Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850)

Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850)

Writer and judge

Francis Jeffrey was educated at the High School in Edinburgh and the universites of Glasgow and Oxford. As an advocate he found many avenues of promotion closed to him because of his politics. He founded the 'Edinburgh Review' along with Francis Horner and Sydney Smith and became its editor. Anonymous articles covered various topics from literature to politics. He was described by Lord Cockburn as on of the greatest British critics. His public career improved when the Whigs came to power. He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Perth and later Edinburgh, appointed Lord Advocate in 1830 and was also one of the senators of the College of Justice.

Birth in 1773

Francis Jeffrey was born on 23 October 1773, the son of George Jeffrey, writer in Edinburgh and Henretta Louden. The witnesses were Francis and James Jeffrey, wigmakers in Edinburgh. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Edinburgh gives the date of baptism as Friday 29 October.

Baptism entry for Francis Jeffrey

Baptism entry for Francis Jeffrey in the OPR for Edinburgh (38 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/34, page 209

Marriage in 1801

Francis Jeffrey, advocate of New North Parish, married Catharine Wilson, parish of St Andrews in Fife, daughter of the deceased Reverend Dr Charles Wilson, professor of ecclesiastical history in the university of St Andrews. The first entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Edinburgh (his parish) is dated 24 October 1801.

Marriage entry for Francis Jeffrey - Edinburgh

Marriage entry for Francis Jeffrey in the OPR for Edinburgh (23 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/53, page 32

The second entry in the Old Parish Register for St Andrews and St Leonards is dated 31 October 1801 shows they contracted, proclaimed and then married on 1 November by Dr Adamson.

Marriage entry for Francis Jeffrey - St Andrews and St Leonards

Marriage entry for Francis Jeffrey in the OPR for St Andrews and St Leonards (27 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 453/16, page 20

Death in 1850

The Honourable Francis Jeffrey, one of the senators of the College of Justice, died on 26 January 1850, aged 77. His entry in the Old Parish Register for St Cuthbert’s gives the place of death as 24 Moray Place in Edinburgh and the cause as bronchitis. No head of family or relative is named in the entry.

Burial entry for Francis Jeffrey

Burial entry for Francis Jeffrey in the OPR for St Cuthbert's (5 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-2/62, page 18a

Testament of Francis Jeffrey

National Records of Scotland, SC70/4/43 pp 139-149

The will mentions Francis Jeffrey's' second wife, Charlotte Wilkes, who was from an influential New York family. Whilst in America they were invited to dinner by President Madison. They attended even though it was in the middle of the British-American War of 1812.

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