Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Livingstone, James (d.1670)

LIVINGSTONE, Sir JAMES, of Kinnaird, first Earl of Newburgh (d. 1670), a son of Sir John Livingstone of Kinnaird, was descended from the Livingstones of Callendar. He was sent by the direction of Charles I ‘to be bred in France’ (Clarendon, iii. 396). Subsequently he became a gentleman of the bedchamber, and on 13 Sept. 1647 was created Viscount Newburgh to him and heirs male of his body.

When Charles I was being removed, in custody of Cromwell's soldiers, from Hurst Castle to Windsor in December 1648, he arranged to dine with Newburgh at Bagshot Lodge. Newburgh and his wife had been in constant communication with the king through cipher, and they purposed to secure his escape by mounting him on a steed belonging to Newburgh, and reputed to be one of the fleetest in England (ib. iii. 343). It happened, however, that the horse had been lamed on the previous day, and this, coupled with the king's revelations of the strictness of the watch kept upon him, led to the abandonment of the attempt (ib.)

After the king's execution Newburgh, having reason to know that an important letter of his had been intercepted (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1650, p. 225), escaped in 1650 to Holland, and joined Charles II at the Hague. Returning to Scotland with Charles in the same year, he took his place in the estates without opposition (Balfour, Annals, iv. 195), but on 4 Dec. was ordained not to vote till he had signed the covenant (ib. p. 196). A testimony from the minister of Kinnaird of his having taken the covenant was accordingly read on 10 Dec. (ib. p. 202).

Newburgh accompanied the expedition of Charles into England in the autumn of 1651, and after the battle of Worcester on 3 Sept. escaped to France (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1651–2, p. 3). He was excepted from Cromwell's act of grace in 1654. The yearly value of his forfeited estate was given as 411l. 15s. 6d., and the claims thereon as 10,862l. 10s. (ib. 1655–6, p. 362). When Charles II in 1657 organised a force for the king of Spain in Flanders, Newburgh was appointed to the command of the fourth regiment, composed of Scots (ib. 1657–8, p. 5; Clarendon, iii. 809). At the Restoration he was made captain of the guards, and on 31 Dec. 1660 was created Earl of Newburgh, Viscount of Kinnaird, and Baron Livingstone of Flacraig, with limitation to him and his heirs general. On 13 July 1661 he received a grant of 1,600l. out of the tenths of the diocese of Lincoln (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1661–2, p. 37). In January 1666 he received license with other noblemen to dig coal in Windsor Forest, and to sell it, reserving 6d. per chaldron to the crown (ib. 1665–6, p. 227). He died on 26 Dec. 1670, ‘leaving behind him,’ according to Douglas, ‘the character of one of the finest gentlemen of the age.’

The fervour and constancy of his loyalty is partly traceable to his marriage with Lady Catherine Howard, daughter of Theophilus Howard, second earl of Suffolk [q. v.], and relict of George, lord Aubigny, who was killed at Edgehill. She is described by Clarendon as ‘a woman of a very great wit, and most trusted and conversant in those intrigues which at that time could be best carried on by ladies’ (History, iii. 396). By her he had a son Charles, second earl of Newburgh.

[Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion; Balfour's Annals of Scotland; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser.; Burnet's Own Time; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 308.]

T. F. H.