INNES, Hugh (?1764-1831), of Balmacara House, Lochalsh, Ross.
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Family and Education
b. ?1764, 5th s. of Rev. Hugh Innes of Calton, Glasgow by Jean, da. of Thomas Graham. educ. Glasgow Univ. 1777. unm. cr. Bt. 7 Dec. 1818.
Innes’s father was a leading figure in the Reformed Presbytery who, on the breach of 1753, styled himself ‘moderator of the Reformed Session’ and set up a church for a dissentient congregation in Glasgow. He died in 1765, aged 38.1
Innes’s career after leaving university is obscure, though he joined the Whig Club on 7 Mar. 1797. He was described in 1809 as ‘a mercantile man in London’,2 but he has not been positively identified as such. In 1796 he was living at 18 Tavistock Street and by 1805, when he had moved to 50 Charlotte Street, he had bought the Lochalsh estate from Francis Humberston Mackenzie*, Lord Seaforth. Seaforth, who told Lord Melville that Innes was ‘a gentleman of large fortune and very high character’,3 used him as a locum to safeguard the Ross-shire seat for his son, who was not yet of age, at a contested by-election in 1809. The Whigs classed him under ‘Government’ in March 1810, and he voted with ministers in the decisive divisions on the Scheldt inquiry on the 30th. He voted against the release of John Gale Jones, 16 Apr., sinecure reductions, 17 May, and parliamentary reform, 21 May 1810, but, following Seaforth’s line, sided with opposition on the Regency, 1 and 21 Jan. 1811. His name does not appear in any of the subsequent surviving division lists of the 1807 Parliament.
At the general election of 1812 Innes made way for Seaforth’s son in the county and was himself returned, after another contest, for Tain Burghs, where Seaforth co-operated with the Sutherland interest. He retained the seat for 18 years. On 18 Nov. 1812 George Rose, reviewing an analysis of Members’ political affiliations, remarked of Innes: ‘marked pro, was invariably hostile; there may have been a late explanation’.4 Ministers eventually numbered him among their supporters. He is not known to have divided against them before 1820 but, for all his later boasts that he had ‘paid every attention to my duty, travelled many thousand miles, and most zealously supported his Majesty’s government’,5 he was clearly a lax attender. His only recorded votes in the 1812 and 1818 Parliaments, apart from those against Catholic relief, 2 Mar., 11 and 24 May 1813, 9 May 1817, were in the divisions on the civil list accounts, 8 May 1815, 6 and 24 May 1816, the Duke of Clarence’s allowance, 15 Apr. 1818, Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May, and the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June 1819. He is not known to have spoken in the House before 1820.
In 1818, Innes obtained the baronetcy which he had been pursuing for at least two years, but his applications to be appointed a commissioner of the Caledonian canal and secretary to the order of the Thistle were unsuccessful.6 He died, ‘aged 67’, 16 Aug. 1831.7