Davidson, John (d.1797) (DNB00)

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DAVIDSON, JOHN (d. 1797), Scottish antiquary, was the son of James Davidson of Haltree (or Halltree), an Edinburgh bookseller, by Elizabeth, sister of William Brown, minister, of Edinburgh. He was educated for the law and became writer to the signet. He was for many years crown agent, and was also agent for many Scotch noblemen and landed proprietors. Davidson lived in Edinburgh, and among his associates were Lord Hailes, William Tytler, George Paton, Plummer of Middlestead, David Herd, and Callander of Craigforth. He had some correspondence with Bishop Percy, who describes him as ‘a man of learning and a very excellent critic’ (Nichols. Lit. Illust. viii. 125; cf. p. 288). He had a special knowledge of Scottish history and antiquities, and printed for private circulation the following: 1. ‘Accounts of the Chamberlain of Scotland, 1329, 1330, and 1331,’ Edinburgh, 1771. 2. ‘Charta Willelmi Regis Scotorum Canonicis de Jedburgh concessa,’ &c., engraved by A. Bell, 1771. 3. ‘Observations on the Regiam Majestatem’ [1792], 8vo. 4. ‘Remarks on some of the Editions of the Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland,’ 1792, 8vo. 5. ‘Copies of various Papers, &c., relating to the Peerages of Brandon and Dover,’ 4to. He was understood to have superintended the edition of Lord Hailes's ‘Annals of Scotland,’ issued in 1797. Davidson died at Edinburgh on 29 Dec. 1797. He was married, but had no children. He left his estate of Haltree to a younger son of Sir William Miller, bart. (cf. Notes and Queries, i. (4th ser.) 115), and his farm Cairntows, near Edinburgh, to Henry Dundas, lord Melville.

[Notes and Queries, iv. 2nd ser. 328, i. 4th ser. 47, 115; Nichols's Lit. Illust. viii. 125, 288; Scots Magazine, lix. (1797) 931.]

W. W.