Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 13.djvu/38

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Antiquités de Paris, 1612, ii. 679; Francisque Michel's Les Ecossais en France, i. 324–5.]

T. F. H.

CRANSTOUN, GEORGE, Lord Corehouse (d. 1850), Scottish judge, was the second son of the Hon. George Cranstoun of Longwarton, seventh son of the fifth Lord Cranstoun, and Maria, daughter of Thomas Brisbane of Brisbane, Ayrshire. He was originally intended for the military profession, but, preferring that of law, passed advocate at the Scottish bar 2 Feb. 1793, was appointed a depute-advocate in 1805, and sheriff-depute of the county of Sutherland 1806. He was chosen dean of the Faculty of Advocates 15 Nov. 1823, and was raised to the bench on the death of Lord Hermand in 1826, under the title of Lord Corehouse, from his beautiful residence near the fall of Corra Linn on the Clyde. In January 1839, while apparently in perfect health, he was suddenly struck with paralysis, which compelled him to retire for the remainder of his life from his official duties. Lord Cockburn, while taking exception to the narrow and old-fashioned legal prejudices of Corehouse and his somewhat pompous method of legal exposition, characterises him as ‘more of a legal oracle’ than any man of his time. ‘His abstinence,’ he states, ‘from all vulgar contention, all political discussion, and all public turmoils, in the midst of which he sat like a pale image, silent and still, trembling in ambitious fastidiousness, kept up the popular delusion of his mysteriousness and abstraction to the very last’ (Memorials, i. 221). He possessed strong literary tastes, the gratification of which was the chief enjoyment of his leisure, both during the period of his engrossment with legal duties, and after his enforced retirement from the bench. His accomplishments as a Greek scholar secured him the warm friendship of Lord Monboddo, who used to declare that he was the ‘only scholar in all Scotland.’ While attending the civil law class in 1788 Cranstoun made the acquaintance of Sir Walter Scott, and the intimacy continued through life (Lockhart, Life of Scott, ed. 1842, p. 40). Scott read the opening stanzas of the ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel’ to Erskine and Cranstoun, whose apparently cold reception of it greatly discouraged him, until, finding a few days afterwards that some of the stanzas had ‘haunted their memory, he was encouraged to resume the undertaking’ (ib. 100). While practising at the bar Cranstoun wrote a clever jeu d'esprit, entitled ‘The Diamond Beetle Case,’ in which he caricatured the manner and style of several of the judges in delivering their opinions. He died 26 June 1850. His second sister, Jane Anne, afterwards Countess of Purgstall, was a correspondent of Sir Walter Scott, and his youngest, Helen D'Arcy, authoress of ‘The Tears I shed must ever fall,’ and wife of Professor Dugald Stewart.

[Kay's Original Portraits, ii. 438; Gent. Mag. new ser. xxxiv. 328; Cockburn's Life of Lord Jeffrey; ib. Memorials.]

T. F. H.

CRANSTOUN, HELEN D'ARCY (1705–1838), song writer. [See Stewart.]

CRANSTOUN, JAMES, eighth Lord Cranstoun (1755–1796), naval officer, baptised at Crailing, Roxburghshire, 26 June 1755, entered the royal navy. He received a lieutenant's commission on 19 Oct. 1776. In command of the Belliqueux frigate of 64 guns he took part in the action fought by Sir Samuel Hood with the Comte de Grasse in Basseterre road off St. Christopher's on 25 and 26 Jan. 1782, and was promoted to a captaincy on the 31st. He commanded Rodney's flagship, the Formidable, in the celebrated action of 12 April 1782, which resulted in the total destruction of the French West India squadron. He was mentioned by Rodney in the despatches and honoured with the carriage of them to England. He commanded the Bellerophon, one of Vice-admiral Cornwallis's squadron of five ships of the line, which on 17 June 1795, off Point Penmarch on the west coast of Brittany, repulsed an attack by a French squadron consisting of thirteen ships of the line, fourteen frigates, two brigs, and a cutter, for which on 10 Nov. the vice-admiral and his subordinates received the thanks of parliament. Cranstoun's ‘activity and zeal’ were commended by the vice-admiral in his despatch. In 1796 he was appointed governor of Grenada and vice-admiral of the island, but died before entering upon his new duties on 22 Sept. at Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire, in the forty-second year of his age. His death was caused by drinking cider which had been kept in a vessel lined with lead. He was buried in the garrison church at Portsmouth. Cranstoun married, on 19 Aug. 1792, Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Lieutenant-colonel Lewis Charles Montolieu; she died at Bath on 27 Aug. 1797, aged 26, of a decline occasioned by her bereavement.

[Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, i. 369; Gent. Mag. 1782 p. 254, 1792 p. 960, 1796 pp. 798, 877, 1797 p. 803; Ann. Reg. 1796, pp. 80–1; Commons' Journals, li. 50.]

J. M. R.

CRANSTOUN, WILLIAM HENRY (1714–1752), fifth son of William, fifth lord Cranstoun, and his wife, Lady Jane Ker, eldest daughter of William, second marquis of Lothian, was born in 1714. While a cap-