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Alexander Carlyle (1722–1805) by Sir Henry Raeburn, 1796 Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Carlyle, Alexander (1722–1805), Church of Scotland minister and memorialist, was born on 26 January 1722, the eldest child of the Revd William Carlyle (1689–1765) and Janet Robeson (1700–1779). He was descended on his father's side from a distinguished Cumberland family who had long before crossed over the Scottish border and established themselves in ...

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Cunningham, Lady Margaret (d. 1622?), autobiographer, was one of the six daughters of James Cunningham, sixth earl of Glencairn (d. 1631), and his first wife, Mariot or Margaret (d. 1610), daughter of Colin Campbell of Glenorchy. Despite her high birth she was distinguished principally by misfortune, and by the fact that she wrote a detailed account of the cruelty she suffered at the hands of her first husband; the account provides evidence of the acute vulnerability of wives and the inability of law, custom, and even powerful kinsmen to guarantee protection from brutal husbands. On 24 January 1598 ...

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Hopwood [née Skene], D. Caroline (d. in or before 1801), autobiographer and schoolmistress, was the youngest of three children of a Scottish army lieutenant named Skene and his wife, the daughter of Dr Law of Carlisle, 'a woman of good natural abilities … a liberal education and a religious turn of mind...

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George Lockhart of Carnwath (1681?–1731) by Sir John Baptiste de Medina, 1707 in a private Scottish collection; photograph courtesy the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Lockhart, George, of Carnwath (1681?–1731), Jacobite politician and memoirist, was the elder of two children of Sir George Lockhart of Carnwath (c. 1630–1689), lord president of the court of session, and his second wife, Philadelphia (b. 1655, d. in or after 1717)...

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Melville, Sir James, of Halhill (1535/6–1617), diplomat and autobiographer, was the third son of Sir John Melville, fourth laird of Raith (d. 1548), and his second wife, Helen (d. in or after 1584), daughter of Sir Alexander Napier of Merchiston and his wife, ...

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See Mitchell, John Murray

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Ross [née Collace], Katherine (c. 1635–1697), memoirist and schoolmistress, was born in Edinburgh, one of five daughters of Francis Collace (c.1595–1647), minister of Gordon, and his wife, Marion Muirhead. She describes herself as having been 'religiously educate' (...

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Selim Aga (c. 1826–1875), freed slave, autobiographer, and explorer, was born in the Muslim kingdom of Taquali, in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, about 1826. The son of a prosperous farmer, he was destined to inherit the family property, but about the age of nine or ten, while tending his father's sheep, he was captured by raiding Arab slavers. After much ill-treatment and being sold to various masters he was transported over ...

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West, Elisabeth (fl. 1690–1709), servant and memoirist, was born in Edinburgh. Details of her parents are not known apart from the fact that her father died on 13 January 1700. She received her early instruction from her mother and an aunt, who took great pains with her education. In the period covered by her memoir she was a servant to a succession of families in and around ...