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The Scottish Nation

BUTE, MARQUIS OF, a title in the peerage of Great Britain, possessed by a branch of the Stewart family descended from Sir John Stewart, a natural son of King Robert the Second. The Scotch title is earl of Bute, and dates only from 1703. The higher title of marquis was conferred in 1796, on the fourth earl, the son of the celebrated prime minister in the early part of the reign of George the Third.

      Sir John Stewart, the founder of this noble family, received from his father, about 1385, a grant of lands in the Isle of Bute, the ancient patrimony of the Stewarts, Malcolm the Second, sometime before the year 1093 having granted Bute to Walter the first lord-high-steward of Scotland, who gave it to a younger son, with whom and his posterity it remained about a century, when it was re-annexed to the possessions of the lord-high-steward, by the intermarriage of Alexander Stewart with Jean, daughter and heiress of James, lord of Bute. The island of Bute afterwards became subject to the Norwegians, but did not long remain so, and it would appear that on its restoration to the Scottish crown, it reverted to the possession of the family of the high-steward, for in the fatal battle of Falkirk betwixt the English and Scotch in 1296 the men of Buteshire, known at that time by the name of the lord-high-steward’s Brandanes, served under Sir John Stewart, and were almost wholly cut off with their valiant leader.

      Along with the lands, King Robert the Second conferred on his son above named, Sir John Stewart, the hereditary office of sheriff of Bute and Arran. These Robert the Third confirmed by charter, ‘dilecto fratri nostro, Joanni Senescallo de Bute,’ 11th November 1400. There is a tradition that Sir John Stuart’s mother’s name was Leitch. Although designated “Sir” in Duncan Stewart’s History of the Stewarts and by peerage writers, who generally follow each other, no authority is given for the title, and he is not so called in any contemporary document. Of the different varieties of spelling of the name of Stewart, the Bute family have preferred that of Stuart, the mode of orthography adopted by Mary queen of Scots on going to France, there being no w in the alphabet of that country.

      A descendant of this Sir John Stewart in the seventh generation, Sir James Stuart of Bute, grandfather of the first earl, was created a baronet by King Charles the First, 28th March 1627. He was a firm adherent of that unfortunate monarch, and early in the civil wars garrisoned the castle of Rothesay, and, at his own expense, raised a body of soldiers in the king’s cause. He was appointed by his majesty his lieutenant over the west of Scotland, and directed to take possession of the castle of Dumbarton. Two frigates were sent to his assistance, but one of them was wrecked in a storm, and Sir James was ultimately obliged to retire to Ireland, to avoid imprisonment. His estate was sequestrated, and on recovering possession of it, he was obliged, by way of compromise, to pay a fine of five thousand marks, imposed by parliament in 1646. When Cromwell obtained possession of Scotland, the castle of Rothesay was again taken out of his hands, and a military force placed in it. Sir James was also deprived of his hereditary office of sheriff of Bute, and declared incapable of any public trust. He died at London in 1662, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. By his wife, Isabella, eldest daughter of Sir Dugald Campbell of Auchinbreck, baronet, he had two sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Sir Dugald Stuart, succeeded him, and died in 1672, leaving a son, Sir James Stuart, the third baronet of the family, and first earl of Bute.

      Sir Robert Stuart of Tilliecultry, the second son, was appointed a lord of session, 25th July, 1701. He was also a commissioner of justiciary and was created a baronet 29th April 1707. He was member of parliament for the county of Bute, and one of the commissioners for the union, which he steadily supported. In 1709 he resigned his seat on the bench in favour of his nephew Dugald Stuart of Blairhall, the brother of the following.

      Sir James Stuart of Bute, the third baronet of the elder branch, succeeded his father in 1671. On the forfeiture of the earl of Argyle in 1681, he was solicited by government to take the management of the county of Argyle, and in April 1683 he was appointed colonel of the militia of the counties of Argyle, Bute, and Dumbarton, and in June 1684 sheriff of the district of Tarbert. In the following February he was appointed sheriff of Argyleshire, and on the 25th  March was admitted a member of the faculty of advocates. He supported the revolution, and early declared his adherence to King William and Queen Mary. On the accession of Queen Anne, at which time he was member of the Scots parliament for the county of Bute, he was sworn a privy councillor. In 1702 he was named one of the commissioners to treat of a union, with England, which did not then take effect. By patent, dated at St. James’, 14th April 1703, he was created in the peerage of Scotland, earl of Bute, viscount of Kingarth, Lord Mountstuart, Cumbrae, and Inchmarnock, to himself and his heirs male whatever, and took the oaths and his seat as a peer in parliament, 6th July 1704. He opposed the union with England, and did not attend the last Scottish parliament, in which the union treaty was discussed and finally agreed to. His lordship died at Bath, 4th June 1710, and was buried with his ancestors at Rothesay. His epitaph in Latin is quoted in Crawford’s Peerage. He was twice married, first to Agnes, eldest daughter of Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, Lord Advocate in the reigns of Charles the Second and James the Seventh.

      James, the second earl of Bute, the only son of this marriage, inherited, after much litigation, the extensive estates of his grandfather, Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh. After the accession of George the First he was appointed one of the commissioners of trade and police in Scotland, lord-lieutenant of the county of Bute, and a lord of the bed-chamber. During the rebellion of 1715 he commanded the Bute and Argyle militia at Inverary, and prevented any outbreak in that part of the country. He was one of the representatives of the Scots peerage at the general elections of 1715 and 1722. He died in January 1723, at the age of thirty-three years. He married Lady Anne Campbell, only daughter of Archibald first duke of Argyle, and by her (who afterwards married Fraser of Strichen, in the county of Aberdeen) he had two sons and four daughters. James, the second son, succeeded to the large estates of his great grandfather, Sir George Mackenzie, and assumed the additional surname of Mackenzie. This gentleman, who was a member of parliament for different places in Scotland, from 1742 to 1784, was envoy extraordinary to the king of Sardinia in 1758, where he lived in a splendid style for some years. In April 1763, he was constituted keeper of the privy seal of Scotland, and sworn of the privy council. He was deprived of the privy seal in June 1765, but reinstated in office for life in 1766. He married his cousin, Lady Elizabeth Campbell, fourth daughter of the great John duke of Argyle and Greenwich, but had no surviving issue. Her ladyship died in July 1799, and her husband, Mr. Stuart Mackenzie, only survived her about nine months, dying of grief for her loss 6th April 1800, in his eighty-second year. An arch within the rails of the duke of Argyle’s monument in Westminster Abbey contains a bust of Mr. Stuart Mackenzie, by Nollekens, and a tablet, with mathematical instruments, and an appropriate inscription. As he left no make issue, the succession to his Scottish estates fell to be regulated by an entail executed by Sir George Mackenzie in 1689. Although the latter was one of the first lawyers of his day, his settlements were so ambiguously worded that they gave rise to protracted litigation. His estates were claimed by the Hon. James Archibald Stuart Wortley, next brother of the first Marquis of Bute, and his nephew, Lord Herbert Windsor Stuart, second son of the Marquis. The judgment of the court of session was in favour of the former, and, on appear, it was affirmed by the House of Lords, 4th March 1803. [see MACKENZIE, SIR GEORGE.]

      John, third earl of Bute, the first and favourite minister of George the Third, was born in the Parliament close, Edinburgh, May 25, 1713. The lofty old buildings in that famed locality, which formed the fashionable flats of the early part of the last century, where so many of the Scots nobility, judges, and eminent citizens of the capital, at one period resided, were destroyed by the great fire of 1824, and the whole close has been remodelled to such an extent with modern improvements that it has lost all its original features, and to complete the change the good old name of Close, which connected it with St. Giles’ cathedral, “and which,” says Wilson, “is pleasingly associated with the cloistral courts of the magnificent cathedrals and abbeys of England, has been replaced by the modern, and, in this case, ridiculous, one of Square.” [Memorials of Edinburgh, vol. i. p. 118.] The third earl of Bute received his education at Eton, and succeeded his father in 1723, when he was only ten years old. In April 1737 he was chosen one of the representative peers of Scotland, and re-chosen at the general elections of 1761, 1768, and 1774. In 1738, he was made a knight of the Thistle. On the landing of the Pretender in Scotland in 1745, the earl proceeded to London, and offered his services to the government. Under the act of 1747, abolishing the heritable jurisdictions, he had an allowance of two thousand pounds for the sheriffship, and one hundred and eighty-six pounds, nine shillings and threepence for the regality of Bute; in all, two thousand one hundred and eighty-six pounds nine shillings and threepence, in full of his claim of eight thousand pounds.

      At an exhibition of private theatricals his lordship attracted the notice of Frederick, prince of Wales, in consequence of which he was invited to court, and, in October 1750, was appointed by his royal highness, a lord of his bed-chamber. After the death of the prince, he was, in 1756, nominated by the widowed princess, groom of the stole to her son, the young heir-apparent, afterwards George the Third. In this capacity he obtained unbounded influence with the princess of Wales, in consequence of which the tutors of her son, the earl of Harcourt and the bishop of Norwich, resigned their offices, and their successors, Lord Waldegrave and the bishop of Lincoln, also opposed him unsuccessfully. Two days after the accession of George the Third to the throne, in October 1760, Lord Bute was sworn a privy councillor, and appointed groom of the stole to his majesty. In March 1761, on the dismissal of the Whig ministry, he resigned that office, and was appointed one of the principal secretaries of state. The same year, on the resignation of the princess Amelia, he was appointed ranger and keeper of Richmond park, and invested with the order of the garter; and, May 29, 1762, he was constituted first lord of the treasury. He signalized his administration by the patronage which he extended to literature, and it was by his recommendation that a pension was conferred on Dr. Johnson. Home, the author of the tragedy of ‘Douglas,’ was also indebted to him for a place. His principal measure, as prime minister, was the conclusion of a treaty of peace with France, after a sanguinary and expensive war, the peace of Paris being concluded February 10, 1763; but the English nation, intoxicated with the successes which had crowned the British arms, disapproved of the treaty, and the earl became so unpopular as a minister that he and his country were attacked in the most scurrilous terms by Wilkes and other party writers, through the medium of the ‘North Briton,’ and similar unprincipled publications. He was also accused of bestowing many lucrative government offices on his countrymen, and a popular odium was excited against Scotsmen in London, which has long since happily passed away. Even Dr. Johnson himself, with all his enlargement of feeling, was remarkable for the prejudice which he entertained against the natives of Scotland.

      On 8th April, 1763, Lord Bute suddenly retired from office; and although he never afterwards openly interfered with public business, he retained the confidence of the king, and was, but without reason, suspected of exerting a secret influence over the royal counsels. He was even blamed as the author of the Stamp Act, which kindled the first flame of discord between Great Britain and her North American colonies. The remainder of his life was spent in retirement chiefly at a residence at Christchurch in Hampshire, in the cultivation of literature and science. He employed the architect Robert Adam to build a splendid mansion for him at Luton Hoo, in Bedfordshire, where he accumulated a valuable library, and one of the richest collections of paintings, especially of the Dutch and Flemish schools, in the kingdom. The architects George and Robert Adam, and Joshua Kirby, were all employed and munificently encouraged by him. His favourite study was botany, and he wrote, in nine vols. 4to, a botanical work which contained all the different kinds of plants in Great Britain, and only sixteen copies of which were printed, though the expense exceeded a thousand pounds. Butea, a genus of plants belonging to the natural order Leguminosae, was named after him. In 1765, his lordship was elected one of the Trustees of the British Museum. He also held the office of chancellor of the Marischal college, Aberdeen, and on the institution of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1780 he was chosen their president. He was an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians at Edinburgh, and to him the university of that city was indebted for its botanic garden. He died at London, March 10, 1792. He married, Aug. 24, 1738, Mary, only daughter of Edward Wortley Montagu, M.P., eldest son of Sidney Wortley Montagu, second son of Edward first earl of Sandwich, K.G. Her mother was the celebrated Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, whose own name was Pierrepont, the daughter of Evelyn, first duke of Kingston. The countess was born at Pera, during her father’s embassy at Constantinople, in February 1718, and on the death of her father in February 1761, she succeeded to the liferent of his vast estates in Yorkshire and Cornwall, her brother, Edward Wortley Montagu, having been disinherited on account of the eccentricity of his conduct. On the 3d April of the latter year she was created a peeress of Great Britain by the title of baroness Mountstuart of Wortley, in Yorkshire, with remainder to the heirs make of her body, by her husband the earl of Bute, and died at Isleworth 6th November 1794, in her 77th year, having had five sons and six daughters. The eldest son, John, succeeded as fourth earl.

      The second son, the Hon. James Archibald Stuart, (Wortley Mackenzie,) born in 1747, was M.P. from 1768 to 1806, during which period he sat thrice for the county of Bute. In 1779 he raised the ninety-second regiment of foot, and on 27th December of that year was appointed its lieutenant-colonel commandant. In 1780 he proceeded with his regiment to the West Indies, where his health was severely affected by the extreme heat of the climate. At the peace of 1783, the regiment was disbanded. In 1794 he succeeded his mother, the baroness Mountstuart, in her extensive property in Yorkshire and Cornwall, and in consequence assumed, by sign manual, the surname of Wortley, 17th January 1795; and six years afterwards, namely in 1800, he also succeed his uncle, the Right Hon. James Stuart Mackenzie, in his estates in Scotland, his claim to which, as already stated, was confirmed by a final decision of the House of Lords, in 1803, on which he took the additional name of Mackenzie for himself only. Mr. Stuart Wortley Mackenzie married in 1767 Margaret, daughter of Sir David Cunninghame of Milnecraig, in Ayrshire, baronet, by Lady Mary Montgomery, daughter of Alexander, ninth earl of Eglinton, by whom he had issue and subsequently lord president of the council, was in 1826 created Baron Wharncliffe in the peerage of the United Kingdom, and dying in 1845 was succeeded by his son John Stuart Wortley, second Lord Wharncliffe.

      The Hon. Frederick Stuart, the third son of the third earl, was M.P. for Bute, and died at London, 17th May 1802, in the fifty-first year of his age, unmarried.

      The Hon. Sir Charles Stuart, the fourth son, a distinguished general, was made a knight commander of the Bath in January 1799, for his conquest of Minorca, in November of the preceding year, and died in May 1801. His eldest son, Charles Stuart, for his diplomatic services, was, in January 1828, created Baron Stuart de Rothesay, in the peerage of the United Kingdom, but dying in 1845, without issue, his title became extinct.

      The Hon. William Stuart, the fifth son, born in March 1755, was educated for the church at winchester school, and at the university of Cambridge, and in 1779 was presented by his father to the vicarage of Luton. In 1793, he was installed a canon of Windsor and consecrated bishop of St. David’s, and on 25th November 1800 was translated to the archiepiscopal see of Armagh and primacy of Ireland. He married 3d May 1796, a daughter of Thomas Penn, Esq., proprietor of Pennsylvania, and left issue. He died in 1805.

      John, the fourth earl and first marquis of Bute, eldest son of the third earl, born 30th June 1744, was elected M.P. for Bossiney in 1768, and rechosen at the general elections of 1768 and 1774. He was created a British peer by the title of Baron Cardiffe of Cardiffe castle in Glamorganshire, 20th May 1776, and being one of the auditors of imprest, when that particular office was abolished in 1782, as compensation seven thousand pounds a-year was settled on him for life. In 1779 he was appointed envoy-extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Turin, and in 1783 ambassador extraordinary to the court of Madrid. On the death of his father in 1792 he became fourth earl of Bute, and in 1794 he succeeded his mother as Baron Mountstuart. He was created marquis of Bute, earl of Windsor, and Viscount Mountjoy, in the peerage of the United Kingdom, by patent to him and his heirs male, 27th February 1796. Being a second time appointed ambassador to Spain, he landed at Cadiz, 25th May 1795, and proceeded to Madrid, where he remained till, in consequence of the prevalence of the French faction, the Spanish court declared war against Great Britain, 5th October 1796. His lordship was a privy councillor, lord lieutenant, and custos rotulorum of Glamorganshire, and also lord-lieutenant of the county of Bute, keeper of Rothesay castle, a trustee of the British Museum, having been so appointed in March 1800, vice-president of the Welsh charity, and doctor of laws. He was twice married. His first wife was Charlotte-Jane, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Herbert, Viscount Windsor in Ireland, and Baron Mountjoy in England, (who died in 1758, when his titles became extinct), and by her the marquis had ten children.

      The eldest son, John Lord Mountstuart, born 25th September 1767, married 123th October 1792, Elizabeth, daughter and sole heiress of Patrick Crichton, earl of Dumfries, and died 22d January 1794. He had two sons; John, the elder, became sixth earl of Dumfries, in right of his mother, in 1803 []see DUMFRIES, earl of], and succeeded as second marquis of Bute, in 1814. Lord Patrick Stuart, the younger, born 20th May 1794, a posthumous son, was raised to the rank of a marquis’ son in 1817, and is heir presumptive to the titles.

      Lord Herbert Windsor Stuart, the second son, died in 1825. Lord Evelyn James Stuart, the third son, was a colonel in the army, and died 16th August 1842.

      The Hon. Charles Stuart, lieutenant Royal Navy, the fourth son, was lost in the Leda frigate, going out to the West Indies 11th December 1795, in the 212st year of his age, before his father had been elevated to the dignity of marquis.

      Lord Henry Stuart, the fifth son, born 7th June 1777, was appointed, 1st March 1805, envoy extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the court of Wurtemberg. He married 5th July 1802, Lady Gertrude Emilia Villiers, only daughter and heiress of John earl of Grandison in Ireland, by whom he had issue. He died in 1809, in his thirty-third year, and his lady survived him only eleven days. His eldest son, Henry Stuart of Dromana, county Waterford, born 8th June 1803, assumed, with his brothers and sisters, the additional name of Villiers, and he was raised to the peerage of the United Kingdom ad Lord Stuart de Decies, in May 1839.

      Lord William Stuart, the sixth son of the first marquis, born 18th November 1778, served in the royal navy, in which he had the rank of captain in 1799. He commanded the Champion employed in the blockade of Malta, from September 1798 to September 1800, and took the Bull-dog, which he carried from under the batteries of Gallipoli, 15th August 1801. He afterwards commanded the Lavinia frigate, in which he rendered essential assistance to the members of the British factory at Oporto, in the protection of their persons and property on their expulsion from Portugal in 1807, and he received their formal thanks for his conduct on that occasion, conveyed through Mr. Warre their consul. He married in 1806 the Hon. Georgina Maude, the daughter of Cornwallis Viscount Hawarden, and by her had one daughter, who died unmarried, in 1833.

      Lord George Stuart, the seventh son, born at Turin, 4th March 1780, was also in the navy, and was singularly unfortunate in his experience of the dangers of the sea, having thrice suffered shipwreck. Hi was midshipman on board the Providence, sloop of war, Captain Broughton, on a voyage of discovery in the Pacific ocean, when it was wrecked on a coral reef near Formosa, 17th May 1797. All hands, however, were saved, and his lordship returned to England from China the same year. In 1804 he was made captain, and placed in command of the Sheerness of 44 guns, employed in the West Indies, when that vessel was  lost in a gale of wind off Trincomalee, in December of that year, or the following January. On this occasion also all the crew were saved. In 1800 he had married Jane, daughter of Major-general James Stewart (by whom he had issue), and in 1805 his lordship and his lady sailed from Penang in the Commerce, but that vessel was lost in Madras Roads in December of the same year, when several of those on board were drowned. Lord George, however, and his lady got safe on shore. He died a rear-admiral and C.B., 18th February 1841.

      The first wife of the marquis of Bute died 28th January 1800, and he married, secondly, 7th Sept. the same year, Frances, second daughter of the late Thomas Coutts, Esq., banker in London, sister of the Countess of Guilford, and had issue, Lady Frances, married to the earl of Harrowby, and Lord Dudley Stuart, born 11th January 1803, married a daughter of Lucien Bonaparte, prince of Canino, by whom he had a son, an officer in the army. The marquis died at Geneva, 16th November 1814, and the titles descended to his grandson.

      John, second marquis of Bute, and sixth earl of Dumfries, born 25th September 1767, son of John, Lord Mountstuart. He had succeeded his maternal grandfather as earl of Dumfries, 7th April 1803. On the 26th August 1805 he assumed, by sign manual, the arms and surname of Crichton, before that of Stuart. He married first in 1818 Maria, eldest daughter of George Augustus, third earl of Guilford, who died in 1841; secondly in January 1845, Sophia daughter of the marquis of Hastings, by whom he left, at his death, 18th march 1848, John Patrick, 7th earl of Dumfries, 6th earl and 3d marquis of Bute, born in 1847.

John Stuart, Earl of Bute
By J. A. Lovat-Fraser (1912)

John Patrick, Third Marquess of Bute, K.T. (1847-1900)
By The Right Rev. Sir David Hunter Blair (1921)

A Review of Lord Bute's Administration

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