Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ramsay, William (d.1674)

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For works with similar titles, see William Ramsay.

RAMSAY, WILLIAM, second Lord Ramsay of Dalhousie and first Earl of Dalhousie (d. 1674), was the eldest son of George, lord Ramsay of Dalhousie, by Margaret, daughter and heiress of George Douglas of Helenhill, brother of William, earl of Morton, and Robert, earl of Buchan. He was chosen to represent the burgh of Montrose in the Scottish parliament in 1617 and 1621. On 21 July 1618 he obtained from the king a charter of the barony of Dalhousie and of the lands of Kerington, Midlothian (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1609–20, No. 704). He succeeded his father in 1629, and on the occasion of the coronation of Charles I in Scotland was admitted to the dignity of Earl of Dalhousie and Lord Ramsay of Kerington by patent dated 29 June 1633 to him and his heirs male.

Dalhousie is placed by James Gordon (Scots Affairs, i. 109) among those of the commissioners appointed for the subscription of the king's covenant who were covenanters, and he subscribed the libel against the bishops presented the same year to the presbytery of Edinburgh (ib. p. 127). He also signed the letter of the covenanting lords of 19 April 1639 to the Earl of Essex (Balfour, Annals, ii. 348), and served as colonel in the covenanting army which took up a position on Dunse Law to bar the progress of Charles I northwards (Robert Baillie, Letters and Journals, i. 211). He also served as colonel in the covenanting army which on 2 Aug. 1640 crossed the Tweed and invaded England (Balfour, ii. 383). At the parliament held at Edinburgh in November 1641 his name was inserted in a new list of privy councillors, to displace certain others chosen by the king (ib. iii. 149). Dalhousie was engaged in the campaign in England in 1644, in command of a horse regiment (Baillie, i. 226; Spalding, Memorials, ii. 414), but in the autumn he was called out of England with his regiment to proceed to the north of Scotland to aid Argyll against Montrose (Spalding). On 2 Aug. 1645 Montrose's second son James, lord Graham, who had been confined in the castle of Edinburgh, was delivered over to Dalhousie to be educated (Napier, Memoirs of Montrose, p. 563). On 24 Oct. 1646 Dalhousie was appointed to the office of high sheriff of the county of Edinburgh. On 4 May 1648 he was nominated colonel of horse for Midlothian, for the engagement in behalf of Charles I; but apparently he did not accept the office, for he remained a close partisan of Argyll, and was one of the fourteen nobles who attended the parliament of January 1649 (Guthry, Memoirs, p. 301), when the severe act was passed against those who had taken part in the engagement. In March 1651 he was nominated by Charles II colonel for Midlothian (Balfour, Annals, iv. 277). For having sided with Charles II he was by Cromwell's act of grace, 12 April 1654, fined 1,500l., which was reduced to 400l. (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1655, p. 72). He died on 10 Feb. 1674. By his first wife, Lady Margaret Carnegie, eldest daughter of David, first earl of Southesk, he had four sons and three daughters: George, second earl of Dalhousie; John, James, William; Marjory, married to James, earl of Buchan; Anne, married, first, to John, earl of Dundee, and, secondly, to Sir Henry Bruce of Clackmannan; and Magdalene, who died unmarried. By his second wife, Jocosa, daughter of Sir Alan Apsley, lieutenant of the Tower of London, widow of Lyster Blunt, son of Sir Richard Blunt of Maple Durham, Oxford, he left no issue.

[Gordon's Scots Affairs and Spalding's Memorialls of the Trubles (in the Spalding Club); Baillie's Letters and Journals (in the Bannatyne Club); Sir James Balfour's Annals; Bishop Guthry's Memoirs; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 406; Complete Peerage by G. E. C.]

T. F. H.