BAILLIE, George (1763-1841), of Jerviswoode, Lanark and Mellerstain, Roxburgh.
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Family and Education
b. 8 Oct. 1763, 1st s. of George Baillie (formerly Hamilton) of Jerviswoode and Mellerstain by Elizabeth, da. of John Andrews. educ. Trinity Hall, Camb. 1784. m. 13 July 1801, Mary, da. of Sir James Pringle†, 4th Bt., of Stichill, Berwick, 6s. 5da. suc. fa. 1797.
Capt. Hopetoun fencibles 1793.
Baillie’s father was the younger brother of Thomas, 7th Earl of Haddington (to which title his own eldest son succeeded on the death of Thomas Hamilton, the 9th Earl) and changed his name on inheriting his maternal grandmother’s estates. As early as 1788 his wish to become county Member for Berwick was known, but he supported Patrick Home as long as the latter chose to retain his seat. When Home’s retirement was anticipated in December 1795, encouraged by his uncle Lord Haddington he applied for and obtained Henry Dundas’s support as a friend of government at the next election.1 He was returned unopposed and, with an interest reckoned as good as any in the county, retained the seat as long as he chose.
Baillie gave a silent support to Pitt’s government and did not oppose Addington, whose additional customs duties he allegedly supported in debate in June 18032 until, like other Scottish supporters of Pitt and Dundas, he voted with the minorities on defence, 23 and 25 Apr. 1804. He then supported Pitt’s second ministry. He does not appear to have voted on Melville’s censure, 8 Apr. 1805. He voted against the Grenville ministry on their repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, and on 7 Nov. Lady Minto wrote to her husband: ‘George Baillie, though he is George Baillie, cannot expect ministers to serve him when he is in opposition’.3
From 1807 Baillie supported government, though he was now reckoned a Melvillite and shared their tendency to dissatisfaction with the management of Scottish patronage. Late in 1807 a piece of local patronage he had applied for was given, through government oversight, to a political enemy and he was put in ‘a very unpleasant predicament’, so he informed Robert Dundas, who passed on the hint.4 Baillie was pressed to attend in support of government on the Scheldt inquiry5 and voted with them on 30 Mar. 1810. He was also in the government minorities on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811, against sinecure reform, 4 May 1812, and against Stuart Wortley’s motion, 21 May. On 11 and 24 May 1813 he voted against Catholic relief. He was in the government majorities against inquiry into the Regent’s expenditure, 31 May 1815, and on the civil list, 8 May 1815 and 6 May 1816.
Baillie had become a reluctant attender, but he was equally reluctant to retire, as Sir John Marjoribanks found when he sounded him in November 1817, with a view to succeeding to his seat. When he retired at the announcement of dissolution in June 1818 and was accused of a ruse to return Marjoribanks, some indignation was indulged in at his expense: a few voices condemned him for it at the ensuing election. Marjoribanks had failed earlier to obtain Baillie’s resignation in his favour on condition of making way for Baillie’s son in due course and knew that Baillie’s first choice for his successor was William Hay of Duns, who declined; so he was in a position to refute such allegations and put it all down to Baillie’s indecisive procrastination.6 Baillie died 11 Dec. 1841.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. SRO GD267/3/15, G. to P. Home, 21 Feb. 1788; 267/1/15, same to same, 17 May 1790; 51/1/198/5/1.
- 2. J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1806), 38.
- 3. NLS mss 10979, f. 372.
- 4. Dundas of Arniston mss 8, 75, Melville to Dundas, 28 Dec. ; SRO GD51/5/381; NLS mss 9, f. 30.
- 5. Blair Adam mss, Loch to Adam [?21 Mar. 1810].
- 6. SRO GD267/17/3, Marjoribanks to Home, 29 June 1818.