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The Scottish Nation

FRASER, sometimes written Frazer, a surname derived from the French word fraizes or fraises, strawberries, seven strawberry flowers forming part of the armorial bearings of families of this name. The first of this surname in Scotland was of Norman origin, and came over with William the Conqueror. The Chronicles of the Fraser family pretend that their ancestor was one Pierre Fraser, seigneur de Troile, who in the reign of Charlemagne, came to Scotland with the ambassadors from France to form a league with King Achaius, and that his son, in the year 814, became thane of the Isle of Man, but all this is mere fable. Their account of the creation of their arms is equally an invention. According to their statement, in the reign of Charles the Simple of France, Julius de Berry, a nobleman of Bourbon, entertaining that monarch with a dish of fine strawberries, was, for the same, knighted, the strawberry flowers, fraises, given him for his arms, and his name changed from de Berry to Fraiseur or Frizelle. They claim affinity with the family of the duke de la Frezeliere, in France. The first of the name in Scotland is understood to have settled there in the reign of Malcolm Canmore, when surnames first began to be used, and although the Frasers afterwards became a powerful and numerous clan in Inverness-shire, their earliest settlements were in East Lothian and Tweeddale.

      In the reign of David the First, Sir Simon Fraser possessed half of the territory of Keith in East Lothian (from him called Keith Simon), and to the monks of Kelso he granted the church of Keith. He had a daughter, Eda, married to Hugh Lorens, and their daughter, also named Eda, became the wife of Hervey, the king’s marechal, proprietor of the other half of the territory of Keith, called after him Keith Hervey. He was the ancestor of the north country Keiths, earls Marischal. A member of the same family, Gilbert de Fraser, obtained the lands of North Hailes, also in East Lothian, as a vassal of the earl of March and Dunbar, and is said to be a witness to a charter of Cospatrick to the monks of Coldstream, during the reign of Alexander the First. He also possessed large estates in Tweeddale. His eldest son, Oliver de Fraser, who flourished between 1175 and 1199, built Oliver castle, in the shire of Peebles, celebrated in history as the stronghold of the heroic companion of Wallace, Sir Simon Fraser, of whom a memoir is given afterwards. Dying without issue, Oliver was succeeded by his nephew, Adam de Fraser, He was the son of Udard Fraser, Gilbert’s second son, who had settled in Peebles-shire. His son, Laurence Fraser, is witness to a charter of the ward of East Nisbet, by Patrick earl of Dunbar to the monks of Coldingham, in 1261. Laurentius Fraser, dominus de Drumelzier, possessed the lands of Mackerston in Roxburghshire. His son, also named Laurence, lived during the wars of succession, and with his eldest daughter the estate of Drumelzier went by marriage into the family of Tweedie. The second daughter, maarying Dougal Macdougall, carried to him the estate of Mackerston, in the reign of David the Second, and it now belongs to a descendant of his on the female side.

      In the reign of Alexander the Second the chief of the family was Bernard de Fraser, supposed to have been the grandson of the above-named Gilbert, by a third son, whose name is conjectured to have been Simon. [Anderson’s Hist. Acc. of the frasers, p. 8.] Bernard was a frequent witness to the charters of Alexander the Second, and in 1234 was made sheriff of Stirling, an h onour long hereditary in his family. By his talents he raised himself from being the vassal of a subject to be a tenant in chief to the king. He acquired the ancient territory of Oliver castle, which he transmitted to his posterity. He was one of the magnates of Scotland who swore to the performance of the treaty of peace agreed upon between Alexander the Second and Henry the Third of England at York in 1237, and is said to have married Mary Ogilvie, daughter of Gilchrist, thane of Angus, whose mother, Marjory, was the sister of Kings Malcolm the Fourth and William the Lion, and the daughter of Prince Henry. He was succeeded by his son Sir Gilbert Fraser, who was sheriff or vicecomes of Traquair during the reigns of Alexander the Second and his successor. He had three sons; Simon, his heir; Andrew, sheriff of Stirling in 1291 and 1293; and William, chancellor of Scotland from 1274 to 1280, and bishop of St. Andrews from 1279 to his death in 1297. He was first dean of Glasgow, and was consecrated bishop at Rome by Pope Nicholas the Third in 1280. In 1283, according to Wintoun, (Chronicles, p. 528,) he obtained for the bishops of St. Andrews, from Alexander the Third, the privilege of coining money. After the death of that monarch, he was one of the lords of the regency chosen by the states of Scotland, during the minority of the infant queen Margaret, styled “the maiden of Norway;” and as such was appointed to treat with the Norwegian plenipotentiaries on her affairs. On the death of that princess in 1291, he rendered a compelled homage to Edward the First of England, by whom he was created one of the guardians of Scotland. He was one of the early assertors of the independence of his country, and within a month after the accession of John Baliol to the throne, bishop Fraser joined with several others in a complaint against the English monarch for withdrawing causes out of Scotland contrary to his engagement and promises, and in prejudice of Baliol’s sovereign rights and authority. It was at the command of this patriotic bishop that Sir William Wallace, when guardian of the kingdom, put all the English who held them, out of their church benefices in Scotland. In 1295 he was one of the commissioners who concluded the fatal treaty with King Philip of France, by which the latter agreed to give Baliol his niece, the eldest daughter of Charles count of Anjou, in marriage to his son and heir, a treaty, styled by Lord Hailes, “the groundwork of many more equally honourable and ruinous to Scotland.” [Annals, vol. i. p. 234.] Bishop Fraser died at Arteville in France, 13th September 1297. His body was buried in the church of the friars predicants in Paris, but his heart, enclosed in a rich box, was brought to Scotland by his successor, Bishop Lamberton, and entombed in the wall of the cathedral of St. Andrews. Following is a representation of his seal from Anderson’s Diplomata Scotiae, plate 100, the smallest one there.

[Bishop Fraser’s seal]

      Sir Simon Fraser, the eldest son, was a man of great influence and power. He possessed the lands of Oliver castle, Niedpath castle, and other lands in Tweeddale; and accompanied King Alexander the Second in a pilgrimage to Iona, a short time previous to the death of that monarch. He was knighted by Alexander the Third, who, in the beginning of his reign, conferred on him the office of high sheriff of Tweeddale, which he held from 1263 to 1266. He was one of the magnates Scotiae who, in 1285, engaged to support Margaret of Norway as the successor of Alexander the Third. He sat in the famous parliament of Brigham in 1290, when the marriage of Margaret with Prince Edward of England was proposed. He supported the title of Baliol to the throne till basely surrendered by himself, and in conjunction with his brothers, William and Sir Andrew, and his cousin Sir Richard Fraser, was appointed an arbiter by Baliol for determining the right of the several competitors to the crown, 5th June 1291. He swore fealty to Edward the First at Norham on the 12th of the same month, and again on 23d July at the monastery of Lindores. He died the same year. He had an only son, Sir Simon Fraser, the renowned patriot, of whom a memoir is given below. With him may be said (in 1306) to have expired the direct male line of the south country Frasers, after having been the most considerable family in Peebles-shire during the Scoto-Saxon period of our history, from 1097 to 1306. The ruins of Oliver castle, and the castles of Fruid, Drummelzier, and Niedpath, (views of the last two may be seen in Grose’s Antiquities,) attest their ancient greatness. Sir Simon had two daughters, who divided his extensive possessions between them. The elder, Mary, married Sir Gilbert Hay of Locherworth, ancestor of the noble family of Tweeddale, on whom devolved, in her right, the office of sheriff of Peebles. The younger became the wife of Sir Patrick Fleming, progenitor of the earls of Wigton. Each of these families quartered the arms of Fraser with their paternal arms.

      The male representation of the principal family of Fraser devolved, on the death of the great Sir Simon, on the next collateral heir, his uncle, Sir Andrew, second son of Sir Gilbert Fraser, above mentioned. In June 1291 he swore a forced allegiance to King Edward the First at Dunfermline, and he was present when Baliol did homage to Edward, 26th December 1292. He possessed the lands of Touch in Stirlingshire, which it is probable were conferred on him when he became sheriff of that county. He had also received from King Edward the First the manor of Struthers and other lands in Fife. He and his son are frequently mentioned in the annals of the period for their valorous exploits in defence of their country against the English usurper. He is supposed to have died about 1308, surviving his renowned nephew, Sir Simon, only two years. He was, says the historian of the family, “the first of the name of Fraser who established an interest for himself and his descendants in the northern parts of Scotland, and more especially in Inverness-shire, where they have ever since figured with such renown and distinction.” [Anderson’s Hist. Acc. p. 35.] He married a wealthy heiress in the county of Caithness, then and for many centuries thereafter comprehended within the sheriffdom of Inverness, and in right of his wife he acquired a very large estate in the north of Scotland. He had four sons, namely, Simon, the immediate male ancestor of the lords Lovat (see LOVAT, Lord), and whose descendants and dependents (the clan Fraser), after the manner of the Celts, took the name of MacShimi, or sons of Simon; Sir Alexander, who obtained the estate of Touch, as the appanage of a younger son, of whom afterwards; and Andrew, and James, slain with their brother, Simon, at the disastrous battle of Halidonhill, 22d July 1338.

      The second son, Sir Alexander, swore fealty to Edward the First at Berwick, 28th August, 1296. Among sixteen persons of the name of Fraser, Frizel, or Fresle, whose names occur in the Ragman Roll as having sworn fealty to King Edward, was Sir Richard Freser, styled del Conte de Dumfries, who was probably a cousin of the great Sir Simon Fraser. Sir Alexander joined King Robert at his coronation in March 1306, and was taken prisoner by the English at the battle of Methven, 19th June following. He soon, however, recovered his liberty, and was with Bruce in most of his battles, and particularly at Bannockburn. From that monarch he received charters of various lands in the shires of Kincardine, Stirling, and Aberdeen, and was sheriff of Kincardine. His signature appears at the famous letter sent to the Pope in 1320, asserting the independence of Scotland. Alexander Frisel was one of the guarantees of a truce with the English 1st June 1323. He married, about 1316, Lady Mary Bruce, a sister of King Robert, and widow of Sir Niel Campbell of Lochow, and held the appointment of great chamberlain of Scotland from 1325 to the death of his royal brother-in-law in 1329. He fell at the battle of Duplin, 12th August 1332. His line terminated, before 1355, in a female descendant, Margaret, who inherited all his estates, and carried them into other families. She married Sir William Keith, great marischal of Scotland; and their son, John Keith, left by his wife, a daughter of King Robert the Second, one son, Robert, whose daughter and heiress, Jean, married Alexander, first earl of Huntly, on which account (as the dukes of Gordon, before that title was extinct, did) the marquises of Huntly, quarter the Fraser arms with their own.


      The ancient family of the Frasers of Philorth, in Aberdeenshire, who have enjoyed since 1669 the title of Lord Saltoun, is immediately descended from William, son of an Alexander Fraser, who flourished during the early part of the fourteenth century, and inherited from his father the estates of Cowie and Durris in Kincardineshire. This William is stated erroneously in Douglas’ Peerage, (Wood’s edition, vol. ii. p. 473,) to have been a son of Sir Alexander, the chamberlain, above mentioned. On the 7th July 1296, among other barons of that part of the country, he swore fealty to Edward the First, at Fernel, now Farnel, in Forfarshire, being described as “the son of the late Alexander Fraser.” His father, therefore, must have been dead long before Sir Alexander, the chamberlain, commenced his career. [Anderson’s Hist. Acc. of the Frasers, p. 38, note.] From the loss of documents, the precise relationship between him and the original Frasers of Tweeddale cannot now be ascertained. William Fraser was one of the party who, under the knight of Liddesdale, took by stratagem the castle of Edinburgh, 17th April 1341. He was killed at the battle of Durham, 17th October 1346.

      His son, Sir Alexander Fraser of Cowie, had a safe-conduct, 13th October 1366, to go to England, with eight in his company, to study at the university of Oxford. From David the Second he had a grant of the office of sheriff of Aberdeen. He signalized himself at the battle of Otterbourne in 1388, and died not long after 1408. His wife was Lady Janet Ross, second daughter and coheiress of William, earl of Ross, and from her sister, Euphemia, countess of Ross, and her husband, Sir Walter de Lesley, he had charters of various lands in the earldom of Ross, the whole being called the barony of Philorth, which thenceforth became the chief designation of the family. By Lady Janet he had a son, Sir William, who succeeded him. By a second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir David de Hamilton of Cadzow, he had another son, Alexander, ancestor of Sir Peter Fraser of Durris, whose daughter and heiress, Carey, was the first wife of Charles Mordaunt, the celebrated earl of Peterborough and Monmouth.

      Sir William Fraser of Philorth, the elder son, succeeded his father before 1413, when he sold the barony of Cowie to William Hay of Errol, constable of Scotland. He died before 1441. By his wife, Lady Mary or Eleanor Douglas, second daughter of the third earl of Douglas, he had a son, Sir Alexander, and a daughter, Agnes, married, in 1423, to Sir William Forbes of Kinnaldie, who obtained with her the barony of Pitsligo.

      The son, Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth, was knighted by King James the Second, and accompanied his kinsman, the eighth earl of Douglas, to the jubilee at Rome in 1450. He died 7th April 1482. He had two sons; Alexander, and James. The latter obtaining from his father the lands of Memsey, was ancestor of the Frasers of Memsey, an estate which, after being in their possession for upwards of three centuries, was sold by the late Col. Fraser to Lord Saltoun.

      Alexander, the elder son, was succeeded by his son, Sir William Fraser of Philorth, who died at Paris 5th September 1513. His son, Alexander Fraser of Philorth, (died 12th April 1569,) had four sons. Alexander, the eldest, died in 1564, before his father, leaving (by his wife, Lady Beatrix Keith, fifth daughter of the third earl Marischal) a son, named after him. William the second son, was ancestor of the Frasers of Techmuiry. Thomas, the third son, had a charter of the lands of Strathechin or Strichen, in Aberdeenshire, 11th May 1558. He had two daughters, coheiresses. John, the fourth son, a bachelor of divinity, was abbot of Noyon or Compeigne in France, and in 1596, was elected rector of the university of Paris, where he died 19th April 1609. He was the author of several treatises in philosophy, and of the following two works, namely, ‘An Offer to Subscribers to the Ministers of Scotland’s Religion, if they can prove themselves to have the True Kirk,’ Paris, 1604, 8vo; ‘Epistles to the Ministers of Great Britain, against Subscription to their Confession of Faith,’ Paris, 1605, 8vo.

      Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth, the son of the rector’s eldest brother, succeeded his grandfather in 1569, and in the following year he laid the foundation of the castle of Fraserburgh, which became the chief residence of the family. He was a man of great public spirit, and to him the town of Fraserburgh owes its municipal existence, as in October 1613 he got it erected into a burgh of regality, after an unavailing attempt on the part of the magistrates and council of Aberdeen to prevent it. The parish in which it is situated was originally called Philorth, but the name was changed to Fraserburgh, in honour of Sir Alexander the superior. The cross, the jail – now a ruinous edifice – and the court-house, were erected by him. In 1592 he obtained a charter from the Crown, containing powers to erect and endow a college and university at Fraserburgh; and in 1597, the General Assembly recommended Mr. Charles Ferme, then minister of Fraserburgh, to be principal, but nothing further was ever done in the matter. An old quadrangular tower of three stories, which formed part of a large building intended for the proposed college, still stands at the west end of the town. Sir Alexander was in great favour with King James the Sixth, to whom he advanced several large sums of money, about the time of his marriage with the princess Anne of Denmark. He was knighted in 1594, at the baptism of Prince Henry, and died at Fraserburgh, 12th April 1623. A portrait of him by Jameson is at Philorth house, near Fraserburgh, the seat of his descendant Lord Saltoun. From another painting in the possession of Mr. Urquhart of Craigston, an engraving was taken for Pinkerton’s Scottish Gallery of Portraits, (vol. ii.) Of which the subjoined is a woodcut:

[woodcut of Sir Alexander Fraser]

Sir Alexander married Magdalen, only daughter of Sir Walter Ogilvy, of Dunlugas, and had four sons and three daughters. Thomas, the youngest son, was an antiquary, and wrote a history of the family.

      The eldest son, also Sir Alexander, married Margaret, eldest daughter of George, seventh Lord Abernethy of Saltoun, and, with two daughters, had a son, Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth, who, on the death of his cousin, Alexander, ninth Lord Abernethy of Saltoun, in 1669, succeeded to that peerage as heir of line, and became tenth Lord Saltoun. See SALTOUN, Lord.


FRASER, Baron, a title (now dormant) in the peerage of Scotland, conferred by patent, dated at Holyroodhouse, 29th June 1633, on Andrew Fraser, son of Andrew Fraser of Kilmundy, Stanywood, and Muchells, Aberdeenshire, descended from a branch of the house of Philorth, to him and his heirs male for ever, bearing the name and arms of Fraser. He died 10th December 1636.

      His son, also named Andrew, second Lord Fraser, supported the cause of the Covenant, and when Montrose proceeded to Aberdeen on the 30th March 1639, with a commission from the Tables, (as the boards of representatives, chosen respectively by the nobility, gentry, burghs, and clergy, were called,) he was joined among others by Lord Fraser. On the departure of Montrose’s army to the south, the Covenanters of the north appointed a committee meeting to be held at Turriff on Wednesday, 24th April, consisting of the earls Marischal and Seaforth, Lord Fraser, the master of Forbes, and some of their kindred and friends. The meeting was afterwards adjourned till the 20th May, which led to the historical incident styled “the Trot of Turray,” the old name of Turriff, which is distinguished as the place where blood was first shed in the civil wars. On the 11th of June following, the royalist army under the Viscount Aboyne proceeded to the house of Muchells, belonging to Lord Fraser, but hearing of a rising in the south, Aboyne abandoned his intention of besieging it, and returned to Aberdeen. Lord Fraser was one of the parliamentary commissioners appointed 19th July 1644, for suppressing the insurrection in the north, and for proceeding against rebels and malignants. In the following year he was also one of the committee of Estates, and in 1649 he was a member of the committee for putting the kingdom in a posture of defence. He died 24th May 1674. By his wife, a daughter of Haldane of Gleneagles, he had a son, Andrew, third Lord Forbes, who married Catherine, third daughter of Hugh eighth Lord Lovat, relict of Sir John Sinclair of Dunbeath, and of Robert first viscount of Arbuthnot. He died about the end of 1682.

      His son, Charles, fourth Lord Fraser, was tried before the high court of justiciary at Edinburgh, 29th March 1693, on a charge of high treason, for proclaiming King James at the cross at Fraserburgh in June or July 1692, drinking his health and that of his son, the pretended prince of Wales, forcing others to do the same, and cursing King William and his adherents, amid the firing of guns and pistols, and the brandishing of swords. He was found guilty only of drinking the healths of King James and his son. On the 16th May the court fined him for the offence two hundred pounds. On his trial the lord advocate, Sir James Stewart, protested for an assize of wilful error, if the jury should acquit the prisoner, which, if acceded to, would have subjected them to an indictment for giving an impartial and unbiased verdict in his favour; but Lord Fraser, on his part, protested in the contrary, because the committee of Estates, which had declared King James to have ‘forfaulted’ the crown and bestowed the same on William and Mary, solemnly enacted and declared ‘that assizes of error are a grievance.’ [Arnot’s Criminal Trials, pp. 77 and 78.] Four of the jury, evidently apprehensive of being brought to an assize for the verdict delivered in, desired it to be marked in the record that they found the proclamation proved in terms of the indictment. These four were the master of Forbes, Sir Alexander Gilmore of Craigmillar, Patrick Murray of Livingstone, and James Ellis of Southside. Lord Bargeny was chancellor of the jury, and it deserves to be noticed, as an indication of the feeling of the times, that seven peers and eight gentlemen of distinction who were summoned as jurors were fined a hundred merks each for not obeying the citation. The middle verdict of ‘not proven,’ which is only known in the criminal courts of Scotland, appears to have originated in the power then possessed by the lord advocate, and too frequently exercised before the Revolution, of subjecting an acquitting jury to an assize of wilful error, to save them from the consequences of one of not guilty, and prevent them from giving in one of guilty, contrary to the evidence and their own consciences.

      Lord Fraser took the oaths and his seat in parliament, 2d July 1695, and in the parliament of 1706, he supported the union with England; but engaged in the rebellion of 1715, and after its suppression, kept himself concealed till his death, which happened 12th October 1720, owing to a fall from a precipice near Banff, by which his skull was fractured, and he died immediately. He married Lady Marjory Erskine, second daughter of the seventh earl of Buchan, relict of Sir Simon Fraser of Inverallochy, but had no issue. The estate of Castle Fraser was left by his lordship to her children by her first husband (see next article). No heir male general has yet become a claimant for the title of Lord Fraser.


      The family of Fraser of Castle Fraser, in Ross-shire, are descended, on the female side, from the Hon. Sir Simon Fraser of Inverallochy, second son of Simon, eighth Lord Lovat, but on the male side their name is Mackenzie. Sir Simon’s grandson, Charles fraser, Esq. of Inverallochy, heir of line to his grandmother, Lady Marjory Erskine, Lady Fraser, he had no sons, and his eldest daughter, Martha, married Colin Mackenzie of Kilcoy, by whom she had, with other issue, Charles, whose only son was Sir Colin Mackenzie of Kilcoy, baronet, and Alexander Mackenzie, who succeeded his mother in the estate of Inverallochy, and her youngest sister, Elizabeth, in that of Castle Fraser, when he assumed the additional surname of Fraser by royal license. He early entered the army, and distinguished himself at the siege of Gibraltar. On the first battalion of the 78th  Highlanders, or Ross-shire Buffs, being embodied in February 1793, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of it, and in September 1794 joined an expedition under Major-general Lord Mulgrave, the object of which was to occupy Zealand. On reaching Flushing, the 78th, with other regiments, was ordered to reinforce the duke of York’s army on the Waal. It afterwards became part of the garrison of Nimeguen, to which place the enemy had laid siege. After the evacuation of that place, the 78th entered the third brigade of reserve, which was under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Mackenzie Fraser. With his regiment he was engaged in all the subsequent movements of the army, and in the retreat to Bremen. He afterwards served in La Vendee, and in India, which he left in 1800. When the second battalion of the regiment was raised in 1804, he was made colonel of it. Early in 1807, when major-general, he commanded the armament which was fitted out in Sicily for the purpose of occupying Alexandria, Rosetta, and the adjoining coast of Egypt. The force under his command on this occasion consisted of a detachment of artillery, the 20th light dragoons, the 31st, 35th, 78th, and two other regiments. On the 16th of March he arrived with a portion of his force off the Arab’s Tower to the west of Alexandria, and having disembarked his troops, the town, on being summoned, surrendered to him on the 20th of that month. He was subsequently promoted to be lieutenant-general, and sat in several parliaments as member for Ross-shire, his native county. He died in 1809, having married Helen, sister of Francis Lord Seaforth, and, with 2 daughters, had two sons; Charles, his heir, and Frederic Alexander Mackenzie, lieutenant-colonel in the army, and assistant quarter-master general to the forces in Canada, married 1st, second daughter of Hume MacLeod of Harris, issue; 2dly, a daughter of Sir Charles Bagot, Governor of Canada.

      The elder son, Charles Fraser of Inverallochy and Castle Fraser, born June 9, 1792, entered the army young, and served in the Peninsula in 1808-9, in the 52d foot, and in 1812, in the Coldstream guards, in which regiment he was a captain. He was also colonel of the Ross-shire militia. He was M.P. for Ross-shire from 1815 to 1819. He married Jane, 4th daughter of Sir John Hay, Bart. of Hayston, issue, 4 sons and 5 daughters.


      The proper Highland clan Fraser, – in Gaelic Na Friosalaich, – whose badge is the yew, and battle-cry was “Castle Downie,” (the residence of their chief, from Duna, a camp or fortified dwelling,) was that headed by the Lovat branch in Inverness-shire, as above mentioned. Simon being the name of the first of them who settled in the Highlands, and a common name for their chiefs, they adopted the Gaelic designation of MacShimei, that is, the sons of Simon. They are also sometimes called MacImmies. Unlike the Aberdeenshire or Saltoun Frasers, the Lovat branch, the only branch of the Frasers that became Celtic, founded a tribe or clan, and all the natives of the purely Gaelic districts of the Aird and Stratherrick came to be called by their name. The Simpsons, sons of Simon, are also considered to be descended from them, and the Tweedies of Tweeddale are supposed, on very plausible grounds, to have been originally Frasers. Logan’s conjecture that the name of Fraser is a corruption of the Gaelic Friosal, from frith, a forest, and siol, a race, the th being silent, (that is, the race of the forest,) however pleasing to the clan as proving them an indigenous Gaelic tribe, may only be mentioned here as a mere fancy of his own.

      The Frasers had their own share of clan feuds and battles, but the most remarkable as well as the most sanguinary conflict in which they were ever engaged was in 1544, with the MacDonalds of Clanranald, who had put their chief Dougal MacRanald to death, and excluded his children from the succession. Lord Lovat being the uncle of the young Ranald, Dougal’s eldest son, called Ranald Galda, or the stranger, his cause was espoused by the Frasers, four hundred of whom, the flower of the clan, with Lord Lovat at their head, joined the earl of Huntly, the king’s lieutenant in the north, when, with a numerous force, he marched to crush a threatened insurrection of the Clanranald. After penetrating as far as Inverlochy in Lochaber, and putting Ranald Galda in possession of Moydert, Huntly retraced his steps, and on arriving at the mouth of Glenspean, Lovat left him with his own vassals, accompanied by Ranald Galda and a few followers of the latter. Near the head of the loch they were attacked by a body of the Clanranald, amounting to nearly five hundred men. The battle that ensued was one of the most bloody and destructive in clan annals. It began with the discharge of arrows at a distance, but when these were spent, both parties rushed to close combat, and attacked each other furiously with their two-handed swords and Lochaber axes. So great was the heat of the weather, it being the month of July, that the combatants threw off their coats, and fought in their shirts; whence the battle received the name of Blar-nanlein, ‘The field of shirts.’ All the Frasers were killed, except one gentleman, James Fraser of Foyers (who was severely wounded, and left for dead), and four common men, while it is said, though this is considered incorrect, that only eight of the Macdonalds survived the battle. The bodies of Lord Lovat, his son, the Master, who had joined his father soon after the commencement of the action, and Ranald Galda, were, a few days after, removed by a train of mourning relatives, and interred at the priory of Beauly in the Aird. [Gregory’s Highlands, p. 161.]

      The clan Fraser formed part of the army of the earl of Seaforth when in the beginning of 1645 that nobleman advanced to oppose the great Montrose, who designed to seize Inverness, previous to the battle of Inverlochy, in which the latter defeated the Campbells under the marquis of Argyle in February of that year. After the arrival of King Charles the Second in Scotland in 1650, the Frasers, to the amount of eight hundred men, joined the troops raised to oppose Cromwell, their chief’s son, the master of Lovat being appointed one of the colonels of foot for Inverness and Ross. In the summer of 1652 they submitted to Monk, and as Balfour says, “condescendit to pay cesse,” while other Highland clans stood out, and laughed the English to scorn. [Balfour’s Annals, vol. iv. p. 349.] In the rebellion of 1715, under their last famous chief, Simon Lord Lovat (beheaded at Towerhill in 1747, of whom a memoir is given below), they did good service to the government by taking possession of Inverness, which was then in the hands of the Jacobites. In 1719 also, at the affair of Glenshiel, in which the Spaniards were defeated on the west coast of Inverness-shire, the Frasers fought resolutely on the side of government, and took possession of the castle of Brahan, the seat of the earl of Seaforth. On the breaking out of the rebellion of 1745, they did not at first take any part in the struggle, but after the battle of Prestonpans, on the 21st September, Lord Lovat “mustered his clan,” and their first demonstration in favour of the Pretender was to make a midnight attack on the castle of Culloden, but found it garrisoned and prepared for their reception. On the morning of the battle of Culloden six hundred of the Frasers, under the command of the master of Lovat, a fine young man of nineteen, effected a junction with the rebel army, and behaved during the action with characteristic valour. When the Highlanders were forced to retreat, the Frasers marched off with banners flying and pipes playing in the face of the enemy. After the battle Charles Fraser, younger of Inverallochy, the lieutenant-colonel of the Fraser regiment, was savagely slain by order of the duke of Cumberland. When riding over the field, the duke observed this brave youth lying wounded. Raising himself upon his elbow, he looked at the duke, when the latter thus addressed one of his officers, who afterwards became a more distinguished commander than himself: “Wolfe, shoot me that Highland scoundrel who thus dares to look on us with so insolent a stare.” Wolfe replied, that his commission was at his royal highness’ disposal, but that he would never consent to become an executioner. Other officers refusing to commit this act of butchery, a private soldier, at the inhuman command of the duke, shot the hapless youth before his eyes.

      Lord Lovat’s eldest son, Simon Fraser, master of Lovat, afterwards entered the service of government, and rose to the rank of lieutenant-general in the army. He was at the university of St. Andrews, pursuing his studies, when the rebellion broke out, and was sent for by his father to head the clan in support of the Pretender, which he most reluctantly did. It was stated by a witness on Lord lovat’s trial, that while he was preparing one of his lordship’s deceptive letters to the lord president Forbes, complaining of the obstinacy of his son in rushing into the rebellion, the master of Lovat came in, and on reading what he had written at the dictation of his father, said, “If this letter goes, I will go and put the saddle on the right horse.” After the battle of Culloden, he surrendered himself, and was confined in the castle of Edinburgh till August 1747, when he proceeded to Glasgow, there to remain during the king’s pleasure. Being proved to have been forced into the rebellion, he in 1750 received a full and free pardon from government. Soon after he refused an offer which was made to him of a regiment in the French service; but he requested permission to be employed in the British army, and in 1756, though not possessed of an inch of land, his father’s estates being under forfeiture, in a few weeks he raised among his own kinsmen and clan, a regiment of fourteen hundred men, called the 78th or Fraser’s Highlanders, of which he was appointed lieutenant-colonel, 5th January 1757.

      On the regiment’s arrival at Halifax the following June, as the Highland garb was judged unfit for the climate of North America, it was proposed to change it for some warmer uniform, but the officers and soldiers having set themselves against the plan, and being strongly supported in their opposition by Colonel Fraser, it was abandoned. “Thanks to our gracious chief,” said a veteran of the regiment, “we were allowed to wear the garb of our fathers, and, in the course of six winters, showed the doctors that they did not understand our constitution; for, in the coldest winters, our men were more healthy than those regiments who wore breeches and warm clothing.” He distinguished himself at Louisburg, and in the attack on Quebec, where the regiment suffered much, and where he himself was wounded. In the second battle on the Heights of Abraham, under General Murray, Wolfe’s successor, Colonel Fraser commanded the left wing of the British army, and was again wounded. In 1761, during his absence in America, he was chosen M.P. for the county of Inverness, and was constantly rechosen till his death. In the force sent to Portugal, in 1762, to defend that kingdom against the Spaniards, he was a brigadier-general. His regiment having been disbanded, Fraser’s Highlanders were, in 1773, after the breaking out of the American revolutionary war, again embodied, under the auspices of their former chief, the Hon. General Fraser, who, in reward of his services, had, the previous year, received from George the Third, a grant of the forfeited Lovat estates, his own patrimony. The title, however, of Lord Lovat, was not restored. The new regiment, of which he was appointed colonel, consisted of two battalions of two thousand three hundred and four Highlanders, and were numbered the 71st. When mustered at Glasgow in April 1762, for embarkation to America, a body of one hundred and twenty men, who had been raised on the forfeited estate of Lochiel, with the view of securing the latter a company, finding that their own chief had not, from illness, been able to join the regiment, hesitated to embark without him, but General Fraser addressing them in Gaelic, succeeded in removing their scruples. General Stewart relates that when he had finished speaking, an old Highlander present, who had accompanied his son to Glasgow, walked up to him, and with that easy familiar intercourse which in those days subsisted between the Highlanders and their superiors, shook him by the hand, exclaiming, “Simon, you are a good soldier, and speak like a man; as long as you live Simon of Lovat will never die;” alluding to the general’s address and manner, which, as was said, resembled much that of his father, Lord Lovat. He was eventually promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general, and died, without issue, 8th Feb. 1782. Mrs. Grant of Laggan states that in him a pleasing exterior covered a large share of his father’s character, and that “no heart was ever harder, – no hands more rapacious than his.”

      General Fraser was succeeded by his half-brother, Colonel Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat, appointed consul-general at Algiers in 1766, and chosen M.P. for Inverness-shire, on the general’s death in 1782. By his wife, Jane, sister of William Fraser, Esq. of Leadclune, F.R.S., created a baronet, 27th November 1806, he had five sons, all of whom he survived. On his death, in December 1815, the male descendants of Hugh ninth Lord Lovat, became extinct, and the male representation of the family, as well as the right to its extensive entailed estates, devolved on the junior descendant of Alexander sixth lord, Thomas Alexander Fraser, of Lovat and Struchen, who claimed the title of Lord Lovat in the peerage of Scotland, and in 1837 was created a peer of the United Kingdom, by that of Baron Lovat of Lovat. [See LOVAT of Lovat, Lord.]

      His lordship’s great-grandfather, Alexander Fraser of Strichen, the son of Thomas Fraser of Strichen and Emilia Stewart, second daughter of James Lord Doune, was an eminent judge of the court of session. He passed advocate 23d June 1722, and was afterwards one of the commissaries of Edinburgh. Admitted a lord of session 5th June 1730, he took his seat by the title of Lord Strichen, and was appointed a lord of justiciary, 11th June 1735. Being one of the judges at the autumn circuit court at Inverness that year, he was met a few miles from the town, by his kinsman Simon Lord Lovat, attended by a great retinue, eager to honour and congratulate him on his new judicial dignity. Having been appointed general of the Scottish Mint in 1764, he resigned his seat as a justiciary judge, but retained his office in the court of session till his death. He is remarkable for having sat the unusually long period of forty-five years on the bench. At the time of the great Douglas cause in 1768, he was the oldest Scottish judge, being of no less than twenty-four years longer standing than any of his brethren. He is supposed to have been one of the judges at the famous trial of Effie Deans in 1736, on which Scott’s novel of ‘The Heart of Mid Lothian’ is founded. He married in 1731, the countess of Bute, and died at Strichen house, Aberdeenshire, 15th February 1776, at the age of 76. [Scots Mag. vol. xxxvii. p. 111.]


      Sir William Fraser, of Leadclune, created a baronet in 1806, above mentioned, descended from Alexander, 2d son of Hugh 2d Lord Lovat, was in the naval service of the East India Company, and commanded two of their ships, ‘the Lord Mansfield,’ in 1772, which was lost in coming out of the Bengal river in 1773; and ‘the Earl of Mansfield,’ from 1777 to 1785. He had 3 sons and 11 daughters, and died 10th Feb. 1818.

      His eldest son, Sir William Fraser, second baronet, died unmarried, 23d Dec. 1827, in India, where he had an official appointment. Sir William’s surviving brother, Sir James John Fraser, third baronet, a lieutenant-colonel in the army, served with the 7th hussars in Spain, and was on the staff at Waterloo. He married Charlotte Anne, only daughter of David Craufurd, Esq., and niece of the gallant Major-general Robert Craufurd, killed at Cuidad Rodrigo. He died 5th June 1834, leaving three sons.

      The eldest son, Sir William Augustus Fraser, fourth baronet, born in 1826, was educated at Christ church, Oxford, and in 1847 was appointed an officer in the first life guards. In 1852 he was elected M.P. for Barnstaple. His brother, Charles Craufurd, major in the army (1858), was at one time aide-de-camp to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and highly distinguished himself in India. The 3d brother, James Keith, is a captain first life guards (1860).

FRASER, SIR SIMON, a renowned warrior and patriot, the son of Sir Simon Fraser, last lord of Tweeddale and Oliver castle, Peebles-shire, who died in 1299, and Mary, eldest daughter of Sir John Bisset of Lovat, the chief of the Bissets, was born in 1257. With his father and family he adhered faithfully to the interest of John Baliol, till the latter himself betrayed his own cause. In 1296, when Edward the First invaded Scotland, Sir Simon was one of those true-hearted patriots whom the English monarch carried with him to England, where he continued close prisoner for eight months. In Jun 1297 he and his cousin, Sir Richard Fraser, submitted to Edward, and engaged to accompany that monarch in his designed expedition to France, but requested permission to go for a short time to Scotland, pledging themselves to deliver up their wives and children for their faithful fulfilment of the engagement.

      On his return to his native country, Sir Simon, not considering his forced obligation with King Edward binding in conscience, joined Sir William Wallace, guardian of the kingdom, and gave so many distinguished proofs of his valour and patriotism, that when that illustrious hero, in a full assembly of the nobles at Perth, resigned his double commission of general of the army and guardian of the kingdom, Sir Simon Fraser was chosen his successor in the post of commander of the Scots army, while Sir John Comyn of Badenoch, Wallace’s greatest enemy, was appointed guardian, on account of his near relation to the crown.

      In summer 1302, two separate English armies were sent into Scotland, the one commanded by King Edward in person, and the other by the prince of Wales, his son (afterwards the unfortunate Edward the Second), but the Scots, prudently avoiding a regular engagement, contented themselves with intercepting the English convoys, and cutting off detached parties of the enemy. In the meantime a truce was agreed upon till November 30, which was prolonged till Easter 1303. But the English general broke the truce, and passed the borders in February, at the had of thirty thousand well-appointed soldiers. Meeting with no opposition on their march, for the convenience of forage, and to enable them to harass the country the more effectually, they divided into three bodies, and on the 24th of that month, advanced to Roslin near Edinburgh, where they encamped at a considerable distance from each other. The Scots leaders, Sir John Comyn and Sir Simon Fraser, hastily collecting about ten thousand men together, marched from Biggar during the night, and next day defeated in succession the three divisions of the English army, or rather the three separate armies of English. This happened February 25, 1302-3. This victory raised the character of the Scots for courage all over Europe; and Sir Simon Fraser’s conduct on the occasion is spoken of in high terms by our ancient historians. Fordun, in his Scotichronicon, says, that he was not only the main instrument in gaining this remarkable battle, but in keeping Sir John Comyn to his duty as guardian during the four years of his administration.

      Highly incensed at this threefold defeat at Roslin, Edward entered Scotland in May following, at the head of a vast heterogeneous host, consisting of English, Irish, Welsh, Gascons, and some recreant Scots. Not being able to cope with such a force in the open field, most of the nation betook themselves to strong castles and mountains inaccessible to all but themselves, while the English monarch penetrated as far as Caithness. Being thus in a manner in possession of the country, the guardian, Sir John Comyn, and many of the nobility, submitted to him in February 1303-4; but Sir Simon Fraser refusing to do so, was among those who were expressly excepted from the general conditions of the capitulation made at Strathorde on the 9th of that month. It was also provided that he should be banished for three years not only from Scotland but from the dominions of Edward, including France; and he was ordered, besides, to pay a fine of three years’ rent of his lands.

      Sir Simon, in the meantime, concealed himself in the north till 1306, when he joined Robert the Bruce, who in that year asserted his right to the throne. It is probable that he was present at King Robert’s coronation at Scone, as we find him at the fatal battle of Methven soon after; on which occasion the king owed his life to his valour and presence of mind, having been by him three times rescued and remounted, after having had three horses killed under him. He escaped with the king, whom he attended into Argyleshire, and was with him at the battle of Dalry. On the separation of the small party which accompanied King Robert, Sir Simon, it is thought, also left him for a short period. But after the king had lurked for some time among the hills, Sir Simon, with Sir Alexander his brother, and some of his friends, rejoined him, when they attacked the castle of Inverness, and then marched through the Aird, afterwards the country of the clan Fraser, to Dingwall, taking the castle there, and thereafter through Moray, all the fortresses surrendering to Bruce on their way.

      In 1307 Sir Simon was, with Sir Walter Logan of the house of Restalrig, treacherously seized by some of the adherents of the earl of Buchan, one of the chiefs of the Comyns, who sent them in irons to London. When such men as the earl of Athol; Niel, Thomas, and Alexander Bruce, the king’s brothers; Sir Christopher Seton, and his brother John; Herbert Norham; Thomas Bois; Adam Wallace, brother of Sir William, and that great hero himself, were put to death, Sir Simon Fraser and Sir Walter Logan had nothing to expect from Edward’s mercy. Accordingly they were both beheaded, but Sir Simon’s fate was more severe than was than of any of the rest. He was kept in fetters while in the Tower, and on the day of execution he was dragged through the streets as a traitor, hanged on a high gibbet as a thief, and his head cut off as a murderer. His body, after being exposed for twenty days to the derision of the mob, was thrown across a wooden horse, and consumed by fire, while his head was fixed on the point of a lance, and placed near that of Sir William Wallace on London Bridge. Against these merciless executions, which were more dishonouring to Edward’s memory than to the illustrious patriots, his victims, the lord chief justice of England remonstrated with dignity, declaring to the savage monarch, “That he had no authority to put prisoners of war to death.” But Edward turned a deaf ear to all such remonstrances. For Simon’s issue see the previous.

FRASER, SIR ALEXANDER, physician to Charles the Second, belonged to the ancient family of Fraser of Durris. He was educated in Aberdeen, and by his professional gains and fortunate marriage was enabled to re-purchase the inheritance of his forefathers. We are told that “he was wont to compare the air of Durris to that of Windsor, reckoned the finest in England.” He accompanied Charles the second in his expedition to Scotland in 1650, and seems to have been particularly obnoxious to the Covenanters. On the 27th September of that year he and several others, described as “profaine, scandalous, malignant, and disaffected persons,” were ordered by the committee of Estates to remove from the court within twenty-four hours, under pain of imprisonment. His name is conspicuous in the Rolls of the Scottish parliament during the reign of Charles the Second, and occurs occasionally in the pages of Papys. Spottiswoode, in his History of the Church of Scotland, speaks highly of his learning and medical skill. He died in 1681.

FRASER, SIMON, 12th Lord Lovat, one of the most remarkable of the actors in the rebellion of 1745, was the second son of Thomas Fraser, styled of Beaufort, by Sybilla, daughter of Macleod of Macleod, and was born in 1667. Beaufort was another name of Castle Counie, the chief seat of the family, and did not belong to Simon’s father at the time of his birth. He had a small house in Tanich, in the parish of Urray, Ross-shire, where it is supposed that the future Lord Lovat was born. At the proper age he became a student at King’s college, Old Aberdeen, the favourite university of the Celts, and in 1694, while prosecuting his studies, he accepted of a commission in the regiment of Lord Murray, afterwards earl of Tullibardine, procured for him by his cousin, Hugh Lord Lovat. Having, in 1626, accompanied the latter to London, he found means to ingratiate himself so much with his lordship, that he was prevailed upon to make a universal bequest to him of all his estates in case he should die without make issue. On the death of Lord Lovat soon after, Simon Fraser began to style himself master of Lovat, while his father, “Thomas of Beaufort,” took possession of the honours and estates of the family. To render his claims indisputable, however, Simon paid his addresses to the daughter of the late lord, who had assumed the title of baroness of Lovat, and having prevailed on her to consent to elope with him, would have carried his design of marrying her into execution, had not their mutual confident, Fraser of Tenechiel, after conducting the young lady forth one winter night in such precipitate haste, that she is said to have walked barefooted, failed in his trust, and restored her again to her mother. The heiress was then removed out of the reach of his artifices by her uncle, the marquis of Athol, to his stronghold at Dunkeld.

      Determined not to be baulked in his object, the master of Lovat resolved upon marrying the lady Amelia Murray, dowager baroness of Lovat; but as she would not consent to the match, he had recourse to compulsory measures, and, entering the house of Beaufort, or Castle Dounie, where the lady resided, he had the nuptial ceremony performed by a clergyman whom he brought along with him, and immediately afterwards, it is said, forcibly consummated the marriage before witnesses. He afterwards conveyed her, her brother Lord Mungo Murray and Lord Saltoun, whom he had forcibly seized at the wood of Bunchrew, on his return from a visit to her at Castle Dounie, to the island of Aigas, where he kept them for some time prisoners. Having by these proceedings incurred the enmity of the marquis of Athol, who was the brother of the dowager Lady Lovat, he was, in consequence of a representation made to the privy council, intercommuned, letters of “fire and sword” were issued against him and all his clan, and on Sept. 5, 1698, he and ten other persons of the name were tried, in absence, before the high court of justiciary for high treason, rape, and other crimes, when being found guilty of treason, to which the lord advocate restricted the charges in the indictment, they were condemned to be executed, and their lands declared forfeited. His father having died in 1699, he assumed the title of Lord Lovat, but in consequence of the proceedings against him he was compelled to quit the kingdom. After a short stay in London, he went to France, for the purpose of lodging a complaint against the marquis of Athol with the exiled king at St. Germains; after which he had the address to obtain an interview with King William, who was then at Loo in the United Provinces; and having obtained, through the influence of the duke of Argyle, a remission of his sentence, and a pardon of all crimes that could be alleged against him, – which, however, was restricted, on passing the Scottish seals, to the crime of which he had been found guilty, – he ventured to return to Scotland. He was immediately cited before the high court of justiciary, on 17th February 1701, for the outrage done to the dowager Lady Lovat, and, not appearing, he was outlawed. On the 19th February 1702 her ladyship presented a petition against him for letters of intercommuning, for levying the rents of the Lovat estates, which a second time were granted against him and his abettors. He now deemed it advisable to return to France, which he reached in July of that year, after the accession of Queen Anne to the throne. Previous to his departure from Scotland, he had visited several of the chiefs of clans and principal Jacobites in the lowlands, and engaged them to grant him a general commission engaging to take up arms in support of the Stuart cause; possessed of which he immediately joined in all the intrigues of the exiled court of St. Germains, and even managed to obtain some private interviews with Louis the Fourteenth. By that monarch a valuable sword and some other tokens of reminiscence were bestowed on him as a mark of his confidence. He had also some meetings with two of the French ministers of state, on a project which he had proposed to the ex-queen, Mary of Modena, acting in her son’s name, a boy at that time only fourteen years of age, for the invasion of Scotland and the raising of the Highland clans.

      He returned to Scotland in 1703, with a colonel’s commission in the Pretender’s service, and accompanied by John Murray, brother of Murray of Abercairney, who was authorised to ascertain if Lovat’s representations, as to the intentions of the Jacobite chiefs, had been warranted by them. Immediately after his return he had interviews with his cousin Stuart of Appin, Cameron of Lochiel, the laird of MacGregor, Lord Drummond, and others, on the subject of a rising, but meeting with little encouragement, he resolved to betray the whole plot to government; which he did in a secret audience with the duke of Queensberry, who was then at the head of Scottish affairs. On his re-appearance in Scotland, letters of “fire and sword” had again been issued against h im and his followers, and he prevailed on Queensberry to grant him a pass to London, that he might be out of the reach of danger. With his grace he had some more secret interviews in London, and soon after he returned to France, by way of Holland, with the object of obtaining for government further secret information about the projects of the exiled court. In passing through Holland he assumed the disguise of an officer in the Dutch service, but soon after his arrival in Paris, he was, by the french government, at the instance of the exiled queen, arrested, sent to the Bastille, and afterwards imprisoned for three years in the castle of Angouleme, and seven years in the city of Saumur, where he is said to have taken priest’s orders, and become a renowned popular preacher.

      After making many fruitless efforts to regain his liberty, – the exiled court having refused to sanction his release, – he at last resolved, on the death of Queen Anne, to endeavour to make his escape, which he effected with the aid of Major Fraser, one of his kinsmen, who had been sent over by his clan to discover where he was, and to learn his intentions, in the event of an insurrection in favour of the Stuarts. Reaching Boulogne in safety, and there hiring a boat, they sailed on 14th November 1714, and after a storm, landed at Dover next afternoon. On his arrival in London, he kept himself concealed for some time; but at the instigation of his enemy the marquis of Athol, a warrant was issued against him, and on the 11th of the following June, he was arrested in his lodgings in Soho Square, and, with the major, kept for some time in a sponging house, but at last obtained his liberty, on the earl of Sutherland, John Forbes of Culloden, and some other gentlemen, becoming bail for him to the extent of £5,000.

      He remained in London till October 1715, when the rebellion having broken out, he returned to Scotland as one of his brother john’s attendants, being still under the sentence of outlawry. In a vindication of his conduct addressed to Lord Islay he says, that on this occasion he was taken prisoner at Newcastle, Longtown, near Carlisle, Dumfries, and Lanark, but succeeded in reaching Stirling. He proceeded thence to Edinburgh, to embark at Leith for the north, but had not been there two house when he was apprehended by order of the lord justice clerk, and would have been sent to the castle had he not been delivered, he does not say how, by Provost John Campbell. A few days after he sailed from Leith with John Forbes of Culloden, but their vessel was pursued and fired upon by several large Fife boats in possession of the rebels. On arriving in his own country, he was just in time to be of considerable service to the royal cause and to his own interests. Joining two hundred of his clan who were waiting for him under arms in Stratherrick, he concerted a plan with the Grants, and Duncan Forbes of Culloden, afterwards president of the court of session, for recovering Inverness from the rebels, in which they were successful. For his zeal and activity on this occasion he had his reward. The young baroness of Lovat had married, in 1702, Alexander Mackenzie, younger of Prestonhall, who thereupon assumed the name of Fraser of Fraserdale; but engaging in the rebellion of 1715, he was obliged to leave the country, and being outlawed and attainted, his liferent of the estate of Lovat was bestowed, by a grant from the Crown, dated 23d August 1716, on Simon, Lord Lovat, “for his many brave and loyal services done and performed to his majesty,” particularly in the late rebellion. A memorial in his lordship’s favour, signed by about seventy individuals, including the earl of Sutherland, the members of parliament and the sheriffs of the northern counties, having been presented to the king, George the First, his pardon had been granted on the 10th of the preceding March, and on the 23d June following he had a private audience with his majesty. In 1721 he voted by list at the election of a representative peer, when his title was questioned. His vote was again objected to at the general elections of 1722 and 1727. In consequence of which, he brought a declaration of his right to the title before the court of session, and their judgment, pronounced July3, 1730, was in his favour. To prevent an appeal, a compromise was entered into with Hugh Mackenzie, son of the baroness, who, on the death of his mother, had assumed the title, whereby, for a valuable consideration, he ceded to Simon Lord Lovat his claim to the honours and his right to the estate after his father’s death.

      Although Lord Lovat had deemed it best for his own purposes to join the friends of the government in 1715, he was, nevertheless, throughout his whole career, a thorough Jacobite in principle; and in 1740 he was the first to sign the Association for the support of the Pretender, who promised to create him duke of Fraser, and lieutenant-general, and general of the Highlands. On the breaking out of the rebellion in 1745, he sent his eldest son, much against the young man’s inclination, with a body of his clan to join the army under Prince Charles, while he himself remained at home. After the disastrous defeat at Culloden, the young Pretender took refuge, on the evening of the battle, at Gortuleg, the house of one of the gentlemen of his clan, near the Fall of Foyers, where his lordship was then living, and not at Castle Dounie, as erroneously supposed by Sir Walter Scott. According to Mrs. Grant of Laggan’s account of the meeting, Lovat expressed attachment to him, but at the same time reproached him with great asperity for declaring his intention to abandon the enterprise entirely. “‘Remember,” said he fiercely, “your great ancestor, Robert Bruce, who lost eleven battles, and won Scotland by the twelfth.” Lovat himself afterwards retired from the pursuit of the king’s forces to the mountains, but not finding himself safe there, he escaped in a boat to an island in Loch Morar. Thither he was pursued, taken prisoner, being found concealed in a hollow tree, with his legs muffled in flannel, and carried to London. His trial for high treason commenced before the House of Lords, March 7, 1747, He was found guilty on Marcy 18; sentence of death was pronounced next day; and he was beheaded on Tower Hill, April 9, 1747, in the eightieth year of his age. His behaviour while in the Tower was cheerful and collected. When advised by his friends to petition the king for mercy, he absolutely refused, saying he was old and infirm, and his life was not worth asking. His estates and honours were forfeited to the Crown, but the former were restored in 1774 to h is eldest son, as already mentioned earlier.

      Lord Lovat’s appearance, in his old age, was grotesque and singular. Besides his forced marriage with the dowager Lady Lovat above described, he entered twice, during that lady’s life, into the matrimonial state; first, in 1717, with Margaret, fourth daughter of Ludovick Grant of Grant, by whom he had two sons and two daughters; and, secondly, in 1733, after that lady’s death, with Primrose, fifth daughter of John Campbell of Mamore, brother to the duke of Argyle. By this lady he had one son. The lady’s objections to the marriage he is said to have overcome by the following stratagem: She received a letter purporting to be from her mother, in a dangerous state of health, desiring her presence in a particular house in Edinburgh. On hastening to the house indicated, she found Lovat waiting for her there, when he informed her that the house was devoted to purposes which stamped infamy on any female who was known to h ave entered it. To save her character, she married, him, but is said to have been treated by him with so much barbarity as to be obliged to leave his house, when he was forced to allow her a separate maintenance. Of the eldest son, General Simon Fraser, born 19th October, 1726, an account has been already given. The second son, Alexander, born in 1729, after serving in the army abroad, returned to the Highlands with the title of brigadier. Janet, the elder daughter, married Macpherson of Clunie. Sybilla, the younger, died unmarried. On the faith of his ‘Memoirs written by himself in the French language,’ Lord Lovat has been admitted into Walpole’s list of Royal and Noble Authors. The subjoined woodcut is taken from his well-known portrait by Hogarth:

[portrait of Lord Lovat]

FRASER, ROBERT, F.R.S., an eminent statistical writer, eldest son of the Rev. George Fraser, minister, first of Redgorton, and afterwards of Monedie, Perthshire, a lineal descendant of one of the Frasers of Farraline in Stratherrick, was born in the manse of Redgorton, about 1760. At an early age he was sent, with his cousin, the celebrated antiquarian, Thomas Thomson, Esq., of the General Register House, Edinburgh, to the university of Glasgow, and placed under the care of their uncle, Professor Traill of that college. Here he became remarkable for the accuracy and extent of his scholarship, and was admitted to the degree of master of arts before he was fifteen years of age. He studied for the Church of Scotland, but on leaving college he went as a tutor to a family in the Isle of Man, and afterwards proceeded to London, where he attracted the notice of Mr. Pitt, then prime minister, and was employed by the government in various statistical inquiries regarding the Isle of Man, and the counties of Devon and Cornwall. He subsequently obtained an official appointment in the establishment of the prince of Wales (afterwards George the Fourth). As he had shown considerable zeal and ability in his endeavours to increase the resources of the country, by improvements in the fisheries and mining interests of Great Britain and Ireland, he was applied to, in 1791, by the earl of Breadalbane, to accompany him on a tour through the Western Isles and Highlands of Scotland, with a view to the discovery of the best means of promoting the welfare of the inhabitants. On making application for leave to the prince of Wales, he received from his royal highness a note, of which the following is an extract: “Whatever neglect may happen in the department intrusted to you in my affairs, I think it is of so much consequence to the improvement of those counties that the earl of Breadalbane should interest himself about them, that you have not only my leave, but my best wishes for your success, and if on your return you have anything you would wish to report, I myself will take it to the king, as I know there is nothing nearer his majesty’s heart than the desire of promoting the happiness and prosperity of those parts of the kingdom.”

      Mr. Fraser was subsequently chosen by the government to carry out a series of statistical surveys in Ireland, and he was the means of originating several important works in that country, among others the celebrated harbour of Kingstown, (sometimes called Queenstown,) in the neighbourhood of Dublin. He died in 1831. His eldest son, the Rev. Robert William Fraser, M.A., became, in 1844, minister of the parish of St. John’s, Edinburgh. His next brother, Major William Fraser, Hon. East India Company’s service, founded the celebrated stud of the Company at Pusa, of which he was appointed superintendent. He was on the staff of Sir David Baird at the storming of Seringapatam, and translated from the Persian, a valuable work on horsemanship, which was printed at Calcutta in 1802, 4to.

      Mr. Fraser’s works are:

      Statistical Account of the County of Wexford, 8vo.

      General View of the Agriculture and Mineralogy of the County of Wicklow, Dublin, 1801, 8vo.

      Gleanings in Ireland; particularly respecting its Agriculture, Mines, and Fisheries. London, 1802, 8vo.

      Letter to the Right Hon. Charles Abbot, Speaker of the House of Commons, on the most effectual Means for the Improvement of the Coasts and Western Islands of Scotland, and the extension of the Fisheries. London, 1803, 8vo.

      The Statistical Account of the Counties of Devon and Cornwall, drawn up and printed by order of the House of Commons. London, 1804, 4to.

      Review of the Domestic Fisheries of Great Britain and Ireland. Edinburgh, 1818, 4to.

FRASER, ROBERT, an ingenious poet, remarkable also for his facility in the acquisition of languages, the son of a sea-faring man, was born June 24, 1798, in the village of Pathhead, parish of Dysart, Fifeshire. In the summer of 1802 he was sent to a school in his native village, and after being eighteen months there, and about four years at another school, he went to the town’s school of Pathhead, and early in 1809 commenced the study of the Latin language. In 1812 he was apprenticed to a wine and spirit merchant in Kirkcaldy, with whom he remained four years. In the summer of 1813 he was afflicted with an abscess in his right arm, which confined him to the house for several months, during which time he studied the Latin language more closely than ever, and afterwards added the Greek, French, and Italian; and acquired a thorough knowledge of general literature.

      In 1817, on the expiry of his apprenticeship, he became clerk or book-keeper to a respectable ironmonger in Kirkcaldy, and in the spring of 1819 he commenced business as an ironmonger in that town, in partnership with Mr. James Robertson. In March 1820 he married Miss Ann Cumming, who, with eight children, survived him. His leisure time was invariably devoted to the acquisition of knowledge; and in September 1825 he commenced the study of the German language. About this period his shop was broken into during the night, and jewellery to the value of £200 stolen from it, of which, or of the robbers, no trace was ever discovered.

      Having made himself master not only of the German but of the Spanish languages, he translated from both various pieces of poetry, which, as well as some original productions of his, evincing much simplicity, grace, and tenderness, appeared in the Edinburgh Literary Gazette, the Edinburgh Literary Journal, and various of the newspapers of the period.

      In August 1833 his copartnership with Mr. Robertson was dissolved, and he commenced business on his own account. Owing, however, to the sudden death, in 1836, of a friend in whose pecuniary affairs he was deeply involved, and the decline of this own health, his business, notwithstanding his well-known steadiness, industry, and application, did not prosper, and, in 1837, he was under the necessity of compounding with his creditors. It is much to his credit that several respectable merchants of his native town offered to become security for the composition.

      In March 1838, he was appointed editor of the Fife Herald, and on leaving Kircaldy he was, on August 31st of that year, entertained at a public dinner by a numerous party of his townsmen, when he was presented with a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica, seventh edition, as a testimonial of respect for his talents and private character. Declining health prevented him from long exercising the functions of an editor, and on being at last confined to bed, the duties were performed for him by a friend. In the intervals of acute pain he employed himself in arranging his poems with a view to publication; and among the last acts of his life was the dictation of some Norwegian or Danish translations. He died May 22, 1839. His ‘Poetical Remains,’ with a well written and discriminating memoir of the author by Mr. David Vedder, was published soon after his death.

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