ROSS, Hon. Charles (d.1732), of Balnagowan, Ross.
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Family and Education
2nd s. of George, 11th Lord Ross of Halkhead [S], being o.s. by his 2nd w. Lady Jean Ramsay, da. of George, 2nd Earl of Dalhousie [S]. unm.
Cornet, King’s Regt. Scots Horse 1685; capt. 5 Drags. by 1689, lt.-col. 1694, col. 1695-1715, 1729-d.; brig.-gen. 1702; maj.-gen. 1704; lt.-gen. 1707; col.-gen. of all Drag. forces 1711; gen. 1712.
Ross, a professional soldier, who had served under Marlborough, was re-elected unopposed in 1715 for Ross-shire, where his brother, Lord Ross, had presented him with the estate of Balnagowan.1 A Tory, he spoke against the Address at the opening of the new Parliament, as reflecting on the late Queen, defended the impeached Tory ministers, and opposed an increase of the army to meet a possible invasion, 26 July 1715. About this time he was among the army officers who were dismissed or required to sell their regiments on security grounds.2 Continuing to speak and vote against the Government, he was elected to the secret committee set up by the House of Commons to inquire into the South Sea Company’s affairs after the collapse of the bubble. On 23 Jan. 1721 he told the House that the committee had ‘already discovered a train of deepest villainy and fraud that hell ever contrived to ruin a nation’. On 14 Apr. he drew the notice of the House to an extraordinary commission empowering the deputy sheriff of Inverness-shire ‘to seize goods and chattels, take up and imprison any person north of the river of Tay, without giving reason therefor, and confine them during his pleasure’. As a result the commission, which was intended by the Squadrone to influence elections in their favour, was rescinded.3 On 12 May he disclosed that an attempt had been made to bribe him on behalf of John Aislabie by Aislabie’s brother-in-law, Thomas Vernon, for which he was thanked by the House. He took part in the debates on the amounts to be allowed the South Sea directors out of their confiscated estates. On 16 Apr. 1722 he strenuously opposed Walpole’s bill empowering the South Sea Company to sell some of their assets. Defeated at the general election of 1722, he presented a petition, which was shelved, a motion instructing the elections committee to hear it at an early date being defeated by Walpole.
There were 28 Tories in the majority against Mr. Ross, some on account of Thomas Vernon’s affair, and others supposed to have been in the South Sea account, Mr. Ross having been of the secret committee, and discovered some to have had stock taken in for them.
Going over to the Government, he was re-elected unopposed in 1727, speaking for a vote of credit, 7 May 1728,4 and recovering his regiment in 1729. He continued to speak5 and vote with the Government till his death, 5 Aug. 1732, leaving his estate to his great-nephew, Charles Ross.