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The Scottish Nation

KINCARDINE, a title in the peerage of Scotland, now possessed by the earl of Elgin, and first conferred, by King Charles I., on Sir Edward Bruce of Carnock, with the secondary dignity of Lord Bruce of Torry, by patent, dated at Carisbrook, 26th December 1647, to him and his heirs male. As he died without issue, he was succeeded by his brother Alexander, about 1662. The second earl of Kincardine acted a somewhat conspicuous part in the reign of Charles II., and his character has been drawn in the highest terms of eulogy by Burnet in his History of his Own Times. He had married Veronica, daughter of Corneille Van Arson Van Sommelsdyck, a rich Dutch noble, with whom he got a fortune of 80,000 guilders, and was thus enabled to contribute largely to the necessities of Charles II. during his residence at the Hague. At the Restoration he was sworn a privy councillor, and on the proposed re-establishment of prelacy in Scotland, he was the only member of the privy council who opposed it, until the sense of the nation regarding it should be ascertained. During the subsequent arbitrary proceedings of the government, he was ever for moderate and legal measures. In 1667, with the earl of Tweeddale and Sir Robert Murray, he was intrusted with the government in Scotland, and their mild administration formed a striking contrast to the oppressive and tyrannical rule of their predecessors. On 10th July 1667 he was appointed an extraordinary lord of session. In 1674 he joined the opposition against the duke of Lauderdale, and went to London to justify his own proceedings to the king. by Lauderdale’s influence, however, an order was obtained for his removal from court, and, with the duke of Hamilton and other noblemen, he was dismissed from the council in 1676. He died 9th July 1680. Burnet says: “He was both the wisest and the worthiest man that belonged to his country, and fit for governing any affairs but his own, which he, by a wrong turn, and by his love for the public, neglected to his ruin; for they, consisting much in works, coal, salt, and mines, required much care; and he was very capable of it, having gone far in mathematics, and being a great master of mechanics.” As he died deeply involved in debt, his estate was brought to a judicial sale, by order of the court of session, and purchased by Colonel John Erskine, son of David Lord Cardross, in 1700. He had, with three daughters, two sons. Charles, the elder son, predeceased him.

      Alexander, the younger son, third earl, was blind for some years before his death, which took place in November 1705. As he died unmarried, his eldest sister, Lady Mary, the wife of William Cochrane of Ochiltree, founding on procuratories of resignation executed by her brother, for devising the honours in her favour, claimed the title, as did also Sir Alexander Bruce of Broomhall, the heir male of the family. He was the son of Robert Bruce of Broomhall, a lord of session from 1st June 1649, till his death 25th June 1652, by Helen, daughter of Sir James Skene of Curriehill, lord president of that court. On 10th October 1706, the estates of parliament, before whom the question was debated, admitted Sir Alexander to his seat and vote, as fourth earl of Kincardine, reserving Lady Mary’s right. Against this decision Lady Mary protested. The case was subsequently before the court of session, and on 28th March 1707, a decision was given that the procuratories of resignation did not become void by the death of the earl before their full execution, but that if the queen (Anne) pleased to accept of the resignation and to confer the title on Lady Mary, they might still be completed, by a new patent in her favour. The cause was then entered as an appeal to parliament, but the Scots parliament had ceased to exist, and the suit was not prosecuted. At the general election, 17th June 1708, a protest against the earl of Kincardine’s vote was entered by Lady Mary Cochrane, and at the general election, 10th November, 1710, she gave full powers to James, earl of Galloway, to object and protest against Sir Alexander Bruce of Broomhall, pretended earl of Kincardine, voting at the election. Sir Alexander was joint-receiver-general of the supply and excise from May 1693 to October 1695, and M.P. for Sanquhar. On the second reading of the act for securing the presbyterian form of government to the Church of Scotland, 12th June, 1702, he declared that it contained things inconsistent with the essence of the monarchy; for which – freedom of debate being a thing not understood in those days – he was expelled from parliament, and a new writ ordered for Sanquhar. He had afterwards a pension from the queen. He adhered to the duke of Athol’s first protest against the Union in 1706, but does not appear to have given any farther opposition to that important treaty. By his countess, Christian, daughter of Robert Bruce of Blairhall, he had four sons and five daughters. His three eldest sons, Robert, Alexander, and Thomas, were successively earls of Kincardine. The latter, the seventh earl, died at Broomhall, 23d March, 1740, aged 77.

      His son, William, eighth earl, died 8th September, the same year, at Dunkirk, on his way to Naples, for the recovery of his health. He had married Janet Robertson, celebrated in the poetry of Hamilton of Bangour as one of the greatest beauties of his time, daughter of James Robertson, advocate, one of the principal clerks of session, and had three sons and two daughters. James, the second son, was a clergyman of the Church of England, and Thomas, the youngest, a lieutenant-general in the army, and M.P., died at Exeter, 12th December, 1797.

      Charles, the ninth earl, succeeded his kinsman, the fourth earl of Elgin and Ailesbury, in his Scottish titles, and was thenceforth styled earl of Elgin and Kincardine (see ELGIN, fifth earl of).

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