the surname of a family celebrated as bankers. Their most remote
traceable ancestor was William Coutts, said to have been a Coutts of
Auchintoul, a vassal of the family of Macdonald, settled in Montrose,
at the close of the 16th century, who became provost of the
town. His grandson, Patrick, was a tradesman in Edinburgh. At the
death of the latter in 1704, he left £2,500 to his wife and three
children. John Coutts, the eldest of his family, the head of the firm
of John Coutts & Col, general merchants, Edinburgh, became lord
provost of that city. Having gone to Italy on account of his health,
he died at Nola near Naples, in his 52d year. A few days before his
leaving Scotland, he had executed a new deed of copartnery, in which
he, his eldest son Patrick, and Mr. Trotter, were partners. The entire
stock of this firm was only £4,000 sterling. “Their business was
dealing in corn, buying and selling goods on commission, the
negotiation of bills of exchange on London, Holland, France, Italy,
Spain and Portugal,” that is, merchants and bankers. Provost Coutts
left four sons, of whom Thomas, the youngest, was the survivor.
Separating himself entirely from the firm of John Coutts & Co., of
Edinburgh, (which, some years subsequently, changed its title to that
of W. Forbes, J. Hunter & Co., and in 1830 became the Union Bank of
Scotland,) he went to London, and originated the bank of Coutts & Co.
in the Strand. A memoir of him follows.
a wealthy metropolitan banker, fourth and youngest son of John Coutts,
general merchant in Edinburgh, was born in Scotland about 1731. His
brother James had become a partner in a banking-house in St. Mary Axe,
London, and afterwards went into partnership with the subject of this
notice in a bank in the Strand. On the death of James, in 1778, Thomas
became the sole manager, and becoming the banker of George the Third,
and of many of the principal of the aristocracy, with habits of great
economy he soon amassed an immense fortune. He died February 24, 1822.
He was twice married; first to Susan Starkie, a female servant of his
brother, by whom he had three daughters; Susan, married, in 1796, to
George Augustus, third earl of Guildford; Frances, married, in 1800,
to John, first marquis of Bute; and Sophia, married, in 1793, to Sir
Francis Burdett, baronet. In 1815 his first wife died, and, within
three months, he took for his second wife Harriet Mellon, an actress,
to whom, at his death, he bequeathed all his property, and who was
afterwards married to the duke of St. Albans. Miss Burdett Coutts, his
grand-daughter, inherited the greater part of his wealth.