CATHCART, Hon. Charles Allan (1759-88), of Sauchie, Clackmannan.

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



1784 - 10 June 1788

Family and Education

b. 28 Dec. 1759, 2nd s. of Charles Schaw, 9th Lord Cathcart [S], by Jean, da. of Lord Archibald Hamilton, M.P.; his sis. Louisa m. 1776 David, 7th Visct. Stormont [S]. educ. Eton 1767; Glasgow Univ. 1772. unm.

Offices Held

2nd lt. 23 Ft. Mar. 1777; capt. 77 Ft. Dec. 1777; maj. 98 Ft. 1780; lt.-col. (local rank in India) 1782.


Cathcart joined the army in America in 1776, serving as a volunteer until commissioned in the 23rd Foot. Sailing from New York to the 77th Foot in Ireland, he was captured by a French privateer, and on his release was commissioned in 1780 second in command of the 98th Foot then raising under William Fullarton. From 1781 he served in India and in June 1783 distinguished himself against the French at Cuddalore.1 Connected with Stormont and the Coalition, he stood at the general election of 1784 for Clackmannan as Opposition candidate with the support of Sir Thomas Dundas, and contrary to Henry Dundas’s forecast was returned.

In the House he spoke in the East India debates on 2 and 19 July 1784. He praised Hastings’s ability and integrity, and, concentrating on military organization, urged a clear definition of the status of commanders-in-chief in relation to the civil administration.2 Both Pitt and Henry Dundas complimented him on his contribution and agreed to incorporate some of his proposed reforms in the bill. He clearly had become a Government supporter before he left in 1784 or 1785 for India. In 1787 Dundas, impressed by his ‘manners and good understanding’,3 sent him as special envoy to the Emperor of China to negotiate a commercial treaty,4 but Cathcart died on the voyage there, 10 June 1788.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. See Scots Mag. 1783, p. 683.
  • 2. Debrett, xv. 346-52; xvi. 118-24.
  • 3. Dundas to Cornwallis, 21 July 1787, Cornwallis Corresp. i. 327.
  • 4. See H. B. Morse, E. I. Co. Trading to China, ii. chap. XLIII.