BRUCE, Hon. Thomas (1738-97).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1790 - 1796
1796 - 12 Dec. 1797

Family and Education

b. 1738, 3rd s. of William, 8th Earl of Kincardine [S], by Janet, da. and h. of James Robertson of Bedlay, Lanark, principal clerk of session [S]. educ. Rugby 1749. unm.

Offices Held

Maj. in army 1763, 60 Ft. 1768; lt.-col. 65 Ft. 1770; a.d.c. to the King and brevet col. 1779; maj.-gen. 1782; col. 16 Ft. 1788-d., lt.-gen. 1796.


Bruce entered the army and served in India during the war of American Independence. During the war against revolutionary France he commanded the British forces in the West Indies and led the unsuccessful attack against Martinique in June 1793. He sat in Parliament, as a government supporter, on the interest of his kinsman the 1st Earl of Ailesbury, but made no mark in the House. He was reported to have voted for the repeal of the Test Act with regard to Scotland despite Whig doubts, 10 May 1791. His only known speech, 14 Apr. 1795, was a brief interjection in a debate about erecting a memorial in Westminster Abbey.

Bruce died 12 Dec. 1797. According to his monumental inscription in Exeter cathedral, ‘he was hastening to the milder parts of Devonshire, in the hopes of restoring a constitution impaired by the oppressive climates of the two Indies, when death arrested his progress in this city’.

Gent. Mag. (1793), ii. 759-60; Morning Chron. 19 May 1791; A. Jenkins, Exeter, 300.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne