Seton, Alexander (1639?-1719) (DNB00)

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SETON, Sir ALEXANDER, Lord Pitmedden (1639?–1719), Scottish judge, born about 1640, was younger son of James Seton of Pitmedden (killed at the battle of Bridge of Dee, June 1639) and Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Samuel Johnston of Elphinston. He was admitted an advocate of the Scottish bar on 10 Dec. 1661, and was knighted by Charles II in 1664. He was nominated an ordinary lord of the court of session on 31 Oct. 1677, on the death of Sir Richard Maitland of Pittrichie, and took his seat as Lord Pitmedden on 13 Nov. 1677. He was also admitted a lord of justiciary on 5 July 1682, on the promotion of Lord-president Falconer, and was created a baronet of Nova Scotia on 15 Jan. 1684. He represented the county of Aberdeen in parliament in 1681, 1685, and 1686, and gave deep offence by the boldness with which he opposed the mea- sures of the government. James II was resolved to secure the repeal of the test and penal laws, and of nine judges who held seats in parliament, Pitmedden was the only one who opposed the royal will. He was consequently removed from office by a royal letter dated 12 May 1686. At the revolution he declined reappointment as a judge, holding it to be inconsistent with the oath of allegiance which he had taken to James; and, retiring into private life, he died in 1719. He married Margaret, daughter of William Lauder, one of the clerks of session, by whom he had five sons and five daughters (Douglas, Baronage, p. 184).

According to Wodrow, Pitmedden possessed a vast and curious library. He wrote ‘A Treatise of Mutilation and Demembration and their Punishments’ as an appendix to the 1699 edition of Sir George Mackenzie's ‘Laws and Customs of Scotland in Matters Criminal.’ He was also the author of ‘Explication of the XXXIX Chapter of the Statutes of King William concerning Minors,’ Edinburgh, 1728, 8vo.

Sir William Seton (d. 1744), second baronet of Pitmedden, the eldest son, was in his father's lifetime chosen to represent the county of Aberdeen in the Scots parliament from 1702 till 1706, when the queen named him one of the commissioners to treat of the union between Scotland and England. He was also made one of the commissioners to adjust the equivalent to be allowed to Scotland in recognition of the agreement by the Scots to equality of duties, and consequently to liability for a share of the English debt. He died in 1744, having married Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Burnet of Leys, by whom he had issue four sons and four daughters. Sir William wrote: 1. ‘The Interest of Scotland in Three Essays,’ 1700, 8vo. 2. ‘Some Thoughts on Ways and Means for making this Nation a Gainer in Foreign Commerce,’ 1705, 8vo. 3. ‘Scotland's Great Advantages by an Union with England,’ 1706, 4to (reprinted in Scott's edition of ‘Somers Tracts’). He also published a ‘Speech on the First Article of the Treaty of Union,’ 1706.

[Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice; Anderson's Scottish Nation, iii. 440; Seton's Memoir of Alexander Seton, earl of Dunfermline; Douglas's Baronage, p. 184; Mackinnon's Union of England and Scotland, p. 218; Catalogue of Advocates' Library.]

G. S-h.