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Minto, Earls Of

MINTO, EARLS OF. The Scottish border family of Elliot which has held the earldom of Minto since 1813 has had many distinguished members. Sir Gilbert Elliot, bart. (1651-1718), and his son and successor, another Sir Gilbert Elliot (1693-1766), were both celebrated Scottish judges and both took the official title of Lord Minto. The elder Sir Gilbert was sentenced to death for his share in the rising of the earl of Argyll in 1685, but was afterwards pardoned; the younger Sir Gilbert was a scholar and an agriculturist. Among the children of the latter were John Elliot (d. 1808), a naval officer, who served as governor of Newfoundland and was made an admiral; Andrew Elliot, the last English governor of New York; and the poetess Jean, or Jane, Elliot (c. 1727-1805), who wrote the popular ballad " Flowers of the Forest." The eldest son, Sir Gilbert Elliot (1722-1777), who became the third baronet in April 1766, was a member of parliament from 1753 to 1777, and a friend and follower of the earl of Bute. He filled several public offices, and Horace Walpole said he was " one of the ablest members of the House of Commons." His second son was the diplomatist, Hugh Elliot (1752-1830), who represented his country at Munich, at Berlin, at Copenhagen and at Naples. He was governor of Madras from 1814 to 1820, and he died on the loth of December 1830.

See flhe Memoirs of the Right Hon. Hugh Elliot, by the countess of Minto (Edinburgh, 1868).

The third baronet's eldest son was GILBERT ELLIOT, 1st earl of Minto (1751-1814). About 1 763 Gilbert and his brother Hugh were sent to Paris, where their studies were supervised by David Hume and where they became intimate with Mirabeau. Having passed the winters of 1766 and 1767 at Edinburgh University, Gilbert entered Christ Church, Oxford, and on quitting the university he was called to the bar. In 1776 he entered parliament as an independent Whig. He became very friendly with Burke, whom he helped in the attack on Warren Hastings and Sir Elijah Impey, and on two occasions was an unsuccessful candidate for the office of speaker. In 1794 Elliot was appointed to govern Corsica, and in 1797 he assumed the additional names of Murray- Kynynmond and was created Baron Minto. From 1799 to 1801 he was envoy-extraordinary to Vienna, and having been for a few months president of the board of control he was appointed governorgeneral of India at the end of 1806. He governed with great success until 1813. He was then created Viscount Melgund and earl of Minto. He died at Stevenage on the 21st of June 1814 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

The earl's second son was Admiral Sir George Elliot (1784- 1863), who as a youth was present at the battles of Cape St Vincent and the Nile, and who was secretary to the admiralty from 1830 to 1834. A nephew of the earl was Sir Charles Elliot (1801-1875) also an admiral, who took a prominent part in the war with China in 1840. Afterwards he was governor of Bermuda, of Trinidad and of St Helena.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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