Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 52.djvu/386

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wife will be as scairce of siller as myself.’ His wife's name was Jean Straiton, and she was doubtless a native of Dundee.

Before November 1688 Slezer had been advanced to the rank of captain. He was then in command of the artillery train, and was ordered to proceed against the supporters of the Prince of Orange. In March 1689 he was appointed by the Scots parliament to ‘draw together the canoniers and artillery;’ but as he at first refused to take the oath of fidelity to the committee of estates, he was forbidden to return to Edinburgh Castle until he had done so. He must have complied with this condition, and his earlier connection with the house of Orange enabled him to procure a commission from William III as ‘captain of the Artillery Company and surveyor of Magazines,’ which was dated Kensington, 11 Jan. 1689–90. Slezer visited the court and renewed his acquaintance with the king (cf. a letter, dated March 1690, from William III to the Earl of Melville, secretary of state for Scotland).

William III, like his two predecessors, expressed admiration for the project of the ‘Theatrum Scotiæ,’ and Slezer now devoted himself to the completion of that work. The first volume was published by royal authority in 1693, and contained fifty-seven views of palaces, abbeys, and castles of the Scottish nobility. The letterpress which accompanied this edition was written in Latin by Sir Robert Sibbald [q. v.], but Slezer procured an English translation for the second edition which appeared in 1710, without Sir Robert's consent, and a breach between them was the result. Though the book was esteemed of national interest, its sale failed to cover the expenses of production. In 1695 Slezer exhibited a specimen to the Scottish parliament, petitioning them to aid him in issuing two further volumes, the sketches for which were then ready. Parliament resorted to a curious expedient in order to find the money required by Slezer. A special tax of 16s. Scots was imposed on his behalf, conjointly with John Adair [q. v.], the hydrographer, upon every ton of goods exported in foreign ships from Scotland, and of 4s. Scots per ton upon every Scottish ship above twelve tons burden exporting merchandise. This tax was to continue for five years. While the act was in force Slezer received, by his own account, 530l. sterling; but when it lapsed in 1698, it was only renewed after serious limitations had been adopted. The first portion of the tax was thenceforth to be devoted to the support of ‘His Majesty's frigates;’ handsome salaries were provided for the officials who administered the act, and Slezer and Adair were to be paid ‘out of the superplus.’ Under this new arrangement Slezer received little or no emolument; his military pay had fallen into arrear, and his pecuniary embarrassments rapidly increased. In 1705 he again petitioned parliament, stating that he was then 650l. sterling out of pocket. In 1708 he declared that he ought to have obtained 1,130l. from the Tonnage Act, but he ‘had never receaved the value of a single sixpence.’ His whole claim then amounted to 2,347l. sterling, part of this sum being for clothing which he had ordered for his artillerymen, for he could not ‘suffer them to go naked.’ His claim was never fully met, and on more than one occasion he was forced to take refuge from his creditors in the sanctuary of Holyrood. His death took place on 24 June 1714. His eldest son, who was a master-gunner, died in 1699; but Slezer's widow and his second son Charles pursued the government with their claims, and obtained various payments up till 1723, though the whole sum was never fully paid.

It is as designer of the ‘Theatrum Scotiæ’—a work of artistic, topographical, and historical value—that Slezer will be remembered. It passed through seven editions, which are dated respectively 1693, 1710, 1718, 1719, 1797, 1814, and 1874. Some of these editions are very rare. The edition of 1710 contained many sketches that were not included in the 1693 volume; but so carelessly was it edited that several of the places were misnamed on the pictures. Some of the sketches must have been drawn in 1678—more than thirty years before—and Slezer failed to identify them accurately. Dr. Jamieson wrote an incomplete sketch of Slezer for the edition of 1874. In a volume of ‘Delices de la Bretagne et l'Irlande,’ published at Leyden in 1708, the Scottish views are reduced facsimiles of Slezer's pictures.

[Millar's Roll of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee, p. 203; Glamis Book of Record (Scot. Hist. Soc.), pp. 42, 150; Theatrum Scotiæ, ed. 1874, pref.; Dalton's Artillery Company in Scotland (Proc. of Royal Artillery Institution, 1895); Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. pt. i. pp. 132–5, 11th Rep. App. vii. p. 25; Acts of Parl. of Scot. ix. 492; Nicolson's Scot. Hist. Library, p. 27.]

A. H. M.


SLINGSBY, Sir HENRY (1602–1658), royalist, son of Sir Henry Slingsby, knt., of Scriven, Yorkshire, by Frances, daughter of William Vavasour of Weston in the same county, was born on 14 Jan. 1601–2. His father, who was knighted in 1602, was high sheriff of Yorkshire in 1611–12, and vice-president of the council of the north in 1629, died in 1634 (Diary of Sir Henry Slingsby,