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Kay's Edinburgh Portraits
Sir Archibald Hope, Bart., of Pinkie


This gentleman, who has been dubbed by the artist a "Knight of the Turf," was the ninth baronet of Craighall—the original designation of the family. He was grandson to Sir Thomas, a distinguished member of the College of Justice, and one of the early promoters of agricultural improvements in Scotland. By his skill in this latter department, the Meadows, now one of the pleasantest and most frequented walks about Edinburgh, was converted from its original marshy and waste condition into a state of high cultivation. In commemoration of this circumstance, it obtained the name of "Hope-Park;" but it is still generally known as "the Meadows."

The Hopes of Craighall are the stem from which has sprung the noble family of Hopetoun, noticed in a preceding part of this work. The designation of Craighall was laid aside by Lord Rankeillor, son of the second baronet, who had been knighted by the title of Sir Archibald Hope of that Ilk.

Sir Archibald, who succeeded to the title on the death of his grandfather in 1771, does not appear to have been ambitious of obtaining distinction either at the bar or in the senate; and the only public situation which he ever held was that of Secretary to the Board of Police, to which he had been appointed for life; and, on its abolition, received a compensation in lieu of the office.

On his own estate, and throughout the neighbourhood, he supported the character of a country gentleman, more intent on improving his lands than desirous of engaging in those political and party animosities, which so much distract the harmony of society, and retard the progress of substantial national improvement. On his property he established extensive salt and coal works, from which he derived very considerable emolument, and which still continue the source of much wealth; and, by his judicious management, he otherwise greatly enhanced the value of his estate.

Sir Archibald took an active hand in superintending his numerous colliers and salters. They were a rough, uncultivated set of people; and, like most workmen in similar employments, not very deeply impressed with proper notions of subordination. He had his own system of management, however; and, although not strictly in accordance with the principles of constitutional government, it proved not less efficacious than it was summary in its application. He required no sheriff or justice courts to settle matters of dispute. Armed with his jockey-whip, Sir Archibald united in his own person all the functionaries of justice; and, wherever his presence was required, he was instantly on the spot. On several occasions, when, by the example and advice of neighbouring works, his men were in mutiny, he has been known to go down to the pits, and, with whip in hand, lay about him, right and left, until order was restored. The work would then go on as formerly—the men as cheerful and compliant as if nothing untoward had occurred. Upon the whole, his people were happy and contented; and although the means which he took to enforce obedience were somewhat arbitrary, his subjects felt little inclination to object to them.

Although much of his time was thus devoted to his own affairs, public matters of local interest received a due share of his attention and, on every occasion of a patriotic or charitable nature, he stepped nobly forward with his counsel and assistance.

Sir Archibald resided chiefly at Pinkie House, where he maintained the genuine hospitality of the olden times, and kept such an establishment of "neighing steeds" and "deep-mouthed hounds" as at once declared the owner to be, in sentiment, one of those doughty "squires of old," whose masculine ideas of enjoyment were widely at variance with the effeminacy attributed to the luxurious landholders of more modern times.

As might be anticipated from his character, Sir Archibald was a member of the Caledonian Hunt—a body of Scottish gentlemen well known to be somewhat exclusive in the admission of members. Of this honourable club he held the high distinction of President in 1789, at which period the etching of the "Knight of the Turf" was executed.

Sir Archibald married, in 1758, Elizabeth, daughter of William M'Dowall, Esq., of Castle Semple, by whom he had two sons and five daughters. On the death of this lady in 1778, he married (the year following) Elizabeth, daughter of John Patoun, Esq.—a gentleman whose name was originally Paton ; but who, having gone abroad in his youth, and amassed a large fortune, on his return to his native country, changed the spelling of it to Patoun. The issue of this second marriage were three sons and one daughter.

Sir Archibald died at Pinkie House on the 1st of June, 1794. He was succeeded by his second son of the first marriage; on whose death in 1801, without issue, John, eldest son of the second marriage, became the eleventh baronet.


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