INNES, Sir Hugh, 1st bt. (?1764-1831), of Balmacara House, Lochalsh, Ross and Regent Street, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. ?1764, o. surv. s. of Rev. Hugh Innes of Calton, Glasgow and Jean, da. of Thomas Graham. educ. Glasgow Univ. 1777. unm. cr. bt. 7 Dec. 1818. d. 16 Aug. 1831.
Innes, a wealthy landowner whose fortune may have been derived from trade, was returned for Tain Burghs for the third time in 1820 on the combined interests of James Stewart Mackenzie* of Brahan Castle, a Whig, and the countess of Sutherland and her husband, the Grenvillite 2nd marquess of Stafford.1 He continued to be an occasional attender who gave silent support to Lord Liverpool’s ministry, despite the views of his patrons. He evidently gave close attention to local legislation relating to improvements in road and coastal communications.2 The fact that he was ‘severely hurt’ when his carriage overturned during the election campaign may account for the absence of any recorded votes by him during the 1820 session.3 It was reported that he had divided against the motion criticizing the omission of Queen Caroline’s name from the liturgy, 26 Jan. 1821. Lady Stafford afterwards observed that her husband, who had opposed the bill of pains and penalties, believed ‘it would not have done to urge Sir Hugh further, as he is so connected and in the habit of receiving and asking things from ministry, that doing more than telling him how his opinions might have distressed and embarrassed [us]’ would have been undesirable ‘in the circumstances’.4 He voted in defence of ministers’ conduct towards the queen, 6 Feb. He divided against Maberly’s resolution on the state of the revenue, 6 Mar., repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., and the disfranchisement of civil officers of the ordnance, 12 Apr. He was granted six weeks’ leave for urgent private business, 18 Apr. 1821. In March 1822 Lady Stafford said that she would write to him on the subject of Scottish burgh reform, ‘to make him aware of the importance of the subject’; he gave no recorded votes that session.5 Thereafter, Stafford’s adherence to government must have made Innes’s position much easier. He voted against inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. 1823. There are no recorded votes by him for the 1824 session. He divided against repeal of the usury laws, 17 Feb. 1825. He voted for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb., but for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May. He divided for the financial provision for the duke of Cumberland, 30 May, 6, 10 June 1825. It was said of him at this time that he ‘appeared to attend very seldom and to vote with government’.6 He voted against the motion condemning the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar. 1826. He presented Dingwall and Kirkwall petitions against any alteration to the Scottish banking system, 10 Mar., 14 Apr.7 He divided against reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr. 1826. At the general election that summer he was again returned unopposed for Tain Burghs.8
He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., but paired for Catholic claims, 12 May 1828. He divided with the duke of Wellington’s ministry against the motion condemning delays in chancery, 24 Apr. 1828. In February 1829 Planta, the patronage secretary, listed him as likely to be ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation, and he voted accordingly, 6, 30 Mar. He presented Ross-shire petitions against any alteration to the law of entail in Scotland, 13, 16 Apr. 1829. Surprisingly, the Ultra Tory leader Sir Richard Vyvyan* listed him that autumn as one of those supporters of emancipation whose sentiments towards a putative coalition ministry were ‘unknown’. He divided against the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., and Jewish emancipation, 17 May 1830. He was granted a month’s leave for urgent private business, 7 Apr., but had returned by the 29th to present petitions from Wick council in favour of the Caithness statute labour bill and from Reay farmers and Caithness proprietors against it. He voted for the grant for South American missions and against abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830. At the dissolution that summer he retired to make way for James Loch, the auditor of Stafford’s estates. However, Stafford, having switched his allegiance to Lord Grey’s ministry, returned Innes for his wife’s ‘pocket’ county of Sutherland at the general election of 1831 as a ‘decided’ supporter of the reform bill and of economy, who hoped that on other issues ‘his opinion ... would be found in unison with the voice of the nation’.9 He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and steadily for its details until 3 Aug. 1831. He died later that month ‘in his sixty-eighth year’ and his title ‘expired with him’; no will or administration has been found.10
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Terry Jenkins
- 1. NAS GD46/4/123, Innes to Loch, 29 Nov. 1819; Inverness Courier, 6 Apr. 1820.
- 2. NAS GD46/13/25 and 17/54 contain several letters from Innes on these matters.
- 3. Glasgow Herald, 31 Mar. 1820.
- 4. Macpherson Grant mss 361, Macpherson Grant to Lady Stafford, 27 Jan., reply, 1 Feb. 1821.
- 5. Ibid. 516, Lady Stafford to Macpherson Grant, 20 Mar. 1822.
- 6. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 470.