EDMONSTONE, Charles (1764-1821), of Duntreath, Stirling.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1806 - 1807
1812 - 1 Apr. 1821

Family and Education

b. 10 Oct. 1764, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Archibald Edmonstone, 1st Bt.*, by 1st w. educ. Westminster 1772; Eton 1775-80; Christ Church, Oxf. 1780; L. Inn 1779, called 1788. m. (1) June 1794, Emma (d. 30 Nov. 1797), da. of Richard Wilbraham Bootle of Rode Hall, Cheshire, sis. of Edward Wilbraham Bootle*, 1s. 1da.; (2) 5 Dec. 1804, Hon. Louisa Hotham, da. of Beaumont Hotham, 2nd Baron Hotham [I], 4s. 2da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 20 July 1807.

Offices Held

Clerk in Chancery 1797-1807.


The possibility of Edmonstone, a barrister on the home circuit, entering Parliament like his father for Dunbartonshire, was mentioned in 1801, when it was considered as a bait for his father’s giving his interest in Stirlingshire to his friend and kinsman the Duke of Argyll for the benefit of the ministerial candidate.1 It was not until April 1806 that Edmonstone declared his candidature at the next election.2 Though called an ‘alien’ to his face, he was supported by the Duke of Argyll and, with the good wishes of the Grenville ministry,3 he ousted Henry Glassford without a poll, his own father holding the balancing vote. In his first Parliament, Edmonstone gave a silent support to ministers until March 1807. At the election of 1807, it was thought that he might attempt to retain his seat by claiming to support the Portland ministry,4 but in the event he withdrew and subsequently transferred his attention to Stirlingshire, for which his name had been mentioned as a possible candidate in 1807.

Edmonstone commenced his canvass for Stirlingshire in March 1811, backed by the Duke of Montrose and Lord Melville: his only handicap was his being little known, which he was urged to remedy. He was so strongly supported that the sitting Member Charles Elphinstone Fleeming declined a poll in 1812. Edmonstone went on, as expected, to give a silent support to ministers. His only known wayward vote was on 17 June 1816, on the Irish vice-treasurer’s salary. He voted against Catholic relief on 11 and 24 May 1813, 21 May 1816 and 9 May 1817. He opposed inquiry into popular education, 3 June 1818. In April 1818, threatened with a contest, he denied the rumour that he was withdrawing and easily defeated his opponent. On 18 May 1819 he voted with government against Tierney’s censure motion and on 10 June for the foreign enlistment bill. Early in the spring of 1820 he was seized with paralysis.5 He died 1 Apr. 1821. His son and heir Archibald failed to obtain his seat.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Intimate Society Letters of 18th Cent. ed. Duke of Argyll, ii. 503.
  • 2. Argyll mss, to Ld. John Campbell, 4 Apr. 1806.
  • 3. Blair Adam mss, Grenville to Adam, 24 Oct. 1806; SRO GD51/1/198/26/21.
  • 4. NLS mss 8, f. 172.
  • 5. Sir A. Edmonstone, Gen. Acc. Fam. of Edmonstone of Duntreath, 57.