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ment of resignation by which their father, Alexr. Dunbar of Westfield, seems to limite that estate, and the inheritance of it, to his heirs male, and for each of such to his heirs female, with certain conditions and restrictions, as the kind bearer hereof will inform
you more at large. Now, if your law, (to which I am pretty much a stranger,) notwithstanding such entail, leaves it in the
every prodigal or extravagant heir to confound an estate which has been so long in a family, and descended to him in a regular line of succession, surely this can be no inducement to any tollerrably discreet person to improve or augment, but much less to redeem such an estate. But this
you seem to have intirely given up, or to acquiesse in, and I doe confess it is not now my business, but the present Sheriffe's, to consider, and I wish it may long be so. Tho' if it should be my fate to survive, which I by no means desire, the purchasers must expect to be called to account. But that the office should be liable to the same fate, is so prodigiously shocking that I hardly know how to declare myself upon that head with any tollerable temper and decency (obstupui, steteruntque come, et vox faucibus hæsit). That it should be in the power of any one sheriffe, without the consent of heires presumptive or in reversion, to dispose of, or allienate, an office which, in all the instruments I have seen, and by what I have heard, was ever called and esteemed hereditary. The argument you are pleased to make use of, in justification of so rash and bold an attempt, is that without the sale of this valuable branch of the Sheriffe's inheritance, his family must want subsistence. But I pray, gentlemen, give me leave to aske how his family would have been subsisted if his predecessor had lived. And can you thinke it reasonable, that I (who am threatened to be excluded, disinherited, and finally cut off, from a reversion to which, in my turn, I am entitled by birth, by blood, and by all the laws of God, of nature, and I hope of my countrey) should straiten myselfe or lessen that small fortune, which, by the blessing of God, I owe entirely to my own industry and application, to the affluence of a person who has so shamefully prostituted all the rules of honour and justice? That I have a due regard to the character and dignity of that ancient family, you will observe by the steps and measures I have taken, and (by God's permission) am steadfastly purposed to maintain, and pursue at the expence of all I am worth, even to the dernier resort, and therefore, caveat emptor. ?
1 “I was amazed, and my hair stood on end, and my voice clung to my jaws."
“And now, gentlemen, though I have expressed myselfe with some warmth in an affair which not only affects me, but yourselves, and, as you justly observe, ought to have very great weight with all that bear the name of Dunbar, or that have the remotest connection with it; yet I doe most sincerely acknowledge your goodness, in the kind concern you express for the support of an ancient family, and all the honour you have done me in this application. I pray God have you all in his good care and protection, and am, with greatest regard and esteem, your affectionate kinsman and most obedient humble servant,
2 Let the purchaser beware.
1 The last resort.
“ Tho. DUNBAR.
“ I had once some thoughts of giving my selfe the pleasure of visiting my native country this summer ; but the loss of my dear and only brother, and the difficulties I have been involved in on that account, render such an absence impracticable att present. But if it should please God to spare my life and health another
year, I will not despair of that satisfaction, nor of an opportunity of waiting upon you att your several seats, and making a personal acknowledgement of this favour and condescention.”
It is remarkable that of the Westfield family, which for centuries was of great importance, there should be difficulty in finding out the heir-male. The Vicar of Little Bustead predeceased Ludovic Dunbar, whose death and succession are thus alluded to in letters from Ludovic Brodie, W.S., to William King of Newmiln, Elgin :
“ EDINBURGH, 25 Aprile 1744. “I return you many thanks for your early intelligence of that unhappy and melancholy accident which terminated the life of poor Dunbar of Westfield. I should be glad to know whether he hath left, signed by him, any deed of settlement of his estate in favours of the Lady Hemprigs, nearest heir of line, for otherwise I am afraid, as it is provided to heirs male whatsoever, it may be difficult to find them out; and if they are found out, that Lady, who is the heir of line, may be in a great measure cut off.”
“ EDINBURGH, 5th May 1744. “I see by a letter from Sir William Dunbar of Hemprigs to Baillie George Dunbar, merchant here, that he hath found among Westfield's papers a disposition of his estate in favours of Sir William's Lady, daughter to Alexander Dunbar of Westfield, which will prevent disputes about the succession.”
XV. TRANSPORT OF A PRISONER, AND JAIL
COUNTRY people, such as farmers and their servants, had to act as guards in the transport of prisoners. The unhappy woman was accused of child-murder :
Woman was acci
“ A list of the guard for conveying the person of Jean Mill from the Tolbooth of Elgin to Nairn, to be delivered over to the Sheriff of Nairn there, in terms of the principall warrand from the Lords of Justiciary herewith sent :
“ Alexr. MʻKimmie, in Overtown, g.
John Allan there, ab.
John Cook in Barnhill, g.
Alexr. Murdoch in Achtirtyre, ab.
James Gallan in Insharnach, g.
George Kynnoch in Inerlochty, g.