DICKSON, John (c.1707-67), of Kilbucho, Peebles.
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Family and Education
b. c.1707, 1st s. of William Dickson of Kilbucho by Jean, da. of Sir William Menzies of St. Germains, E. Lothian. educ. Glasgow Univ. 1722; Leyden 1729; adv. 1728. unm. suc. fa. 1762.
Dickson, for most of his life, was ‘younger of Kilbucho’, a lawyer of comparatively modest means. During the Forty-five, although John Murray of Broughton, secretary to Prince Charles, was his cousin and near neighbour, he remained firmly anti-Jacobite. When on 26 June 1746 Murray, a fugitive after Culloden, visited Kilbucho House in disguise,
to his great mortification neither the gentleman himself [Old Kilbucho] nor his youngest son were at home ... had the the eldest [John] been there Mr. Murray would not have put it in his power to have delivered him up.1
Murray dined with Dickson’s mother and sister, to whose indiscretion he attributed his capture the following day, and whose report of the conversation ‘served as a basis for the eldest son of the family to run about and assure everybody that Mr. Murray had declared ... that he would not give the family of Stuart a half-penny for their chance in time coming’.2
In 1747 the Duke of Argyll, reporting on election results in Scotland, told Pelham that in Peeblesshire the Earl of March (the future ‘old Q’) had returned ‘one Mr. Dickson’ who, ‘I am informed, will follow the Duke of Queensberry’, Lord March’s cousin, then in opposition. ‘He is by some called a Whig, but upon a more narrow enquiry I doubt of it.’3 The 2nd Lord Egmont wrote of Dickson in his electoral survey, c.1749-50:
This is an odd man and I can’t say I perfectly understand him yet. He talks very much of public virtue and integrity in the style of an enthusiast. He is not for all that I believe unthoughtful of his own interest. Though not very wise, he has some cunning and shows a disposition to us as I believe in hopes some immediate notice may be taken of him.
He continued to represent Peeblesshire until his death on 2 Dec. 1767.