« הקודםהמשך »
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5. 1792.
SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF ANDREW FLETCHER OF
Salton, ONE OF THE SENATORS OF THE COLLEGE OF JUSTICE, COMMONLY CALLED LORD MILTON.
trair. Lord Milton, the faithful friend and co-adjutor of Archibald duke of Argyll, as minister for Scotland, was the son of Henry Fletcher of Salton, the immediate younger brother of the famous Andrew Fletcher, the defender of the liberty and independence of Scotland *.
* The family of Salto), Fletcher, 'is said to be originally from the county of Tweeddale ; that Robert Fletcher, the first of the family in Scotland, was of the Fletchers of Sussex ; that Andrew, the son of Robert, was a merchant of eminence at Dundee, whose son David, purchased the estate of Innerpeffer, in the county of Angus, and married a daughter of Ogil. vie of Pourie, by whom he had three sons, Robert, Andrew, and David.
Robert eldast, son of the laird of Innerpeffer, succeeded to his father in the year 1597, when he bought the estate of Bencho, and ocher lands in the same county, and died in the year 1613, leaving s*x sons; Andrew; James provost of Dundee; Robert, to whom he gave Bencho; George
His mother was the daughter of Sir David Carnegy of Pitarrow, baronet, and granddaughter of David, earl of Southefk; who was married to Henry in the year 1688.
Lord Milton's father, though he inherited much of the genius, vivacity, and probity of his family, is not to be traced by his public character. He was devout and studious, and attached to rural affairs.
His wife appears to have been a woman of singular merit and enterprise, for the benefit of her family, and the good of her country. She went, during the troubles in which the family of Fletcher was. involved, to Holland, taking with her a millwright and weaver, both men of genius and enterprise in their respective departments, and by their means fhe secretly obtained the art of weaving and dressing, what was then, as it is now, commonly called balo land (fine linen ;) and introduced the manufacture into the village and neighbourhood of Salton *.
Andrew, the eldest son of this respectable couple, was born in the yesr 1692, and educated with a view to the profession of the bar in Scotland. He was admitted an advocate on the 26th of February 1717, one of the lords of Session on the 4th of June 1724, and lord justice clerk on the 21st of July 1735. which office, on being appointed keeper of the signet in the year 1748, he relinquished.
proprietor of the estate of Restennote in Angus; John, dean of Carlisle ; and Patrick, who died abroad in the service of the states general of Hole land.
David Fletcher, bishop of Argyll, was the eldest son of Andrew, the second son of Innerpeffer. John, che immediate younger brother of the bifhop, was lord advocate of Scotland in the reign of Charles 11. whose teir James, son of the bishop of Argyll, left an only daughter Elizabeth, who was married to Sir James Dalrymple of Cousland, to whom the brought the estate of Cranston, now inherited by her grandson, Sir John Dalrymple Hanilcon Margili bart,
* Memoirs of the family, MSS.
The acuteness of lord Milton's understanding, his judgement and address, and his minute knowledge of the laws, customs, and temper of Scotland, recommended him early to the notice, favour, and confia dence of Archibald duke of Argyll; and he conducted himself during the unhappy rebellion 1745, in the important office of lord justice clerk, with se much discretion, that even the unfortunate party acknowledged, that by the mild and judicious exercise of his authority, the impetuosity of wanton punishment was restrained, and lenient measures adopted
for the concealment, or recal, of such of the rebels -as had been rather inveigled and betrayed into acts of hostility, than impelled by any deep laid designs to overturn the established government. He overlooked or despised inany of the informations which came to his office through the channels of officious malevo. lence; and after his death many sealed letters con- . taining such informations, were found unopened in his repositories.
In the abolition of heritable jurisdictions in Scots land, lord Milton engaged with fervent zeal for the
welfare of the country; 'and he no sooner observed the beginning of public tranquillity, than he impressed the mind of his illustrious patron, Archibald duke of Argyll, with brilliant designs for the promotion of trade, manufactures, improved agriculture, and
learning in Scotland. These he signally promoted by the patronage and direction of the public bank, the conventions of boroughs, the British Linen Company; the protection of tenants in just litigation with their landlords in the court of Session, and the favouring of such British acts of parliament as were directed towards their security; and lastly, by the good government of the city of Edinburgh, the patron of the university, in the choice of eminent proa fessors, particularly in the school of medicine.
Nor was Milton inattentive to the police and good morals of the country, in the appointment of theriffs, and clergymen to the crown presentations; all which, though in the immediate power of the duke of Argyll, were in a great measure recommended by lord Milton.
He strenuously promoted that excellent scheme for the provision of the widows and children of the clergy ; which does so much credit likewise to the memory of Dr Webster, and that of the learned and good Maclaurin, who instituted the calculation, which has stood the test pot only of Dr. Price's strictures, but of more important experience..
It is pleasing to record with honour the names of illustrious and worthy compatriots; and the writer of this little memorial has scarce ever affected any other ambition than that of being the herald and seneschal of the fame of his deserving countrymen.
It would be a task worthy of well informed leisure, to fill up the chasms of this slight sketch with a succinct account of the progressive improvements in Scotland, from the beginning of Milton's