Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Smythe, David

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624212Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 53 — Smythe, David1898Alexander Hastie Millar

SMYTHE, DAVID, Lord Methven (1746–1806), Scottish judge, son of David Smythe of Methven, and Mary, daughter of James Graham of Braco, was born on 17 Jan. 1746. Having studied for the law, he was admitted advocate on 4 Aug. 1769. Smythe was raised to the bench, in succession to Francis Garden of Gardenstone, on 15 Nov. 1793, taking the title of Lord Methven. He was appointed a commissioner of justiciary on the death of Lord Abercromby, 11 March 1796, but resigned that office in 1804. He died at Edinburgh on 30 Jan. 1806. Lord Methven was credited with the highest integrity as a judge and an excellent understanding.

He married, first, on 8 April 1772, Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir Robert Murray, bart., of Hillhead; she died on 30 June, 1785, leaving three sons and four daughters. By his second wife, Euphemia, daughter of Mungo Murray of Lintrose, who was reckoned one of the beauties of her time and was the subject of one of Burns's songs, he had two sons and two daughters. Smythe was succeeded in the estate by Robert Smythe, only surviving son of his first marriage; but as Robert died in 1847 without issue, the succession fell to the elder son of the second marriage, William Smythe (1805–1895) of Methven Castle.

[Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice, p. 541; Scots Mag. for 1806, p. 159.]

A. H. M.