Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Livingstone, Alexander (d.1622)

LIVINGSTONE, ALEXANDER, seventh Lord Livingstone and first Earl of Linlithgow (d. 1622), was the eldest son of William, sixth Lord Livingstone [q. v.], by his wife Agnes, second daughter of the third Lord Fleming. He supported the queen's party, and was taken prisoner at the capture of the castle at Dumbarton on 2 May 1571 (Calderwood, History, iii. 57), but appears to have soon afterwards obtained his liberty. On his father making submission to the regent on 22 May 1573–4, he was relieved of the bonds which along with his mother he had entered into for the deliverance of the house of Callendar (Reg. P. C. Scotl. ii. 351). In September 1579 he accompanied the king from Stirling to Edinburgh, on the occasion of his royal entry (Calderwood, iii. 457). On 24 Sept. 1580 he was chosen a lord of the bedchamber (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 323). He was a member of the assize for the trial of Morton in 1581, and subsequently remained a steadfast supporter of Esmé Stuart, duke of Lennox. When the duke was compelled to depart from Edinburgh on 5 Sept. 1582, Livingstone accompanied him westwards to Glasgow (Calderwood, iii. 648). He was also connected with the conspiracy of the duke on 30 Nov. to seize Edinburgh (ib. p. 691). When the duke finally departed for France on 20 Dec. following, Livingstone accompanied him thither (ib. p. 693); but after the duke's death on 26 May of the following year he returned to Scotland (ib. p. 715). For his promptitude in taking possession of Stirling Castle on 22 April 1584, after it had been vacated by the Ruthven raiders, before ‘any other force came thereto,’ he was declared to have done good and acceptable service (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 662). He succeeded his father as Lord Livingstone in 1592.

Although he was in all likelihood concerned in the treasonable negotiations with Spain, he was on 31 Oct. 1593 appointed a member of the commission for the trial of the Earls of Angus, Huntly, and Erroll for the same treasonable conduct (ib. v. 104; Calderwood, v. 278), and he signed the ‘act of abolition’ in their favour on 26 Nov. (Reg. P. C. Scotl. v. 108). On 18 Jan. 1593–4 he was named a commissioner of taxation (ib. p. 116), and in May 1594 he was chosen a lord of the articles (Calderwood, v. 330). At the baptism of Prince Henry on the 23rd of the following August he carried the towel (ib. p. 344). In November 1596 the care of the Princess Elizabeth was entrusted to him and Lady Livingstone. To this the kirk authorities objected, on the ground that Lady Livingstone was a papist; but the king replied evasively that unless Lady Livingstone satisfied the kirk, she should not be allowed to come near his daughter, but that he could not refuse to ‘concredit her to the Lord Livingstone, who was a man known of good religion’ (ib. p. 452). Lady Livingstone did not satisfy the kirk, and her guardianship of the young princess was one of the standing grievances of the kirk. She is, however, described in 1606 as ‘howbeit an obstinate Papist, but now a zealous professor’ (ib. vi. 375). On 3 Dec. 1596 Livingstone found security 'for doing his duty in keeping of the princess' (Reg. P. C. Scotl. v. 343). He was chosen one of the members of the privy council, on its reconstitution in December 1598 (ib. p. 500). In March 1600 he had a charter of noro damus of the barony of Callendar, in which the town of Falkirk was erected into a free burgh of barony. On 25 Dec. of the same year he was, on the occasion of the baptism of Prince Charles, created Earl of Linlithgow, Lord Livingstone and Callendar. He and Lady Livingstone remained guardians of the Princess Elizabeth until the departure of King James to London in 1603, and after the princess was restored to the king at Windsor an act was passed discharging them of their duty, and of their dutiful care and service in that behalf (ib. vi. 577). In July 1604 the earl was appointed one of the commissioners for a union with England. In 1621 he voted, through his procurator, against the five articles of Perth. He died on 2 April 1622.

By his wife, Eleanor Hay, only daughter of Alexander, seventh earl of Erroll, he had three sons—John, master of Livingstone, Alexander, second earl of Linlithgow, and James, earl of Callander (d. 1674) [q. v.]— and two daughters: Anne, married to Alexander, sixth earl of Eglinton, and Margaret to John, second earl of Wigton.

[Histories of Calderwood and Spotiswood; Hist. of James the Sext (Bannatyne Club); Moysie's Memoirs (Bannatyne Club); Reg. P. C. Scotl. vols, ii-ix.; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 126-7.]

T. F. H.