ABERCROMBY, Hon. George (1770-1843), of Tullibody, Clackmannan.
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Family and Education
b. 14 Oct. 1770, 1st s. of Gen. Sir Ralph Abercromby*, and bro. of Hons. Alexander Abercromby*, James Abercromby* and Sir John Abercromby*. educ. Edinburgh Univ.; adv. 1794. m. 20 Jan, 1799, Montague, da. of Henry Dundas* by 1st w., 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 1801; mother as 2nd Baron Abercromby 11 Feb. 1821.
Ld. lt. Stirling 1837-d.
Capt-lt. Edinburgh vols. 1794; capt. Clackmannan vols. 1803, lt.-col. commdt. 1804.
When his father died a military hero in 1801 Abercromby, like him bred to the bar, became heir to a title bestowed on his mother and a pension of £2,000 p.a. His father-in-law Henry Dundas had urged this on his behalf and became his mentor.1 It was Dundas who secured his return for Edinburgh on a vacancy in January 1805. Abercromby introduced two Scottish bills in the House, 29 Mar. 1805. He naturally voted against the censure on his father-in-law, 8 Apr., being a supporter of Pitt’s second ministry; though Creevey the Whig gossip reported in May that he vowed to abandon Pitt and this report was not without substance: when Melville was informed of it, he explained to Alexander Hope, 10 May 1805:
With regard to Mr Abercromby, it is true he is married to my daughter, and I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of his affection and attachment to me, but I have no right to control his political opinions. I know that he so feels for before any of the late disagreeable events had taken place, he, not in the style of consulting me, but of announcing to me his determinations, had informed me that he could not with the feelings he had on the subject lend himself to so humiliating a conduct as the support of Mr Pitt as minister depending on the support and control of Lord Sidmouth, and the result of repeated conversations on the subject since his resolution, if that was the state of the question at the beginning of next session, [was] to insist upon my finding another representative for Edinburgh. With regard to this last, I of course had a right to expect that he should not communicate his intention to any person whatever till the period arrived. If these were his sentiments on his first coming to town and before any of the occurrences had happened which have since taken place, I leave you to judge how far anything has since occurred to vary the complexion of his mind. Although I have been quite out of the way of conversing with others I have heard surmises enough on the subject to believe that those kind of feelings are not confined to Mr Abercromby.
Abercromby’s friends noted that he had gained nothing by being in Parliament.2 He voted against the Grenville ministry, at least on their repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806.
Although his father-in-law would have preferred him to remain Member for Edinburgh, Abercromby transferred his candidature to Clackmannanshire in 1806 owing to a ‘great conspiracy going on against his political influence’, which Melville was assured it would be necessary for Abercromby to challenge ‘in person’.3 He was duly returned for the county, but it was not represented in the Parliament of 1807. His candidature for Edinburgh at that election was a mere device to safeguard the sitting Member. Resuming his county seat in 1812, he supported Liverpool’s administration. After voting in the majority for Catholic relief, 2 Mar. 1813, he was absent on 24 May. He was inconspicuous in debate and clearly had no enthusiasm for Parliament. Refused three weeks’ leave for private business on 24 May 1815, he vacated his seat in July. In 1825 Sir Walter Scott remarked of him: ‘just the same he always has been, never yielding up his own opinion in fact, and yet in words acquiescing in all that could be said against it ... He is only desirous to spare you the trouble of contradiction.’4 He died 15 Feb. 1843.