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The Scottish Nation

GIBSON, a surname common to both Scotland and England, evidently having its root in the baptismal name of Gilbert, among the son-names, nurse-names, and diminutives of which are Gib, Gibbs, Gibbie, Gebbie, Gibson, Gibbons, and similar appellations. [Lower’s Essays on English Surnames, vol. I. P. 168.] The name of Gibson is of great antiquity in Scotland, and no less than five families of this surname, branches of the same stock, have been raised to the dignity of baronet.

      The progenitors of the Gibsons of Durie, in Fife, were free barons of that county and Mid Lothian before the fourteenth century. Their immediate ancestor was Thomas Gibson, who lived in the reign of King James the Fourth, and is particularly mentioned, with several other barons of the county of Fife, in a charter by Sir John Moubry, of Barnbougle, knight, in favour of his son, William de Moubry, in 1511. He left two sons, George his heir, and William, successively vicar of Garvock, rector of Inverarity, and dean of Restalrig. By James the Fifth the latter was appointed one of the lords of session, at the institution of the college of justice in 1532, and by that monarch he was frequently employed in embassies to the Pope, who honoured him with the armorial bearing of three keys, as being a churchman, with the motto Caelestes pandite portae, and as a reward for his writings on behalf of the church, he obtained the title of Custos Ecclesiae Scotiae. [Douglas’ Baronage, p. 568.] In 1549, Cardinal Bethune conjoined the dean of Restalrig with himself as his suffragan, that he might have the more leisure to attend to the affairs of state. He was to retain the benefices which he already held, and to receive, from the cardinal and his successors, a pension of £200, during his life.

      George, the elder son, had a son, also named George, who succeeded him. The son of the latter, George Gibson of Goldingstones, was a clerk of session, and died about 1590. By his wife, Mary, a daughter of the ancient family of Airth of that ilk, in Stirlingshire, he had two sons, Sir Alexander Gibson, Lord Durie, the celebrated judge, first baronet of the family (1628), of whom a memoir is subjoined; and Archibald, who was bred to the church, and obtained a charter, under the great seal, of several lands near Glasgow, dated 22d May, 1599. Sir Alexander, Lord Durie, purchased the lands of that name, anciently belonging to the family of Durie of that ilk, and had a charter of the same in 1614. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Craig of Riccarton, lord advocate of Scotland, and, with 3 daughters, had 3 sons, Alexander, 2d baronet, Sir John Gibson of Pentland, who carried on the line of the family, and George, of Balhouffie.

      The eldest son, Sir Alexander Gibson, younger of Durie, was appointed one of the clerks of session on 25th July 1632, and as such was one of the clerks of parliament. On the attempt of Charles I. To impose the service book on the people of Scotland, he protested, with others, at the market cross of Edinburgh against the royal proclamations, on 8th July and 22d September 1638. He was also one of those who presented the petition against the bishops to the presbytery of Edinburgh and the General Assembly, in November of that year. As clerk of parliament he refused to read the royal warrant for the prorogation of parliament from 14th Nov. 1639 to 2d June 1640. In the latter year he was appointed commissary-general of the forces raised to resist King Charles I. On 13th November 1641, he was nominated lord clerk register by the king, who, on the 15th of the previous March, had conferred on him the honour of knighthood. He was also appointed one of the commissioners for the plantation of kirks. On 1sat February 1645, he was named one of the commissioners of exchequer, and on 8th March following, a supernumerary member of the committee of estates; as also of the committees of a similar nature appointed in 1646, 1647, and 1648. On 2d July 1646, he was admitted a lord of session, on the favourable report of that court to the king. Having joined “the ‘Engagement,” he was deprived of his offices by the act of classes, on 13th February, 1649, and in the following year, as an entry, in Lamont’s Diary states, “both Durie and his ladie was debarred from the table because of their malignancie.” In August 1652, he was one of the commissioners chosen for Scotland to attend the parliament of England; and he again went to England in January 1654. He died in June 1656.

      His son, Sir John Gibson of Durie, 3d baronet, sat in the first Scots parliament of Charles II. In 1660. His only son, Sir Alexander Gibson of Durie, having died without issue, n him ended the male line of the eldest son of the 5th baron, Sir Alexander, Lord Durie, the eminent judge, and the title and estates devolved upon the grandson of Sir John Gibson of Pentland, his lordship’s 2d son. A steady loyalist, Sir John Gibson of Pentland attended Charles I. In all his vicissitudes of fortune, and in 1651 accompanied King Charles II. To the unfortunate battle of Worcester, where he lost a leg, and for his gallant behaviour was knighted by the king. He had, with 2 daughters, 3 sons: 1. Sir Alexander Gibson of Pentland and Adiston, one of the principal clerks of session, and clerk to the privy council of Scotland; 2. Sir John Gibson, Bart., colonel of a regiment of foot, and governor of Portsmouth; 3. Sir Thomas Gibson of Keirhill, created a baronet in 1702.

      The eldest son, Sir Alexander Gibson, with five daughters, had four sons, namely, Sir John, who succeeded Alexander, progenitor of the present family; Thomas Gibson of Cliftonhall; and James, a lieutenant-general in the service of the queen of Hungary.

      Sir Alexander’s eldest son, Sir John, 5th baronet, m. Elizabeth, daughter of Lewis Craig of Riccarton, and had, with two daughters, two sons; Sir Alexander, 6th baronet, and John, merchant, London. Sir Alexander, the elder, leaving no male issue, was succeeded by his nephew, Sir John, 7th baronet, son of John Gibson of London. He also dying without male issue, was succeeded by his brother Sir Robert, 8th baronet. At Sir Robert’s death in America, without issue, the title reverted to the descendant of Alexander Gibson, of Durie, 2d son of Sir Alexander Gibson, clerk of the privy council, above mentioned. This gentleman, Alexander Gibson, one of the principal clerks of session, obtained from his father, the lands of Durie in 1699. His eldest son, John Gibson of Durie, married Helen, 2d daughter of Hon. William Carmichael of Skirling, (son of John, 1st earl of Hyndford, and father of 4th earl,) by his first wife, Helen, only child of Thomas Craig of Riccarton, and had, by her, with 3 daughters, 5 sons, viz., Alexander; William, merchant, Edinburgh, father of James Gibson, W.S., created a baronet in 1831, and on succeeding to the estate of Riccarton, Mid Lothian, assumed the additional name of Craig (see CRAIG, Sir James Gibson); Thomas, lieutenant- colonel 83d regiment; and two who died young. John Gibson of Durie, the father, sold the estate of Durie to the ancestor of Mr. Maitland Christie, the present proprietor. His eldest son, Alexander, had two sons, John and Thomas.

      Sir John, the elder, succeeded Sir Robert as 9th baronet, and assumed the name and title of Gibson Carmichael of Skirling, on inheriting the estates, as heir of entail, of the 4th earl of Hyndford, his grand-uncle. Having only a daughter, he was succeeded in 1803 by his brother, Sir Thomas Gibson Carmichael of Skirling, 10th baronet of the Gibson family. By his wife, a daughter of General Dundas of Fingask, Sir Thomas had 7 children. The eldest, Alexander, born at the family seat, Castle-Craig, Peebles-shire, June 6, 1812, succeeded his father in 1849. Educated first at Harrow, and subsequently at Cambridge, immediately after leaving the university, he entered upon public life. At the election of 1837 he contested the county of Peebles, but was defeated by a small majority. He subsequently became private secretary to the Hon. Fox Maule, wh in 1852 succeeded his father as 2d Lord Panmure. Sir Alexander Gibson Carmichael died 1st May 1850. He was remarkable for his piety, and a brief memoir of him is inserted in the volume of the Christian Treasury for 1850, p. 376. He was succeeded by his brother, Sir Thomas, 12th baronet, who died Dec. 30, 1855, when his next brother, Rev. Sir William Henry, born Oct. 9, 1807, became 13th baronet. The latter married, in 1858, Eleonora-Ann, daughter of David Anderson, Esq. of St. Germains.

GIBSON, SIR ALEXANDER, Lord Durie, an eminent lawyer, was the son of George Gibson of Goldingstones, one of the clerks of session. On 14th December 1594, on a commission from the lord clerk register, he was admitted third clerk of session. King James in person was present at his admission, and for the readiness with which the first and second clerks complied with his desire that he should be received, he promised in presence of the court to reward them with “ane sufficient casualtie for said consents.” On 10th July 1621, he was appointed a lord of session, when he took the title of Lord Durie, his clerkship being conferred upon his son, to be held conjunctly with himself, and to devolve on the longest liver. In 1628 he was created by Charles the First, a baronet of Nova Scotia, on which occasion he received a grant of land in that province. In 1633 he was named a commissioner for revising the laws and collecting the local customs of the country. In 1640 he was elected a member of the committee of estates, and on 13th November, 1641, his appointment as judge was continued under a new commission to the court.

      While the office of president continued elective in the senators of the college of justice, Lord Durie was twice chosen head of the court, namely, for the summer session on 1st June 1642, and for the winter session of 1643. This able and upright judge died at his house of Durie, June 10, 1644. Having, from 11th July 1621, the day after his elevation to the bench, to 16th July 1642, preserved notes of the more important decisions, these, known as ‘Durie’s Practicks,’ were published by his son, at Edinburgh, in 1690, in one volume folio, and are the earliest digested collection of decisions in Scottish law.

      Of this judge the following remarkable circumstance, highly illustrative of the unsettled state of the country at that period, is recorded. The earl of Traquair, lord high treasurer, having a lawsuit, of great importance to his family, depending before the court of session, and believing that the pinion of Lord Durie, then lord president, was adverse to his interests, employed Willie Armstrong, called Christie’s Will, a noted and daring moss-trooper, to convey his lordship out of the way until the cause should be decided. Accordingly, one day when the judge was taking his usual airing on horseback on Leith sands, without any attendant, he was accosted by Armstrong near the then unfrequented and furzy common called the Figgate Shins, forcibly dragged from his saddle, blindfolded, and muffled in a large cloak; in which condition he was carried to an old castle in Annandale, named the Tower of Graham. He remained closely immured in the vault of the castle for three months, debarred from all intercourse with human kind, and receiving his food through an aperture in the wall. His friends, supposing that he had been thrown from his horse into the sea, and been drowned, had gone into mourning for him, but upon the lawsuit terminating in favour of Lord Traquair, he was brought back n the same mysterious manner, and set down on the very spot whence he had been so expertly kidnapped.

GIBSON, PATRICK, an accomplished artist and able writer on art, was born at Edinburgh in December 1782. After receiving an excellent classical education at the High school, and at a private academy, he was placed as an apprentice under Mr. Alexander Nasmyth, the celebrated landscape painter, and about the same time attended the Trustees’ academy, then taught by Mr. Graham. Besides mathematics he carefully studied architectural drawing, and acquired a thorough knowledge of perspective and the theory of art in general. Many of his landscapes are valuable from the masterly delineations of temples and other classical buildings which he introduced into them. He distinguished himself also by his criticisms and writings on art. Having been appointed professor of painting in the academy at Dollar, he removed from Edinburgh to that village in 1824. He died there, August 26, 1829, in his 46th year. He had married in June 1818, Isabella, daughter of Mr. William Scott, the eminent teacher of elocution, and had three daughters and one son, the latter of whom died in infancy.

      Mr. Gibson published,

      Etchings of Select Views In Edinburgh, with letterpress descriptions. Edin. 1818, 4to.

      Report, purporting to be by a Society of Cognoscenti, upon the works of living artists, in the Exhibition of 1822, at the Royal Institution, Edinburgh, Anonymous.

      A Letter to the Directors and Managers of the Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland. 1826.

      To the Encyclopedia Edinensis he contributed the article on Design, comprising the history, theory, and practice of the three sister arts of Painting, Sculpture, and Engraving, concluding with an able treatise on Linear Perspective; illustrated by drawings. He also furnished the articles Drawing, Engraving, and Miniature-painting to Dr. Brewster’s Edinburgh Encyclopedia. The paper entitled A View of the Progress and Present State of the Art of Design in Britain, in the Edinburgh Annual Register for 1816, was written by Mr. Gibson. To the New Edinburgh Review, edited by Dr. Richard Poole, he contributed an article on the Progress of the Fine Arts in Scotland.

      A short practical work on Perspective, written shortly before his death, was printed, but never published.

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