DALRYMPLE, Hew (1746-1800), of North Berwick, Haddington.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 26 Oct. 1746, 3rd but only surv. s. of Sir Hew Dalrymple, and Bt., by his 1st w. Margaret, da. of Peter Sainthill. m. 26 Oct. 1770, his cos. Janet, da. of William Duff of Crombie, sheriff depute of Ayrshire, by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Robert Dalrymple of Castleton, 8s. 4da. suc. fa. 24 Nov. 1790 and uncle John Hamilton formerly Dalrymple in the Bargany estates and took name of Hamilton Dalrymple 1796.

Offices Held

Ensign 31 Ft. 1763; capt. 1st Ft. 1768; capt. 92 Ft. 1779.

Auditor of the Excise in Scotland 1786- d.


In 1779 Dalrymple joined the new regiment raised by Bute’s son, James Stuart. Stuart’s wife Margaret wrote on 27 Feb. 1780 to James Boswell:1

Capt. Hugh Dalrymple has a temper, heart, and manner really amiable. He has no gross or ungentlemanlike vices; is generous and compassionate even to female softness. His company adore him; he rebukes with gentleness and bestows both praises and rewards on those that do their duty well. But it is his excellent heart alone that renders him thus praiseworthy; his education has been cruelly neglected. He knows no language but his own and that not grammatically. He is not deficient in parts by any means.

A few months later he offered himself as candidate for Haddingtonshire, and owed his return mainly to his kinsmen of the Buchan family2 and to Henry Dundas, with whom he remained associated throughout his parliamentary career. Faithful to the North Administration until its fall, he transferred his allegiance to Shelburne, and voted on 18 Feb. 1783 in favour of his peace preliminaries. With Dundas he attached himself to Pitt and voted against Fox’s East India bill.

Shortly after Pitt took office, Dalrymple became involved in a violent parliamentary controversy. On 14 Jan. 1784 Philip Yorke drew the attention of the House to information given him by a Scottish Member to whom during the Christmas recess an offer had been made that, if he would join the party of the Duke of Portland, he would, on their restoration to office, receive a place worth £500 p.a. Under pressure Yorke named as his informant Dalrymple who amid uproar rose in great agitation and in a singularly inept speech confirmed that the offer had been made in Portland’s name by his uncle John Hamilton of Bargany. Fox, North, and others demanded a full investigation of this charge, which Portland was ready to answer. Dundas suggested that Hamilton ‘might only have been amusing himself during the Christmas holidays with the credulity of the Hon. Member his relation’ and Lord Frederick Campbell described the affair as a jest by a facetious old man ‘to try the virtue of his friend’. Ridiculed and attacked on all sides, Dalrymple made matters worse by correcting his former statement: the place had been offered on the authority not of the Duke of Portland but of the Portland ministry. The honour of all the former ministers was now involved, and after a stormy debate a motion was carried that Hamilton be summoned to appear at the bar of the House. But on 29 Jan., after a letter from Hamilton had been read declaring on his honour that ‘he had no authority from any of the late ministry to make any offer to Mr. Dalrymple’, the order for his appearance was discharged and the affair was allowed to drop.3

Dalrymple remained firmly attached to Pitt, and in July 1786 vacated his seat on being appointed auditor of the Excise in Scotland.

He died 13 Feb. 1800.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Private Pprs. xiv. 257.
  • 2. Pol. State of Scotland 1788, p. 161.
  • 3. Almon, xii. 562 et seq., 618; xiii. 15; Scots Mag. 1784, p. 23 et seq.