CARMICHAEL, Sir James, 4th Bt. (c.1690-1727), of Bonnington, Lanark.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1713 - 8 Apr. 1714
8 Apr. 1714 - 1715

Family and Education

b. c.1690, 2nd s. of Sir John Carmichael, 2nd Bt., of Bonnington, by Lady Henrietta, da. of James Johnstone, 1st Earl of Annandale [S].  m. contract 7 Jan. 1715, Margaret (d. 1759), da. and coh. of William Maxwell (aft. Baillie, d. 1725), MP [S], of Lamington, Lanark, 1s. 1da.  suc. er. bro. as 4th Bt. 5 June 1691.

Offices Held

Burgess, Glasgow 1704, Edinburgh 1705, Lanark 1713.1


Although undoubtedly the great-grandson of the 1st Lord Carmichael, this Member has a somewhat confusing genealogy. His grandfather, Sir James Carmichael of Bonnington (or Bonnytown), became a baronet in or about 1676. The mode was indirect: he bought, for £100, a blank warrant of baronetcy from John Bannatine, tutor to the Duchess of Hamilton’s sons, who had obtained the warrant as a reward from his patroness. No formal record of Carmichael’s elevation survives, but Sir James was reputedly accorded the rank of baronet by contemporaries. In later documents relating to the family’s estates, however, he was styled miles or knight, which has caused confusion in the enumeration of the baronetcy. This usage, which was applied to other known baronets, should nevertheless be discounted and Sir James regarded as the 1st baronet. His eldest son, also James, who died in his father’s lifetime, is sometimes wrongly dubbed the 2nd baronet, whereas this designation properly belongs to the second son, John, the Member’s father. Sir John Carmichael died in January 1691, and was succeeded by his infant son, William, who survived his father by a mere five months. His younger brother, James, thus became the 4th baronet when he was less than two years old. Carmichael inherited a substantial landed estate spread across three Scottish counties: Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire.2

The most significant political influence within Carmichael’s immediate family was his maternal uncle, the 1st Marquess of Annandale, and it was through him that Carmichael was introduced to London society. In 1710–11, he became a member of the informal Anglo-Scottish dining club of Annandale’s friend, Lord Ossulston. Supported by the Marquess, Carmichael stood for the shire and burghs district of Linlithgow in 1713. Successful for both, he was unseated on petition from the county but retained Linlithgow Burghs, which he had captured by virtue of a pact with Hon. George Douglas*. During his canvass, Carmichael had also enjoyed Squadrone support and was endorsed by Presbyterian ministers as a thoroughgoing Whig. In Lord Polwarth’s analysis of the Scottish returns for 1713, he was listed as a Hanoverian.3

Carmichael made little impression at Westminster. He voted against the expulsion of Richard Steele on 18 Mar. 1714, and was later classified as a Whig in the Worsley list. With his kinsmen the Earl of Hyndford and Lord Carmichael, he played a prominent role in celebrations of the proclamation of George I at Lanark in August 1714. In honour of the pact with Douglas, Carmichael did not stand for the burghs district in 1715 and declined to make a second bid for the county. Although he did not stand for Parliament on any subsequent occasion, he continued to be active in public affairs in his locality, and, having been commissioned as a deputy-lieutenant, played a part in his county’s resistance to the Fifteen. He subsequently discharged his duties conscientiously on the Lanarkshire commission of the peace.4

Carmichael died, aged 37, at Edinburgh on 16 July 1727 and was buried at Lamington, an estate (reportedly worth 20,000 merks p.a.) which his wife had recently inherited from her father. In expectation of succeeding to Lamington, Carmichael’s eldest son, William, adopted the surname Baillie-Carmichael, but died in 1738, during his mother’s lifetime, whereupon the baronetcy became extinct and the estates passed to his sister, Henrietta. In 1741, she married Robert Dundas† of Arniston, half-brother to the great Henry Dundas†, bringing with her then (so it was said) a fortune of £2,000 p.a.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Scots Peerage ed. Paul, iv. 587; Hist. Scot. Parl. 32; Scot. Rec. Soc. lvi. 477; lxii. 33; W. MacGill, Old Ross-shire and Scotland, ii. 69–70.
  • 2. Retours of Heirs, ii. Lanark, 354, 401–2; Services of Heirs, i. 1710–19, p. 5; Irving, Upper Ward of Lanark. i. 243, 479; ii. 330–1; N. and Q. ser. 6, vii. 77; Scots Peerage, 586–7.
  • 3. SHR, lxxi. 127.
  • 4. Scots Courant, 11–13 Aug. 1714; Scot. Hist. Soc. ser. 3, xvii. 161, 180–204 passim; [P. Rae], Hist. Late Rebellion (1718), 232.
  • 5. Hist. Scot. Parl. 32; Sheriffdoms of Lanark and Renfrew (Maitland Club, xii), 59; Services of Heirs, i. 1720–9, p. 6; 1730–9, p. 7; 1740–9, p. 6.