PRINGLE, John (c.1716-92), of Haining, Selkirk and Clifton, Roxburgh.
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Family and Education
b. c.1716, 2nd s. of John Pringle, M.P., of Haining (Lord Haining S.C.J.), by Anne, da. of Sir James Murray, M.P. [S], of Philiphaugh (Lord Philiphaugh S.C.J.). unm. 1s. suc. bro. Andrew (Lord Alemore, S.C.J.) 1776; and his cos. Robert Pringle to the Clifton estates 1778.
As a youth Pringle went to Madeira, where he made a fortune in the wine trade. When his father died in 1754, leaving his affairs embarrassed, John purchased from his elder brother Andrew the family estate of Haining. On his return from Madeira he divided his time between his Scottish property and his business interests in the firm of Scott and Pringle of Threadneedle Street, London, and, as early as 1762 had some thoughts of entering Parliament.1 Possessing an old family interest in the county and burgh of Selkirk, exercised during his absence by his brother, he was returned for Selkirkshire in June 1765, when Gilbert Elliot transferred to Roxburghshire. A kindly and generous man, he was beloved by his kinsmen and constituents, whom he advised and assisted in their financial affairs, and who returned him unopposed for over 20 years.2
In Parliament Pringle joined the opposition to the Rockinghams, voting against them in February 1766 on the repeal of the Stamp Act. During the winter of 1766-7 he was listed by Townshend and Newcastle as supporting the Chatham Administration, and by Rockingham as connected with Bute, but he did not vote either on the land tax or on nullum tempus. His correspondence reveals him as a shrewd, independent observer, loosely attached to the Bute party, with a strong aversion to ‘that charlatan’ Chatham.3 He supported the Grafton Administration on Wilkes and the Middlesex election, and also that of North, although he voted against the Government on the naval captains’ petition, 9 Feb. 1773, and on Grenville’s Act, 25 Feb. 1774. He was an active supporter of the Scottish militia bill of 1775-6, and joined his friend Henry Dundas in objecting to the recruiting clause, as amended in committee, over which the bill was lost.4 Listed ‘pro, absent’ on the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, he seems to have remained absent for most of 1779-80, and does not appear in any recorded division until 24 Apr. 1780 when he voted with Administration on the prorogation. He supported North on Lowther’s motion against the American war on 12 Dec. 1781, was absent through illness on the censure of the Admiralty, 20 Feb. 1782, and was again absent from the divisions of 22 and 27 Feb. on Conway’s motion to end the war; but voted with Administration on Cavendish’s censure motion and Rous’s motion of no confidence on 8 and 15 Mar.
After North’s fall Pringle became connected with Shelburne, probably through his friend Richard Oswald, and voted for the peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783. He voted on 5 Dec. against Fox’s East India bill, and in January 1784 was counted by Robinson and Dundas as a supporter of Pitt. In 1786 he vacated his seat and was succeeded by his grandnephew Mark Pringle, whom he nominated heir to his great fortune and estates in Britain and Madeira.5
He died 27 July 1792.
Ref Volumes: 1754-1790
Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest
- 1. Alex. Pringle, Recs. of the Pringles or Hoppringills, 173-6; HMC Polwarth, v. 356.
- 2. Letters and Mems. Mrs. Alison Cockburn, ed. Craig Brown, 43, 102; Robbins mss in custody of Mass. Hist. Soc.; corresp. with W. Hall, 1775-6, Dunglass mss.
- 3. HMC Polwarth, v. 360-7.
- 4. Dundas to Duke of Buccleuch, 16 Mar. 1776, Buccleuch mss; Almon, iii. 431.
- 5. Pringles or Hoppringills, 176.