MACLEOD, Roderick (1786-1853), of Cadboll and Invergordon Castle, Ross and Cromarty

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1818 - 1820
14 Sept. 1831 - 1837
1837 - 21 Feb. 1840

Family and Education

b. 24 Nov. 1786,1 o.s. of Robert Bruce Aeneas Macleod† of Cadboll and Invergordon and Elizabeth, da. of Alexander Macleod of Harris. educ. Eton 1799; adv. 1810. m. 10 July 1813, Isabella, da. of William Cunninghame, merchant, of Lainshaw, Ayr, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1844. d. 13 Mar. 1853.

Offices Held

Ld. lt. Cromarty 1833-d.


At the Ross-shire county meeting called to vote a loyal address to George IV in the context of the Queen Caroline affair, 4 Jan. 1821, Macleod, the Whig son of a staunchly Tory father, failed to find a seconder for his amendment for the dismissal of the Liverpool ministry.2 He was one of the committee appointed to promote Scottish parliamentary reform at a county meeting in December 1830, when his political friends had come to power in Lord Grey’s ministry; and he sent an open letter extolling their reform scheme as ‘moderate and efficient’ to the anti-reform county meeting, 24 Mar. 1831.3 He resumed his parliamentary career, after an interval of 11 years, when he was nominated by Lord and Lady Stafford to fill a vacancy for Sutherland in September 1831.4 He voted for the passage of the English reform bill, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s motion of confidence in ministers, 10 Oct. On 7 Oct. he spoke for reform of the Scottish exchequer court. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, was a reliable supporter of its details and voted for its third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He divided with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16, 20 July, relations with Portugal, 9 Feb., and the navy civil departments bill, 6 Apr., but was in minorities against the malt drawback bill, 29 Feb., 2 Apr. That day he argued against compensating vested interests in Scotland for financial losses occasioned by the abolition of superiorities. He was one of the many Members who crammed into the House of Lords to witness the debate on the second reading of the English reform bill, 13/14 Apr. The lord advocate Francis Jeffrey* reported:

Between four and five, when the daylight began to shed its blue beams across the red candlelight, the scene was very picturesque, from the singular grouping of forty or fifty of us sprawling on the floor, awake and asleep, with all sorts of expressions and wrappings. ‘Young Cadboll’, who chose to try how he could sleep standing, jammed in a corner, fell flat down over two prostrate Irishmen on the floor, but no mischief was done.5

Macleod voted for the address asking the king to appoint only ministers who would carry undiluted reform, 10 May, the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May, and against Conservative amendments to the Scottish bill, 1, 15 June. He divided for opening coroners’ inquests, 20 June 1832.

The Macleods developed Invergordon, which was acquired during the minority of Roderick’s father, as a town and flourishing port, but the cost of the enterprise laid a heavy burden on their Cadboll estates.6 Thanks to his father’s longevity, Macleod enjoyed only nine years as head of the family, dying in March 1853, when he was succeeded by his elder son, Robert Bruce Aeneas (1818-88). His second son, Henry Dunning Macleod (1821-1902), became a distinguished writer on political economy.7

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Scots Mag. (1786), 569.
  • 2. Inverness Courier, 11 Jan. 1821.
  • 3. Ibid. 26 Dec. 1830, 30 Mar. 1831.
  • 4. Scottish Electoral Politics, 225.
  • 5. Cockburn, Jeffrey, i. 329-30.
  • 6. A. Morrison, Macleods, 79-81, 103-5; Third Statistical Account of Scotland (1987), xiii. 157, 159.
  • 7. Oxford DNB.