DUFF, William (1697-1763), of Braco, Banff.
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Family and Education
b. 1697, 1st surv. s. of William Duff of Dipple and Braco, Banff, merchant, by Helen, da. of Sir George Gordon, M.P. [S], of Edinglassie, Aberdeen. m. (1) 1719, Lady Janet Ogilvy (d. 25 Dec. 1720), da. of James, 4h Earl of Findlater [S] and 1st Earl of Seafield [S], wid. of Hugh Forbes of Craigievar, s.p.; (2) 1723, Jean, da. of Sir James Grant, 6th Bt. of Grant, 7s. 7da. suc. fa. 1722. cr. Baron Braco [I] 1735; Earl Fife [I] 1759.
Inheriting a large fortune, Duff was returned for his county in 1727. He spoke and voted against the Government on the Hessians in 1730, observing that ‘it was reasonable to give our own fish-guts to our own sea-maws [gulls]’.1 He also voted against the Administration on the repeal of the Septennial Act in 1734. At the next general election he changed sides, substituting his brother-in-law, James Abercromby, a government supporter, for himself as Member for Banffshire, which he completely dominated.
However Braco may endeavour to paliate this extraordinary step of his [an opponent wrote] its self evident that its a substitution or delegation of Mr. Abercromby which he would palm on the barons, but I am hopeful Abercromby is too great weight for the gentleman to carry through. I need not enlarge to so good a judge on a subject that ought not to be heard but with contempt, for though I have many ties on me to wish well to Abercromby yet the way and manner of setting up his pretensions to me appears of worse consequence than if our representation was hereditary in Braco’s family.2
Rewarded with an Irish peerage in 1735, he died Earl Fife [I] 30 Sept. 1763.