and Councellor, the Earl of Mar, as well in Regard of our Security, which consisteth in his Security, as in Respect there was none more fit to take that Charge than the Earl, of whose Sincerity in Religion, Affection and Fidelity to our Person, to our State, together with his Discretion and Judgment, we have had so good Experience, having now otherwise resolved to dispose of him, and considering how just and necessary it is for us to give as ample a Discharge to our Cusin, the Earl of Mar, as may be. We do therefore first declare to all Persons whatsoever, by these Presents, That we have very great Cause most graciously to allow of that great Care which he hath shewed in providing for his vertuous Education. Next, That he hath observed our Directions for his Delivery. And lastly, That he hath been received in so good State of Health and Constitution of Body and Mind, that we have Occasion not only to take Comfort in God's Favour thereby, so confirmed to us, but do now testifie and declare by Vertue of these present Letters, that we do discharge, acquit, and exonerate against us, our Heirs, and Successors, our said Cousin, the Earl of Mar, concerning the Education and Delivery of our Son, as foresaid, and do hereby notifie to the World, that we have received full and intire Satisfaction, answerable to the Trust reposed in him, and are resolved to lay it up in Memory, as a Record of his constant Love and Duty towards us, and [Page 305] taking ourselves bound on the Honour and Gratitude of a Prince, not only to give him Acquittance, but to reward him in Time coming, for so great and memorable a Service. 28 June 1603.'

Neither are we to forget, That in the 1601, his Majesty sent him Ambassador to Queen Elizabeth, to congratulate that Princess, upon her suppressing the audacious Attempt of the Earl of Essex: In which Negotiation, his Lordship deported himself with such Prudence and Conduct, that he brought the Principals of the English Ministry to favour his Majesty's Succession to that Crown, which took Effect in less than Two Years there after; which, upon another Occasion, his Majesty did very gratefully acknowledge, and own, that next to the Goodness of God, he ascrib[...]d to the Earl of Mar's last Negotiation in that Kingdom, his peaceab[...]e Accession to the Crown of England.

His Majesty, upon his Accession to the Crown of England, did not forget to dispense his Royal Favours to his Lordship: More particularly, he began with conferring the Garter upon him, the Ensigns of which he was invested with on St. George's Day, April 23d, 1603, and shortly thereafter caused him to be sworn of his Majesty's most honourable Privy-Council of England, and made him a Grant of sundry Abbacies and other Church-Lands then dissolved from the Crown. But his Majesty being still more and more desirous to confer greater Honours on his Lordship, was graciously pleased to constitute him Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, upon the Removal of Sir Robert Ker, Earl of Somerset, and had the White-Staff delivered to him, on the 2d of December 1615, in which Office he demean'd himself so well, that he did his Master much Service, and preserved himself in the good Opinion and Acceptation of the whole Nation; and he had the Treasury so full at the King's coming down to Scotland, in 1617, that the Court were entertain'd with the greatest Magnificence imaginable, out of the Profits of the Crown, and it was observed by the English Nobility, who attended the King in that Progress, that his Majesty appear'd with no less Lusture at Holy-Rood-House than at Whitehall.

He continu'd in the Treasurer's Place till the 1630, his Lordship being grown aged and infirm, he resigned the Office, which was immediately put into the Hands of the Earl of Mortoun, and declining to be put into any other publick Employment, he retired to his Seat in the Country, where Death put a Period to his Days, on the 16th of December, 1635, aged 79. He married first Anne, Daughter of David, Lord Drummond, by whom he had John his Son and Heir: Next, the Lady Mary Stewart, Daughter of Esmae, Duke of Lennox, by whom he had a numerous Issue, viz.

  1. Sir James Erskine, who, in Right of Christian, his Wife, Daughter and sole Heir of Robert Douglas, Earl of Buchan, came to enjoy that Honour, the King bestowing the Title de novo upon him and his Heirs-Male.
  2. Henry, Commendator of Dryburgh, Lord Cardross, Ancestor to the present Earl of Buchan.
  3. Sir Alexander Erskine, Commendator of Cambuskenneth, and one of the Senators of the College of Justice, in the Reign of K. Ch. I.
  4. Sir Charles Erskine of Alva.
  5. Sir John Erskine of Otterstoun.
  6. Sir Arthur Erskine of Scots-craig.
  7. William Erskine, Esq

Lady Mary, Eldest Daughter, married to William, Earl Marishal; and next, to Patrick, first Earl of Panmure.

Lady Margaret, to John, Earl of Rothes.

Lady Martha, to John, Earl of Kinghorn.

[Page 306] Lady Catharine, to John, Earl of Haddingtoun.

John, Earl of Mar, was made One of the Knights of the Bath, at the Creation of Henry, Prince of Wales, on the 30th of May, 1610, and thereafter, July 20th, 1615, he was sworn of his Majesty's most honourable Privy-Council, and named One of the Senators of the College of Justice: Which Station he prudently and faithfully discharged till the 1626, his Lordship was removed upon a general Statute That no Peer could be an Ordinary Lord of the Session. Whether it was this or any other Act of Unkindness he met with from the Court, I cannot say, but 'tis certain, upon the first Appearance of the Troubles in 1638, his Lordship being then Governor of Edinburgh-Castle, his Majesty did not seem to be absolutely satisfied of the Affection of the Earl to his Service, and therefore removed him from that Command, and put the Castle into the Hands of Major General Ruthven, as a Person on whom he could firmly rely, and yet his Majesty was willing that his Lordship's Remove might not be attended with any Act of Disobligation, and therefore gave him 3000 lib. which the Marquis of Hamiltoun gave Security for. When the Civil War broke out, he apply'd himself with great Resolution and Fidelity to the King's Service, and therefore was reckon'd among the first Rank of Malignants, and suffer'd accordingly.

He married Jean, Daughter of Francis, Earl of Errol, by whom he had John, his Successor in the Honour, and a Daughter, Elizabeth, married to Archibald, Lord Napier; and departing this Life in the 1654, was succeeded by

John his Son, who, during the whole Course of the Civil War, most eminently signaliz'd his Loyalty to King Charles I. He was one of the Peers who joy'nd the Marquis of Montrose at the Battle of Philiphaugh; after which he had the General's Leave to capitulate, which he did upon no other Terms, than laying down his Arms, and living quietly at his own House, retaining always his Affection and Fidelity to the Crown, to his dying Day.

He married first, Mary, Daughter of Walter, Earl of Bucleugh; and again, Mary, Daughter of George, Earl of Seaforth. By her he had Charles, his Son and Heir, likewise Three Daughters.

Barbara, married to James, Marquis of Douglas.

Mary, to John, Earl of Glencairn.

Sophia, to Alexander, Lord Pitsligo.

Charles, Earl of Mar, his Son, was one of the Lords of the Privy-Council to King Charles II. and King James VII. During whose Reign he was Colonel of a Regiment of Foot. He died in the Flower of his Age, April 23. 1689, leaving Issue by Mary his Wife, Daughter of George, Earl of Panmure,

  1. John his Son and Heir.
  2. James Erskine of Grange, whose Parts in the Profession of the Law, being very conspicuous, was by the special Favour of her Majesty Queen Anne, promoted to be one of the Senators of the College of Justice, in 1706, and thereafter made Justice-Clerk. Of whose real Worth and Merit, every one that knows him, can say a great Deal, and all I can mention in this Place, would be too little.
  3. Colonel Henry Erskine, who was kill'd at the Battle of Almanza, in Spain, Anno 1707, to the great Grief of his noble Relations.
  4. Jean, married to Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn, Bart.

John. Earl of Mar, being the Heir of a noble and illustrious Family, as soon as he came to Age, her Majesty Queen Anne took him into her immediate Care, made him first a Privy-Councellor, gave him the Command [Page 307] of a Regiment of Foot, and made him a Knight of the Order of St. Andrew, in the Beginning of her Reign.

In 1705, her Majesty promoted him to be Secretary of State, in the Room of the Marquis of Annandale; and the next ensuing Year, his Lordship was named one of the Commissioners to treat of an Union betwixt the Two Nations; which being agreed to by the respective Parliaments of both Kingdoms, his Lordship, throughout the whole Affair, merited so well of the Court, that he had a Pension settled on him, as an Equivalent for his Secretary's Place; which was then suppress'd, and consolidated into the Secretary-Office of Great-Britain.

In 1708, the Queen named his Lordship of her most honourable Privy Council, and striking in with the Earl of Oxford, on the Change of the Ministry, he was in 1713, prefer'd to be Third Secretary of Great-Britain, which had been vacant from the Death of the Duke of Queensberry; in which eminent Station his Lordship continued till after the Death of his Mistriss, the Queen. Upon the Arrival of King George in Britain, his Majesty was pleased to acquaint the Earl a few Days thereafter, that he had no longer Occasion for his Service, in the Quality of Secretary of State; to which his Grace the Duke of Montrose was preferred on the 24th of September, 1714.

He married first Margaret, Daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kinoul, a by whom he had only one Son

John, Lord Erskine.

Secondly, Frances Pierpont, Daughter of Evelyn, Marquis of Dorchester, by whom he had one Daughter, Lady Frances Erskine, an Infant.