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

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OGILVY, DAVID, Lord Ogilvy and titular Earl of Airlie (1725–1803), eldest son of John, fourth earl of Airlie, by Margaret, eldest daughter and heiress of David Ogilvy of Cluny, Aberdeenshire, was born in February 1726. He was educated at the university of Aberdeen, and afterwards at Edinburgh; in the latter city, according to one authority, making 'greater progress in what is called genteel accomplishments, such as fencing, dancing, music, &c., than in the more abstracted sciences' (The Female Rebels, p. 42). Before his marriage he also acquired a reputation for gallantry.

Ogilvy joined the Chevalier at Edinburgh on 3 Oct. 1745, bringing with him over six hundred men from Angus, of whom a large number were his dependents. He was chosen one of the Chevalier's council (Chevalier Johnstone, Memoirs, 3rd edit. p. 166), and marched south with him into England. On the retreat northwards from Derby he held the command of the cavalry. Lady Ogilvy, who with difficulty had been persuaded to remain in Scotland during his absence, joined the rebels near Glasgow, and henceforth shared the hardships and most of the dangers of the camp. At the battle of Falkirk she remained with the reserve, and would not be persuaded to go to Callendar House. Ogilvy's regiment formed there part of the second line, and, with that of the Atholl men, was the only portion of the second line which came into action before the enemy broke and fled (‘Young Pretender's Operations’ in Lockhart's Memoirs, ii. 469). On account of the suddenness of the march northwards from Stirling, Lady Ogilvy was nearly taken prisoner, and lost some of her luggage (ib. p. 474). At Montrose some of Lord Ogilvy's men were driven out of the town by the sloop-of-war Hazard, sent thither to prevent supplies coming from France (ib. p. 475). Ogilvy's regiment fought in the second line at Culloden. After the battle he lay for some time concealed at Cortachy, but ultimately got on board a vessel riding off the lights of Tay, and reached Norway in safety (Chevalier Johnstone, Memoirs, p. 373). At Bergen he was, by order of the governor, confined a prisoner in the castle on 13 May 1746, but succeeded in escaping to Sweden, whence he made his way south to France. Lady Ogilvy was not at Culloden, but remained at Inverness, where, on account of her activity in the rebellion, she was seized by order of the Duke of Cumberland, and sent in June a prisoner to Edinburgh. In November following she succeeded in making her escape, and joined her husband in France, where she died in 1757, at the age of thirty-three. Lord Ogilvy obtained from the French king a regiment of foot, called Ogilvy's regiment, and ultimately he rose to the rank of lieutenant-general. For his share in the rebellion he was forfeited by parliament, but, having procured a free pardon under the great seal, in 1778 he returned home; and in 1782 he obtained an act of parliament for removing ‘certain disabilities and incapacities occasioned by his attainder.’ He was in receipt from the French king of a pension, which Napoleon Bonaparte, when he became head of the French government, offered to continue, but he declined it. He died at Cortachy 3 March 1803. ‘He was,’ says Douglas, ‘a nobleman of the old school, kind and indulgent to his menials and dependents, of the most correct manners, full of courtesy, integrity, and honour.’ By his first wife (who accompanied him during the Scottish campaign), Margaret, daughter of Sir James Johnstone, bart., M.P., of Westerhall, Lanarkshire, and niece of Patrick Murray, lord Elibank, he had a son David, titular earl of Airlie, and two daughters. By his second wife, Anne, third daughter of James Stewart of Blairhill, Perthshire, he left no issue. On the decease, without issue, of David Ogilvy, Walter Ogilvy of Clova, Forfarshire, laid claim to the title of Earl Airlie before the House of Lords, but failed to elicit from them any decision. Walter's son David was, however, continued in the title by act of parliament on 26 May 1826.

[Chevalier Johnstone's Memoirs; Young Pretender's Operations in Lockhart's Memoirs; Histories of the Rebellion by Home and Chambers; The Female Rebels, being some Remarkable Incidents of the Lives, Character, and Families of the Titular Duke and Dutchess of Perth, the Lord and Lady Ogilvie, and Miss Florence M'Donald, Edinburgh, 1747; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 35-6.]

T. F. H.