HOPE WEIR, Hon. Charles (1710-91), of Craigiehall, Linlithgow and Blackwood, Lanark.
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Family and Education
b. 8 May 1710, 2nd surv. s. of Charles Hope, 1st Earl of Hopetoun [S], by Henrietta Johnstone, da. of William, 1st Mq. of Annandale [S]. educ. Glasgow Univ. 1724; Leyden 1728; Grand Tour. m. (1) 26 July 1733, Catherine (d. 5 Dec. 1743), da. and h. of Sir William Weir or Vere, 2nd Bt., of Blackwood, Lanark, 6s. 2da.; (2) 20 Mar. 1746, Anne Vane (div. May 1757), da. of Henry, 1st Earl of Darlington, 2s.; (3) 2 Apr. 1766, Helen, da. of George Dunbar of Leuchold, Linlithgow, 1s. 3da. suc. uncle 2nd Mq. of Annandale in the Craigiehall estate 1730; on m. acquired Blackwood estate and assumed add. name of Weir.
Gov. Blackness castle 1744- d.; commissary gen. for musters [S] 1744-59. trustee for fisheries and manufactures 1755-84; commr. for the forfeited estates 1755; chamberlain of Ettrick forest 1768- d.
From his youth, Hope Weir travelled extensively in Europe, and became known as a connoisseur of the arts.1 Re-elected unopposed in 1754, he was absent abroad from September 1754 to May 1756. On his return, faithful to Newcastle, he voted on his side in the division of 2 May 1757 on the loss of Minorca,2 and was counted among his personal supporters during the negotiations for a new Administration. In 1760 Hope Weir took the unpopular course of siding with the ministry against his fellow Scots over the Scottish militia bill. Newcastle commented in his ‘Memorandum for the King’, 15 Apr.:3 ‘Mr. Hope—If he is the single man, he will oppose it. He knows it is not the sense of Scotland.’ In the decisive division, the same day, Hope Weir and Lord Advocate Robert Dundas were the only Scots to vote against the bill. As a result Hope Weir was immediately faced with a violent opposition in Linlithgowshire. He appealed to Newcastle for help and, although opposed by family tradition to Argyll’s vice-royalty, also approached Argyll;4 Robert Dundas at the same time sought Hardwicke’s intervention on his ally’s behalf.5 At the general election of 1761, after an intensive campaign, he was re-elected by a majority of one vote.
The Hopetoun family, badly shaken, were thereafter unwilling to take political risks. Hope Weir did not follow Newcastle into opposition, but supported Bute, and in December 1762 was listed by Fox among those favourable to the peace. After Bute’s resignation the Hopetoun family apparently kept a foot in either camp. Cornwallis, reporting on ‘the Whig cause’ in Scotland, wrote to Newcastle, 29 July 1763,6 that although ‘Charles Hope abandoned his friends so shamefully last winter in Parliament’, his brother Hopetoun was considered ‘pretty right’.
Under the Grenville Administration Hope Weir’s name does not appear in any of the Opposition lists on Wilkes and general warrants. Counted ‘pro’ by Rockingham in July 1765, Hope Weir voted with the Government in the division of 17 Feb. 1766,7 and almost certainly on the repeal of the Stamp Act. On the formation of the Chatham Administration he again swung over to ‘the ministers for the time being’. Although absent from the land tax division, 27 Feb. 1767, he voted with Government on nullum tempus, 17 Feb. 1768. Shortly afterwards, on 10 Mar., he succeeded his son John as chamberlain of Ettrick forest and stood down in his favour at the general election.
Hope Weir is not known to have spoken in the House. He disliked London8 and regarded parliamentary attendance as a tedious duty necessary for the honour and interest of his family.
He died 30 Dec. 1791.