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The Scottish Nation

CRAIG, a surname derived from a Scottish word meaning a crag or steep rocky cliff, and often prefixed to the names of places in hilly or mountainous districts in various parts of Scotland. The name seems to belong particularly to the north of Scotland, while the surname of Cragie is derived from an estate in Linlithgowshire. See CRAIGIE, surname of.

      In 1335, when the castle of Kildrummy, in Aberdeenshire, was besieged by the followers of Edward Baliol, Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, William Douglas of Liddesdale, and the earl of March advanced to its relief with eight hundred men, natives of the Lothians and the Merse. They were joined by three hundred men from the territory of Kildrummy, under the command of John Craig. Surprising the army of Baliol, under the earl of Athol, in the forest of Kilblean, they signally defeated them, Athol their leader, being among the slain. Some writers assert that this John Craig was captain of the garrison at Kildrummy, but Lord Hailes, with more probability, thinks that the reinforcement which he brought to the patriot army were the vassals of the earldom of Mar, whereof Kildrummy was the capital messuage, and not a detachment from the garrison of the castle. Fordun calls the commander quidam Johannes Crag, which plainly shows that he did not mean to speak of John Crabbe the Fleming, whom he had previously mentioned; yet later authors suppose them to have been the same. [Dalrymple’s Annals of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 185, note.]

      Of the name, the Craigs of Riccarton were the most conspicuous family. The first of it was the distinguished feudal lawyer, Sir Thomas Craig of Riccarton, of whom a notice is given below. James Craig, the fourth son of his great grandson, was professor of civil law in the university of Edinburgh, to which chair he was appointed October 18, 1710. He died in 1732. By his wife, a daughter of Robert Dundas of Arniston, one of the senators of the college of justice, he had two sons, Thomas, usually styled “the laird,” and Robert. The two brothers for many years resided together, and neither ever married. Though very wealthy, they were men of primitive and simple habits. On the death of the elder brother, Thomas, 22d January, 1814, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, his younger brother, Robert succeeded him. The latter, who had passed advocate in 1754, was, about the year 1776, appointed one of the judges of the commissary court, which office he resigned in 1791. He was a liberal in politics, and in 1795 he published anonymously at Edinburgh, a pamphlet entitled, ‘An Inquiry into the Justice and Necessity of the present War with France,’ 8vo, of which a second and improved edition was published the following year. Its object was to demonstrate the right which every nation has to remodel its own institutions and choose its own form of government; referring, by way of precedent, to the various revolutions which have taken place in Great Britain, without producing any attempt at interference on the part of other states. He died on 13th March 1823, at the advanced age of ninety-three. Pursuant to a deed of entail, Mr. James Gibson, writer to the signet, (afterwards Sir James Gibson Craig, baronet, the baronetcy being conferred in 1831) succeeded to the estate of Riccarton, when he assumed the name and arms of Craig. At his death in 1850, his son, Sir William, became second baronet.

      Another family of the name were the Craigs of Dalnair and Costerton, Mid-Lothian, who became connected by marriage with the Tytlers of Woodhouselee, Anne Craig, daughter of James Craig, Esq. of Costerton, writer to the signet, having, in 1745, married the eminent antiquarian writer, William Tytler of Woodhouselee. She was the mother of Alexander Fraser Tytler, usually styled Lord Woodhouselee. Her sister, Miss Craig of Dalnair, married Mr. Alexander Kerr, a wine merchant at Bordeaux, father of James Kerr, Esq. of Blackshiels. The last of the Dalnair family, Sir James Henry Craig, K.B., governor-general of British North America, died in 1812.

CRAIG, SIR THOMAS, of Riccarton, a distinguished lawyer and writer on the feudal law, was born at Edinburgh about 1538. It is uncertain whether his father was Robert Craig, a merchant in Edinburgh, or William Craig of Craigfintry, afterwards Craigston in Aberdeenshire. In 1552 he was entered a student of St. Leonard’s college, in the university of St. Andrews, which he quitted in 1555, after receiving his degree as bachelor of arts. He then proceeded to the university of Paris, where he studied the civil and canon laws. He returned to Scotland about 1561, was called to the bar in February 1563, and, in 1564, was made justice-depute. In 1566, when Prince James was born, Craig wrote a Latin hexameter poem of some length on the event, entitled ‘Genethliacon Jacobi Principis Scotorum,’ which is highly spoken of by Mr. Tytler in his Life of Sir Thomas Craig. This, and his ‘Paraeneticon,’ a poem written on the departure of King James for England, are inserted in the ‘Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum.’ Craig soon acquired an extensive practice at the bar, which he enjoyed for upwards of forth years. He was a convert to the protestant religion, and appears to have kept himself apart from the political intrigues and commotions of those distracted times, devoting himself to his professional duties, and, in his hours of relaxation, cultivating a taste for classical literature. His principal work is his learned treatise on the feudal law, entitled ‘Jus Feudale,’ which is held in such high estimation, that it has often been quoted both by historians and lawyers. It was completed in 1603, but not published till forty-seven years after his death. In January 1603 he wrote a Latin treatise on the right of James to the crown of England, an English translation of which was, by Dr. Gatherer, published in 1703. He was present at King James’ entry into London, as well as at his coronation, which events he commemorated in a Latin hexameter poem. Having repeatedly declined the honour of knighthood, King James ordered that he should nevertheless enjoy the style and title. In 1604 he was one of the Scots commissioners nominated by his majesty to confer with others on the part of England, regarding the probability of a union between the two countries, a favourite project with King James. Sir Thomas wrote a work on this subject, which still remains in manuscript. He also wrote a treatise on the independent sovereignty of Scotland, entitled ‘De Hominio,’ which was translated into bad English by Mr. George Ridpath, and published in 1695. In the latter part of his life he became advocate for the church. Sir Thomas Craig died at Edinburgh, February 26, 1608. His portrait is given below.

[portrait of Sir Thomas Craig]

      He had married Helen, daughter of Heriot of Trabrown, in East Lothian, by whom he had four sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Sir Lewis Craig, born in 1569, was educated at the university of Edinburgh, under the eye of his father, and took his degree of master of arts on 30th July 1597. He afterwards studied the civil law for two years at Poitiers, and on his return to his native country was admitted an advocate, 11th June 1600. He was knighted and appointed a lord of session sometime between the 24th February 1604 and 19th June 1605. He sat as a lord of session under the title of Lord Wrightshouses, while his father was still a pleader at the bar. The judges at that time wore their hats on the bench, but, “whenever,” says Mr. Tytler, “his father appeared before him, Sir Lewis, as became a pious son, uncovered, and listened to his parent with the utmost reverence.” [Life by Mr. P.F. Tytler.] Sir Lewis died before 6th June 1622. – Sir Thomas Craig’s works are:

      Poemata. Edin. 1603, 4to.

      Serenissimi et invictissimi Principis Jacobi Britanniarum et Galliarum Regis ETEMANOMOPIA. Rob. charteris, 1603, 4to. This poem and his Paraeneticon are reprinted inter Delit. Poet. Scotor. Amst. 1637.

      Jus Feudale, tribus Libris comprehensum. Edin. 1655, fol. Idem ex Editione Jac. Baillie. Edin. 1732. fol. A work of authority over all Europe. Another edition, Lipsiae, 1716, 4to.

      Scotland’s Sovereignty asserted, being a dispute concerning homage against those who maintain that Scotland is a feu of England. Translated from the Latin, with a Preface, by George Ridpath. London, 1695, 8vo. 1698, 8vo.

      The right of Succession to the Knigdom of England, in two books, against Parsons, the Jesuit, who endeavoured to overthrow not only the right of Succession, but also the sacred authority of Kings themselves. Written above 100 years since, and translated out of the Latin, by James Gatherer. London, 1703, 8vo.

CRAIG, JOHN, an eminent preacher of the Reformation, and colleague of John Knox, was born in 1512, and soon after lost his father in the disastrous battle of Flodden. He received his education at the university of St. Andrews, and going afterwards to England, became tutor to the family of Lord Dacre. In consequence of the war which broke out between England and Scotland, he returned to his native country, and became a friar of the Dominican order. Falling under the suspicion of heresy, he was thrown into prison, but was soon liberated. In 1537 he left Scotland, and after in vain attempting to procure a place at Cambridge, proceeded to France, and thence to Italy. At the recommendation of Cardinal Pole he was admitted among the Dominicans at Bologna, and such was his merit, that he was soon raised to the rectorate of that body. Finding a copy of Calvin’s Institutions in the library of the Inquisition, he was induced to read that work, when he became a convert to the protestant doctrines. Making no secret of his change of sentiments, he was exposed to considerable danger, but was advised by an old monk, a countryman of his own, to obtain his discharge, and depart from the monastery. He now entered as tutor into the family of a neighbouring nobleman who had embraced protestant principles; but both he and his patron being accused of heresy, were seized and sent to Rome, where he was brought to trial, and, with some others, condemned to be burnt on the 20th of August 1559. Luckily for him, the pope, Paul the Fourth, died on the evening before the day appointed for his execution, and the populace having excited a tumult in the city, the prison doors were thrown open, and Craig and his fellow captives effected their escape, and took refuge in a house beyond the suburbs. They were pursued by a company of soldiers, and on entering the house, their leader looked Craig eagerly in the face, and, taking him aside, asked if he recollected of once relieving a poor wounded soldier whilst walking in the fields in the vicinity of Bologna. Craig replied that he did not remember the circumstance. “But I remember it,” replied the grateful soldier; “I am the man whom you relieved, and Providence has now put it in my power to return the kindness which you showed to a distressed stranger. You are at liberty; your companions I must take along with me, but, for your sake, shall show them every favour in my power.” He then supplied him with money, and allowed him to depart.

      Craig soon found his way back to Bologna, but afraid of being denounced to the Inquisition, he left that city, and avoiding all the public roads, endeavoured to reach Milan; his money failing him on the road, he laid himself down by the side of a wood to ruminate on his sad condition, when, to his surprise, a strange dog came fawning up to him with a purse in its mouth. Viewing this as “a singular testimony of God’s care of him,” he now prosecuted his journey with renewed strength. Having reached Vienna, and announced himself a Dominican monk, he was employed to preach before the archduke of Austria, afterwards the Emperor Maximillian the Second, with whom he became a favourite. But the new pontiff applying to have him sent back to Rome as a condemned heretic, the archduke dismissed him with a safe-conduct. In 1560 he arrived in England, and being informed of the establishment of the Reformed religion in his native country, he hastened to Edinburgh, and was admitted to the ministry Having, during an absence of twenty-four years, nearly forgotten his native language, he preached for a short time in Latin to some of the learned in Magdalene chapel, in the Cowgate. He was afterwards appointed minister of the Canongate, where he had not officiated long till he was elected, in 1562, colleague to John Knox, in the parish church of Edinburgh, where he continued for nine years. In 1564, in one of his sermons he inveighed against the hypocrisy of the times with so much truth and point that many of the courtiers were highly offended, and in particular Maitland of Lethington, secretary to the queen, who soon after, in the famous conference between the court lords and the leading members of the Assembly, carried on the discussion singly with John Knox. In the following year he and his colleague Knox were ordained by the Assembly to prepare the form of the exercise to be used at a public fast, and to cause it to be printed. This treatise of fasting was long preserved in the Psalm-books. In the memorable year 1567 he proclaimed the banns of marriage between the queen and Bothwell, declaring at the same time that the marriage was odious and scandalous to the world; for which he was called before the council. In the General Assembly of July 1568, with six other ministers he was appointed to revise the form and order of excommunication which had been prepared by Knox; and in that of July 1569, he and Knox, with Mr. David Lindsay and the superintendent of Lothian, received commission to revise the acts of the General Assemblies. Of the Assembly which met at Edinburgh on 1st March 1570 he was chosen moderator. He was re-elected to the same office in the meeting of the General Assembly 24th October 1576, and was a third time elected moderator on 17th October 1581.

      About 1572 Craig was sent by the General Assembly to preach at Montrose, and two years afterwards he was appointed minister at Aberdeen. In 1579 he was appointed one of the chaplains to James the Sixth, and thereupon returned to Edinburgh, and took a leading part in the General Assemblies of the Church. He assisted in compiling the Second Book of Discipline, and was the writer of the National Covenant which was signed in 1580 by the king and his household, and from this was called the king’s covenant or Confession of Faith. On the 19th September 1582, he rebuked the king from the pulpit for issuing a proclamation in which the ministers of the church were severely reflected upon, for their conduct in excommunicating Robert Montgomery, archbishop of Glasgow; whereat, it is said, the king wept, saying that he might have told him privately. Mr. Craig had taken great pains in collecting the acts of Assembly, which were approved of by the Assembly of 1583. In the following year he and several ministers were summoned before the council for their bold speeches, and their opposing such acts of parliament as they thought contrary to the liberties of the church; on which occasion the earl of Arran, the king’s favourite, started to his feet, and said they were too pert; he should shave their heads, pare their nails, and make them an example to all who should rebel against king and council. They were charged to compear before the king and council at Falkland on the 4th September. They obeyed, when some warm discussion took place between Mr. Craig and the bishop of St. Andrews, and Arran endeavoured to browbeat him and those with him. Mr. Craig was discharged from preaching, and he and the other accused ministers were commanded to compear again before the council the 16th of November. He afterwards subscribed the bond of obedience. He officiated at the coronation of the queen in 1590, and on her subsequent entry into Edinburgh, his son, “a young boy, made a short oration to her.” In 1591 he prepared, by order of the General Assembly, the form of an examination before the Communion, which was ordered to be printed, and taught in schools and families, in place of the catechism. On 29th December in that year, he again rebuked the king from the pulpit for not doing justice to his people, to the great wrath of his majesty. In 1595, from the infirmities of age, he resigned his office of minister to the king, and retired from public life. He died December 4, 1600, aged 88.

CRAIG, ALEXANDER, a poet, of whom little is known. His amorous songs, sonnets, and elegies, were published in London in 1606.

CRAIG, JOHN, a learned mathematician and divine, was a native of Scotland, but the place and date of his birth are unknown. He settled at Cambridge in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and distinguished himself as a mathematical writer by a number of papers on Fluxions, and other subjects, in the Philosophical Transactions, and in the Acta Eruditorum. He had a controversy with John Bernoulli on the quadrature of curved lines and curvilinear figures, in which Leibuitz took the part of Craig. But his most extraordinary work is a pamphlet of thirty-six pages 4to, entitled ‘Theologiae Christianae Principia Mathematica,’ published at London in 1699. The object of this curious tract is to calculate the duration of moral evidence and the authority of historical facts. He establishes, as his fundamental proposition, that whatever we believe upon the testimony of men, inspired or uninspired, is nothing more than probable. He then proceeds to suppose that the probability diminishes in proportion as the distance of time from this testimony increases; and by means of algebraical calculations, he arrives at length at the conclusion, that the probability is, that the Christian religion will last only fourteen hundred and fifty-four years from the date of his book! His tract was republished at Leipsic in 1755, by J.D. Titius of Wittemberg, with a refutation of his arguments. The Abbe Houteville also combated his learned but absurd reveries. The date of Craig’s death is not known. The following list of his writings is from Watt’s Bibliotheca Britannica, in which it is stated he was sometime vicar of Gillingham, Dorsetshire.

      Methodus figurarum, lineis rectis et curvis comprehensarum: quadraturas determinandi. London, 1685, 4to.

      Tractatus mathematicus, de figurarum curvilinearum quadraturis, et locis geometricis. London, 1692, 1693, 4to.

      Theologiae christianae Principia Mathematica. London, 1699, 4to. Reprinted, Liepsic, 1755.

      De calculo fluentium, lib. ii. et de optica analytica, lib. ii. London, 1718, 4to.

      The Quadrature of the Logarithmic Curve; translated from the Latin. Phil. Trans. Abr. iv. 318, 1698.

      Quadrature of Figures Geometrically Irrational. Ib. 202. 1697.

      Letter, containing Solutions of two problems: 1. on the Solid of Least Resistance; 2. The Curve of Quickest Descent. Ib. 542. 1700-1.

      Specimen of determining the Quadrature of figures. Ib. v. 24. 1703.

      Solution of Bernouilli’s Problem. Ib. 90. 1704.

      Of the Length of Curve Lines. Ib. 406. 1708.

      Method of Making Logarithms. Ib. 609. 1710.

      Description of the Head of a monstrous Calf. Ib. 668. 1712.

CRAIG, JAMES, a very popular preacher in his day, was born at Gifford, in East Lothian, in 1682. He was educated in the university of Edinburgh, where he took his degree of M.A., and was ordained minister at Yester. During the time he remained there, he wrote a volume of ‘Divine Poems,’ which passed through two editions. He afterwards became minister at Haddington; and, in 1732, was translated to Edinburgh, where he died in 1744, aged 62. His sermons, in three volumes 8vo, chiefly on the heads of Christianity, published at Edinburgh in 1732, were at one time much esteemed, but they are now become scarce.

CRAIG, WILLIAM, D.D., an eminent divine, was the son of a merchant in Glasgow, where he was born in February 1709. At college he distinguished himself by his uncommon proficiency in classical learning. He was licensed to preach in 1734; and in 1737, having received a presentation from Mr. Lockhart of Cambusnethan, he was ordained minister of that parish. He afterwards accepted of a presentation to Glasgow, and became minister of St. Andrew’s church in that city. He married the daughter of Mr. Anderson, a considerable merchant in Glasgow, by whom he had several children, two of whom, William, an eminent lawyer, afterwards Lord Craig, and John, a merchant, survived their father. His wife died in 1758, and he subsequently married the daughter of Gilbert Kennedy, Esq. of Auchtifardel. Dr. Craig died in 1784, in the 75th year of his age. His sermons were much admired for their eloquence.

      His works are:

      An Essay on the Life of Jesus Christ. Edin. 1767, 12mo.

      Twenty Discourses on various subjects. Edin. 1775, 3 vols, 12mo. New edition, with several additional Sermons, and a Life of the Author. 1808, 2 vols. 8vo.

CRAIG, WILLIAM, LORD CRAIG, an eminent judge, son of the preceding, was born in 1745. He studied at the university of Glasgow, and was admitted advocate in 1768. In 1787 he became sheriff-depute of Ayrshire; and in 1792, on the death of Lord Hailes, was raised to the Bench, when he assumed the title of Lord Craig. In 1795 he succeeded Lord Henderland as a judge of the court of justiciary, which situation he held till 1812, when he resigned it on account of infirm health. While still an advocate, he was one of the chief contributions to ‘The Mirror,’ a celebrated periodical published at Edinburgh, the joint production of a society of gentlemen, all connected with the bar, except Mr. Henry Mackenzie, author of ‘The Man of Feeling.’ This society was at first termed the ‘Tabernacle,’ and usually met in a tavern for the purpose of reading their essays. When the publication of these was resolved upon, the idea of which originated with Mr. Craig, the name was changed to that of the ‘Mirror Club,’ The Mirror was commenced January 23, 1779, and finished with the 110 number, May 27, 1780. The whole was afterwards republished in 3 vols. 8vo. Mr. Craig’s contributions, next to those of Mr. Mackenzie, were the most numerous. The thirty-sixth number, written by him, “contributed in no inconsiderable degree,” says Dr. Anderson, in his Lives of the Poets, “to rescue from oblivion the name and writings of the ingenious and amiable young poet, Michael Bruce.” Mr. Craig also wrote many excellent papers for ‘The Lounger,’ which was started some years after by the same club. His lordship, who was the cousin of Mrs. M. Lehose, the celebrated Clarinda of Burns, died July 8, 1813. From a portrait of Mr. Craig by Kay the following woodcut has been taken.

[portrait of William Lord Craig]

CRAIG, JAMES, an eminent architect of the eighteenth century, was the son of William Craig, merchant in Edinburgh, and Mary, youngest sister of James Thomson, the author of the Seasons. His plan for the new town of Edinburgh, published in 1768, and dedicated to George the Third, first brought him into notice. It was altered by Craig himself in 1774. Various other changes were effected on the plan, ere it assumed a permanent shape even on paper. It was selected as the best from a great number of competing designs. On publishing it, he appended to it the following quotation from his uncle’s Seasons:

            “August, around, what public works I see!
            Lo! Stately streets, lo! Squares that court the breeze,
            See long canals, and deepen’d rivers join
            Each part with each, and with the circling main,
            The whole entwined Island.”

A part of Craig’s design was to preserve and extend the North Loch, at the back of Edinburgh Castle, in the form of a long canal. It is now turned to much better use, after being drained, as the site of that portion of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway which runs into the Edinburgh terminus. Craig was presented with a gold medal bearing the city arms and a suitable inscription, and received along with it the freedom of the city of Edinburgh in a silver box. The Physician’s Hall, a chaste Grecian edifice, designed by him, which stood on the south side of George street, but removed in 1845, seems to have been his best work. The foundation stone of it was laid in 1774 by the celebrated Dr. Cullen; but that building was removed in 1845, and the Commercial Bank of Scotland, remarkable for its lofty and magnificent portico, now occupies its site. In 1786 Craig issued a quarto pamphlet, illustrated with engravings, containing a scheme for remodeling the old town, but its suggestions were not adopted. His professional skill was for a long time almost entirely exercised on the private dwellings of the new town, and these generally are so elegantly designed, and the streets so uniform as to have acquired for the new town of Edinburgh, the proud title of “the city of palaces.” He died at Edinburgh, on the 23d June, 1795.

CRAIG, SIR JAMES GIBSON, an eminent citizen of Edinburgh, and one of the leading local politicians of his time, was born on the 11th October, 1765, and belonged to the ancient family of Gibson, of Durie, one of whom married the daughter of Sir Thomas Craig, of Riccarton, the learned author of the ‘Treatise on the Feudal Law,’ and in consequence the subject of this notice, on the extinction of the male line, succeeded as heir of entail to the Riccarton estate. His father, William Gibson, Esq., a merchant in Edinburgh died in 1807. By his wife, Mary Cecilia, a daughter of James Balfour, Esq., of Pilrig, he had nine sons and a daughter. Sir James, the second son, was educated at the High School of his native city, and in 1786 was admitted a member of the Society of Writers to the Signet. Latterly he was at the head of the list of that body. From his earliest years he entertained a zealous attachment to the principles of civil and religious liberty, and throughout his long life had always been regarded as one of the most able and active of the liberals of Scotland. On the breaking out of the French Revolution of 1789, he was one of those who came prominently forward to agitate for parliamentary reform; and by his purse, his pen, his influence, and professional counsel, undismayed by the frowns of those in power, he aided the liberal cause, and proved himself the friend of the friends of liberty, when more cautious and less zealous supporters of liberal opinions shrunk from the hazards and dangers which then attended such a bold and honest course as was adopted by him and a few others holding similar sentiments. At a later period, when Harry Erskine; John Clerk of Eldin; Adam Gillies, afterwards Lord Gillies; David Cathcart, afterwards Lord Alloway; and others of the Edinburgh Whigs, were joined by Cranstoun, Jeffrey, Moncrieff, Cockburn, and Murray, James Gibson was still the active and indomitable agent in conducting the policy of the party. “In fact,” says a writer in a local journal, “the presence and counsel of Sir James were always deemed indispensable when a movement was to be made, for he was one of the main springs when speculation gave way to action. During that period of excitement which followed a few years after the peace, when men, undistracted by the shock of contending hosts, had time to revert to political reform, we find Sir James receiving his full share of the abuse then lavished by the ‘Beacon’ on the leaders of the Whig party. One charge made by that journal involved his professional reputation and personal honour, and he sought recourse in the jury court, when, after an elaborate trial, during which the most satisfactory testimony was borne to his high character and honour, by certain of the most eminent of his professional brethren, although on the opposite side of politics, he triumphantly established his case, and the jury returned a verdict for him with £500 damages.” He was on terms of intimacy with Fox and most of the leaders of the old Whig school, and figures prominently in the sarcastic ballad against the Whigs written by Sir Alexander Boswell in 1822, which led to the fatal duel with Mr. Stuart of Dunearn, in which Boswell was shot.

      During the Reform agitation of 1830-31, and 32, his unimpaired energies and undying zeal in the cause, enabled him, though then verging on his seventieth year, to discharge, with admirable skill, courage, and boldness, the duties of that leadership to which he was called by his services and character. His tall and commanding figure might be seen at all the public meetings of that stormy period, with his characteristic top-boots; and, although no orator, he could express his sentiments in public, in a style which, from its brevity and force, told powerfully on his audience. Shrewd common sense, a practical knowledge of the subject, and a business-like way of handling the question, were his principal characteristics on these occasions. He attended and took part in the King’s Park demonstrations in favour of reform, and all the other meetings in Edinburgh, and they were numerous, of that exciting period, and was one of the foremost at the Jubilee of 1832, in celebrating the triumph of the liberal party. To the last he retained his interest in public and political matters, yet, though for many years known to be the confidential adviser and agent of the leaders of the liberal party in Scotland, few citizens of Edinburgh have ever been more generally respected, or their name been more truly honoured, not only in that city, but throughout Scotland. This he owed to the strength, ardour, and firmness of his mind, his judgment and resolution, and particularly to his honesty of purpose, and straightforward honourable course of conduce.

      In 1831, during the ministry of Earl Grey, as a reward for his political services to his party, he was created a baronet of the united kingdom. The whig patronage for Scotland was supposed to have been vested for a considerable period in his hands; but he was never known to use his influence unfairly to promote his own interests, or those of his party. He had no personal ambition but to serve and promote the liberal cause. Though he was understood, from his influential position and the services he had rendered them, to have a large claim on the whig party, he never solicited any office for himself. In 1806, when the Whigs obtained a brief tenure of the ministry, he was appointed solicitor of stamps, an office which he did not long continue to hold.

      Up to a short period of his death he regularly attended at the chambers of the eminent firm of which he was the head – Messrs. Gibson-Craigs, Wardlaw, and Dalziel, writers to the signet – taking an active part in the professional business, and also in that of the banks and public companies with which he was officially connected as a director.

      It was on the motion of Sir James Gibson-=Craig, that, at the meeting of Sir Walter Scott’s creditors and trustees on the 17th December, 1830, after the failure of the latter, Sir Walter was requested to accept of his furniture, plate, linens, paintings, library, and curiosities at Abbotsford, as the best means they had of expressing their very high sense of his most honourable conduct, and in grateful acknowledgment of his exertions on their behalf.

      He married, in September 1796, a daughter of James Thomson, Esq., of Edinburgh. He assumed the additional surname and arms of Craig, on succeeding Robert Craig, Esq. of Riccarton, in virtue of the provisions of an entail made by his predecessor in 1818. He died 6th March 1850, and was succeeded in the baronetcy, and estates of Ingliston and Riccarton, by his eldest son, William Gibson-Craig, Esq., sometime member of parliament for Edinburgh.

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