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Elder, John
Elgin , James Bruce
Elphinstone, Mountstuart
Erskine, Thomas

Heroes & Famous Scots (E)


Elder, John (1824-1869)

John Elder was a great Scottish engineer, and was one of the men who changed the world with his great engineering feats. His most important was the compound steam engine which cut fuel consumption by about 40% when it was introduced in the year 1854, which was amazing for longer journeys when refueling became impossible. His design for coal burning steam engines was adopted by shipping companies world wide and was used by most governments in their naval ships. The demise of his engines happened with the coming of the oil burners which were even more efficient again. His wife continued to run the company for many years after John's death. John Elder is remembered in Govan, Glasgow where his company was formed. He has a park and a statue in commemoration to this great Scottish engineer

John Elder
Elgin , James Bruce (1811-1863)

James Elgin was the Tory Member of Parliament for Southampton when his father died and he inherited the title eighth Earl of Elgin. He was appointed to be Governor General of Jamaica about a year later. He then went on to be Governor General of British North America , in the year of 1846. James Bruce Elgin was to play a huge part in the Reciprocity Treaty, between the United States of America and the Canadian Colonies. His influence in implementing a responsible Government was looked upon as a work of genius towards the development of the country.

On his return to England he was welcomed with open arms as a great servant to his country. For his special skills and attention to duty he was rewarded with several highly prestigious posts, Special Commissioner to China, Official visitor to Japan, Viceroy of India and, The Postmaster General of the United Kingdom. He was a truly (Although born physically in London) a great Scottish Person
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Elphinstone, Mountstuart (1779-1859)

Elphinstone became renowned for his administrative prowess while working with the famous East India Company. He was also involved in the Battle of Kirki in the year 1817, where he defeated the Peshwa, which done much for the British cause in the Maratha territories, However these were to be annexed the following year.

Elphinstone College
He was foremost in trying to return their rights to the indigenous Indian Rulers of the country, because of this act and his enlightened approach when dealing with the native people, their allegiance to Britain was strengthened. He was the person who came up with the idea to educate the Indian Indigenous tribes, and set up the Elphinstone College in Bombay , using public subscription to do so. He was twice offer to be Governor General of India and twice refused the honour. He did however publish a book named ‘The History of India' in the year 1841. Another great Scot spreading Scottish understanding to a foreign people, for their benefit. The building in the picture is Elphinstone College.
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Erskine, Thomas (1750-1823)

Thomas Erskine will be forever thought of as the man who set up the well known ACLU. (American Civil Liberties Union ) Erskine came from the town of Linlithgow in Scotland and free men and woman everywhere should be grateful to this hard working lawyer. It was through him that personal liberties were given as a right. Thomas Erskine defended many people after the American Civil war. The cases were mainly treason or Criminal Libel issues.

He defended a man called Thomas Payne; in a very high profile case when Payne had published a book entitled ‘Rights of Man' (the book was considered an act of treason because it told people how to do certain things and what their rights were to do them) His defence in this case was unsuccessful but he won many more cases. He famously and successfully defended Lord George Gordon, on a charge of High Treason for allegedly starting the Anti-catholic riots. He went on to defend people in law courts throughout the rest of his life. It is just a pity he could not have set up the same system in his native Scotland, as the Civil Liberties of this country and its people were being ignored by an uncaring English Ruler who was to order the insidious act which became the ‘Highland Clearances' . Where were the “ Civil Liberties ” of the Scottish people at that time?

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