Henry Erskine - 5th Baronet of Alva

Personal data
Portrait of Henry Erskine of Alva, painted by Frans van der Mijn
Date of death
5th Baronet of Alva
Harry Erskine

Son of John Erskine (d. 1739), 3rd of Alva, and Catherine Sinclair. Married (1761) to Janet Wedderburn (or Wederburn), a sister of Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn. John Erskine was a distant cousin of  Andrew Erskine, and also - and slightly less distant - of James Boswell himself.

In 1747 he inherited the Baronetcy of Alva from his older brother Charles Erskine, who was killed at the battle of Val on July 2, 1747. In 1749 he was elected MP for Ayr, and from 1754 until his death for Anstruther. At the time of his death, he was even a Lt-Gen in the army, as well as Secretary to the Order of the Thistle.

Boswell describes him as "[a]n intimate friend of Lord Bute" [PM in 1762-3] in The Life of Johnson.1

  • 1. Other biographical sources include Henry Erskine's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.
Life with Boswell

Boswell spoke with Sir Henry at Lady Northumberland's on January 14, 1763, arguing that his friend, Andrew Erskine, "should have a company [in the army]".