John Gordon (Aberdeen MP)

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John Gordon (c.1655 – 24 August 1730) was a British politician and merchant. He was a Member of Parliament from 1708 to 1710.

Earlier life[edit]

Gordon was the son of John Gordon, an Aberdeen merchant, and his wife Christian Henderson.[a] The younger John married his first cousin Janet Gordon, whose father Alexander represented Aberdeen in the Parliament of Scotland. During the 1680s, John was a factor at Campvere, the staple port for Scotland in Friesland. During this time (in 1682), he was made a burgess of Elgin. He continued to do business in Rotterdam until at least 1702.[1]

At the outbreak of the Glorious Revolution at the end of 1688, John's uncle Alexander was elected Lord Provost of Aberdeen and was a staunch supporter of the new king, serving as provost until 1690. John was likewise a devout Presbyterian, and had his share in the political life of Aberdeen: he was a councillor of the burgh from 1705 to 1709, and served himself as provost from 1706 to 1708. He was the first to sign a loyal address from the council to Queen Anne upon the repulse of the Jacobite attempt at landing in the Firth of Forth.[1]

As Member of Parliament[edit]

Gordon was elected to Parliament in the 1708 general election for the new constituency of Aberdeen Burghs. He took little part in affairs of state, and served on a few Parliamentary committees of local importance. Gordon was dropped from Aberdeen Council in 1710 and discouraged from standing for re-election to Parliament, and he stood down at the 1710 general election.

Another humiliation occurred in the following year, when the Presbytery of Aberdeen called his son, Rev. John, to the living of Old Deer. The former minister, an Episcopalian, refused to quit the church and was supported by his parishioners; the Gordons and the supporters of the Presbytery were driven off by a mob, an incident known as the "rabbling of Deer". The younger Gordon was ultimately confirmed in the ministry, which he occupied until his death in 1718, but the riot stimulated the passage of the Scottish Episcopalians Act 1711 and the Church Patronage (Scotland) Act 1711, which strengthened the position of the Episcopalians.

Later career[edit]

Gordon was readmitted to the council from 1714 to 1715, when the Jacobites took over the council during the rising of 1715, and served again from April 1716 to 1719. From 1717 to 1718, he was once more Lord Provost, and took part in efforts to purge episcopalian and Jacobite elements from the University of Aberdeen. He was made an honorary burgess of Old Aberdeen upon his retirement from the council.[1]


  1. ^ According to Hayton, he was descended, "four generations back", from George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly, but other sources are silent on the matter.


  1. ^ a b c Hayton, D. W. (2002). "GORDON, John (c.1655-1730), of Aberdeen". In Hayton, David; Cruickshanks, Eveline; Handley, Stuart. The House of Commons 1690-1715. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
Parliament of Great Britain
New constituency Member of Parliament for Aberdeen Burghs
Succeeded by
James Scott