CRAIG, Sin THOMAS (c. 1538-1 608), of Riccarton, one of the earliest and one of the ablest writers on the law of Scotland, and a poet of seine note, was born about the year 1538. It is probable that he was the eldest son of William Craig of Craigfintray, or Craigston, in Aberdeenshire, but beyond the fact that lie was in some way related to the Craigfintray family nothing regarding his birth is known with certainty. He is first heard of as a student at St Andrews, where he was entered at St Leonard's Ccilege iu The greatest of Craig's literary labours is his treatise on the feudal law. The object of the Jus Feudale was to assimilate the laws of England and Scotland, but instead of this, it is the first, and by no means the least, in the series of works which has built up and solidified that of Scotland into a separate system. Craig's anxiety to promote the union of the kingdoms led him to prepare two other elaborate treatises, - the De Unione Reynoruni Britanuice Tractatus, and the De Jure Successionis Regal Anglice. But while he was alive to the benefits of union, his De Hontinio Disputatio, in which he combats the assertion that Scotland was a fief of the English crown, shows that he was no less determined to maintain the historical independence of his country. Craig's first poem appeared in 1565. It is an L'pithalamitint in honour of the ill-fated marriage of the Queen and Darnley. It contains passages of real poetic feeling, but as a whole it is laboured and heavy ; and this fault, as perhaps might be expected of a learned feudal lawyer, more or less disfigures all Craig's subsequent efforts.
Except his poems, none of Craie's works appeared during his lifetime, and some of them exist e'ven now only in manuscript. The first edition of the Jus Feudale was not published until 1655, nearly fifty years after its author's death. It was edited by Robert Burnet of Crimond, afterwards a judge in the Court of Session, who had married Craig's granddaughter, and was the father of the famous bishop of Salisbury. A second edition, edited by Menekenius, was published at Leipsie, in 1716 ; while the last and best edition appeared at Edinburgh in 1732, with a short life by the editor, James Baillie. Manuscripts of the De Jure Successionis belong to the Advocates' Library and to the Edinburgh University Library, but the book itself has never been published. A translation of it by James Gatherer, afterwards a Scotch bishop, appeared in 1703. The De Undone exists only in manuscript, in the Advocates' Library ; and the same is true of the De Hominio, although a translation of it, under the title Scotland's Sovereignty asserted, was published by George Ridpath, London, 1695. Most of the poems have been reprinted in the Dclitiw Poetarum Scotorum. There is an excellent life of Craig by Mr Fraser Tytler, Edinburgh, 1823.