DOUGLAS, Sir George, 2nd Bt. (1754-1821), of Springwood Park, Roxburgh.
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Family and Education
b. 1 Mar. 1754, 1st s. of Sir James Douglas†, 1st Bt., of Springwood Park by 1st w. Helen, da. of Thomas Brisbane of Brisbane, Ayr. m. 16 Oct. 1786, Lady Elizabeth Boyle, da. of John, 3rd Earl of Glasgow [S], 1s. 2da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 2 Nov. 1787.
Ensign 25 Ft. 1771, capt.-lt. and capt. 1778, lt. and capt. 1 Ft. Gds. 1780, ret. 1788; capt. Roxburgh vols. 1803.
Douglas, who sat for the county on the interest of the 3rd Duke of Roxburghe, was described in February 1788 as ‘dull, indifferent and inattentive’. Unlike his competitor for the next election, John Rutherfurd, whose unpopularity was ‘positive’, Douglas’s was ‘negative’: which served him well, for though both were supporters of Pitt’s government he was, in his own words, ‘no party man, wishing to see my friends in Parliament, without caring what side they take when there’, and it was the support of Sir Gilbert Elliot and his Whig friends that ensured Douglas’s success in the contest.1 The ensuing petition against his return left him ‘full of care and fear’: the expense vexed him and he was ‘not remarkably alert’ and would ‘not be very ready to speak, unless ... strongly urged to it’.2 On 28 Mar. 1792 the committee of the House seated him by the chairman’s casting vote.
Douglas continued his unobtrusive support of the ministry. After a prediction that he would vote for it, he was either absent or voted against the exemption of Scotland from the Test Act, 10 May 1791. It was readily supposed by Sir Gilbert Elliot’s friends—and Henry Dundas concurred—that he would stand down in Elliot’s favour at the next election but, assured of the support of the Dukes of Roxburghe and Buccleuch, he denied any such intention and was returned unopposed in 1796. On 4 Jan. 1798 he was in the government majority on the assessed taxes. In the preceding July Sir Gilbert Elliot thought—and Henry Dundas again concurred—that Douglas might be bought out of his seat with provision of £400 or £500 a year, but nothing came of it.3 On 30 May 1800 he made his maiden speech—on the adultery bill.
Douglas’s support of Addington’s and Pitt’s second ministries was silent. He was in the government majority on the additional force bill, 18 June 1804,4 and in the minority on the censure against Melville, 8 Apr. 1805. His patron having died in 1804, Douglas lost his standing in Roxburghshire and retired in 1806. He died 4 June 1821.