Nairne, John (DNB00)

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NAIRNE, JOHN, third Lord Nairne (d. 1770), Jacobite, was the eldest son of Lord William Murray, second lord Nairne, by Margaret, only daughter and heiress of Robert, first lord Nairne [q. v.] William Nairne, second Lord Nairne (d. 1724), who assumed his wife's surname and succeeded to her father's title, was the fourth son of John Murray, first marquis of Atholl [q. v.] In 1685 he accompanied his father in the expedition to Argyllshire (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. Appendix, pt. viii. p. 17). Some time afterwards he distinguished himself as a naval officer (Patten, History of the Rebellion in 1715, ed. 1745, p. 44). At the revolution he did not take the oaths to the government, and refrained from taking his seat in parliament. Subsequently he strongly opposed the union, and he was one of those who signed a paper to support the prince 2 May 1707 (Hooke, Negotiations, Roxburghe Club, ii. 230). At the revolution in 1715 he joined the standard of Mar, and having with his men crossed the Forth and marched into England, was taken prisoner at Preston on 14 Nov. and sent to the Tower. At his trial on 19 Jan. 1716 he pleaded guilty, and on 9 Feb. he was sentenced to death, but he was reprieved, and in May, through the intervention of the Duke of Atholl, obtained a remission (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. pt. viii. p. 70). In 1718 Captain Straiton, deceived by a false messenger, sent an express to acquaint Lord Nairne in Perthshire that the ‘Duke of Ormond was on the coast, and certainly landed by that time, and desiring his lordship to forward the good newes to Marishall’ (Lockhart Papers, ii. 22); but Lockhart, discovering that the intelligence was false, sent word to Nairne in time to prevent him from joining Marischal and thus endangering his life (ib. p. 23). The Duke of Atholl attributed Nairne's strong Jacobite leanings to the influence of his wife, daughter of the first Lord Nairne, and to her artifices he also imputed the ‘ruin’ of his own three sons (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. Appendix, pt. viii. p. 71). The second Lord Nairne died in 1724.

The third Lord Nairne, with his father, joined the rebellion of 1715, and became lieutenant-colonel of Lord Charles Murray's regiment. According to Patten he ‘took a great deal of pains to encourage the Highlanders by his own experience in their hard marches, and always went with them on foot through the worst and deepest ways, and in highland dress’ (History of the Rebellion, ed. 1745, p. 44). Like his father, he was taken prisoner at the battle of Preston, and was forfeited, but was reprieved and received his liberty. In 1738 an act was also passed by parliament enabling him to sue or maintain any action or suit, and to inherit any real or personal estate that might descend to him. He nevertheless remained a staunch Jacobite, and was thoroughly conversant with the plans for a rising in 1745. It was his daughter, Mrs. Robertson of Lude, who, at the request of the Marquis of Tullibardine, prepared Blair Castle for the reception of the prince; and soon after the latter's arrival Nairne joined him at Blair with a number of his men. From Blair he and Cameron of Lochiel, with four hundred men, were sent forward to take possession of Dunkeld, and on the arrival of the prince there on 3 Sept. Nairne was again sent forward to take possession of Perth. On the day before the battle of Prestonpans (21 Sept.) he was posted with five hundred men to the west of the forces of Cope, to prevent any advance in that direction. The force was called in at nightfall; and at the battle Nairne held command of the second line, consisting of Athollmen, the Robertsons, the Macdonalds of Glencoe, and the Maclachlans. He was chosen one of the prince's privy council, and during the march into England he held command of a lowland regiment of two hundred men. He was also present at the battles of Falkirk and Culloden. After Culloden he joined Lord George Murray at Ruthven in Badenoch, but on learning that the prince had resolved not to continue the contest further, he escaped to the continent. He was included in the act of attainder passed in 1746, and died in France 11 July 1770. By Lady Catherine Murray, third daughter of Charles, first earl of Dunmore, he had eight sons and four daughters. Five of the children died young. The sons who survived were James, who died unmarried; John, who became a lieutenant-colonel in the army, and to whose son, William Murray Nairne, husband of Carolina, lady Nairne [q. v.], the title was restored by parliament 17 June 1824; Charles, an officer in the service of the States-General, who died in June 1775; Thomas, who was an officer in Lord John Drummond's regiment, and was captured in October 1745 on board the French ship L'Esperance, on his way to join the prince in Scotland, but afterwards obtained his pardon, and died at Sancerre, in France, 3 April 1777; and Henry, who was an officer in the French service.

[Histories of the Rebellion by Patten, Rae, Ray, Home, and Chambers; Lockhart Papers; Nathaniel Hooke's Negotiations (Roxburghe Club); Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. pt. viii.; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 280–1.]

T. F. H.