HAY, Adam (d.1775), of Soonhope, Peebles.

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



31 Dec. 1767 - 1768
17 June - 15 Nov. 1775

Family and Education

2nd surv. s. of John Hay of Haystoun, sheriff-depute of Peebles, by Grizel, da. of Rev. James Thomson, minister of Peebles.1  m. (1) Miss Britland of Nottingham; (2) Caroline, da. of Sir Henry Harpur, M.P., 5th Bt., sis. of Sir Henry Harpur, 6th Bt., s.p.

Offices Held

Ensign 25 Ft. 1747, lt. 1755; capt. 104 Ft. 1760; half pay 1763; capt. 6 Ft. 1766; ret. 1768.


Apprenticed in 1742 to Archibald Wallace and James Stewart, a firm of Edinburgh merchants,2 after a few years Hay abandoned a commercial career and obtained a commission in the army. He was returned to Parliament in 1767 on Lord March’s interest as a stop-gap for James Montgomery, who took his place at the general election of 1768.

After his brief parliamentary experience Hay apparently became ambitious of establishing himself as a landed proprietor. His brother, Dr. James Hay, had succeeded in 1762 to the estate of Haystoun. Adam now proceeded to acquire the nearby lands of Soonhope, formerly the property of his family, and built a mansion near Peebles called Hay’s Lodge.3These transactions strained his resources, and it seems probable that he was also involved in the financial disasters of 1772. By 1775 he was in serious difficulties.

In May 1775 James Montgomery vacated his seat, and on 17 June Hay was unanimously elected in his place. He may have hoped, as an M.P., to escape his creditors until the end of the Parliament.

It is not known whether he took his seat in the new session beginning 26 Oct. On 15 Nov. 1775 he died in London. George Selwyn wrote to Lord Carlisle, 16 Nov. 1775:4

Adam Hay, Lord March’s Member for Peebles, died yesterday, I am afraid to say suddenly because it is a suspicious word, and will be more so in his case, as I believe fortune has not been favourable to him. But I do not believe anything of that sort; his general state of health has been bad for some time and I was told that his last and fatal attack was in his bowels.

Hay’s affairs were in such confusion that his property had to be sold to pay his debts, and his estate of Soonhope was bought by his brother, Dr. James Hay of Haystoun, in 1778.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. J. W. Buchan H. Paton, Hist. Peebleshire, ii. 357.
  • 2. Reg. Edinburgh Apprentices, 1701-55 (Sc. Rec. Soc.), 41.
  • 3. Buchan Paton, ii. 349-350.
  • 4. HMC Carlisle , 302.