MACPHERSON GRANT, George (1781-1846), of Ballindalloch, Banff. and Invereshie, Inverness.

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



29 Sept. 1809 - 1812
6 Mar. 1816 - 1826

Family and Education

b. 25 Feb. 1781, 1st s. of Capt. John Macpherson and Isabella, da. of Thomas Wilson of Witton Gilbert, co. Dur. educ. Edinburgh h.s. 1795.1 m. 26 Aug. 1803, Mary, da. of Thomas Carnegy of Craigo, Forfar, 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 1799; gt.-uncle Gen. James Grant† to Ballindalloch and took name of Grant 5 June 1806; uncle William Macpherson to Invereshie 1812; cr. bt. 25 July 1838. d. 24 Nov. 1846.

Offices Held

Capt. commdt. Invereshie vols. until 1808; maj. Strathspey vols. 1808.


Macpherson Grant, laird of Ballindalloch since 1806, was again returned for Sutherland in 1820 on the interest of Elizabeth, countess of Sutherland, and her Grenvillite husband, George Leveson Gower†, 2nd marquess of Stafford. He was an occasional attender who continued to give general support to Lord Liverpool’s ministry, though initially at least he displayed a modest degree of independence which had not been apparent in the previous four years. He was granted a month’s leave to attend to urgent private business, 30 June 1820. He presented a Wick petition in support of Queen Caroline, 26 Jan. 1821, when he voted for Hamilton’s motion condemning the omission of her name from the liturgy. Explaining this action to Lady Stafford, he observed that ‘I have never concealed my opinion from the commencement of the proceedings against the queen that in whatever way they might terminate they were calculated to prove injurious to the dignity of the crown and prejudicial to the interests of the country’. He had trusted the government to make its case for the proceedings, but had been ‘astonished’ by its ‘fatal and unfortunate error’ in resolving to take a stand on the matter of the liturgy, ‘instead of removing every question which placed the higher orders and the mass of the people in a state of conflict’. He emphasized that his opposition was confined to the ‘isolated question of the impolicy of the proceedings against the queen’, and he saw ‘no inconsistency’ in otherwise backing ministers because, ‘if they weather this [storm], the interests of the country will require that they should receive every support which independent men can give them’. The Staffords appeared satisfied with this account.2 He voted against the opposition motion censuring ministers’ conduct towards the queen, 6 Feb., but was again in the minority for restoring her name to the liturgy, 13 Feb. He divided for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. He voted against government for repeal of the tax on agricultural horses, 5 Mar., and of the additional malt duty, 21 Mar., 3 Apr., but with them against Maberly’s motion on the state of the revenue, 6 Mar. He was granted periods of leave, 12 Apr., 7 May, but was present to vote against parliamentary reform, 9 May 1821. Later that year he suffered an accident, which kept him ‘confined’ for a ‘long’ period of time.3 His only recorded vote in the next session (if indeed this was he rather than Francis William Grant) was against abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. 1822. That month he warned Lady Stafford that the lord advocate’s proposed bill to reform the Scottish burghs had been so extended in scope as to risk ‘overturn[ing] the representation of half’ of them, and he hoped that the government would ‘consider the danger of thus laying the foundation of parliamentary reform’.4 He was named to the select committee on the consolidation of the Scottish turnpike laws, 20 Mar., and introduced a bill for that purpose, 30 Apr.; it foundered at the report stage, 7 June 1822. He secured the appointment of a new committee, 28 Feb., and reported its findings, 25 Mar., when he introduced a revised measure which gained royal assent, 4 July 1823 (4 Geo. IV, c. 49).5 He divided against Hume’s motion on the sinking fund, 3 Mar., the repeal of assessed taxes, 10, 18 Mar., and inquiry into the currency, 12 June. He voted for the grant for Irish churches, 11 Apr. He divided against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., and two weeks later was one of the minority of 20 who ‘remained in the House’ during the division on British neutrality towards the French invasion of Spain.6 He voted for Mackintosh’s motion to abolish the death penalty for larceny, 21 May. He presented petitions complaining of agricultural distress, 14 Apr. 1823, and against any alteration in the wool duties, 29 Mar. 1824.7 In the autumn of 1823 the Whig George Agar Ellis*, on a visit to Sutherland, noted that Macpherson Grant, ‘a toad of Lady Stafford’s’, arrived unexpectedly, but added three days later that he had left, ‘which made us very happy’.8 His vote for repeal of the usury laws, 8 Apr. 1824, was the only one recorded for that session. He divided for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb., but for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May (paired) 1825. He was in the majority against the Leith docks bill, 20 May. He voted for the financial provision for the duke of Cumberland, 30 May 1825. His last known vote was against reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr. 1826. That month he presented several petitions against revision of the Scottish banking system.9 At the dissolution that summer he was obliged to vacate his seat in order to accommodate the Staffords’ son, and it proved impossible to provide for him in the Tain Burghs; he apparently submitted with a good grace.10

At the general election of 1830 Macpherson Grant explained to the Tory candidate for Inverness-shire that ‘personal regard’ obliged him to support Charles Grant*, but that this did not imply a want of confidence in the duke of Wellington’s government.11 The following spring he described himself as ‘a supporter’ of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, but said that ‘neither my health nor my private concerns’ would permit him to stand for Banffshire. He demurred again in 1832.12 He received a baronetcy in the coronation honours of 1838. He died in November 1846 and was succeeded by his eldest son John Macpherson Grant (1804-50).

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Macpherson Grant mss 345, Macpherson to Grant, 12 Jan., 27 Apr. 1795.
  • 2. The Times, 27 Jan.; Macpherson Grant mss 361, Macpherson Grant to Lady Stafford, 27 Jan., reply, 1 Feb. 1821.
  • 3. Macpherson Grant mss 475, Gardyne to Macpherson Grant, 3 Nov. 1821.
  • 4. Ibid. 489, Macpherson Grant to Lady Stafford, 18 Mar.; 516, reply, 22 Mar. 1822.
  • 5. Ibid. 499, 540, 611; Add. 40367, f. 82; The Times, 27 Feb. 1823.
  • 6. The Times, 1 May 1823.
  • 7. Ibid. 15 Apr. 1823, 30 Mar. 1824.
  • 8. Northants. RO, Agar Ellis diary, 3, 6 Sept. 1823.
  • 9. The Times, 8, 11, 14, 19 Apr. 1826.
  • 10. Macpherson Grant mss 417, Macpherson Grant to Lady Stafford, 20 Apr.; 512, reply, 21 Apr. 1826.
  • 11. Ibid. 690, Macpherson Grant to J. N. Macleod, 14 July 1830.
  • 12. Ibid. 118, Macpherson Grant to son, 27 Apr. 1831; 361, same, 6 Aug. 1832.