Erskine, David (1772-1837) (DNB00)

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ERSKINE, Sir DAVID (1772–1837), dramatist and antiquary, the natural son of David Steuart Erskine, eleventh earl of Buchan [q. v.], was born in 1772. In early life he bore a captain's commission in the 31st foot, and also belonged to the York rangers. On the reduction of the 31st regiment, he was appointed a professor at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. The Earl of Munster was there placed under his tuition, as were others of William IV's children, and at their request Erskine received the honour of knighthood, 11 Sept. 1830 (Gent. Mag. vol. ci. pt. i. p. 79). His father dying in 1829 bequeathed to him for life the whole of his unentailed estates, including Dryburgh Abbey, Berwickshire, which thenceforth became his permanent residence. Erskine, who was F.S.A. Scot., director of the Royal Academy of Edinburgh, and one of the founders of the Scots Military and Naval Academy in that city, died 22 Oct. 1837, aged 65. On 17 Nov. 1798 he married his cousin, Elizabeth, second daughter of Thomas, lord Erskine (ib. vol. lxviii. pt. ii. p. 993), and after her death, 2 Aug. 1800 (ib. vol. lxx. pt. ii. p. 804), he married secondly a Miss Ellis. He is the author of: 1. ‘Airyformia; or Ghosts of great note,’ 12mo, Kelso, 1825. 2. ‘King James the First of Scotland; a tragedy in five acts’ (and in verse), 12mo, Kelso, 1827. 3. ‘Love amongst the Roses: or Guilford in Surrey; a military opera, in three acts’ (and in prose), 12mo, Kelso, 1827. 4. ‘King James the Second of Scotland, an historical drama, in five acts’ (and in verse), 12mo, Kelso, 1828. 5. ‘Mary, Queen of Scots; or Melrose in ancient times … an historical melo-drama’ (in three acts and in prose), 12mo, Edinburgh, 1829. 6. ‘Annals and Antiquities of Dryburgh, and other places on the Tweed, second edition,’ 12mo, Kelso, 1836.

[Gent. Mag. new ser. viii. 652; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Erskine's Annals of Dryburgh, 2nd edit. pp. 49–50.]

G. G.