Single Member Scottish County

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 70 in 1772, 124 in 1788


9 May 1754James Vere 
17 Jan. 1760Daniel Campbell vice Vere, deceased 
 Charles Hamilton Gordon 
22 Apr. 1761Daniel Campbell 
 Charles Hamilton Gordon 
14 Apr. 1768John Lockhart Ross41
 Andrew Stuart26
28 Oct. 1774Andrew Stuart65
 Daniel Campbell37
27 Mar. 1777Stuart re-elected after appointment to office 
23 July 1779Stuart re-elected after appointment to office 
29 Sept. 1780Andrew Stuart 
24 Aug. 1781Stuart re-elected after appointment to office 
29 Apr. 1784Sir James Stuart Denham 

Main Article

The principal interests in order of importance belonged to the Duke of Hamilton, the Earl of Hyndford and his relations the Carmichael and Lockhart families, and the Duke of Douglas, who exercised little influence until the controversy began over the succession to his estates. Robert Dundas of Arniston, having married Henrietta Carmichael Baillie, the heiress of Lamington, headed a considerable following; as also did Charles Hope Weir, who had inherited through his wife the estate of Blackwood.

Already by 1754 the succession to the Douglas estates was affecting Lanarkshire politics. When Lord Hyndford secured the Duke of Douglas’s support for his candidate James Vere, the Duke of Hamilton thought it politic to agree. On Vere’s death in 1759 the Duchess of Hamilton and the other guardians of the infant 7th Duke planned to bring in a member of the Hamilton family, but when Douglas gave his interest to Daniel Campbell of Shawfield the Hamiltons again followed suit. Campbell was opposed by Charles Hamilton Gordon, the candidate of Lord Hyndford, and was successful by six votes.1 At the general election of 1761 the contest was repeated, and Campbell had a majority of five.

Three months after the election the Hamiltons found they had sacrificed their interest to no purpose. The Duke of Douglas shortly before his death on 21 July 1761 recognised Archibald Steuart Douglas as his nephew and heir. The Hamilton guardians, led by Andrew Stuart, now embarked on the prolonged litigation known as the Douglas cause, and proceeded to re-establish their interest in county and burgh politics. They withdrew their support from Daniel Campbell and secured the backing of Lord President Robert Dundas for Andrew Stuart. But Dundas pointed out that the Lamington estate, the main source of his interest in Lanarkshire, was now held by his son-in-law John Lockhart Ross, who also offered himself as a candidate. Lockhart Ross and Campbell, having united their interests, drew lots as to who should be the candidate; Lockhart Ross won, and went on to defeat Stuart at the election.2

This defeat in Lanarkshire was followed by further misfortunes: the judgment of the House of Lords in February 1769 against the Hamiltons in the Douglas cause, and in July the death of the young Duke. The guardians of the infant 8th Duke began creating votes well before the general election of 1774, and his mother the Duchess wrote to North and Suffolk to secure the support of Administration. Suffolk was sympathetic but would give no engagement: ‘Administration for the most part does not choose to take an active and decided part in the contentions between great families’ who were ‘equally well inclined to Government,’ he wrote; and North was equally cautious. By the autumn of 1773 there were four candidates in the field: Lockhart Ross, the sitting Member; Andrew Stuart; Daniel Campbell; and Archibald Douglas, the successful claimant to the Douglas estates. Lord President Dundas persuaded his son-in-law Lockhart Ross to withdraw and give his interest to Stuart; and though Campbell and Douglas joined their interests, they could not prevail. Andrew Stuart was elected and the Hamilton interest re-established.3

Stuart was returned unopposed until 1784 when, because of his connexion with the Fox-North party, the Hamiltons found it wise to replace him by Sir James Steuart Denham, a supporter of Pitt.

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Duke of Argyll, Intimate Soc. Letters of 18th Cent. i. 158, 162; Add. 32995, f. 190; Loudoun mss; Add. 33049, f. 307.
  • 2. Caldwell Pprs. ii(2), pp. 26, 89, 93-96, 121; NLS Caldwell mss, 4943, ff. 238, 246, 248-50, 252; Intimate Soc. Letters, i. 163.
  • 3. Intimate Soc. Letters, i. 168-171, 178-186; Caldwell Pprs. ii(2), pp. 193, 221, 223.