BALFOUR, Nisbet (1743-1823), of Denboign, Fife.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1790 - 1796
29 July 1797 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 1743, s. of Henry Balfour, yr. of Dunbog by his w. Katherine Porterfield.1 unm.

Offices Held

Ensign 4 Ft. 1761, lt. 1765, capt. 1770, brevet maj. 1776; maj. 4 Ft. 1777; lt.-col. 23 Ft. 1778, brevet col. 1781; a.d.c. to the King 1782-93; maj.-gen. 1793; col. 93 Ft. 1794, 39 Ft. 1794, lt.-gen. 1798, gen. 1803.

Commr. to examine into losses of loyalists in Florida c.1786.2


Balfour, the last of his line, distinguished himself in the American war, at the conclusion of which he was appointed a.d.c. to the King. He was highly thought of by his commanders, Cornwallis and Moira.3 His only sister was the wife of Robert Stewart of Castle Stewart who was instrumental in procuring his return to Parliament for Wigtown Burghs in 1790 on the interest of John Stewart, 7th Earl of Galloway. Henry Dundas approved his candidature and he could be relied upon to support Pitt’s administration, though no speech is known. He voted, as predicted, against the exemption of Scotland from the Test Act, 10 May 1791. In 1794 he commanded a brigade in Flanders—he saw no active service thereafter. Early in 1795 Galloway apparently proposed to transfer him to the seat for Saltash which Viscount Garlies was vacating, but substituted another of his sons instead; nor does he appear to have contemplated returning Balfour at the next election.4

Balfour was on the Treasury list of candidates in quest of a seat in 1796.5 A year later an opening was found for him when Sir George Thomas vacated Arundel and offered the nomination to Pitt.6 He voted for the triple tax assessment, 4 Jan. 1798. In 1800 he declined an invitation to stand for Newark on the Newcastle interest at the next election.7 He retired at the dissolution. Balfour died 10 Oct. 1823.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: D. G. Henry


  • 1. DNB; Scots Peerage ed. Paul, i. 545.
  • 2. Cornwallis Corresp. i. 272.
  • 3. Ibid. 69, 503; HMC Hastings, iii. 183.
  • 4. NLS mss 15, f. 33.
  • 5. PRO 30/8/197, ff. 98, 247.
  • 6. PRO 30/8/183, f. 36.
  • 7. SRO GD51/1/200/25.