James Marshall WS (1731-1807)

29] James Marshall WS (1731-1807) is remembered chiefly for his eccentricities.  He is described in Kay as having a smart gait, quick eye, aquiline nose, compressed lips, the silver spectacles thrown upwards on his forehead (just visible in the engraving) and the cocked hat firmly crowning the old black wig.  He was one of the most profound swearers of his day; so much so that few could compete with him.  He kept a horse but did not ride nor would he allow the horse to be ridden. Despite these characteristics he was an astute and successful lawyer and in common with many wealthy citizens of his day he possessed a town house in Milne’s Square and a ‘country’ house about a mile distant near Leith Walk.  As a staunch Tory he was much upset by Henry Dundas’ suspension from office as First Lord of the Admiralty and his subsequent impeachment on the charge of misappropriating funds.  Although Dundas was acquitted, to the delight of the Tories and the fury of the Whigs, it marked the effective end of his thirty year rule of Scotland.  Marshall, having no heirs, had planned to leave his wealth to a friend who was a judge of the Court of Session.  On hearing his friend express disagreement at Dundas’ acquittal Marshall promptly destroyed his will.