Appendix IX: Scotland

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer


The following tables show the results of the general elections and the holders of the chief political offices in Scotland:

 Whigs Tories Opposition Whigs

Secretary of State for Scotland Lord Advocate
Duke of Montrose 1714-15Sir David Dalrymple 1714-20
Duke of Roxburghe 1715-25Robert Dundas 1720-25
Marquess of Tweeddale 1742-46Duncan Forbes 1725-37
 Charles Areskine 1737-42
 Robert Craigie 1742-46
 William Grant 1746-54


In this period the contest for power in Scotland was not between Whigs and Tories but between two rival Whig factions, one headed by the 2nd Duke of Argyll and his brother, Lord Ilay, later 3rd Duke of Argyll, the other by a coalition of their opponents, known as the Squadrone,1 whose leader, the Duke of Roxburghe, was secretary of state for Scotland from 1715 to 1725. Routed by the Argyll party at the general election of 1722,2 the Squadrone went into opposition in 1725, when Roxburghe was dismissed from his office, which was suppressed. Thenceforth Ilay acted as minister for Scotland without portfolio till Walpole’s fall in 1742, when he was replaced by the leader of the Squadrone, Lord Tweeddale, with the revived office of secretary of state for Scotland, twelve of the anti-ministerial Whigs returned for Scotland at the general election, known as ‘the Duke of Argyll’s gang’, remaining in opposition.3 By 1746 Ilay, now Duke of Argyll, was back in the saddle, Tweeddale resigning his office, which was again abolished. During the general election of 1747 Henry Pelham wrote to his brother, the Duke of Newcastle:

I went over the Scotch list with the Duke of Argyll, in which all was settled to my satisfaction at least ... You will be surprised how little the Duke of Argyll insists upon for his own people and how compliant he is with all those this ministry can depend upon, be they friends of his Grace, or enemies.
His Majesty may call him Roy, but if he does the King’s business well, and in a manner inoffensive to those who are known friends to the King, I can’t but say he is a Vice Roy of an extraordinary nature, not supported nor even countenanced by the royal family, arraigned by many of the King’s servants, and warmly protected by very few of ’em. Yet this man does all we want. Can H.M. or his faithful servants desire more?4

In 1748 George II refused to appoint Argyll’s nominee lord president of the court of session, the highest judicial position in Scotland, saying that ‘he would not make [him] King of Scotland’. One of the reasons for George II’s distrust of Argyll was that in order to govern Scotland he and his brother were said to have

courted the Jacobites, brought many of them into places, and by that means have had great connexions. These persons have either underhand fomented the rebellion or connived at it or not been heartily against it. The present Duke still goes on in the same way, and this occasions great uneasiness.5

He remained ‘viceroy’ of Scotland till his death in 1761, when he was succeeded by his nephew, Stuart Mackenzie*.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick

End Notes

  • 1. See under MAULE, William.
  • 2. See p. 34.
  • 3. See note XLII, p. 114, footnote 4.
  • 4. 24 July 1747, Add. 32732 f. 347.
  • 5. Harrowby mss 21 (L. Inn), 1 Jan. 1747, 13 Oct. 1748.