HOPE, Hon. John (1765-1823), of Craighall, Linlithgow.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1790 - May 1800

Family and Education

b. 17 Aug. 1765, 1st s. of John, 2nd Earl of Hopetoun [S], by 2nd w. Jean, da. of Robert Oliphant of Rossie, Perth; half-bro. of Hons. Alexander Hope* and Charles Hope*. educ. at home by Rev. John Gillies; Grand Tour. m. (1) 7 Aug. 1798, his cos. Elizabeth (d. 20 Mar. 1801), da. of Hon. Charles Hope Vere of Craigiehall, Linlithgow, s.p.; (2) 9 Feb. 1803, Louisa Dorothea, da. of Sir John Wedderburn, 6th Bt., of Blackness, Forfar, 9s. 2da. KB 26 Apr. 1809; cr. Baron Niddry [UK] 17 May 1814; suc. half-bro. James as 4th Earl of Hopetoun [S] 29 May 1816.

Offices Held

Cornet 10 Drag. 1784; lt. 100 Ft. 1785, 27 Ft. 1786; capt. 17 Drag. 1789; maj. 1 Ft. 1792; lt.-col. 25 Ft. 1793; brevet col. 1796; adj.-gen. W.I. 1796-7; dep. and adj.-gen. Holland 1799; adj.-gen. Mediterranean 1800; col. N. Lowland fencibles 1799-1802; brig. 1801; maj.-gen. 1802; lt.-gov. Portsmouth 1805; col. 6 Batt. 60 Rifles 1805-6, 92 Highlanders 1806-20; c.-in-c. Ireland 1812-13; gen. 1819; col. 42 Highlanders 1823-d.

PC [I] 10 Apr. 1812; capt. R. Co. Scottish archers and gold stick [S] 1819-d.

Ld. lt. Linlithgow 1816-d.


Hope was serving with the 17th Dragoons in Ireland in 1790 when he obtained leave to attend the Linlithgowshire election in which, sponsored by his future brother-in-law Henry Dundas, he defeated the Whig sitting Member, Sir William Cunynghame. He could be counted on to support Pitt’s government. On 10 May 1791 he either voted with the majority against the exemption of Scotland from the Test Act or was absent, hostile. He served at Gibraltar in 1792 and in the West Indies in 1793. On 9 Feb. 1795 he again sailed for the West Indies as adjutant-general under Sir Ralph Abercromby, who thought highly of his services. He was reelected in absentia in 1796 and returned home in 1797, but made no mark in Parliament: it was less likely he than his half-brother Alexander who denounced Jacobinism in debate, 19 Apr. 1799. That autumn he was adjutant-general in the expedition to Holland, the Duke of York thinking him ‘an exceeding good officer’. When about to serve in the Mediterranean under Abercromby in the same capacity, he vacated his seat in his brother Alexander’s favour.

Hope distinguished himself in the Egyptian campaign, in which he lost the forefinger of his right hand. He twice obtained the thanks of the House for his services, 18 May, 12 Nov. 1801, and was put up by Henry Dundas in his absence for the county of Fife in 1802, to the annoyance of the prime minister, Addington. Hope afterwards assured Dundas ‘that the representation of Fife was not an object to which I was called upon to look, by any motives arising, naturally, but of my relative situation in life’. He pointed out that he was ‘no party’ to the arrangement, wished to be free of it and asked Dundas if he could not ‘a little moderate the conclusions to which your habits and temper of mind naturally lead’.1 Dundas agreed to withdraw Hope for the time being, in favour of Sir William Erskine. On 10 July 1804 his sponsor urged Hope to overcome his reluctance to come forward in place of Erskine, who was willing to retire then, as he might thus add strength to ‘our family confederacy’, promote Lord Hopetoun’s wish for a British peerage and cause no particular inconvenience to Hope: ‘your professional situation excuses you from all attendance either at your election or even in Parliament, except on any urgent occasion.’ Hope reluctantly assented, yet made no attempt to re-enter the House of Commons. He made no secret to Alexander Hope of his disgust with politics during Pitt’s second ministry, feeling that Pitt’s conduct in ‘not seizing the reins of government’ when the country looked to him had led to the present débâcle of ‘an inefficient government, and an unprincipled opposition’. Believing ‘Mr Pitt’s integrity the talisman upon which this country depends’, he lamented his death. He was then inclined to believe that his friends might benefit by a junction with Lord Moira in Scotland, but thought better of it and settled for ‘temperate opposition’.2 In February 1810 he was examined by the Scheldt committee in the House on his part in the expedition. He served with distinction in the Peninsular war, obtaining the thanks of the House on 25 Jan. 1809 and 3 Dec. 1812. He further received a peerage, before succeeding his half-brother to the earldom. He died 27 Aug. 1823, remembered by the Duke of Wellington for his reckless valour: ‘a fine fellow, and as amiable as he was brave’.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Geo. III Corresp. i. 607; iii. 2005; Morning Chron. 19 May 1791; SRO GD51/1/198/10/57.
  • 2. SRO GD51/1/198/10/59; Hope of Luffness mss, J. to A. Hope, 13 May 1805, 1 Mar. 1806.
  • 3. Croker Pprs. ed. Jennings, i. 345.