MCDOWALL GRANT, David (c.1760-1841), of Arndilly, Banff and Barr House, Lochwinnock, Renfrew.

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



24 July 1795 - 1796

Family and Education

b. c.1760, 5th surv. s. of William McDowall, and bro. of William McDowall*. m. 1790, Eleanor Mary, da. and h. of Col. Alexander Grant of Arndilly and took additional name of Grant, 6s. 4da.

Offices Held

Entered navy c.1778, lt. 1781, ret. cdr. 1816-d.

Collector of customs, Kingston, Jamaica 1810-c.1836.


In 1824, McDowall Grant, who does not appear to have taken any part in his family’s West Indian trading concerns, claimed that ‘I have served my King and country for above forty six years and I have been four times severely wounded’.1 His active naval service was probably confined to the closing stages of the American war.

In 1793, he was among the aspirants to the seat for Banffshire, where a vacancy was expected and where his marriage had given him a stake. His brother, surprised by his intervention, told Henry Dundas that he had ‘adopted a line for himself without asking my advice’. He remained in the field and secured the support of the Banffshire Association of resident proprietors, formed to oppose Lord Fife’s interest, when their original choice backed down. When a vacancy arose in 1795, he solicited Dundas’s support. The minister stayed neutral, but McDowall Grant was returned.2 There is no record of his having spoken or voted during his one session in the House and he did not seek re-election in 1796, when Dundas secured the return of William Grant, a rising ministerial lawyer.

In 1806, McDowall Grant was pressed by the ‘Talents’ to support Fife’s nephew in Banffshire, but he had already committed his vote to Grant, ‘from his feelings in consequence of Lord Fife’s extraordinary conduct towards him’.3 By his own account, he entered the revenue service in 1810, becoming collector of customs at Kingston, Jamaica, where he served for over 20 years. He was subsequently deemed liable by the Treasury for partial reimbursement of public funds misappropriated by his predecessor’s deputy, a decision which he tenaciously but unsuccessfully contested.4

According to the navy pay books, he died 27 June 1841.5

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Add. 38299, f. 177.
  • 2. SRO GD51/1/198/4/2, 4; NLS mss 1, ff. 31, 35.
  • 3. Blair Adam mss, McDowall Grant to Adam, 8 Nov.; Fortescue mss, McDowall to Grenville, 24 Nov. 1806.
  • 4. Add. 38299, ff. 164-78.
  • 5. PRO PMG15/10.