| had not a little to do in hoisting him into his exalted
position as member of Parliament for the county. But during
his life in London, according to Carlyle, he does not seem
to have used his means wisely, for he took to gambling, "
and shortly afterwards, " continues this same authority,
"the estates of this simple gentleman went under sequestration
to pay his debts. "
Carlyle as a rule is not wont to waste sympathy on his compeers.
He entitles the Laird of Prestongrange a " simple gentleman,
" but the epithet is underlined; so whether he was joking
or in earnest, and whether he considered him sot or
saint in his simplicity, is difficult to determine.
One thing, however, is certain, if he had been a " sot,
" he would scarcely have been honoured by being elected
the first member of Parliament for East Lothian under the
new regime; while, on the other hand, if he had been a "saint,
" even if he had fallen among thieves, he would have
taken care to get out of their clutches before sequestration
stared him in the face.
Whether the mind of Morison had previously been affected,
or had only become affected through the loss of his money,
is hard to say, but there is little doubt he became rather
curious towards his latter end.
A short time ago, when the present Prestongrange Coal Company
were making excavations at Morison's Haven, they came upon
an underground passage, nicely and strongly built, and high
enough that a man might walk upright therein. It ran right
across the cart road straight for the harbour. There must
have been several of these vaults or passages, because we
know that Morison in his day discovered several. They may
have been constructed long ago for water-courses, or they
may have been constructed for smuggling purposes. All the
same, they were set down by Morison as " caves of the
earth " which had been constructed in apostolic ages,
and there it was, he maintained, that the persecuted of old
were wont to hide from their tormentors. Of course he knew
there was a " haven" (Acheson's) there long before
his day, and that there were creeks in its neighbourhood.
Further, he knew that the oldest Lodge of Operative Masons
had their meeting-place there, and attended it annually on
St John's Day. These things, combined with a severe study
of the Scriptures he had given himself up to, got so jumbled
in his mind, "that ultimately, " says Carlyle, "he
became convinced it was here that St John the Divine wrote
the Apocalypse. "
The next proprietor of these estates was William Grant. He
was second son of Sir Francis Grant of Cullen, one of the
Senators of the College of Justice, passed advocate 24th February
1722. As Lord Advocate he is said, in 1746, to have performed
with general approbation the difficult task of conducting
the prosecution against the defeated Jacobites. He was elected
representative for the Elgin District of Burghs in 1747, was
elevated to the bench on the death of Patrick Grant of Elchies,
and took his seat by the title of Lord Prestongrange 14th
November 1754, succeeding him at the same time as a Lord of
Justiciary. He died at Bath 23rd May 1764, and was interred
in the family vault at Prestonpans.
On the decease of Lord Prestongrange, his widow, Lady Grant,
seems to have conducted the affairs of the estate, for in
1765 we find Mrs Janet Grant using her privilege as patron
of the church by presenting the Rev. James Roy to the living.
She had not long survived this, for we find their eldest daughter,
who had married Lord Hyndford in 1768, using a similar privilege
by presenting the Rev. Matthew Reid to the living at Prestonpans.
As Earl of Hyndford we find his lordship presenting one minister
to the living, and her ladyship, as Countess of Hyndford,
presenting other two during her lifetime.
Lady Hyndford survived her husband for a great many years.
She was a very generous person, and a great favourite among
the poor, whom she was always seeking out and assisting. She
was a great favourite too with the fisherfolks, the oyster
dredgers occasionally bringing her name into their "
dreg songs" when out on the Forth encouraging the "
Pandores " to come and be caught.
In 1787, at the breaking up and sale of the great Winton or
Tranent estates, Lady Hyndford became purchaser of the Myles
and Birslie farms.
Sir George Suttie of Balgone, third Baronet, a Lieutenant-Colonel
in the army, and M. P. for Haddingtonshire, married Agnes,
second daughter of Lord Advocate Grant of Prestongrange, and
sister of Lady Hyndford. Her ladyship died in
On the decease of Lady Hyndford in 1818, Sir James Suttie,
son of Sir George, fourth Baronet of Balgone, succeeded his
aunt as heir of line in the estate of Prestongrange. He assumed
the additional surname and arms of Grant. He was member in
three Parliaments for Haddingtonshire. He died
Sir James was succeeded by his only son Sir George Grant Suttie,
fifth Baronet, who was born on the 1st of August 1797,