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Elliot, Gilbert (1651-1718) (DNB00)

ELLIOT, Sir GILBERT, Lord Minto (1651–1718), judge, of the family of Eliot of Craigend, was born in 1651, being the eldest son of Gavin Eliot of Midlem Hill, Roxburghshire. For many years he practised successfully as a writer in Edinburgh. In 1679, when William Veitch, the covenanting minister, who afterwards remained his lifelong friend, was arrested and tried for his nonconformity, Eliot was his agent, and went specially to Lord Shaftesbury to protest against the illegality of the proceedings against Veitch. He succeeded in procuring a royal order to stay the proceedings against Veitch, and thus became well thought of by the whig leaders. While the Earl of Argyll lay in prison he acted for him, and by great promptitude secured his escape before sentence was pronounced upon him. He became deeply implicated in the subsequent plots against James, went over to Holland to prepare for the Earl of Argyll's rising, acted as clerk to the council which the rebels held at Rotterdam, collected funds among the churches of Geneva and Germany for a rising in Scotland, and, returning to Scotland, was actually in arms with the earl. He escaped by flight, but was convicted and suffered forfeiture before the justices on 17 March, and was condemned to death by the court of justiciary on 16 July 1685 (Acts Scots Parl. viii. 342, 490, xi. 259, 462; Fountainhall, Decisions, i. 366; Wodrow, Sufferings of Church of Scotland, iv. 230). Having obtained the royal pardon he applied on 8 Nov. 1687 for admission to the Faculty of Advocates, but failing to pass the required examination, he attempted it again with success on 14 July 1688, and was admitted advocate on 22 Nov. following. Having been active in the Prince of Orange's party, and a member of the deputation from Scotland which invited him to land in England, his forfeiture was rescinded by act of parliament on 22 July 1690, and in 1692 he was knighted and appointed clerk to the privy council. He now enjoyed a large practice, and, though a member, was allowed to plead before parliament (Fountainhall, Decisions, i. 475; Notes, 230). He was created a baronet in 1700 and a judge of the court of session, in succession to Lord Phesdo, with the title of Lord Minto, on 28 June 1705, and was also a member of the court of justiciary. From 1703 he represented in parliament the county of Roxburgh, and his return was petitioned against in 1710. He was a commissioner of supply in several years from 1696, and opposed the abolition of the separate Scots parliament. He died on 1 May 1718. He was twice married: first, to Helen Stephenson, by whom he had one daughter, and, secondly, to Jean, daughter of Sir Andrew Carre, by whom he had one son, Gilbert (1693-1766), who is separately noticed.

[Brunton and Haig's Senators, p. 480; Barton's Hist. of Scotland; Acts Scots Parl.; Veitch's Memoirs, p. 99; Luttrell's Diary; Carstares State Papers, 625; Life and Letters of Sir Gilbert Elliot. First Earl of Minto. from 1715 to 1806, edited by the Countess of Minto, 1874.]

J. A. H.