DOUGLAS, Archibald (c.1667-1741), of Cavers, Roxburgh.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1707 - 1708
1727 - 1734

Family and Education

b. c.1667, 2nd s. of Sir William Douglas of Cavers by Catherine, da. of William Rigg of Aithernie, Fife. m. Anna, da. of Francis Scott of Gorrenberry, 4s. suc. bro. Sir William Douglas, M.P. [S], 1698.

Offices Held

M.P. [S] Roxburghshire 1700-7.

Hereditary sheriff, Roxburghshire, or Teviotdale, 1698-d.; commr. for the union of Scotland and England 1702; P.C. [S] Feb. 1703; commr. of the Exchequer [S] 1703; receiver gen. [S] 1704-18; postmaster gen. [S] 1725-d.


The Douglases of Cavers were descended from an illegitimate son of James, 2nd Earl of Douglas [S], who obtained a royal charter of the lands of Cavers in 1412.1 A strong covenanting family, several of them had represented Roxburghshire in the Scottish Parliament since the time of James VI. Archibald Douglas was under 14 in January 1680, when he was being educated at home by his widowed mother ‘in a perfect aversion to the government of Church and State’ and in defiance of his tutors.2 According to his own memoir to James Craggs c.1718-20,3 he

appeared very early in the Revolution ... and was particularly zealous for the settlement of the succession in the House of Hanover and for the union of the two kingdoms ... [As receiver general] he had remitted since the Union to the Exchequer at Westminster above £380,000 without any charges ... for remittance ... The zeal he showed in the time of the late rebellion is known to everybody ... He attended the Duke of Argyll sometime at Stirling, and met my Lord Carpenter with a great number of his friends when he came into Scotland ... he gave security upon his own estate to raise money for the immediate payment of the troops, which is known to Mr. [Robert] Walpole, my Lord Lincoln and Mr. Sloper ... during the fall of the violent storm of snow ... he ... brought to the Duke of Argyll 300 baggage horses from the county of Roxburgh ... [to] Stirling ... Notwithstanding all these his services, the lord justice clerk [Lord Ormiston] applied to have him turned out [in 1718] to get his son-in-law ... into his office.

He went on to say that Ormiston knew these proceedings would be acceptable to the secretary of state, the Duke of Roxburghe, on account of the elections of that shire, in which the Duke and Douglas took opposite sides. He did not get back his office, but was given a pension of £400 in 1721,4 and made postmaster general of Scotland in 1725. As sheriff he was not eligible to stand for his own county, for which his son William had been returned in 1715; but at the 1727 election he took William’s place in Dumfries Burghs on the Queensberry-Annandale interest, supported by Charles Areskine,5 bringing his son back for Roxburghshire. He voted for the Hessians in 1730, abstained on the excise bill in 1733, and did not stand in 1734. He died 3 July 1741.6

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: R. S. Lea


  • 1. HMC 7th Rep. 727.
  • 2. Reg. P.C. [S], 1678-80, p. 377.
  • 3. HMC 7th Rep. 732.
  • 4. Ibid. 727; Cal. Treas. Bks. and Pprs. 1739-41, p. 160.
  • 6. More Culloden Pprs. iii. 166.