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The Scottish Nation

CROSSBY, a surname originally given to one who dwelt beside the market cross, or near a cross-road. In the baronetage of Scotland and Nova Scotia, there is a baronetcy possessed by an Irish family of this name, conferred in 1630 on the son of the bishop of Ardfert, and brother of David Crosbie, ancestor of the ancient earls of Glandore in Ireland.

CROSBIE, ANDREW, of Holm, a celebrated advocate, and the original of ‘Councillor Pleydell’ in Sir Walter Scott’s novel of ‘Guy Mannering,’ was one of the most eminent citizens of Edinburgh during the middle of the eighteenth century. On Dr. Johnson’s visit to the Scottish capital in 1774, he was almost the only one who had the courage to maintain his own opinion against him in conversation. Mr. Boswell describes him as his “truly learned and philosophical friend,” and Mr. Croker, in a note, says, “Mr. Crosbie, one of the most eminent advocates then at the Scotch bar. Lord Stowell recollects that Johnson was treated by the Scotch literati with a degree of deference bordering on pusillanimity, but he excepts from that observation Mr. Crosbie, whom he characterizes as an intrepid talker, and the only man who was disposed to stand up (as the phrase is) with Johnson.” Mr. Crosbie resided at that period in a house in Advocate’s Close in the High Street of Edinburgh. He afterwards removed to the splendid mansion erected by himself on the east side of St. Andrew’s Square of that city, which stands the first house to the north of the Royal Bank, and became a principal Hotel; but he was involved, with many others, in the failure of the Douglas and Heron bank at Ayr, in which he had a thousand pounds share, and died in such poverty, in 1785, that his widow owed her sole support to an annuity of fifty pounds granted by the Faculty of Advocates.

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