Elphinstone, Alexander (DNB00)

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ELPHINSTONE, ALEXANDER, fourth Lord Elphinstone (1552–1648?), eldest son of Robert, third lord Elphinstone, by his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir John Drummond of Innerpeffry, was born on 28 May 1552. While still Master of Elphinstone he was admitted a member of the new privy council on 10 April 1599; and through the influence of his younger brother James, then secretary, and afterwards Lord Balmerino, on the 19th of the same month succeeded the Earl of Cassillis as lord high treasurer, and on 17 May following was appointed an extraordinary lord of session. He resigned the post of treasurer, however, in September 1601, 'as was thought, says my author, for adjoining some others with him in the componing of signatures' (Crawfurd, p. 397). The appointment of these coadjutors was made on 31 July 1601, and will be found in the 'Register of the Privy Council' (vi. 275-276). Elphinstone succeeded his father as the fourth baron in May 1602, and was appointed a lord of the articles on the opening of parliament in April 1604 (Act Parl. iv. 261), and one of the commissioners for the union on 11 July in the same year (ib. 263-264). He was again appointed a lord of the articles in August 1607 (ib. 367). The statement in Lord Hailes's 'Catalogue of the Lords of Session' (1794, p. 7) that Elphinstone was superseded as a judge on 13 Jan. 1610 seems to be a mistake, as his name appears in the ratification in favour of the clerks of session (Act. Parl. iv. 696), and he probably sat until 1626, when a new commission was made out. In this year the Earl of Mar recovered from him the Kildrummy estate and other property in Aberdeenshire, the judges having held that these estates were not in the lawful possession of James IV when he granted them to the first Lord Elphinstone. According to the principal authorities Elphinstone died in July 1648. A manuscript book in the possession of the present Lord Elphinstone, however, states that he died in Elphinstone on Sunday, 14 Jan. 1638. He married, in 1579, the Hon. Jean Livingston, eldest daughter of William, sixth lord Ldvingston, by whom he had four sons and five daughters. He was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son, Alexander. The present Lord Elphinstone possesses a full-length portrait, painted on panel, of the fourth lord, dressed in his robes as lord high treasurer of Scotland.

[Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice (1832), pp. 242-3; Douglas's Peerage of Scotland (1813), i. 638-9, ii. 126; Crawfurd's Officers of the Crown and of the State in Scotland (1726), i. 396-7; Burke's Peerage (1886), p. 495; Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, v. lxxxi, lxxxiv, xci, 547, 555, vi. xxix, 287-8, vii. xviii, xxxiv; private information.]

G. F. R. B.