Crosbie, Andrew (DNB00)

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CROSBIE, ANDREW (d. 1785), advocate at the Scottish bar, is stated to have been the original of ‘Councillor Pleydell’ in Sir Walter Scott's novel of ‘Guy Mannering,’ although Scott himself has given no sanction to the supposition, and in regard to this novel states that ‘many corresponding circumstances are detected by readers of which the author did not suspect the existence.’ Crosbie was famed for his conversational powers, and on Dr. Samuel Johnson's visit to Edinburgh was the only one who could hold his own with him (note by Croker to Boswell's Life of Johnson). Boswell describes him as his ‘truly learned and philosophical friend.’ During Johnson's visit Crosbie resided in Advocate's Close in the High Street of Edinburgh, but he afterwards erected for himself a splendid mansion in the east of St. Andrew's Square, which subsequently became the Douglas Hotel. He became involved in the failure of the Douglas and Heron Bank at Ayr, and died in great poverty in 1785. He had such a standing at the bar that had he survived he would have been raised to the bench. In March 1785 his widow made application for aliment, when the dean and council were authorised to give interim relief, and after consideration of the case had been resumed on 2 July the lady was allowed 40l. leviable from each member.

[Boswell's Life of Johnson; Anderson's Scottish Nation; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. xi. 75, 145, 222, 261.]

T. F. H.