CHARTERIS, Francis (1749-1808), of Amisfield, Haddington and Hornby, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. 31 Jan. 1749, o.s. Hon. Francis Wemyss Charteris of Amisfield and Hornby (2nd s. of James, 4th Earl of Wemyss [S]) by Lady Catherine Gordon, da. of Alexander, 2nd Duke of Gordon [S]; nephew of Lord Adam Gordon and James Wemyss of Wemyss. educ. St. Andrews Univ. 1762; Grand Tour 1766.1 m. 18 July 1771, Susan, da. of Anthony Tracy Keck of Great Tew, Oxon. and gd.-da. of James, 4th Duke of Hamilton [S], 1s. 4da.
Charteris’s father inherited from Colonel Charteris, a notorious usurer and gambler, a vast fortune and great estates in Haddington, Lancashire and Westmorland, and by family agreements consequent upon the attainder in 1746 of the Jacobite Lord Elcho, Lord Wemyss’s heir, obtained possession of the Elcho estates in Fife. He succeeded John Maitland in Haddington Burghs in February 1780 and consistently supported Administration to the end of the Parliament. He spoke, 11 Apr., in the debate on the grant for Scottish roads and bridges; on 24 Apr. against the motion to implement the vote of 6 Apr. on the influence of the Crown, and on 4 May in defence of Scotland’s exemption from the malt tax.2
Although Charteris voted with Administration on 12 Dec. 1781 on Lowther’s motion against the war, on 14 Dec. he expressed his satisfaction at their intention to limit American commitments. In the debate of 15 Mar. 1782 on Rous’s motion of no confidence, he deplored reckless Opposition comment on Irish and American affairs. ‘To the great latitude of speech ... on the injustice of the American war were to be ascribed ... many of those calamities which were now said to be the fruits of the present Administration.’3
He voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783; did not vote on Fox’s East India bill; and in January 1784 was listed ‘doubtful’ by Robinson. On 23 Jan. 1784, when Pitt refused to state whether or not Parliament was to be dissolved,
Mr. Charteris asserted hi