Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Alternated with Cromartyshire

Number of enrolled freeholders:

19 in 1826; 17 in 1830


21 Mar. 1831HON. GEORGE PRYSE CAMPBELL re-elected after appointment to office

Main Article

Nairnshire was a small agricultural county (193 square miles).1 Its only significant settlement was Nairn, one of the Inverness district of burghs. Neglect had made the dominant interest of the Campbells of Cawdor, which had been temporarily defeated in 1785, potentially vulnerable to attack at the general elections of 1796, 1806 and 1812, but no contest had occurred, and the Whig John Campbell†, 1st Baron Cawdor, had eventually acted to consolidate the interest, which was impregnable in this period.2 At the general election of 1820 his younger son George Campbell, who was also a Whig, was returned in his absence on his duties as a serving naval officer.3 Nairnshire agriculturists petitioned the Commons against the additional malt duty, 26 May, as did the county’s Agricultural Society, 2 June 1820, when Campbell’s elder brother John, Member for Carmarthen, presented it.4 The freeholders and farmers petitioned both Houses in the same sense in March 1821.5 John Campbell succeeded his father as 2nd Baron Cawdor two months later. (He was promoted to an earldom in 1827.) In February 1824 Francis Grant, Member for Elginshire, endorsed to Peel, the Liverpool ministry’s home secretary, the claim of Sir William Gordon Cumming* of Altyre, Elginshire, to the vacant lord lieutenancy; but it was given to William Brodie of Brodie, Elginshire, grandson of the late incumbent.6 On 13 Mar. 1826 a meeting chaired by Sir James Dunbar of Boath, convener of the county, and attended by, among others, Colonel Hugh Rose of Kilravock, a former Member, petitioned both Houses against interference with the Scottish banking system. That to the Commons was entrusted to Campbell, but in his absence it was presented by William Gordon, Member for Aberdeenshire, 21 Mar. Cawdor presented the petition to the Lords, 6 Apr. 1826.