Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

37 in 1761


22 Feb. 1715JOHN STEWART
17 Apr. 1722JOHN STEWART
 Alexander Macdouall
31 July 1747JOHN STEWART
 Andrew Macdouall
25 July 1751STEWART re-elected after appointment to office

Main Article

The chief interest in Wigtownshire was that of the Agnews of Lochnaw, till 1748 its hereditary sheriffs, in alliance with the Stewarts, earls of Galloway, and the Dalrymples, earls of Stair. In 1715, John Stewart, an Argyll Whig, and brother to the 5th Earl of Galloway, Sir James Agnew’s brother-in-law, was returned. He was succeeded in 1727 by William Dalrymple, Agnew’s first cousin by marriage. In 1734 Dalrymple, who had gone into opposition, was successful against a member of a local family, Alexander Macdouall, who petitioned unsuccessfully that he had a majority of votes but that the sheriff refused to return him. At the 1741 election the seat reverted to the Galloways in the person of the 5th Earl’s younger son, James Stewart, a government supporter, who was returned unopposed. By 1747 the 5th Earl had been succeeded by his eldest son, who had hitherto been connected with the Tories and Jacobites but had recently come over to the Government. At the general election the Dalrymples set up another member of the Macdouall family, Andrew, later Lord Bankton, S.C.J., described by the Duke of Argyll as ‘at least as much Tory as Whig’. On this Galloway, fearing that his brother would be defeated, transferred him to Wigtown Burghs, putting up a kinsman, John Stewart, for the county. Reporting to Pelham that John Stewart had carried the election against Macdouall, the Duke of Argyll wrote:

Lord Galloway told me that he puts this gentleman in my hands, and upon my telling him that I at present did not deal in Members of Parliament but if he would let me put him into your hands I would accept of his offer ... he answered that he meant it in that sense ... He [Galloway] has £4,000 per annum and a considerable interest in the south of Scotland and, though a new convert, is worth while to be well with.1

Author: J. M. Simpson


  • 1. To Pelham, 23 July, 6 Aug. 1747, Newcastle (Clumber) mss.