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Historic Earls and Earldoms of Scotland
Chapter VI - Earldom and Earls of Findlater, and Seafield
Section VI


SIR JAMES GRANT was born on the 28th of July, 1679. On the 29th of January, 1702, he married Anne, only child and heiress of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, fifth baronet of Luss, by whom he had six sons and eight daughters. His second daughter, Jean, was born on the 28th of September, 1705. She married William Duff of Braco in 1722, who was elevated to the peerage of Ireland in 1735, and to him she had seven sons and seven daughters. Anne Drummond was born on the 2nd of May, 1711. She married Sir Henry Innes of Innes in 1727.

Sir James Grant assumed the surname of Colquhoun. His father-in-law desired that, failing heirs-male, the title of Baronet should be inherited by his son-in-law and the heirs-male of his marriage. Accordingly, he resigned the baronetcy into the hands of the Crown for a new patent. On the 29th of April, 1704, Queen Anne, by a new patent; granted, renewed, and conferred on Sir Humphrey and his sons to be born; whom failing, on James Grant and his heirs-male of his marriage with Anne Colquhoun, only daughter of Sir Humphrey; whom failing, on the other heirs named, with the hereditary title and rank of knight-baronet. So on the death of Sir Humphrey in 1718, his title descended to his son-in-law, who then became Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, baronet.

But on the death of his brother, General Alexander Grant, in 1719, without surviving issue, Sir James succeeded to the lands of Grant He then dropped the name of Colquhoun, and resumed his name of Grant. Sir James’s second son, Ludovick, then became laird of the barony of Luss, the eldest son being the heir-apparent to the Grant estates.

On the 12th of April, 1722, Sir James was elected member of Parliament for the county of Inverness; and he was twice re-elected, in 1727 and 1734, and he continued to represent the county till 1741, when he resigned. The same year he was elected member for the Elgin burghs,. which he represented till his death in 1747.

During the rising of 1745, he was opposed to the scheme of the Government of forming the loyal clans into independent companies. He thought that the best way for securing the effective assistance of his own clan or any clan,. was to follow the Highland custom and summons each clan to muster under their respective chiefs, and thus engage them in active service. In this way an effective force could have been raised for active service on the side of the Government

Sir James died in London on the 16th of January, 1747. "He was a gentleman of very amiable character, justly esteemed and honoured by all ranks of men."

He was succeeded by his second son, Sir Ludovick Grant of Grant, Baronet He was born on the 13th of January, 1707. On the 6th of July, 1727, he married Marion Dalrymple, a daughter of the Hon. Sir Hew Dalrymple, Bart, and President of the Court of Session, by whom he had a daughter, who died unmarried in 1748, and her mother died in January, 1734. Secondly, on the 31st of October the same year, he married Lady Margaret Ogilvie, eldest daughter of James, fifth Earl of Findlater and second Earl of Seafield (as stated in a preceding section), and by her he had a son and seven daughters.

He studied law, and was called to the Scottish bar in 1728. But, in 1738, when he became heir-apparent to the estates of Grant of Grant, he retired from the practice of the profession of law, and mainly directed his attention to the management of the Grant estates, which his father had entrusted to him.

In 1741 he was elected member of Parliament for the counties of Elgin and Nairn, which he represented till 1761, when his son, Sir James, was elected member.

During the rising of 1745, Sir Ludovick did his utmost in support of the Government. It appears that the Government of George II. had no confidence in the loyalty of the Highland clans who had openly declared themselves on the side of the House of Hanover. This suspicious policy hampered the action of the chief of the Grants and others. This was extremely unfortunate for the loyal cause, for the Clan Grant, if called upon, would have mustered a considerable force.

Grant still resolved to assist the Government, but to remain in his own territories and defend them against the insurgents, unless the Government openly ordered him and his clan to join the Royal army in the field. In the winter and spring of 1746, however, he rendered important service to the Government.

A party of insurgents, under the command of Lord George Murray and Lord Nairne, with two pieces of cannon marched into Strathspey; and on the 14th of March they proceeded to Castle Grant, and threatened to batter the castle down if any resistance was offered. The garrison surrendered, and opened the gates, and Lord Nairne took possession of the castle. But, on receiving tidings of the retreat of the insurgents from Strathbogie, Lord Nairne immediately withdrew from Castle Grant.

Sir Ludovick continued to attend to his duties in Parliament till 1761, when failing health caused him to resign his seat. His son James was elected member of Parliament, and succeeded his father in the representation of the constituency.

He died at Castle Grant on the 18th of March, 1773, and was interred in the family aisle at Duthil Parish Church. His death was much regretted, and touching tributes to his memory were rendered in verse and prose.

He was succeeded by his only son, Sir James Grant of Grant, baronet. He was born on the 19th of May, 1738. His father being a member of Parliament, often resided in London, and James was educated at Westminster School; thence he went to Cambridge, and studied under Dr Beilby Porteus, afterwards Bishop of Chester. In January, 1758, he left Cambridge and went to travel abroad. On the 20th of December he was at Geneva. Subsequently he travelled in Italy and Naples, and sojourned for some time in Rome. He left Rome in May, 1760, and proceeded homeward by Verona, Munich, and northwards to Scotland.

On the 4th of January, 1763, he married Jane Duff, only daughter and heiress of Alexander Duff of Hatton, by Lady Anne, eldest daughter of William Duff, first Earl of Fife, by whom he had seven sons and seven daughters.

After his marriage he usually lived at Castle Grant, and mainly directed his attention to his extensive estates and numerous tenantry. He was exceedingly anxious to improve agriculture on his lands, and endeavoured to introduce the best method of tillage.

In 1766 he founded the town of Grantown, usually called the capital of Strathspey. The original site of the village was a barren moor; and before 1792, he had expended £5000 sterling in promoting the extension and welfare of Grantown. Efforts had been made to introduce trade and manufactures into the place. A linen manufactory had been started, and wool-combing and stocking-making. He erected a Town House, made roads, built a stone bridge, and introduced a supply of water into the town. He also drew up a series of regulations for the inhabitants of Grantown, touching proper cleansing, fencing of the different holdings, repair of broken windows, and likewise rules against immorality, which was to be punished by fines. In 1792 the population of the village was upwards of 300.

In 1793 Sir James made an offer to George III. to raise a regiment of fencibles, which was immediately accepted. Within three months the regiment was raised, mainly in Strathspey, and consisted of 500 men, exclusive of commissioned officers. On the 5th of June, the regiment was inspected and embodied by Lieutenant-General Leslie. In August they were marched to Aberdeen; and afterwards they were quartered in most of the chief towns in the south of Scotland—Glasgow, Paisley, Linlithgow, Dumfries, and other places. The appearance of the Grant fencibles was represented in an etching by John Kay, a well-known miniature painter and caricaturist, who lived in Edinburgh in the latter part of the last century. The regiment was disembodied in 1799.

Sir James raised another regiment for general service, which was embodied at Elgin, and numbered the 97th. They served for some time as marines on board Lord Howe’s fleet in the English Channel; and, in 1795, the two flank companies, consisting of the best men, were incorporated with the 42nd—the famous Black Watch—and the rest of the men and officers were drafted into other regiments.

He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Inverness-shire in 1794. The following year he was appointed to the office of general cashier of the Excise of Scotland. He was member of Parliament for Banffshire from 1790 to 1795.

Sir James died at Castle Grant on the 18th of February, 1811, and was interred at the Parish Church of Duthil. He was a man of high character and sterling worth. The "Edinburgh Evening Courant," in a notice of his death, made the following among other remarks:—"The virtues of Sir James, as an individual, will be long cherished in the recollections of his friends; the excellence of his public character will be not the less remembered in the district over which he presided . . . He had all the affections, without any of the pride or any of the harshness of feudal superiority, and never forgot, in attention to his own interests, or in the improvements of his extensive estates, the interests or the comforts of the people. Amidst the varied situations, and some of the severe trials of life, he was uniformly guided by rectitude of principle, benevolence of disposition, and the most fervent, though rational piety."

Mrs. Grant of Laggan issued a volume of poems in 1803, in which there is one on Sir James Grant, a few verses of which may be quoted:—

"The patriot chief, who dwells belov’d
Among the race his fathers sway’d;
Who, long his country’s friend approv’d,
Retires in peace to bless the shade.

"Who when the dreadful blast of war
With horror fill’d the regions round,
His willing people call’d from far
With wakening pipe of martial sound.

"The valiant clan, on every side,
With sudden warlike ardour bums,
And views those long-lov’d homes with pride,
Who’s loss no exil’d native mourns.

"From every mountain, strath, and glen
The rustic warriors crowded round;
The chief who rules the hearts of men,
In safety dwells, with honour crown’d.

"For thee (they cried), dear native earth,
We gladly dare the battle’s roar;
Our kindred ties, our sacred hearth,
Returning peace will soon restore.

"And when each tender pledge we leave,
Our parent chief, with guardian care,
Shall soothe their woes, their wants relieve,
And save the mourners from despair."

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