ELPHINSTONE FLEEMING, Hon. Charles (1774-1840), of Cumbernauld and Biggar, Stirling.

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



13 Jan. 1802 - 1812
1832 - 1834

Family and Education

b. 1774, 2nd s. of John, 11th Baron Elphinstone [S], by Anne, da. of James Ruthven, styled 3rd Baron Ruthven [S]. m. June 1816, Catalina Paulina Alessandro, ‘a Spanish lady’, 1s. 4da. suc. gdm. to the Wigtown estates 1799 and took additional name of Fleeming.

Offices Held

Lt. RN 1793, cdr. 1794, capt. 1794; col. marines 1812-13, r.-adm. 1813; c.-in-c. Gibraltar 1814; v.-adm. 1821, adm. 1837; c.-in-c. at the Nore 1834-6, Portsmouth 1839.

Gov. Greenwich Hosp. 1839-d.


Elphinstone Fleeming had seen naval service in the Mediterranean and the West Indies when, in succession to his uncle Lord Keith, he was unanimously returned for Stirlingshire. This was at the instigation of his family and the Duke of Montrose and with the concurrence of the minister, Addington, whom he was expected to support.1 He was challenged at the ensuing general election by Sir Robert Abercromby, Henry Dundas’s nominee, who on being defeated petitioned unsuccessfully against Fleeming. The grounds were that his qualification, based on the estate of his great-grandfather John, 6th Earl of Wigtown, which he had inherited in 1799 under an entail of 1741, was invalid.2 His return was unopposed in 1806 and 1807.

On the resumption of hostilities Fleeming commanded the Egyptienne, capturing several ships off the French coast 1803-5, which made him an absentee Member. He was listed one of the Prince of Wales’s friends in the spring of 1804, but as a supporter of Pitt’s second ministry in September 1804 and July 1805. He was reckoned a supporter of the Grenville ministry and voted for Brand’s motion following their dismissal, 9 Apr., against the address, 26 June, and for Whitbread’s motion on the state of the nation, 6 July 1807. Thereafter he was absent for five years on active service, though he continued to be listed a friend of the opposition. In February 1811 his uncle stated on his behalf that Fleeming’s politics were ‘to oppose a weak minister, and support a strong’.3 In 1812, faced with a contest with a ministerialist for the county, after he had only just arrived home, he withdrew. He was then advised against standing for Stirling Burghs in place of Sir John Henderson*.4 He had remained preoccupied with his profession, but was never afloat again and did not return to Parliament until 1832. He died 30 Oct. 1840, aged 66,5 reported to have been ‘a terror to every ship’s company he commanded’.6

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. NLS mss 9370, f. 197.
  • 2. CJ, lviii. 38.
  • 3. SRO GD22/1/327, Keith to Speirs, 29 Feb. 1811 [sic].
  • 4. Morning Chron. 9 Oct. 1812; Blair Adam mss, Adam to Henderson, 11 Oct., to Fullerton Elphinstone, 16 Oct. 1812.
  • 5. Gent. Mag. (1841), i. 425.
  • 6. W. L. Clowes, The Royal Navy, v. 25.