GRANT, Francis (1717-81), of Dunphail, Elgin.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 10 Aug. 1717, 3rd surv. s. of Sir James Grant, 6th Bt., M.P., by Anna, da. and h. of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, 5th Bt., of Luss, Dunbarton; bro. of Sir Ludovick Grant. m. 17 Mar. 1763, Catherine Sophia, da. of Joseph Cox of Stanford Vale, Berks. 3s. 3da.

Offices Held

Entered army 1739; lt.-col. 42 Ft. 1755; lt.-col. commandant 90 Ft. 1761; col. 1762; col. 63 Ft. 1768- d.; maj.-gen. 1770; lt.-gen. 1777.


Grant was a favourite nephew of Simon, Lord Lovat, on whose advice he joined the 42nd Ft. (the Black Watch).1 He served with them in Flanders and in Scotland during the ’45; commanded his regiment in America from 1756, fought at Ticonderoga 1758, and served under Amherst in the campaigns of 1759-60, returning home in 1760.2 He, or his brother Charles, was mentioned as a possible candidate for Inverness-shire at the general election;3 but in 1761 Grant went to the West Indies, and was present at the taking of Havana in 1762.4 After James Grant became lieutenant-colonel of the 40th Foot in July 1760, the career of Francis is frequently confused with his kinsman’s. In November 1762 a friend, reporting news from Havana, wrote:5 ‘The two Colonel Grants ... will share high in prize money. Francis will have upwards of £25,000.’

Nevertheless Francis was in serious financial difficulties by 1767 when his nephew James Grant, yr. of Grant, proposed to stand down in his favour as candidate for Elginshire at the 1768 general election. Lord Fife, another nephew, indignant at not having been consulted, set up his brother against him, and when Grant won with ministerial support, wrote about him to Grenville:6

The Member returned has not a foot of property in this island, or any part of his Majesty’s dominions, and the half of the votes that returned him are in the same state with himself.

James Grant, now governor of East Florida, irritated by the behaviour of his nephew Major W. Grant of Ballindalloch (also a nephew of Francis Grant) wrote from St. Augustine to a friend in Scotland, 14 Sept. 1769:7

I don’t interfere in Major Grant’s affairs ... but I was rather surprised to hear that he had joined the Duffs at last election in opposition to his uncle Colonel Grant, who at that time was rather in a situation which claimed and entitled him to help and assistance from his friends and relations; the poor Colonel at first starting had rather been lucky in the service, but by an imprudent step of quitting an old regiment, at the end of the war, when he was beginning to get on in life and drawing towards fifty, he found himself with additional charge of a wife and children, reduced to live upon such a trifle as could barely furnish him and them with the necessaries of life—in those circumstances he was attacked in his election by his nephews the Duffs, and Major Grant joined them, not only to keep his uncle out of Parliament but to take the shire of Moray [Elgin] out of the hands of the Grant family. God knows they never were and never will be able to do me any service, in fact I want none from them, but I wrote to Mr. Grant of Grant that if they were pressed ... I would buy fifty or a hundred pounds a year in the shire of Moray to entitle me to a vote.

In November 1768 the King fulfilled his promise to give Grant the first vacant regiment on the Irish establishment, and appointed him colonel of the 63rd Ft.8

Grant voted consistently with Administration, except on the naval captains’ petition, 9 Feb. 1773. He is not known to have spoken in the House. In 1774 the Duffs, having gained control of Elginshire, ousted Grant, who after that did not apparently seek to re-enter Parliament.

He died 30 Dec. 1781.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Chiefs of Grant, ii. 377, 379-80.
  • 2. Corresp. of W. Pitt with Colonial Govs. (ed. Kimball), ii. 128, 129; Add. 25412, f. 83.
  • 3. Sir Harry Erskine to Bute, 21 Apr. 1761, Bute mss.
  • 4. A. M. Delavoye, Recs. 90th Regt. p. iii.
  • 5. R. Grant, London merchant, to R. Grant of Tammore, 4 Nov. 1762, Add. 25412, f. 164.
  • 6. 28 Apr. 1768, Grenville mss (JM).
  • 7. Add. 25412, f. 301.
  • 8. Cal. Home Office Pprs. 1766-9, p. 1047.