Nasmyth, James (d.1720) (DNB00)

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NASMYTH, or NAESMITH, Sir JAMES (d. 1720), lawyer, was the son of John Nasmyth and his wife, Isabella, daughter of Sir James Murray [q. v.] of Philiphaugh. He was admitted advocate in 1684, and became a successful lawyer, known by the sobriquet of the ‘De'il o’ Dawick.’ He acquired the estate of Dawick from the last of the Veitch family. He had a crown charter of the barony of Dawick in 1703, ratified in parliament in 1705. He was created a baronet of Scotland on 31 July 1706, and died in July 1720. He married three times: first, Jane Stewart, widow of Sir Ludovic Gordon, bart., of Gordonstoun, Elgin; secondly, Janet, daughter of Sir William Murray of Stanhope, Peeblesshire; and, thirdly, Barbara (d. 1768), daughter of Andrew Pringle of Clifton, Roxburghshire.

His eldest son James (d. 1779), by his first wife, succeeded him, and appears to have attained some note in his day as a botanist, having studied under Linnæus in Sweden. He is said to have made extensive collections, and to have been among the first in Scotland to plant birch and silver firs. The genus Nasmythia (= Eriocaulon) was most probably named in his honour by Hudson (1778). He was member of parliament for Peeblesshire from 1730 to 1741, and died on 4 Feb. 1779. He had married Jean, daughter of Thomas Keith.

[Burke's Peerage; Irving's Book of Scotsmen; Hudson's Flora Anglica, 2nd ed. 1778.]

B. B. W.