Sellar, Patrick (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

SELLAR, PATRICK (1780–1851), of Westfield, Morayshire, factor to George Granville Leveson-Gower, first duke of Sutherland [q. v.], was only son of Thomas Sellar of Westfield by Jane, daughter of the Rev. Patrick Plenderleath, an Edinburgh minister. After a legal education in Edinburgh, he became factor to the Duke of Sutherland, and was employed in the changes on the Sutherland estates that took place between 1807 and 1816. The middlemen were abolished, and, in consequence of the periodical failure of the crops in the straths or river valleys, the crofters were removed to settlements on the coast. On a charge of oppression in connection with these removals Sellar was tried at Inverness on 23 April 1816 before Lord Pitmilly, and was acquitted by the unanimous verdict of the jury.

Sellar retired from the Duke of Sutherland's service in 1818, but retained his sheep-farms on the estate till his death in 1851. In 1819 Sellar married Anne, daughter of Thomas Craig of Barmuckety, Elgin, by whom he had nine children. The third son, William Young Sellar [q. v.], is noticed separately.

His seventh son, Alexander Craig Sellar (1835–1890), graduated B.A. with a first class in literæ humaniores from Balliol College, Oxford, in 1859 (M.A. 1865), joined the Scottish bar in 1862, became assistant education commissioner in 1864, was legal secretary to the lord-advocate from 1870 to 1874, and was M.P. in the liberal interest for the Haddington Burghs from 1882 to 1885. In 1885 he was elected for the Partick division of Lanarkshire, and joined the liberal unionist party on its formation next year, when he was re-elected for the same constituency. In the new parliament he acted as whip of his party until 1888. He died on 16 Jan. 1890.

[Private information. A full account of the charges against Patrick Sellar, and a discussion thereof, will be found in Report of Trial (Edinburgh, 1816); reprinted in The Sutherland Evictions, by his son, Thomas Sellar (London, 1883); cf. Alexander Mackenzie's History of the Highland Clearings and Professor Blackie's Lays and Legends of the Highlands, to which works that of Thomas Sellar is a reply.]

A. L.