Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fraser, William (1654-1715)

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FRASER, WILLIAM, eleventh Lord Saltoun (1654–1715), second son of Alexander Fraser, master of Saltoun, and Lady Ann Ker, was born on 21 Nov. 1654. He was educated at King's College, Aberdeen. His elder brother, Alexander, having died in 1672, he, on the death of his father in 1682, became Master of Saltoun, and in August 1693 he succeeded as Lord Saltoun on the death of his grandfather, Alexander, tenth lord. In the earlier period of his life the family fortunes were at a very low ebb, nearly all the estates being mortgaged heavily. To save them so far as possible, he was infeft in them in 1676 on a disposition by his father and grandfather, and having acquired a considerable dowry with his wife, Margaret Sharp, daughter of James Sharp, archbishop of St. Andrews, whom he married on 11 Oct. 1683, he succeeded, by judicious sales and otherwise, in redeeming the estates out of the hands of the creditors. He wrote a narrative of this part of the family history, so far as concerned the efforts of his father and himself, which is preserved at Philorth. Previous to his marriage he was in command of a regiment of infantry, under a commission from James, duke of York. In 1697 the marriage of his eldest son to Emilia Fraser, eldest daughter and heiress of Hugh, lord Lovat, was arranged, by which means the barony of Lovat would have been annexed to that of Saltoun. But Fraser of Beaufort and his son Simon (afterwards twelfth Lord Lovat) [q. v.], being next heirs of entail to Lovat, determined to frustrate the match, and took arms to enforce their plans. Lord Saltoun was forbidden to visit Beauly, where lay Castle Downie, the residence of Lovat, but disregarding their threats he did so, and was seized, imprisoned, and threatened with the gallows, which was erected in front of his prison, unless he bound himself to terminate the marriage negotiations. He was taken back to Castle Downie as a prisoner, and there is sufficient warrant for believing that Simon Fraser would have executed his threat. The marriage was broken off. As a lord of parliament Saltoun took his seat and the oath on 9 May 1695, and used his influence and vote in furtherance of the Darien scheme, and in opposition to the treaty of union with England. He died on 18 March 1715, his wife, by whom he left three sons and four daughters, surviving till 1734. The eldest son, Alexander (1684–1748), succeeded as twelfth lord, and his great-grandson, Alexander George Fraser [q. v.], sixteenth lord Saltoun, was the famous general.

[Lord Saltoun's The Frasers of Philorth; Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, ix. 347, 350.]

H. P.