RAMSAY IRVINE, Sir Alexander, 6th Bt. (1717-1806), of Balmain, Kincardine.
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Family and Education
b. 1717, o.s. of Charles Ramsay, Montrose merchant (s. of Sir Charles Ramsay, 3rd Bt., of Balmain), by Katharine, da. of James Milne or Mill of Balweylo, merchant. m. 9 Dec. 1744, Mary, da. and h. of Alexander Irvine, adv., of Saphock and Knappernie, Aberdeen, s.p. suc. fa. 1726; and uncle as 6th Bt. 27 Jan. 1754.
Ramsay set up as a merchant in London but in 1743 gave up business and returned to Scotland to live with his uncle, Sir Alexander Ramsay, as his heir-presumptive. In 1744 Sir Alexander and his nephew, secretly and by dubious means, secured the agreement of Alexander Irvine of Saphock, an old and ailing man, to the marriage of his daughter, aged ten, to young Ramsay, to whom all the Irvine property was transferred on condition that he adopted the Irvine name. Immediately after the clandestine ceremony, the child was removed from her parents’ home to Sir Alexander’s house, where she remained until shortly before her death in 1750. Irvine having died in 1746, Ramsay thus became possessed of a considerable estate, his right to which was challenged by the Irvine family, whose claims were sustained by the court of session but lost in 1753 on Ramsay’s appeal to the House of Lords.1
In 1754, shortly after succeeding to Balmain, Ramsay Irvine stood for Kincardineshire,2 against Sir James Carnegie, but apparently withdrew. On Carnegie’s death in 1765, he was returned unopposed, but proved an obscure and silent Member. On the division on America, 7 Feb. 1766, he was reported ‘absent with Lord Adam Gordon in Hertfordshire’,3 but did not join him on 22 Feb. in voting against the repeal of the Stamp Act. Rockingham listed him in November 1766 among Bute’s connexions, while in March 1767 Newcastle counted him as an Administration supporter; but no vote of his is recorded.
From 1766 Robert Rickart Hepburn conducted a successful campaign against his interest in Kincardineshire,4 and Ramsay Irvine was not returned in 1768. In the Opposition electoral survey of 1788-9 he is described as ‘a rich, old and very independent man’ with considerable interest in Kincardine and Aberdeenshire.5 He died 11 Feb. 1806.