BAIRD, Robert (c.1745-1828), of Newbyth, Haddington.
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Family and Education
b. c.1745, 1st s. of William Baird of Newbyth by Alicia, da. of Robert Johnston of Hiltown, Berwick. m. (1) Jan. 1779, his cos. Hester (d. 6 July 1789), da. of Wynne Johnston of Hiltown, s.p.; (2) 16 Aug. 1791, Hersey Christina Maria, da. of David Gavin of Langton, Berwick, 5s. 2da. suc. fa. 1769.
Ensign 39 Ft. 1769, lt. 1774; capt. 82 Ft. 1778, ret. 1781.
Baird, described in 1788 as a sportsman ‘under obligations’ to Henry Dundas,1 owed his entry to Parliament to his second marriage to a niece of Lords Lauderdale and Tweeddale. When the latter put him up for Haddingtonshire on an anticipated vacancy in March 1795, Baird was embarrassed to discover that in consenting to this he fell foul of Dundas, who had chosen another candidate and, smelling opposition, reminded him of favours conferred on his family. Conceiving that it was too late to retract, Baird, who denied opposition or ingratitude, reluctantly consented to a compromise whereby he waived his candidature for the county, in exchange for the assurance of a seat for Haddington Burghs at the general election.2 This he obtained and showed no sign of opposition in that Parliament.
In March 1802 he vacated his seat to accommodate Lauderdale’s brother whom Dundas’s strategy had excluded in 17963 without having uttered in debate. Lauderdale declined putting him up for the county on behalf of opposition in 1807 as he stood no chance and was not popular.4 His pretensions to a seat for Midlothian in 1811 were not known until too late in the day for the opposition to take him up as their candidate.5 He was the eldest brother of General Sir David Baird, whose baronetcy devolved on his eldest son. Baird died 10 June 1828.