James Fea was a personal friend of William Lumisden, a lawyer in Edinburgh, and his family. They were ardent Jacobites. Lumisden's daughter, Isabella married another Orcadian, Robert Strange. His son, Andrew Lumisden, was one of forty three Jacobites named in the Act of Attainder in May 1746.
After the failure of the rebellion of 1745, William Lumisden and Isabella moved from their lodgings near the Tron Church to less expensive and conspicuous quarters up "the first turn-pike within the head of the Flesh-market Closs, Cannongate". Andrew, under heavy disguise, reached Edinburgh around August 1746. He stayed with a friend and then in the closet of his father's place. He then went south, stayed with friends in Newgate and left for France before the end of the year.
James Fea spent a great deal of time in both Edinburgh and London on the endless litigation which followed his capture of the pirate, John Gow, in 1725 on this and the Pundlar Process. It was probably Fea's Jacobite sympathies which commended him in the eyes of Isabella Lumisden. Certainly, surviving letters from her suggest that they were warm friends. As Hugh Marwick suggests in his paper on "The Feas of Clestrain" (1932), "her sentiments towards Fea enable us to regard him as a more attractive personality than we otherwise could have guessed."
Your kind favourite of the 29th June was a most welcome cordial to all here - I cannot tell you how happy the thoughts of seeing you here has made me - I shall not trouble you with my notions at present about the futurity since I flatter myself with the hope of having you here when I'll assure you I shall do all my endeavours to entertain you with the strange and wonderful account of what's happened since you and I parted which to lovers would seem an age....
This morning in obedience to you Epistle Papa and I went to Leith and got your trunk and everything I suppose was right for which Papa gave Mr. Gray a receipt. There was a tartan night-gown, a fine night-gown, 2 caps, a full suit of Cloaths, also a black vest, a white vest, a pair of breeches, 8 shirts, 8 pairs of stockens, 4 handkerchiefs, 7 stocks, 2 wigs, a sword, 6 sable skins and a piece of another - all of which I promise will be taken good care of. Mr Dinnison (who goes away in a day or two) as you was asking the Webs but without your orders was determined to keep them.
I shall presently make one of the pieces in Shirts for you and take care of your other piece till I hear from or see you. Tis very pretty cloath it may serve either a General or an Admiral but I know none of these at present deserves it better than my good friend....
Isabella Lumisden to James Fea
Isabella Lumisden continues:
|I must tell you in case you come to this place e're I
write again to you. We have mov'd lodging from the Tron Church to
the First turn-pick within the head of Flesh-market Closs, Cannonage where
we will expect to see you upon your araivel. Mama and I offer our
joint compliments to you and where else you think them dew. I am with great
My Dear Sir,P.S. To give you a short account of the Spark you enquair about hs is going as fast as possible to the D___l whom only he calls Master and truly he never deserv'd better I'm afraid.
Your most affectionate Friend,
and obliged humble Servant
Cannongate jully 9
The letter is addressed to James Fea, Esq., of Clestran, Orkney
Isabella Lumisden to James Fea
It is a letter from William Lumisden to John Fea, the brother of James Fea, which gives details of James Fea's death in London in 1756.