John Dalrymple, 1st Earl of Stair

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For other people named John Dalrymple, see John Dalrymple (disambiguation).
The 1st Earl of Stair.

John Dalrymple (born 1648 as the Master of Stair; died 8 January 1707) was a Scottish noble who played a crucial role in the 1707 Treaty of Union between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England, that created the Kingdom of Great Britain.

The son of James Dalrymple, 1st Viscount of Stair, John Dalrymple was born at Stair House in the parish of Stair, in Kyle, Ayrshire. He served under King James VII, but as a dominant force in the Scots Parliament he helped bring about the accession of William II (of Scotland) to the throne in 1688/9. In 1689 the king rewarded him with the position of Lord Advocate and in 1691 he was appointed Joint Secretary of State over Scotland with James Johnston.

Dalrymple is most remembered for his part in the 1692 Massacre of Glencoe. In 1695, the Scottish parliament demanded an enquiry into the massacre, and when the report from the enquiry was complete, they voted that "the killing of the Glencoe men was murder". Responsibility for the crime lay with the King's Scottish ministers, but King William was guilty of a "great breach of duty" (Macaulay's words) in shielding the Master of Stair from any punishment beyond dismissal from the Secretaryship of State. He returned to government in 1700 as a member of the Privy Council of Scotland. After succeeding his father as 2nd Viscount of Stair in 1695, he was created 1st Earl of Stair in 1703 by Queen Anne.

Family[edit]

He married Elizabeth Dundas (died 25 May 1731), daughter of Sir John Dundas of Newliston and Agnes Gray. They had 6 sons and 4 daughters, but only 3 sons and one daughter reached adulthood: John Dalrymple, 2nd Earl of Stair (born 1673, died 1747), William (baptised 11 October 1678, died 3 December 1744), Hon George Dalrymple of Dalmahoy (baptised 10 March 1680, died 29 July 1745) and Lady Margaret Dalrymple (baptised 25 August 1684, died 3 April 1779). After his death Elizabeth, Countess Dowager of Stair, acquired the house in Lady Gray's Close, Edinburgh, built and owned by her grandparents (Sir William and Lady Egidia Gray) and known as Lady Gray's House. They were renamed Lady Stair's Close and House respectively - now the Scottish Writer's Museum.

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
George Mackenzie
Lord Advocate
1687 – 1688
Succeeded by
George Mackenzie
Preceded by
Lord Colinton
Lord Justice Clerk
1688 – 1690
Succeeded by
Lord Cessnock
Preceded by
George Mackenzie
Lord Advocate
1689 – 1692
Succeeded by
William James Stewart
Political offices
Preceded by
Earl of Melville
Secretary of State, Scotland
1691 – 1695
Succeeded by
James Johnston
Parliament of Scotland
Preceded by
Patrick Paterson
Burgh Commissioner for Stranraer
1689
Succeeded by
Sir Patrick Murray
Peerage of Scotland
New creation Earl of Stair
1703 – 1707
Succeeded by
John Dalrymple
Preceded by
James Dalrymple
Viscount of Stair
1695 – 1707