John Ramsay, 13th Earl of Dalhousie

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Dalhousie
Secretary for Scotland
In office
5 April 1886 – 20 July 1886
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by George Trevelyan
Succeeded by Arthur Balfour
Personal details
Born 29 January 1847 (1847-01-29)
Aberdour House, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK
Died 25 November 1887 (1887-11-26) (aged 40)
Le Havre, France
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Lady Ida Louisa Bennet (1857-1887; her death); 5 children
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford

John William Maule Ramsay, 13th Earl of Dalhousie KT, PC (29 January 1847 – 25 November 1887), styled Lord Ramsay between 1874 and 1880, was a Scottish naval commander, courtier and Liberal politician. He served as Secretary for Scotland in William Ewart Gladstone's short-lived 1886 administration.

Background and education[edit]

Born at Aberdour House, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Dalhousie was the eldest son of Admiral George Ramsay, 12th Earl of Dalhousie, and Sarah Frances, daughter of William Robertson. The Hon. Charles Maule Ramsay was his younger brother. He gained the courtesy title of Lord Ramsay in 1874 when his father succeeded in the earldom of Dalhousie on the death of his first cousin, Fox Maule-Ramsay, 11th Earl of Dalhousie.[1] He matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford in 1875.[citation needed]

Naval career[edit]

Dalhousie followed his father into the Royal Navy, where he served from 1861 to 1879,[citation needed] achieving the rank of Commander. He was Equerry to the Duke of Edinburgh between 1874 and 1876 and an Extra Equerry between 1876 and 1880.[1]

Political career[edit]

"Liverpool". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1880.

Dalhousie was elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Liverpool in March 1880, but was forced to resign in July 1880 after succeeding his father in the earldom.[1][2] After taking his seat in the House of Lords he was appointed a Lord-in-Waiting in September 1880 by William Ewart Gladstone, a position he held until the government fell in 1885.[citation needed]

In April 1886 he succeeded George Trevelyan (who had resigned over Irish Home Rule) as Secretary for Scotland in Gladstone's short-lived 1886 administration,[1] although in contrast to Trevelyan he was not a member of the cabinet.[citation needed] He was sworn of the Privy Council at the same time.[3] He retained this post until the government fell in July 1886. He was made a Knight of the Thistle in 1881.[1][4]


Lord Dalhousie married Lady Ida Louisa Bennet, daughter of Charles Bennet, 6th Earl of Tankerville, in 1877. They had five sons.[1] After returning from a trip to the United States in November 1887, the couple were forced to break off their journey in Le Havre after Lady Dalhousie was taken ill. Despite medical attention she died of peritonitis on 24 November, aged 30. After retiring to bed the same night, Lord Dalhousie never awoke, having apparently suffered from an apoplectic fit during the night, thus surviving his wife by less than 24 hours, dying at age 40.[citation needed]

He was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son, Arthur. His second son the Hon. Sir Patrick Ramsay became a prominent diplomat and notably served as British Ambassador to Greece, Hungary and Denmark. Dalhousie's third son the Hon. Sir Alexander Robert Maule Ramsay became an Admiral in the Royal Navy and was the husband of Princess Patricia of Connaught.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g John William Ramsay, 13th Earl of Dalhousie profile,; accessed 3 April 2016.
  2. ^ Lichfield and Tamworth to London and Westminster South,; accessed 3 April 2016.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25575. p. 1655. 6 April 1886.
  4. ^ Knights of the Thistle,; accessed 3 April 2016.


  • Torrance, David, The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn 2006)

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Rathbone
Viscount Sandon
Edward Whitley
Member of Parliament for Liverpool
With: Viscount Sandon
Edward Whitley
Succeeded by
Lord Claud Hamilton
Viscount Sandon
Edward Whitley
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Dunmore
The Viscount Hawarden
The Lord Bagot
The Lord de Ros
The Lord Elphinstone
The Lord Henniker
The Earl of Onslow
with The Lord Methuen
The Lord Ribblesdale
The Lord Sudeley
The Lord Wrottesley
The Lord Sandhurst
The Lord Thurlow

Succeeded by
The Lord de Ros
The Earl of Kintore
The Viscount Hawarden
The Lord Henniker
The Earl of Hopetoun
The Lord Elphinstone
The Lord Boston
Preceded by
George Trevelyan
Secretary for Scotland
Succeeded by
Arthur Balfour
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
George Ramsay
Earl of Dalhousie
Succeeded by
Arthur George Maule Ramsay