SCOTT, Walter (1724-93), of Harden, Roxburgh and Mertoun, Berwicks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1747 - Apr. 1765

Family and Education

b. 31 Dec. 1724, 1st s. of Walter Scott of Harden by his 3rd w. Ann, da. of John Scott of Gorrenberry.  educ. Glasgow Univ. 1743-4.  m. 18 Apr. 1754, Lady Diana Hume, da. of Hugh, 3rd Earl of Marchmont [S] (de jure Baroness Polwarth 1822), 1s. 1da.  suc. fa. 1746.

Offices Held

Receiver gen. and cashier of the excise in Scotland Apr. 1765; trustee for fisheries and manufactures in Scotland Nov. 1769.1


During his first Parliament Scott had been connected with the Prince of Wales. In March 1754, as an opponent of Argyll, he was considered by Pelham a very doubtful supporter of Administration, and reference to Lady Dalkeith, as representative of the Buccleuch interest, apparently confirmed the view that he would probably be in opposition.2 But after Scott’s approaching marriage to Lady Diana Hume was known, a list of 5 Apr. 1754 records:3 ‘Mr. Scott of Harden ... will be with us. Lord Marchmont’. After his unopposed return, he was counted by Dupplin as a Government supporter, but his politics were usually directed by Marchmont and Hume Campbell, who made him their confidant, and pressed his advancement ‘as a man of ability, though no speaker yet’.4

He voted, 2 May 1757, with the Newcastle-Fox group on the Minorca inquiry. During the negotiations of 1757 Newcastle, when exploring the possibility of an Administration which might exclude Argyll, listed Scott, immediately after the lord register, Hume Campbell, among those personally attached to himself. Scott took an active part in the agitation for a Scottish militia, was a member of the committee nominated to prepare the bill, and was thanked by his constituents at the Roxburgh head court, Michaelmas 1760, for his support of the measure.5

Returned unopposed in 1761, Scott attached himself to Bute, and in December 1762 was listed by Fox among those favourable to the peace preliminaries. Closely connected with John Pringle of Haining and Sir Gilbert Elliot, whose ‘county politics were a good deal mingled up’ with his,6 he supported the Grenville Administration while remaining an inconspicuous member of the Bute circle. In 1765, shortly before the dismissal of Stuart Mackenzie as privy seal for Scotland, Scott secured the appointment of cashier of the excise which vacated his seat in Parliament.

Scott’s relations with the Marchmont family deteriorated and at the 1780 election he bitterly offended the Earl by encouraging his own son Hugh Scott to oppose Sir John Paterson, Marchmont’s son-in-law, in Berwickshire. As a result Marchmont disinherited Walter Scott’s children.

Scott died 25 Jan. 1793.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. T 17/19/120; T 17/20/151.
  • 2. Lists of 21 Mar. 1754, Newcastle (Clumber) mss.
  • 3. Add. 32995, f. 168.
  • 4. Marchmont to Hume Campbell, 26 Oct. 1755, HMC Polwarth, v. 309.
  • 5. Scots Mag. Oct. 1760, pp. 550-1.
  • 6. Elliot to Bute, 17 Aug. 1762, Bute mss.