Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lindsay, John (1596-1678)

LINDSAY, JOHN, tenth Lord Lindsay of the Byres, first Earl of Lindsay, and afterwards known as John Crawford-Lindsay, seventeenth Earl of Crawford (1596–1678), son of Robert, ninth lord Lindsay of the Byres, and Lady Christian Hamilton, daughter of Thomas, earl of Melrose, and afterwards first earl of Haddington [q. v.], was born in 1596. He received ‘a noble education both at home and in foreign parts’ (Crawford, manuscript Hist. of the Lindsays, quoted in Lord Lindsay's Lives of the Lindsays). On 1 Oct. 1616 he was served heir to his father, and 8 May 1633 was created Earl of Lindsay and Lord Parbroath, but, on account of his opposition to the measures of the court, the patent was delayed till 1641. He was one of the leaders of the covenanting party, but his influence was due rather to his rank than his abilities, either political or military. Burnet describes him ‘as a sincere but weak man, passionate and indiscreet’ (Own Time, ed. 1838, p. 71); and if this estimate of his talents be too low, it probably is more accurate than the one which attributes his political course chiefly to a somewhat unscrupulous ambition. From the first he took a firm stand against the ecclesiastical policy of Charles in Scotland. He was prominent in his opposition to the introduction of the Service Book in 1637, and and was one of the four members of the committee of nobles appointed to take measures against it (Robert Baillie, Letters and Journals, i. 44). Along with the Earl of Hume he publicly protested at Stirling against the king's proclamation in 1638 (ib. i. 50; Balfour, Annals, ii. 250; Gordon, Scots Affairs, i. 32; Spalding, Memorialls, i. 85). On 3 Oct. of the same year he also presented to the Marquis of Hamilton a complaint of the presbyterian nobles against the attempts to compel the people to subscribe the king's covenant (Balfour, ii. 295–6; Gordon, i. 122). Lindsay was one of the covenanting nobles whom the king on his visit to Scotland in 1641 deemed it advisable to reconcile; and he now obtained the grant of his earldom, with precedence from the date of the warrant, and was also made an extraordinary lord of session and one of the commissioners of the treasury. He accompanied General Leslie into England in 1643 (Spalding, ii. 220), and distinguished himself at Marston Moor, 2 July 1644 (ib. p. 383). After the battle he sent a letter to the estates suggesting a general thanksgiving for the victory (Balfour, iii. 214). On the expiry of the commission of the treasury he was, on 23 July of this year, appointed lord high treasurer till the next parliament (ib. p. 231). Sentence of forfeiture having been passed against Ludovic, earl of Crawford, the title and dignities of Earl of Crawford were on the 25th of the same month ratified to Lindsay (ib. p. 237), in accordance with Crawford's patent of 15 Jan. 1641–2 [see Lindsay, Ludovic, sixteenth Earl of Crawford]. On 26 Jan. 1644–5 he succeeded Lauderdale as president of the parliament (ib. p. 256; Spalding, ii. 442).

Crawford was one of the committee chosen to direct General Baillie in his movements against Montrose, and he also held command of a number of reserve forces which were stationed at Newtyle to protect Perth and the lowlands. Montrose, on marching south to attack him, found his forces too strongly fortified to compel an engagement, and returned to the highlands (ib. ii. 479). Soon afterwards Crawford rejoined Baillie, and, having exchanged a thousand of his raw recruits for a like number of Baillie's veterans, returned to Angus, and entering Atholl burnt and ravaged the country. Baillie after his defeat by Montrose at Alford, on 2 July 1645, united the remnant of his defeated troops with Crawford's forces. The latter, with the other members of committee, counselled Baillie, against Baillie's own judgment, to abandon his advantageous position at Kilsyth and risk the battle on 2 July 1645, which resulted in his utter rout. Crawford made his escape to Berwick.

After the surrender of Charles to the Scots at Newark in 1646, Crawford was sent, with other deputies, to Newcastle to induce him to accept the Westminster propositions. Although as president of the parliament he signed the warrant for the surrender of Charles to the English, he at the same time, in his private capacity, entered his protest against it (statement presented by Crawford to the Restoration parliament in Acta Parl. Scot. vii. 11). After the king's imprisonment at Carisbrooke, Crawford, along with the Duke of Hamilton, headed the ‘engagers’ who initiated measures for the king's rescue. Matters between Crawford and Argyll became so strained that a duel was arranged between them on the links of Stonyhill, near Musselburgh, 25 March 1648, but owing to the dilatoriness and supposed timidity of Argyll, it did not take place (Guthry, p. 261; Balfour, iii. 395). Both were summoned by the commission of the kirk to make their repentance. Argyll consented, acknowledging that he had made a ‘scriptural desertion,’ but Crawford declined to admit himself in fault. The defeat of the Scottish army under the Duke of Hamilton at Preston led to the return to power of Argyll and the extreme party and the consequent fall of Crawford who, by the ‘Act of Classes,’ was deprived of all his offices. In December 1649 he refused to subscribe a band acknowledging the lawfulness of the acts of the previous session of parliament, and was consequently apprehended at Elie, Fifeshire, when about to embark for Holland. He was sent to his own house, but no further steps were taken against him (ib. iii. 434). In January 1650 he ‘subscribed the band for the peace of the country’ (ib. iv. 1), and joined the coalition for the restoration of Charles II.

The defeat of the extreme covenanters by Cromwell at Dunbar again led to the ascendency of Crawford's moderate party. At the coronation of the king at Scone on 1 Jan. 1651–2 he carried the sceptre. From the 15th to the 17th of the following February he entertained the king at his house of the Struthers (ib. iv. 247). When the king marched into England, Crawford was appointed lieutenant-general under the Earl of Leven (ib. p. 314); but while attending a committee of the estates at Alyth on 28 Aug. he was surprised by a division of Monck's cavalry and taken prisoner to London (Nicoll, Diary, p. 68). At first he was confined in the Tower and then in Sandown Castle, but on 27 Nov. 1656 he was removed to Windsor Castle (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1656–7, p. 169), where he remained till the end of his captivity. He was excepted from Cromwell's act of grace, and was forfaulted at the cross of Edinburgh, 5 May 1654 (Nicoll, Diary, p. 125); but lands of his of the clear annual value of 400l. sterling were settled upon his wife and children. The annual value of his forfeited estate was 1,284l. 15s. 5d., and the claims against it were 28,449l. 11s. 1d. (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1655–6, p. 362).

At the Restoration he received his liberty (3 March 1660), and when in the December following he entered Edinburgh on his return to Scotland, he was welcomed with enthusiasm (Nicoll, p. 308). He was reinstated in all his offices, and received the lord high treasurership by patent of 19 Jan. 1660–1 for life. Notwithstanding his royalist leanings, he, however, ‘continued yet a zealous presbyterian’ (Burnet, Own Time, ed. 1838, p. 71). He opposed the rescissory act (ib. p. 80), strongly opposed the establishment of episcopacy, and refused to take the ‘declaration’ abjuring the covenant. He therefore found it necessary in 1663 to resign all his offices (see particulars in Row, Continuation of Blair's Autobiography, p. 440) and to retire from public life. He took up his residence at his estate of Struthers, to ‘enjoy the peace of a good conscience far from court.’ He died there in 1678.

By his wife, Lady Mary Hamilton, second daughter of James, second marquis of Hamilton [q. v.], he had two sons—William, eighteenth earl of Crawford [q. v.], and Patrick, ancestor of the Viscounts Garnock—and three daughters: Anne, married to John, duke of Rothes; Christian, to John, fourth earl of Haddington; Helen, to Sir Robert Sinclair, bart., of Stevenson, Haddingtonshire; and Elizabeth, to David, third earl of Northesk.

[Balfour's Annals of Scotland; Gordon's Scots Affairs; Spalding's Memorialls of the Trubles; Robert Baillie's Letters and Journals (Bannatyne Club); Nicoll's Diary (Bannatyne Club); Row's Continuation of Robert Blair's Autobiography; Burnet's Own Time; Bishop Guthry's Memoirs; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. Reign of Charles I and the Commonwealth period; Crawford's Officers of State; Lord Lindsay's Lives of the Lindsays; Lindsay Pedigree, by W. A. Lindsay, in the College of Arms; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 386–7.]

T. F. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.182
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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304 ii 6 Lindsay, John, 1st Earl of Lindsay: for 1651-2 read 1641-2