Mure, William (1718-1776) (DNB00)

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MURE, WILLIAM (1718–1776), baron of the Scots exchequer, was eldest son and successor to William Mure of Caldwell in Ayr and Renfrewshire, by his wife Anne, daughter of Sir James Stewart of Coltness, lord advocate, and widow of James Maxwell of Blawarthill. He was born late in 1718. His father dying in April 1722, he was brought up at home by his mother, under the tutorship of Rev. William Leechman, afterwards professor of divinity in, and eventually by his influence promoted to be principal of, Glasgow University. He then studied law at Edinburgh and Leyden, and travelled during 1741 in France and Holland. Returning to Scotland in November 1742, he was elected member of parliament for Renfrewshire, a seat which he held without opposition during three parliaments till 1761, when he was appointed a baron of the Scots exchequer. He spoke rarely, and attended irregularly, his principal interest lying in the direction of agricultural improvements, upon which he became an acknowledged authority. He is principally known as the friend of Lord Bute [see Stuart, John, third Earl of Bute], and of David Hume. Through the services that he rendered to the former in connection with the management of the Bute estates he became his intimate friend and trusted adviser, and rising with his fortunes was eventually one of the most influential men in Scotland in regard to the management of its local affairs and distribution of Scottish patronage. Of Hume he was at the same time one of the oldest and most valued friends, and from 1742 onwards their letters are numerous. Mure's house at Abbey hill, near Holyrood, was one of Hume's favourite resorts. Apropos of his history Hume wrote Mure in 1756: 'If you do not say that I have done both parties justice, and if Mrs. Mure be not sorry for poor King Charles, I shall burn all my papers and return to philosophy.' Mure was well known in Scottish literary society, and published privately a couple of tracts on political economy. In 1764 and 1765 he was lord rector of Glasgow University, and was again put in nomination for that post in 1776, but was defeated. He died at Caldwell on 25 March 1776 of gout in the stomach. He married Anne, daughter of James Graham, lord Easdale, a judge of the court of session, by whom he had two sons and four daughters. Many of the letters addressed to him and other papers are published with a portrait in the 'Caldwell Papers,' vols. ii. and iii.

[Caldwell Papers (Maitland Club); Hill Burton's Life of Hume; Anderson's Scottish Nation.]

J. A. H.