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Tweeddale, Marquesses Of


JOHN HAY, 2ND EARL and 1ST MARQUESS OF TWEEDDALE (1626-1697), was the eldest son of John, 8th Lord Hay of Yester (c. 1599-1654), created earl of Tweeddale in 1646, who was the grandson of William Lord Hay of Yester (d. 1576), one of the partisans of Mary Queen of Scots, and thus a descendant of John Hay of Yester (Haddingtonshire) who was created a lord of the Scottish parliament in 1488 and died about 1500. Before succeeding to the peerage in 1654 the second earl fought for Charles I. during the Civil War, but he soon transferred his allegiance, and was in the Scottish ranks at Marston Moor. Changing sides again, he was with the royalists at Preston; but he was a member of Cromwell's parliament in 1656, and was imprisoned just after the restoration of Charles II. He was soon, however, in the king's favour, and in 1663 was appointed president of the Scottish council, and in 1664 an extraordinary lord of session. In Scotland he sought to mitigate the harshness shown by the English government to the Covenanters, and for this attitude he was dismissed from his offices in 1674; but he regained an official position in 1680 and held it during the reign of James II. A supporter of William of Orange, he was made lord high chancellor of Scotland in 1692, and two years later was created marquees of Tweeddale and earl of Gifford. He favoured the scheme for the expedition to Darien, and as lord high commissioner during William's absence he formally assented to the act establishing the trading company in 1695; for this action he was dismissed from office when the king returned to England in 1696. He died on the nth of August 1697.

His son JOHN, 2ND MARQUESS OF TWEEDDALE (1645-1713), was prominent in Scottish politics during the stormy period which preceded the union with England. After acting for a time with the national party he became the leader of the squadrone volante, a band of men who at first took up an independent attitude on the question, but afterwards supported the union. For a very short time he was lord chancellor of Scotland, and he was one of the first of the Scottish representative peers. He died on the 20th of April 1713. His eldest son, CHARLES (c. 1670-1715), became 3rd marquess; a younger son, Lord JOHN HAY (d. 1706), commanded the famous regiment of dragoons, afterwards called the Scots Greys, at the battle of Ramillies and elsewhere.

JOHN, 4TH MARQUESS OF TWEEDDALE (c. 1695-1762), eldest son of the 3rd marquess, was chief secretary of state for Scotland from 1742 to 1746 and extraordinary lord of session from 1721 until his death. In six parliaments he was a representative peer for Scotland; he was for a time keeper of the king's signet, and in 1761 he was made lord-justice-generaJ. He died on the 9th of December 1762. His brother, Lord CHARLES HAY (d. 1760), was the soldier who displayed great coolness when suddenly brought face to face with some French troops at Fontenoy, requesting the enemy, so Voltaire's account runs, to fire first.

The family of the 4th marquess became extinct when GEORGE, the sth marquess, died on the 4th of October 1770; and GEORGE, a son of the 3rd marquess, succeeded to the title. When he died unmarried on the 16th of November 1787 the marquessate passed to a kinsman, GEORGE (1733-1804), a descendant of the 2nd marquess, who became 7th marquess.

GEORGE, 8TH MARQUESS OF TWEEDDALE (1787-1876), son of the preceding, succeeded in August 1804. He fought in the Peninsular War, being wounded at the battles of Busaco and Vittoria, and then in America; and he attained the rank of a field marshal in 1875. From 1842 to 1848 he was governor and commander-in-chief of Madras, but his later life was mainly spent at Yester, where he showed a very practical interest in agriculture. He died on the loth of October 1876. His son, ARTHUR (1824-1878), who became gth marquess, was an ornithologist of repute and a soldier who served in India and the Crimea. His ornithological works were published privately in 1881 by his nephew, Captain R. E. W. Ramsay, with a memoir by Dr W. H. Russell. His successor was his brother, WILLIAM MONTAGU (b. 1826), who, after sitting in the House of Commons for thirteen years, was made a peer of the United Kingdom as Baron Tweeddale in 1881.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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