DAVID, the third son of John Inglis and Katharine Nisbet, was baptized at Edinburgh on June 5, 1702, in the presence of Mr. David Blair, minister of the Gospel in Edinburgh, Sir John Swinton of that ilk, George Warrender, late Bailie, John Blair, writer, and George Watson, merchant burgess.
He was admitted a burgess of Edinburgh on August 28,1723, and became a prosperous linen manufacturer and clothier, his factory being on the east side of Candlemaker Row, and his shop being at the head of Craig’s Close on the north side of the High Street, opposite the Cross. For some years he was in partnership with his wife’s first cousin, David Baird, and afterwards his own cousin, John Nisbet, acted as his manager.1
He was elected to the Royal Company of Archers on July 2, 1720, and to the Society of Captains of Trained Bands on
October 30, 1729, 2 and he was chosen. to be Master of the
Merchant Company for the year 1748.
In 1728 he was on the jury that tried James Carnegy of Phinhaven on the charge of murdering the Earl of Strathmore. The circumstances excited intense public interest, and to lawyers the trial was important, because the majority of the jury, including David Inglis, vindicated their right to return a general verdict of ‘not guilty’ on the indictment, and resisted the view that they were only entitled to find the facts ‘proven’ or ‘not proven.’ 3
1 Edinburgh Testaments, February 8, 1755.
2 Society of Trained Bands of Edinburgh, Win. Skinner, p. 131.
3 Arnot’s criminal Trials, p. 191.
DAVID INGLIS 47
In 1736 he was on the still more famous jury that convicted Captain Porteous of murder for having ordered the city guard to fire on a disorderly crowd at an execution.’ A reprieve of the death sentence caused the famous ‘Porteous Mob,’ when the victim was dragged from prison and hanged by the rioters.
On September 27, 1739 David Inglis was elected a Merchant Councillor on the Town Council of Edinburgh, and for the next fifteen years he was prominent in civic life. He was elected City Treasurer in 1740 and 1741, Old Treasurer in 1742, second Bailie in 1743, Old Bailie and Admiral of Leith in 1744, Senior Bailie in 1747, Old Bailie in 1748, Senior Bailie in 1753, and Old Bailie in 1754.
The Caledonian Mercury, referring to the elections of 1740, when he first became Treasurer, says: 2 ‘By this Election a total Revolution of the Government of this City is brought about.’ There had been great scarcity of food, and the late magistrates had fallen under suspicion of restricting the sale of grain from corrupt motives, with the result that meal-mobs had done many acts of violence; and even after the election, owing to a corn riot at the end of October, ‘the Magistrates made the Council-chamber their Residence for Bed, Board and Devotion.’ 3
The Mercury, referring to the magistrates elected the following year, calls them 4 ‘Gentlemen of undoubted Affection to His Majesty and Zeal for their Native Country: and whose past Conduct leaves us no Room to doubt of their proving themselves the Fatherly Guardians of the Poor.’
In 1741 the election of a member of Parliament for the city, which was in the hands of the Council, revived an old municipal feud.5 Before the Union Edinburgh had two members, one representing the merchants and one the trades,
1 (Caledonian Mercury, July 20, 1736
2 lb., September
3 lb., October 27, 1740.
4 lb., October
5 Adv. lib. Pamphlets, vol. 933.
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but the representation was then cut down to one member, and in practice a merchant was always elected. On this occasion the trades claimed their right to have a turn, and put forward as their candidate Alexander Nisbet of North-field, surgeon, the Deacon Convener of the Trades. however, the merchants were in a majority on the Council, and they brushed aside this contention, and elected one of their number, Archibald Stewart.
Mr. Nisbet thereupon lodged a protest in which he averred that the Lord Provost, Bailies, Dean of Guild, Treasurer Inglis, the merchant councillors, and some of the deacons of the trades
‘had none of them Right to Vote in the election . . . because they and every one of them had prelimited and predetermined themselves by promise, agreement or security, directly or indirectly, to a most noble Lord, the Duke of Argyle, that they should at the said election make choice of such a person to represent the said city in Parliament as that noble Lord should name or recommend, and no other—whereby the Freedom of the said election was utterly destroyed, and which apparently resolves into a Disqualification of the said Lord Provost, etc.’
As might be expected, the protest was unavailing.
The Council elected in 1744 had the responsibility of preparing the defence of the city against Prince Charles and his Highland host in September 1745. The Caledonian Mercury, the Jacobite paper, stated: 1 ‘The Magistracy are indefatigable in providing for the Defence of the City, and scarce get any Sleep or Rest two hours of the twenty four.’
In point of fact Lord Provost Stewart and some of his colleagues were, if not actually 2Jacobites, at least perfunctory in their preparations. The Provost was afterwards tried for neglect of duty, but no allegations were made against David Inglis.2
On September 16 the Highland host readied Slateford,
1 September 16, 1745.
2 Trial of Lord Provost Stewart, pp. 122, 127 ; second Trial, p. 167.
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and spent the night at Graysmill Farm, now part of Redhall estate, the Prince himself lodging in the house of the tacks-man, David Wight. 1 He wrote demanding the surrender of the city, and the letter was ‘thrown in’ at a public meeting in the New Kirk Aisle, while the question was being considered whether the city should be defended, the general feeling being in favour of surrender. The Provost, who presided, refused to allow the letter to be read, and withdrew with most of the Council and some of the other citizens to Goldsmiths’ Hall, where the letter was again produced and was read.2 It was then decided to try and gain time, in the hope that Sir John Cope’s army might bring relief:
‘and accordingly Bailie Gavin Hamilton, Bailie Yetts, Bailie Inglis and Conveener Norrie were sent out with instructions to call only for such of the Gentlemen in the Rebell camp as they were acquainted with, and to propose to them to send some of their number into the city to explain what their demands were, assuring them in the name of the Lord Provost that such as should be thus sent should be allowed safe conduct to return ; and these gentlemen went away accordingly about eight at night.’ 3
No sooner had the deputies started than information came that Sir John Cope’s transports had been sighted off Dunbar, so opinion veered round in favour of defending the city. The volunteers had been disbanded and their arms deposited in the Castle, but it was proposed to ring the fire bell, the signal for the volunteers to stand to their posts.
‘To this it was answered that the accounts of Sir John Cope’s arrival were come too late, for that a Deputation had been already sent to the Rebells to treat with them, that it would be no easy matter now to conveen and arm the Inhabitants, and that it would not be safe to ring the fire bell considering that these Deputies were now with
I Chevalier Johnstones Mem oirs,p18.
2Lyon in Mourning (Scot. Hist. Soc.), 1. 249.
3Rev. Dr. Jardine’s MS. account.
50 - DAVID INGLIS
the Rebells, who if they heard it and knew the design of it might thereby be provok’d to use these Gentlemen ill.’
Bailie Mansfield was accordingly sent to overtake them, but he was too late.
Their mission was wholly unavailing. On arrival at the camp they were introduced into the royal presence, and the Prince, after they had kissed his hand, told them he was going to send off a detachment to attack the town, ‘and lett them defend it at their peril.’ 1 He added: ‘I do not treat with subjects,’ and he gave them till two o’clock to return with a definite promise of surrender. He asked what was become of the Volunteers’ arms, and being told that they were delivered into the Castle, he said with great warmth, ‘If any of the Town’s Arms are missing, I know what to do.’ 2
The deputies returned with a letter from the Prince’s secretary demanding surrender, and delivered it to the magistrates between eleven and twelve o’clock. After discussion it was decided to try the effect of a second deputation. So ex-Provost Coutts, Bailie Robert Bailhie, and three others, David Inglis not being included, started about two in the morning. They returned two hours later, having failed to get an audience of the Prince, but they brought another letter with a peremptory demand for surrender. When the Netherbow Port was opened to let out the carriage which had brought them back, a party of Highlanders, who had crept up to the wall, rushed in, and the city was captured almost without a blow.
In 1752 David Inglis was elected an extraordinary director of the Bank of Scotland, amid next year became an ordinary director. The duties of this office combined with his municipal work probably compelled him to give up business, and in the autumn of 1752 his stock was advertised for sale:
1 Affairs in Scotland, l733-6, Lord Elcho, p. 256.
2history of the Rebellion, A. Henderson, p. 46.
3Calcdoniam Mercury, November 6, 1752.
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‘On Tuesday the 14th of November instant will be sold off at prime Cost for ready Money by David Inglis at his Shop opposite to the Cross, an Assortment of superfine, middling, and coarse Cloths, Forrest Cloths, German Searges, Devonshire Kerseys, Barrogans, Baratheas, Plain and Corded Druggets, Camblets, Single and Double Alapeens, Hair and Worsted Plushes, Cotton Velvets and other Manchester Goods, Plain Velvets, Flower’d Velvets, and Shag Velvets, Searge D’Soys and Silk Shagreens, Hats, Stockings, Gold and Silver Lace, with several other Kinds of Goods for Men’s Apparel. [A later advertisement adds
‘Frizcs, Calimancoes and Corded Tabbeys.’]
‘N.B.—Where likewise will be sold Scots Holland of his own Manufacture in Wholesale or single Pieces on the ordinary Conditions practised in Trade.’
The sale continued for more than a year.
In March 1757 David Inglis rose to be Deputy Governor of the Bank of Scotland, but five months later he vacated the post on being appointed Treasurer,2 an office which he occupied till his death ten years later.
His father-in-law, Charles Binning, had been on the board for many years; in 1757 Professor Alexander Monro (Primus), whose youngest son married Inglis’s daughter, came on as an extraordinary director, and was an ordinary director from 1758 till his death in 1767, and his brother George Inglis also had a seat on the board from 1766 to 1769; so the family was strongly represented in the management of the bank.
The post of Treasurer carried with it a house in Old Bank Close, which stood on the site of Melbourne Place: since 1739
David Inglis and his family bad been living in M’Lellan’s Land at the head of the Cowgate, opposite to the north gate of Greyfriars Churchyard.3
He married on June 5, 1738 Katharine, daughter of Charles Binning of Pilmuir, advocate, and Margaret, daughter of Hew Montgomery of Broomlands. Charles Binning, who was
1 Edinburgh Courant, November 13, 1753. 2Scots Magazine, 1757, p. 439.
3 Burgh Register of Deeds, March 18, 1758.
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Solicitor-General, 1721 to 1725, was fifth son of Sir William Binning of Wallyford, Lord Provost of Edinburgh l675-7. 1
David Inglis and his wife had three children—(1) John, the only boy, who died in December 1752; (2) Margaret, who was born on September 10, 1739, and died unmarried on February 27, 1800; she lived for many years at Slateford House; (3) Katharine, who was born on January 21, 1741, and married on September 25, 1762 Dr. Alexander Monro (Secundus), Professor of Anatomy in Edinburgh University. She died on May 11, 1803, leaving four children—Professor Alexander Monro (Tertius), David Monro-Binning of Softlaw, Isabella (Mrs. Hugh Scott of Gala), and Charlotte (Mrs. Louis Henry Ferrier of Belsyde).
There have been three intermarriages between the Inglises and the Monros, and the families are also connected through the Philps and through the Macdonalds of Sleat. An extraordinary feature of the pedigree is that the later generations are descended from three brothers Inglis—Archibald, David, and John. John’s son, the Admiral, married Archibald’s daughter, Barbara, and their son, John, married David’s great-granddaughter, Maria Monro.
David Inglis died on January 13, 1767, aged sixty-four, ‘having given proof,’ as his brother George records, ‘of his Patience and Fortitude under a long and painful Distemper.’ The Courant says he was ‘universally regretted.’
His widow died on December 14, 1769 aged fifty-eight, ‘a virtuous good Woman,’ says Mr. George, ‘who with the greatest Frugality preserved the outmost Decency.’
They are buried in Greyfriars Churchyard.
1See the author’s Monros of A chinbowie, Chaps. xiv.-xvii.