SCOTT, Robert (?1746-1808), of Blackheath, Kent
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Family and Education
b. ?1746, o.s. of Robert Scott of Lauder, Berwicks., merchant, by Elizabeth (?Pringle). educ. ?Eton 1757; ?Trinity Hall, Camb.; L. Inn 1762; Grand Tour 1765. m. 1782, Emma, da. of Thomas Assheton Smith of Tedworth, Hants, s.p. suc. fa. 21 May 1771.
Scott’s father was one of a group of Scottish wine merchants, settled in Madeira and trading to the West Indies, the continental colonies, and the Guinea coast. About 1738 he left his partners John Scott and John Pringle in charge in Madeira, and transferred his headquarters to London.1 Senior partner in the firm of Scott and Pringle of Threadneedle Street, in 1767 he purchased the Crailing estate,2 Roxburghshire, some 15 miles from Haining, the seat of the Pringles. His son, after an extensive ‘English’ education, entered the family business.
In 1774 Scott, who was connected in business with the Maynes of Lisbon, was returned both for Sir William Mayne’s borough of Gatton and for Wootton Bassett, but chose to sit for the latter. As a city merchant with many business and personal connexions in the colonies, he was anxious to end the American quarrel. Almon confusedly reports on 6 and 27 Feb. 17753 two speeches by ‘Mr. Scott’, which if attributed to Robert and not to General John Scott, would indicate that he was prepared to sanction the use of force and, while ‘condemning the whole system of colony administration for some years back’, to support North’s resolution that Parliament should forbear taxing such colonies as would voluntarily contribute to defence. But North himself, reporting the debate of 27 Feb. to the King, listed ‘Mr. Scott’ among the speakers opposed to the resolution.4 Scott had already on 22 Feb. voted against Administration on Wilkes’s Middlesex motion, and throughout the Parliament remained in opposition in every recorded division, with the exception of those on the civil list debts in April 1777 when he did not vote. Robinson in his electoral survey of 1780 wrote against Wootton Bassett: ‘Mr. Scott will not come in here again.’ He does not appear to have contested any other constituency.
Differing in politics from his friend John Pringle, he severed his connexion with Scotland, sold Crailing in 1786, and settled at Danesfield in Buckinghamshire where he died 6 Feb. 1808, aged 61,5 leaving a fortune estimated at nearly £400,000.6