GRAHAM, George (1730-1801), of Kinross, Kinross-shire.
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Family and Education
b. 17 May 1730, 2nd s. of John Graham, Edinburgh merchant, by his 1st w. Agnes, da. of Rev. Robert MacFarlane, minister of Buchanan. unm.
Burgess of Edinburgh 1777; ld. lt. Kinross 1794- d.
Graham’s father’s second wife was Helen, sister of Robert and Sir William Mayne, who obtained appointments in the East India Company’s service for Graham’s half-brothers, John and Thomas. In 1765 George Graham was settled as a planter in Jamaica, but, failing to prosper, decided in 1770, on the advice of Sir William Mayne, to seek his fortune in India. There, having secured a contract for supplying the troops in Bengal, and engaging in private trade (in association with the House of Mayne in Lisbon), within four years he acquired ‘a competency to enjoy the rest of his days’.1
He owed his position mainly to his brother John, a member of the Bengal council, and a close associate of Warren Hastings. When, after the arrival of the new councillors under North’s Regulating Act, John Graham resigned, George accompanied him to England. Settling in London as a merchant in association with Robert Mayne, he engaged in an extensive trade in wine and East India goods between Lisbon, China and India.
In 1777 he purchased the estate of Kinross, which gave him the controlling interest in a county in which his only considerable rival was John Adam of Blair Adam, whose son William then represented Gatton on Sir William Mayne’s interest. Returned unopposed at the general election of 1780, Graham was thus described in the English Chronicle in 1781:
He is a man of moderate principles but not without discernment, and has more sober sense than many men who make a greater bustle in the world. He is likely to be ministerial as most of his connexions incline that way; although if Opposition could once get hold of him it would be a difficult matter to alter his opinion, of which he is tenacious perhaps to obstinacy.
He supported the North Administration to the end, but thereafter his political affiliations were uncertain. He did not vote on Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783; and voted for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. On the formation of the Pitt Administration Robinson and Dundas were ‘hopeful’ of his support, and although Robinson shortly afterwards counted him among the converts,2 in Stockdale’s list of 19 Mar. 1784 he was listed among Pitt’s opponents. In 1784 Graham was mentioned as a candidate for Clackmannan, which alternated with Kinross in representation, but was not returned.
He died in London 18 Dec. 1801, leaving his estates to his illegitimate son James, on condition that he married his cousin Anna Maria, daughter of Thomas Graham, M.P., who, failing this marriage, succeeded to Kinross.3