TitleCollection of Sir David Hume, Lord Crossrig
DescriptionHome, or Hume as he is also known as, was born on 23 May 1643, the second son of Sir John Home (d. 1656) of Blackadder, Berwickshire, and of Mary (d. 1678), daughter of Sir James Dundas of Arniston. He was only thirteen years old when his father died in October 1656, leaving a legacy that should have been enough to see him through his education, despite his elder brother's characteristic tardiness in payment. In 1657 Home entered the University of Edinburgh, from which he eventually graduated in 1662. In 1664 he travelled to France and began studying the civil law at Poitiers, but when France allied with the Netherlands in the Second Anglo-Dutch War in January 1666 he had to cut his stay short and return to Edinburgh. In 1672 he finally decided that he would never be suitably qualified and embarked on a series of unsuccessful commercial ventures. In 1675, his brother died, leaving him with responsibility for the care of his nephew, and by the time his wife died in 1678 he also had two daughters to look after. He found it convenient to move to Blackadder and to lead the life destined originally for his brother and now for his nephew.

Throughout these years at Blackadder, Home was so frequently involved in legal wrangles that by 1687 he felt sufficiently experienced to make another attempt at entering the legal profession. He was allowed into practice by the lords of session without going through the usual procedure, agreeing to pay the Faculty of Advocates twice the usual admission fee. His legal wrangles continued, and it was in consequence of one protracted dispute, relating to debts owed since 1636, that he eventually acquired the lands of Crossrig. By the time he died in 1707 he had managed to secure his financial position.

The foundation of this new security was his surprising appointment to judicial office as a lord of session on 1 November 1689 and a lord of justiciary on 27 January 1690. His late arrival at the bar, together with his known commitment to presbyterian church government and suspected involvement in plots against the rule of James VII, made him an attractive appointment to William III (who knighted him shortly afterwards).

In 1701 Home wrote a letter of consolation to one of his children which, although not particularly interesting, was printed in 1771 as Advice to a Daughter. Between 1700 and his death on 13 April 1707 he compiled a record of the proceedings of the last Scottish parliament and of the privy council which, although not based on his own active involvement in politics, has proved useful to historians of the union.
[Source: Dictionary of National Biography]

Contents: Diaries, 1700-1707
Extent5 volumes
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