RUTHERFURD, John (1712-58), of Edgerston, Roxburgh.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1734 - Jan. 1742

Family and Education

bap. 12 June 1712, 1st surv. s. of Sir John Rutherfurd of Rutherfurd and Edgerston by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of William Cairncross of West Langlee, Roxburgh. educ. L. Inn 1731; adv. 1734. m. 27 Nov. 1737, Eleanor, da. of Sir Gilbert Elliot, 2nd Bt. [S], of Minto, Roxburgh, Lord Minto, S.C.J., 3s. 4da.

Offices Held

Capt. of an indep. co. of Ft. in New York, Dec. 1741; member of council of New York 1745-d.; maj. New York Forces 1746, and of Royal Americans, Jan. 1756-d.


John Rutherfurd, whose father was the head of an old Roxburgh family, was returned unopposed for his county soon after he came of age. When the Prince of Wales broke with the King in September 1737, Rutherfurd, as a member of the Squadrone or anti-Argyll faction in Scotland, received a circular letter from Lord Marchmont, then in opposition, urging his attendance at the opening of the new session.1 He voted against the Spanish convention in 1739, and was one of the opposition Whigs who voted against the motion of 13 Feb. 1741 to dismiss Walpole.2 Again returned unopposed in 1741, he was said to have been won over from the Opposition by the grant of an army commission in December, thereby vacating his seat.3 James Oswald, hearing ‘poor John Rutherfurd’s character taken to pieces’, wrote that he

has continued extremely firm in doing justice to his country on every occasion. But the state of his private affairs has now forced him to accept of a place, which vacates his seat in the House. He was sensible he could no longer act a part independently himself, and therefore was willing another to be chosen in his room, who may both attend better, and act more freely than he himself would for the future have been able to do.4

He proceeded at once to join his company in America, where he settled at Albany, New York, writing on 10 Jan. 1743:

I find my retirement here perfectly agreeable ... dividing my time equally for mathematics, philosophy, politics, etc. without being interrupted in any shape by family cares or public affairs, as hitherto I have always been ... I think myself very happy in being out of the bustle.5

Becoming later a member of the New York council, he remained in America, rarely returning to Scotland, till his death in action at Ticonderoga, 8 July 1758.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: R. S. Lea


  • 1. HMC Polwarth, v. 142.
  • 2. Coxe, Walpole, iii. 563.
  • 3. HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 243.
  • 4. Mems. Jas. Oswald, 27-29.
  • 5. Cadwallader Colden Pprs. (New York Hist. Soc. Colls.), ii. 249; iii. 1 et passim.