SUTTIE, Sir George, 3rd Bt. (1715-83), of Balgone, Haddington.
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Family and Education
b. 12 Oct. 1715, 1st s. of Sir James Suttie, 2nd Bt., by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Hew Dalrymple, 1st Bt., of North Berwick; cos. of Sir Hew Dalrymple, 2nd Bt., and of John Hamilton of Bargany. educ. prob. at North Berwick. m. 7 June 1757, Agnes, da. and coh. of William Grant, Lord Prestongrange, S.C.J., 3s. 5da. suc. fa. 4 May 1736.
Lt. 32 Ft. 1737; maj. 1747; lt.-col. 1751.
As a young officer Suttie owed his advancement to his cousin John, Earl of Stair, but after attaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel ‘he left the service in disgust with the Duke of Cumberland’.1 Alexander Carlyle considered his abilities much overrated:
He was held to be a great officer because he had a way of thinking of his own, and had learned from his kinsman Marshal Stair, to draw the plan of a campaign. He was held to be a great patriot, because he wore a coarse coat and unpowdered hair, while he was looking for a post with the utmost anxiety. He was reckoned a man of much sense because he said so himself, and had such an embarrassed, stuttering elocution that one was not sure but it was true. He was understood to be a great improver of land, because he was always talking of farming ... For all those qualities he got credit for some time; but nobody ever mentioned the real strength of his character, which was that of an uncommonly kind and indulgent brother to a large family of brothers and sisters, whom he allowed during his absence in a five years’ war to dilapidate his estate and leave him less than half his income.
Encouraged by the Lord President, Robert Dundas (married to his wife’s sister), he offered himself in 1768 as candidate for Haddingtonshire in opposition to the Dalrymple interest, and was returned. Although Sir Hew asserted, ‘Sir George Suttie does not come in for the pleasure of hearing the debates, expectation of office is probably his view’,2 the new Member made more impression and spoke more frequently in the House than the majority of Scotsmen. A supporter of the Grafton and North Administrations, he occasionally showed a blunt independence where Scottish interests were concerned. On 17 Dec. 1770 in the debate on the augmentation of the army, he pressed for the establishment of a Scottish militia; and in March 1773 raised objections to the bill regulating the importation and exportation of corn, and unsuccessfully moved its recommitment.3
At the general election of 1774 he concluded an agreement with William Hamilton Nisbet to share the Parliament between them. Suttie supported Administration over the American war; spoke, 30 Oct. 1775, in defence of North’s bill to call out the militia; but on the question of conciliation with America, 7 Nov. 1775, bluntly ‘called upon the ministers to inform the House whether they had any plan ... of what they intended to do’.4 In May 1777, in accordance with the agreement of 1774, he vacated his seat to Nisbet.
Suttie died 25 Nov. 1783.