PRINGLE, John (1796-1831), of Clifton and Haining, Selkirk.

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



31 May 1819 - 1820

Family and Education

b. 10 July 1796, 1st s. of Mark Pringle* of Fairnielee by Anne Elizabeth, da. of Robert Chalmers of Larbert, Stirling. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1813. unm. suc. fa. 1812.

Offices Held

Cornet, 7 Hussars 1814, lt. 1816, half-pay 1817-19.


Pringle, described as a dandy, had an interest in Selkirk burgh which, in his absence, was bestowed by his agent, Andrew Lang, on the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch. This was evidently against Pringle’s wishes and in 1819 he came forward as the opposition candidate at the by-election for the district, with the support of the veteran Whig William Maxwell II*. He was willing to retire in favour of Lord Minto’s brother if the latter stood a better chance and set himself a limit of £1,000 expenditure, which was considered ‘stinginess’. His ‘age and appearance’ were also against him, there being no dandies on the district councils; but as the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch’s death had thrown his party into confusion, Pringle emerged as the strongest candidate and was returned by the casting vote of Selkirk.1

In Parliament he was a staunch, if silent, supporter of opposition. After pairing against the excise duties bill on 18 June, he voted with them against the foreign enlistment bill, 21 June 1819; for Brougham’s motion on the abuse of charitable foundations, 23 June, and for Burdett’s motion in favour of parliamentary reform, 1 July. In the ensuing session he was in the minorities against the address, 24 Nov.; on the state of the country, 30 Nov.; against the seditious meetings bill, 2 and 13 Dec.; in favour of considering Robert Owen’s social experiment, 16 Dec., and against the newspaper duties bill, 20 Dec. He was unavoidably absent on 22 Dec., when he again intended to vote against the third reading of the latter, as well as for ‘Mr Maberly’s motion’.2 On 21 and 23 Dec. he voted against the blasphemous and seditious libels bill, particularly against banishment for a second libel.

Pringle was ousted from his seat at the general election of 1820 and defeated at Aldborough. He died as a result of being thrown from his carriage at Haining, 5 May 1831.3 This deprived ‘the reform cause of a zealous and talented advocate’. His brother Robert subsequently represented the county.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. NLS mss 13434, Maxwell to Minto, 3 Apr. 1818; 13341, Elliot to Minto, [28, 30 Apr.], Sat. night [May], 10, 11 May 1819.
  • 2. Morning Chron. 25 Dec. 1819.
  • 3. The Times, 12 May 1831.