Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805

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Wedderburn was the first Earl of Rosslyn and a judge in Great Britain. Dundas was the first Viscount Melville and a Scottish politician.

From the description of Letters to Viscount Henry Dundas Melville, 1788-1810. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 78201714

From the guide to the Letters to Viscount Henry Dundas Melville, 1788-1810., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

English Lord Chancellor.

From the description of Autograph letter signed, 1796 Mar. 31. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270657903

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Paultons, to "dear Eden [Baron Auckland]", 1779 Oct. 1. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270657884

From the description of Autograph letters signed with initials (4) : London, to Sir William (Johnstone) Pulteney, 1757 Mar. 17-1758 Aug. 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270657913

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Lincolns Inn Fields, to George Grenville, 1768 May 24. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270657897

From the description of Autograph letter signed, 1796 May 14. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270657906

Alexander Wedderburn was born in Scotland on February 13, 1733. He entered the University of Edinburgh in 1746, gained admittance to the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 1753, practiced on the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland beginning in 1754, worked as an advocate for the poor, helped found the Select Society, and assisted with the publication of the first Edinburgh Review . He also served in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland as a representative from Inverkeithing (1754-1756) and Dunfermline (1756-1757). Following a quarrel with the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates Alexander Lockhart, Wedderburn quit the Scottish in favor of the English courts.

Wedderburn was called to the English Bar in 1757 and his political influence grew (partly on account of his acquaintance with John Stuart, Lord Bute). Wedderburn served in Parliament for Ayr Burghs in 1761, became king's counsel in 1763, and later traveled to London where he became active within the Court of Chancery. He married Betty Ann Dawson in December 1767, shortly before he entered Parliament for Richmond. Originally a Tory, Wedderburn gained notoriety for supporting the populism of John Wilkes in 1769 and he returned to Parliament (as a Whig) for Bishop's Castle in 1770. On December 26, 1770, Wedderburn became solicitor general and he publicly advocated a strong position against the demands of American colonists. His denunciation of Benjamin Franklin before the Privy Council in January 1774 accelerated the deterioration of Anglo-American relations. Wedderburn was appointed attorney general in June 1778. He obtained the title Baron of Loughborough and an appointment as chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas in 1780.

Alexander Wedderburn served in the Court of Common Pleas for 13 years. His position as first commissioner of the great seal under the coalition government of Lord North and Charles James Fox, April to December 1783, reflected his political prominence. Wedderburn became close to the Prince of Wales during the protracted illness of King George III and helped lead the Whig Party's opposition to the government of William Pitt. He accomplished what may be his most notable political triumph in January 1793, when he deserted the Whigs, pledged allegiance to the Tory administration of William Pitt, and received an appointment as lord chancellor. Although he held the office throughout Pitt's tenure, he was not offered a place in the new cabinet after 1801. Wedderburn received the earldom of Rosslyn and a secure pension, but continued to attend cabinet sessions until formally instructed to abstain. He died on January 2, 1805.

From the guide to the Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn papers, Wedderburn, Alexander papers, 1676-1801, 1764-1800, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf William L. Clements Library. Viscounts Melville papers, 1600-1851, bulk 1780-1830. University of Michigan, William Clements Library
referencedIn Papers, 1779-1825. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Autograph letter signed : Lincolns Inn Fields, to George Grenville, 1768 May 24. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Viscounts Melville papers, Melville, Viscounts papers, 1600-1851, 1780-1830 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Autograph letter signed : [London], to Sir Philip Francis, 1779 May 19. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Autograph letter signed : Paultons, to "dear Eden [Baron Auckland]", 1779 Oct. 1. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Autograph letters signed with initials (4) : London, to Sir William (Johnstone) Pulteney, 1757 Mar. 17-1758 Aug. 18. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn John Lee papers, Lee, John papers, 1763-1851 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Writ of summons, 1792. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn Letters of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., collected and edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated, 1413-1900 (inclusive), 1775-1839 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Ashurst, William Henry, Sir, 1725-1807. Cases and opinions of counsel, ca. 1758-1780. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
creatorOf Eldon, John Scott, Earl of, 1751-1838. Letter : to Mr. Campbell and Mr. Spottiswoode, 1804 July 5. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Letters to Viscount Henry Dundas Melville, 1788-1810. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Bearcroft, Edward. Collection of legal opinions, ca. 1731-1780. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
creatorOf Great Britain. Court of Chancery. Certificate of bankruptcy, 1793. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
creatorOf Lee, Mary Hutchinson. John Lee papers, 1763-1851. University of Michigan, William Clements Library
creatorOf Pitt, William, 1759-1806. Document signed : [London], 1794 Dec. 18. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Abbot, Charles, Baron Colchester, 1757-1829. Scrapbook of autographs, letters, biographies, news clippings and prints of English judges, ca. 1629?- ca. 1873? Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Autograph letter signed, 1796 May 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Great Britain. Home Office. Great Britain Home Office records, 1770-1881; bulk: 1770-1773. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Letter to [Sir Robert Chambers]. [s.l.]. 1777 July 8. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Letters to Viscount Henry Dundas Melville, 1788-1810. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Egmont, Bridget (Wynne) Perceval, Countess of, d. 1826. [Letterbook], 1793-1800. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Booth, James. Cases with opinions of counsel, 1713-1772. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn English-language manuscript verse in the Houghton Library: First-line index, ca. 1000-ca. 1820. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Letters to Viscount Henry Dundas Melville, 1788-1810. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Autograph letter signed, 1796 Mar. 31. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn papers, Wedderburn, Alexander papers, 1676-1801, 1764-1800 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of, 1733-1805. Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn papers 1676-1801, bulk 1764-1800. University of Michigan, William Clements Library
referencedIn Donald Hyde and Mary Hyde Eccles Autograph Collection, 1505-1957 (inclusive), 1702-1854 (bulk). Houghton Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts
England--London
Great Britain
United States
West Indies
Great Britain
United States
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Great Britain
Great Britain
Nova Scotia
West Indies
Nova Scotia
Subject
Shipwrights
Taxation
Mobs--Massachusetts--Boston--History--18th century
Mobs--History--18th century
American loyalists
Boston Tea Party, 1773
Shipwrights--England--London
White Plains, Battle of, White Plains, N.Y., 1776
Carib Indians
Long Island, Battle of, New York, N.Y., 1776
Carib Indians--Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Summons--Early works to 1800
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1733-02-03

Death 1805-01-02

English,

French

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