Sir Patrick Home of Polwarth

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Marchmont, Patrick Hume, 1st earl of [S] (1641–1724). Hume succeeded his father as baronet at the age of 7. A strong presbyterian, he represented Berwick in the Convention of Estates in 1665 and 1667, and was MP for Berwickshire 1669–74 and 1689–90. His opposition to Lauderdale in the 1670s led to two spells of imprisonment. He was implicated in the Rye House plot and in 1685 joined Argyll's abortive rising on behalf of Monmouth. Next he threw in his lot with William of Orange, accompanying his expedition in 1688. He was created Lord Polwarth [S] in 1690, with an orange in his coat of arms, and advanced to an earldom in 1697. From 1696 until 1702 he was chancellor [S] and in that capacity used his casting vote for the immediate execution of Aikenhead, an 18-year-old youth charged with blasphemy—‘the worst action of his bad life’, in Macaulay's words. At the accession of Anne, his influence waned, though he exerted himself to carry the Union. Macky remarked that he was ‘a lover of set speeches’ and Macaulay ridiculed his loquacity: Complete Peerage, more tersely, called him a ‘turbulent scoundrel’. His son, the 2nd earl, was a vigorous opponent of Sir Robert Walpole in the 1730s.

J. A. Cannon

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