Orkney and Shetland


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Number of enrolled freeholders:

40 in 1820; 49 in 1826; 43 in 1830


8 Apr. 1820JOHN BALFOUR19
 Richard Bempde Johnstone Honyman14
1 Sept. 1830GEORGE TRAILL 

Main Article

The Orkneys, a group of almost 70 islands and islets, lay about eight miles off the eastern end of the northern coast of the Scottish mainland, separated from Caithness by the Pentland Firth. There were three main groups of islands: the South Isles, which included Hoy and South Ronaldsay; Pomona, or the Mainland, on which was situated the capital Kirkwall, a royal burgh; and the North Isles of Shapinsay, Eday, Stronsay, Sandray, Westray and North Ronaldsay, among others. Stromness, which was also on the Mainland, was a burgh of barony. Agriculture consisted mostly of primitive crofting, producing oats and barley. The deep-sea cod and herring fisheries flourished in this period. The manufacture of kelp, introduced to Stronsay in 1722, had gained ground, and by 1826 over 3,000 tons were manufactured and exported.1 The treeless and windswept Shetlands, which contained about 100 mostly uninhabited islands, lay a minimum of 50 miles north-east of Orkney. Most of the inhabitants lived on the Mainland, where the port of Lerwick was the islands’ only town. The extensive fisheries were prosperous, and the knitting of woollen yarns was another source of employment.2 Although Shetland had a number of well-to-do resident gentry, they had played no part in parliamentary elections since 1681, when a new qualification of £400 Scots of valued rent had been introduced. No subdivision of the valued rent ever took place, and so Shetlanders were excluded from the electoral process, with no Shetland freeholders on the roll. This state of affairs continued after the Union, and attempts in 1794-5 and 1809 to change it by securing an Act of Parliament for dividing the valued rent were unsuccessful. The dominant interest had once been that of the Whig Sir Thomas Dundas†, 1st Baron Dundas, lord lieutenant of Orkney and Shetland since 1794, but it had been supplanted in 1796 by that of the Melvillite lawyer, Sir William Honyman, Lord Armadale (SCJ), of Graemsay, whose interest depended heavily on parchment votes. Before the general election of 1818 the leading independent proprietors, Captain William Balfour, the representative and man of affairs of his uncle John Balfour of Trenabie, a wealthy nabob and Member in the 1790 Parliament, who lived entirely in England, the lawyers James Traill of Hobister and his son George, who resided in Caithness, and James Baikie of Tankerness, concluded with Lord Dundas an electoral pact of alternating nomination and mutual support to dish the Honyman interest. They secured the concurrence of the Foxite Whig Malcolm Laing† of Strenzie and his brother Samuel Laing† of Papdale (who succeeded Malcolm in the family’s encumbered estates later that year) in the agreement, which was to operate for two years in the first instance. In 1818 Dundas’s son Captain George Dundas, a retired naval officer, easily defeated Armadale’s eldest son Richard Honyman†.3

In early February 1820 Armadale told Lord Melville, the Liverpool ministry’s Scottish manager, that he was confident of Richard’s defeating any man backed by Lord Dundas and his allies, who included in the Traills ‘the most determined Whigs in the county’, as well as Samuel Laing’s brother Gilbert Laing Meason of Lindertis, brother-in-law of Baikie. He wanted to be made lord lieutenant and his son appointed admiral of Orkney and Shetland, thinking that the death of the king made it possible to deprive Dundas of these offices.4 George Traill had already taken steps to persuade John Balfour, now in his 70th year and with unhappy memories of his earlier experience as a Member, to stand on the coalition interest, but he had to overcome the ‘despondency’ of Captain William Balfour, who was reluctant to exert himself on his uncle’s behalf. Traill had the backing of his father, an old friend and kinsman of John Balfour, Baikie and John Traill Urquhart of Elsness, and was hopeful of securing the adherence of Laing, who the previous year had ‘professed his desire to attach himself to our party’. If John Balfour had declined to stand, Traill would have suggested to Captain Balfour that the Dundases should be given the nomination.5 The lord advocate Sir William Rae* did not like the idea of a Honyman coming in, and considered approaching Sir Hugh Innes* of Lochalsh, only to discover that he was not on the Orkney roll. When, however, he learnt that John Balfour had accepted the invitation to stand and was ‘supported not only by most of the friends of government but also by the Dundas interest and will carry it’, he was satisfied.6 Balfour remained in London throughout. At the election meeting, James Traill was chosen as praeses ‘by a majority’. Meason and Baikie nominated Balfour, but Alexander Henderson of Stempster said he was too old for ‘the bustle of public life’, complained that not all the freeholders had been notified of his candidature and proposed Richard Honyman. Lieutenant Gilbert Traill of the navy seconded. Balfour won by five votes in a poll of 33 freeholders; his supporters included three members of the Dundas family, but George Dundas was too unwell to attend. Captain Balfour declared that his uncle had ‘no bias to any political party’ and would ‘act an independent, conscientious and upright part’; and the subsequent victory dinner was portrayed as a celebration of the success of ‘the close union ... of the principal gentlemen of property’, formed ‘in order to defeat what is generally regarded as a selfish attempt to vest an undue political ascendancy in a single family, by the multiplication of votes on one very inconsiderable estate in land to the utmost extent that legal devices can invent’.7 Immediately after the election Captain Balfour and James Traill, acting for their ‘friends’, and Laing, representing his, concluded with the Dundases a renewal of their electoral pact, which was to operate for the next two general elections.8 On the death of Lord Dundas in June he was succeeded in the peerage by his eldest son Lawrence Dundas*. In August John Balfour formally placed all his ‘Orkney concerns’ under the ‘exclusive management’ of his nephew, to whom he sent in November 1820 a cautionary word about not exceeding the statutory limits on election expenses: ‘Whether you shall hereafter look to the situation of representative for the county will be matter for consideration according to circumstances at the time, but there can be nothing amiss in supposing the possibility of your being so’.9

John Balfour gave general but not undeviating support to government and, while he was a lax attender, he was scrupulously attentive to constituency interests, which included the kelp trade, the malt duties and fishery bounties.10 The landholders, freeholders, justices and other inhabitants of Orkney petitioned the Commons for relief from the malt tax, 30 Apr. 1821, and the procurators of the inferior courts did so for repeal of the duty on their licences, 12 Apr. 1824.11 In 1826 there was petitioning of both Houses against interference with the Scottish banking system from Orkney freeholders, the council and inhabitants of Stromness and Shetland landowners resident in Edinburgh.12

On 20 May 1824 Lord Dundas informed Lord Milton* of his ‘hope that [his brother] George will offer himself’ for Orkney at the next general election, which he thought was at least 18 months distant, ‘if the independent gentlemen are strong enough to carry the election’:

I never could wish anybody to take a trip to Orkney to find himself beat by Sir William Honyman, but there can be no occasion to run any such risk as Mr. [John] Ker [Dundas’s principal agent] can give George most accurate information of the number of voters on each side: the event of an election for a small Scotch county is generally known for about a twelvemonth before it takes place as no new freeholders can come upon you by surprise.13

George Dundas made known to the Balfours and others his intention of standing at the next general election in May 1825.14 By then the heritors of Shetland had brought in the name of Arthur Gifford of Busta an action before the court of session to establish their right to vote in parliamentary elections. This was opposed by Laing, William Graham Watt of Breckness, William Balfour of Elwick, Robert Heddle of Melsetter, William Traill of Frotoft, Gilbert Traill of Hatsoun, Lieutenant John Baikie, William Traill of Woodwick, the Rev. Walter Traill of Westove, George Richan of Rapness and George Traill of Holland.15 Before bringing their counter-action, Laing and his associates wrote to John Balfour, Lord Dundas and Sir Richard Honyman (who had succeeded Armadale in January) calling on them to state ‘explicitly’ whether they intended to support it. Captain Balfour, who thought their ‘call is more peremptory than becomes them’, informed John that he had told Laing that his uncle was under no obligation to take sides on the issue and, as he had ‘disclaimed connection with party for thirty years’, would remain strictly neutral. Captain Balfour, whose private opinion was that while a compromise with the Shetlanders would have been desirable, the terms of their suit were unacceptable and, as he believed, legally unsustainable, observed that Laing’s ‘silly’ threat to withdraw support from the Dundas interest if they did not join the resistance to the Shetland claim, even though by the terms of the 1820 renewed agreement he was ‘under a written pledge’ to support their candidate at the next election, looked ‘like an attempt to back out of his engagement’. Captain Balfour had earlier in the year become involved in a desultory attempt to take legal opinion on the question, but had extricated himself because he got little support and feared that the whole expense and responsibility would fall on himself.16 Lord Dundas told Laing that as a heritor of both Orkney and Shetland he would remain neutral, while Armadale’s trustees ‘also declined taking any side’. The first stage of the case, in which, according to Captain Balfour, ‘the whole talent of the bar’, mainly Whig, ‘is engaged against us’, went against the Orcadians, in so far as the court ‘sustained its right to hear the case’ in early June. He reported to John that

Ker tells me that Mr. Laing has hinted very plainly to Mr. Mitchell (Lord Dundas’s Orkney agent) that Lord Dundas’s answer ... is so far from satisfying him ... that he will not vote for Lord Dundas’s friend or any other person who his Lordship’s family may support in future, nor will he vote with any coalition of whom they form a part ... I should be particularly sorry to see him throw away character in this way, as he was in so many respects well qualified to be a leader (which we very much wanted) in county matters ... If he and his follower on this occasion [William] Traill of Woodwick, abandon us, we shall be in a minority of certain votes (19 to 20) and of the three uncertain it is more than probable that two will follow Mr. Laing’s lead; the other I hope will support us.

A few days later he told his uncle:

If Laing joins Heddle and the Honymans, of course the Dundases must be defeated - a result respecting which I cannot feel much anxiety on their account, but its consequence would be that they would have a right to consider themselves absolved from their paction with us, and as neither we or they could do anything alone, the county would for a long time perhaps be left in the power of those who would without scruple sell themselves and their representation.

Speculating on the likely composition of the roll at the time of the next election, he could see 19 votes for Captain Dundas and 17 for General John Fraser, who was favoured by Heddle, with six, including Laing, ‘uncertain’; but he thought that if Heddle realized he could ‘not succeed in bringing in General Fraser’ he might offer to support John Balfour’s re-election ‘with a view of dividing the Dundas party’. He guessed that if Laing took Heddle’s side ‘in breach of his engagement’ he would do so ‘probably more from opposition to George Traill of Hobister than from any better cause’, and reported that Sir Richard Honyman and Heddle ‘are understood to be bound to support each other alternately as we and the Dundases do, Heddle to have the first nomination’ and that Fraser, ‘the only one on Heddle’s side who could accept the situation’, had not so far been ‘named as a candidate’ because Captain Dundas’s intention to stand had not yet been made public.17

When George Dundas formally requested his support in mid-August 1825, Captain Balfour, who observed to his uncle that ‘there cannot be two opinions on the nature of our engagement to the Dundas party’, promised it unreservedly.18 Laing solicited his and John Balfour’s backing, basing his opposition to the Dundases on what he alleged was their entire neglect of Orkney interests, especially in refusing to join the other heritors in resisting the Shetlanders’ claim. John Balfour professed his personal neutrality, but said that his ‘friends ... consider themselves under engagement to support Captain Dundas’; and William Balfour confirmed this and chided Laing for breaking the agreement.19 Yet he asked John Balfour whether, as George Dundas’s opinion on the Shetland question was not known and could turn out to be ‘hostile to our views’, he was entitled before committing the ‘political suicide’ which this would entail to extract from Dundas a pledge that he would not use his powers and privileges as Member to promote the Shetlanders’ case, and if the answer was unsatisfactory to require the Dundases to substitute a candidate who would so pledge himself.20 Meanwhile Laing’s brother Meason, who had not been forewarned of his intentions, had declared his neutrality on the Shetland case and his plan to tie off on Dundas’s side for the election, though he argued that the pact had been renewed in 1820 primarily to thwart any further attempt by Armadale to ‘overrule the principal respectable proprietors’ with manufactured votes, that this threat no longer existed and that in consequence the agreement had lost its raison d’etre. He did not believe that Laing had made a pact with Heddle.21 John Balfour, who had privately decided not to ‘come in again at present’, evidently responded to his nephew’s question about pledging Captain Dundas on the Shetland issue by suggesting that he should be persuaded to stand aside because he could not win and ‘another candidate’ found, but William Balfour assured him that there were many obstacles to this course:

Any such [proposal] from me would look like a sneaking attempt to get you again nominated ... Mr. [James] Traill would feel a similar difficulty, a hint having been given his son [George] after the last election that if it should prove inconvenient for any of the Dundas family to come forward ... their turn should be given up to him ... and of this hint he and his friends had spoken a little unguardedly I fear, so that any difficulty from them would be generally ascribed to selfish motives also. Probably the Baikies would be unwilling to abandon the Dundas connection, or take any step having a tendency to break it, from the knowledge that if not connected with them our little party can be nothing and the county will again fall into such hands as our coalition was formed to release it from. I never will again, unless you are concerned, interfere in county politics or even county business ... I propose therefore to withdraw from all party connection as soon as my present engagement is fulfilled ... The county will fall I think into two parties. Laing, Heddle and the Honymans on one side, the Dundases, Traills, Baikies on the other ... The power of turning the scale will lie with me and the small family connection whom I hope to associate with me ... It is a great defect of our present system that we must support a blockhead named by one part of our friends on this occasion, and a political enthusiast named by the other when their turn comes.22

John Balfour evidently did not take this threat seriously, but his nephew insisted that he was ‘in no joking humour’. He was sure that Captain Dundas would be defeated, but wanted him to discover this for himself, so that the Balfours and their close friends could not be blamed:

He out of the field ... either he will propose that George Traill shall be returned ... who may succeed, or he will have to act as we please, when our support will, I have not the smallest doubt, be tendered to you in the first instance. Some of Laing’s friends and supporters will perhaps desert him, and even Laing himself will oppose you with reluctance ... Should you decline, or should your friends fail of success, the worst that can happen is that Laing will succeed, and when [the] next election takes place we shall have a right to demand the assistance of the Dundases, when (if you are returned this time) G. Traill may take his turn ... On the other hand, if we deserted the Dundases immediately, of course a co-operation with them is at an end for ever. Heddle with his seven votes and three supporters, and Honyman with his eight family votes have the ball at their foot, and once secure against any effectual opposition from our union with the Dundases they may probably fling Laing overboard and then put in their friend General Fraser or, as already reported, Mr. [Alexander] Dallas [of Riddochhill], the writer to the signet, and agent for Honyman and Heddle, which will be nothing better than Captain Dundas, who is at least a gentleman and a good officer.23

At the end of September the attorney George Veitch of Rathobank, Edinburgh, with Captain Balfour’s blessing and on behalf of ‘several of the Orkney freeholders who deem themselves your friends’, asked John Balfour if he would consent to be put forward at the next election. Their second preference, Veitch said, was George Traill. John Balfour referred Veitch to his nephew, but said that while he had no wish to come into Parliament again at his time of life, he would not entirely rule out the possibility that he might accept a spontaneous invitation to do so from a majority of the freeholders, provided he was left unfettered. However, he dismissed that as an option on the present occasion, as he believed that Captain Balfour and their friends were in honour bound to support Dundas.24 George Traill now staked his claim for support at the election after next, asking Captain Balfour, for whom he expressed willingness to step aside if required, to indicate whether he was prepared to endorse him, despite his Whig politics, which he did not see as a bar to his pretensions. He confirmed that he and his father were bent on keeping to their engagement with the Dundases at the impending election and condemned Laing as a plausible charlatan who would one day be exposed. Captain Balfour, who said he would defer on all county political matters to his uncle in the first place, and Traill’s father in the second, would not commit himself so far ahead of the event, but indicated that Traill could probably expect to receive his backing.25 Captain Balfour continued to wish and hope that Dundas would give up, in which case he and his friends could offer their support to John Balfour initially (if only out of courtesy) and to someone else if he declined to stand. James Traill, who was disgusted with the conduct of Laing and his associates, was of the same opinion.26 On 15 Oct. 1825 Captain Balfour summed up the situation in a letter to Baikie:

You know I suppose that Captain Dundas has professed himself favourable to the Orkney freeholders in their question with the Shetlanders; that it is generally believed the Honymans are pledged to support Messrs. Heddle and Watt [of Brockness] as we are the Dundases; that Mr. Meason is not (at least so I hear) to oppose his brother ... that Mr. Heddle says he is under no engagement, but that he is glad Mr. Laing has come forward; that Mr. Dallas doubts whether he shall go down to Orkney or not, but that he is very much obliged to Mr. Laing and Mr. Heddle; that a very bitter correspondence has recently taken place between Mr. Laing and Sir Richard Honyman relative to Mr. Traill of Woodwick’s picture of Queen Mary; that the Honymans are said to attribute all the opposition their family have recently encountered in Orkney to the Laings and that the whole family of Honymans are away to France to retrench. In all this the important point is what part the Honymans intend to take in the present contest. If they take part against Captain Dundas his defeat seems certain, so certain that he will probably retire from the contest, and he and his whole party will have to go on as best we can. If this happens my own vote will be tendered to Mr. [John] Balfour in the first instance of course, but if declined by him I shall be happy to support anyone recommended by you and your friends.27

On 21 Feb. 1826 George Traill wrote to Captain Balfour with news that the Honymans and the Hendersons had decided to support Laing:

We have a resurrection of the old coalition ... by this convert from our body. The state of matters in future must be, if this succeeds and if the parties stick to their engagements, an alternate representation between Heddle and Honyman ... How is this result to be prevented? Ultimately I fear only by the introduction of the Shetland interest, but that is not applicable to the present conjuncture ... Does this [coalition] outnumber Captain Dundas? If so, will Mr. [John] Balfour allow us to put him up, and will the Dundas family take their turn after? I have desired my brother to learn Mr. Balfour’s feeling, and to say that I will undertake to propose the matter to the Dundas family, without committing him in the slightest degree. My own impression is that they will not refuse it ... I am aware my chance of success at the election is nothing like so certain as Mr. Balfour’s, nor do I think the Dundases would be so likely to put me forward, because they would not have the subsequent return; but if Mr. Balfour positively refuses and it is offered to me I will try it and I think with a fair chance of success.28

Captain Balfour, sending this to his uncle, commented that if the Honyman-Heddle coalition had taken place, ‘there seems nothing for us but an arrangement with the Shetlanders to prevent the county being handed from Heddle to Honyman and back again as long as they please’. He dismissed Traill’s notion of putting up Balfour as ‘a mere compliment’, as he was well aware that with the Honyman interest Laing would have 20 votes to the 1820 alliance’s 18. He went on:

Had Captain Dundas seen the affair in its true light, and openly resigned the contest, government might have remained neutral, and the Honymans would have forgot their engagement to Messrs Watt and Heddle. Your success would have been almost certain. But as it is he has hindered our success, and will fail himself. If Captain Dundas is inclined to withdraw his pretensions in our favour it is more than probable that we shall be defeated. We shall exchange the very trifling mortification of his being defeated for the very galling one of seeing one in whom we are all interested in that situation, and for the very trifling chance of success on this occasion, we must pay the price of pledging ourselves, and what is worse prevailing on our friends to give their pledge to force him, or some of his family, down the throat of the freeholders at the next election. If he is allowed to take his own way and no suspicion of unfair dealing exists in his mind or those of his friends, whatever may be the result of the present contest we shall have a right to demand their full assistance at the next.29

In late April Captain Balfour commented to John that although he did not think Traill could succeed even if Dundas left the field, he was still ‘rather sorry’ that Dundas had not given up. He assured his uncle that a current idea that he should go to Orkney for the election should not be entertained, and that Ker had made it clear to Dundas that, leaving aside the state of his health, ‘you are no party to our political arrangements’.30 Traill now intervened again, sticking to his line that if John Balfour, of whom he was seeing a good deal in London, could be got to stand he would succeed, but reporting that when asked directly by Traill’s brother he had said that he ‘would not under any circumstances be induced to accept the seat’. Traill had also talked with Captain Dundas, who had shown him an analysis of the electorate which gave hopes of a narrow victory, but Traill was sceptical, though he was willing to do what he could to win over a crucial vote. He also reported that Dundas had in fact ‘very properly refused to gain a vote by pledging himself on the Shetland question’, and argued that he should be supported to the hilt. He reiterated his own pretensions to support at the election after next, once John Balfour had been given first refusal.31 Captain Balfour assured him that their ‘political views’ coincided, but thought, as he told his uncle, that Traill had painted too gloomy a picture of Dundas’s chances, presumably in the hope of persuading him to stand down for himself. He thought the numbers were equal and that there was every chance of securing the uncommitted. Anticipating Laing’s arrival in Edinburgh to ‘arrange ties for such of his friends as have no desire to visit Orkney, such as the Honymans’, he reflected that the last named ‘certainly cannot feel very comfortable under their obligation to support one who in addition to his constant hostility to their father has added personal insult to some of themselves’.32 Traill reported that Dundas was ‘very anxious to get a tie for Meason, upon whose vote it is probable that the election will turn’, but as Meason and Ker were not on cordial terms he offered to consult Captain Balfour in Edinburgh on the best way to ‘make Meason’s vote available’.33 In the second week of June Captain Balfour was surprised to learn that Traill and his father had engaged to tie off with the Hendersons and lectured him on his moral obligation to support Dundas in person.34 Before his departure for Orkney on 13 June, when the newspapers were reporting the candidates to be level pegging, Captain Balfour told his uncle:

We have been tantalized by a proposal from Laing to withdraw on condition that the Dundases should engage not to oppose his election next Parliament. As this would have been giving up all that we have contended for we at once declined acceding to it, but offered to forego the assistance of the Dundases if an equal number of the Honymans would also engage to remain neutral. This was rejected with great disdain by Mr. Laing, but I still think he has found it impossible to muster his force and that he will yet withdraw, some of those in his confidence still asserting there is to be no contest. I have however advised our friends to act exactly as if it were certain that we were to be opposed; otherwise we may be tricked.35

An analysis of the projected roll by Ker gave Dundas 15 certain to attend (including George Traill) and eight absentees, and Laing only eight likely to attend, with four possibles, while seven, comprising four Honymans, two Hendersons and Dallas were listed as ‘not to attend to support Mr. Laing’.36 When Captain Balfour was sought out by Laing soon after his arrival in Kirkwall, he convinced him that the stories in the Scottish newspapers that his uncle was actively supporting Dundas were not true:

He then proceeded to explain why he had not saved me the trouble of coming here by communicating that there was to be no contest, before I left Edinburgh: that the Honymans had pledged themselves to support him, but that they now insisted on a pledge from him that he and his friends should support them at the next election; that he had offered to pledge himself, but that he could not stipulate for his friends; that the Honymans had consequently declined to support him, but that before he could consider the case hopeless he had tried through Lord Melville to obtain the interference of government with the Honymans, but either ... [Melville] declined to interfere, or his interference had been fruitless ... Laing now announced his determination to retire from the contest ... It would not surprise me at all to find that the whole is a trick, and that after inducing Captain Dundas’s friends to remain at home, all his friends should attend.37

But Laing did indeed announce his retirement, 30 June 1826, ascribing it to the deaths of some pledged supporters and the support of others having been ‘unexpectedly clogged with conditions superadded to their original agreement with those gentlemen of the county to whom they stood pledged, and to which conditions I could not accede’.38 At about this time there was made a discovery of four long lost volumes of Acts of the Scottish Parliament, one of which was a 1649 statute which seemed to confirm the joint rent valuation of Orkney and Shetland and thus to promise an early and successful end to the Shetlanders’ law suit, which was still in progress.39 Dundas was returned without opposition and thanks were unanimously voted to John Balfour for his services. His relieved nephew felt that he had ‘fulfilled my pledge to the Dundas party to their (apparently) entire satisfaction’, and that the endless ‘trouble’ which the business had caused him would have been worthwhile ‘if it tends to secure the county from falling into bad hands’.40 A month later he wrote to John Balfour:

However quietly our election has passed over, the calm is only on the surface. The vanquished ... have not forgot their defeat, and the victors ... have leisure to recollect where their friends might have helped them, but did not. For my own part I scarcely know with which party I am least pleased at present ... We are carrying on an expensive law suit against the Shetlanders unsupported by three fourths of those who have an equal right to bear the burden. I care little ... for the money ... but I regret the application of it for the purpose of perpetuating an evil which is injurious to our fame as individuals and destructive of the sense of honourable feeling to every one whose public and private duty makes it necessary for him to embark in our local politics ... At a late meeting for assigning the parties concerned in their respective share of the expense, Mr. George Traill and I, the only members of our party who have ever joined in the action, signified to ... Laing and Heddle that we would go with them until the decision of the court of session was obtained, but that we were not disposed to make common cause with them any further, but rather the reverse. I took care, however, it should be understood I spoke only for myself and not for you.41

The magistrates, clergy and inhabitants of Stromness petitioned the Commons against Catholic emancipation, which Dundas of course supported, 24 Mar. 1829.42 In October 1826 Captain Balfour reported that Meason intended that Michaelmas to enrol the Whig Sir Ronald Ferguson* and that he (Balfour) was taking steps to secure a division of the valued rent of his feu duties for electoral purposes.43 In 1827 John Balfour authorized the purchase of the Honyman estate of Graemsay and its attached superiorities. Lord Dundas and Traill showed an interest in sharing in it, but Captain Balfour evidently avoided entanglement with them.44 He had warned his uncle in late August 1826 to expect a renewed request from Urquhart, Baikie and others for him to stand at the next general election; but when it came several months later John Balfour replied that old age and uncertain health obliged him to decline.45 Urquhart and Baikie immediately urged George Traill to ‘take immediate steps to secure votes for myself’. He sought the blessing of Captain Balfour, who had pre-empted him by advising him to declare his hand. Yet Balfour evidently also held out the prospect of his uncle’s agreeing to stand again ‘in a certain case’, which inhibited Traill, who asked for this point to be clarified once and for all. He thought ‘the opposite party have no person in view and that by coming forward in time we shall prevent a contest’.46 The difficulty over John Balfour was apparently settled, and Traill staked his claim. In early November 1827 he informed Captain Balfour that when he had told Ker that he was to be the next candidate, ‘in the hope that Lord Dundas might make a vote or two if it was found necessary’, Ker had given him an assurance of Lord Dundas’s support, but had also indicated that Dundas thought it ‘would be right ... that it should be understood that one of his friends will be a candidate at the general election after next’. Before responding to this Traill consulted Captain Balfour, whose view that such an engagement should be declined at this stage coincided with Traill’s:

A combination for alternate returns, by which a Member is chosen by a minority and changed as a matter of course, is bad both in theory and practice, and can be rendered expedient or proper only by such circumstances as gave rise to it in 1818 ... It is quite premature at present to enter into any engagement for an event so distant ... I should certainly not object to a Dundas candidate as such ... but if I was called upon to choose betwixt a stranger or an acquaintance and an intimate personal friend, such for instance as a member of your family, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter, nor could Lord Dundas expect anything else ... At ... the election after next ... were I desirous to come forward again, there could be no reason why I should give way to a person named by Lord Dundas, except you or my friends wished me to do so, in which case I should of course at once acquiesce.47

He had a ‘satisfactory’ explanation of this with Ker, suggesting that ‘at next election at soonest’ the question might be reconsidered, and was sure there would be ‘no unpleasant feeling betwixt us and the Dundas party’ in the interim: ‘This is the advantage of having to do with gentlemen, who are too liberal minded to make an opposition of interests a ground of enmity’. Having gathered from legal experts the view that the Shetlanders’ claim, which was still before the court of session, was almost certain to be ratified sooner or later, he suggested to Captain Balfour in March 1828 that they should in that eventuality ‘propose terms to the Shetlanders before going to Parliament, which will secure to us our just proportion of political influence’.48 Balfour’s view was that while the enfranchisement of the Shetlanders would in theory strengthen the Dundas interest, the ‘Orkney men’ ought by taking appropriate measures to be able to ‘maintain a decided majority on the roll’.49 The issue remained unresolved by the time of the 1830 general election, when George Dundas stood down and Traill, who was confident of walking over, though he fretted a little at the silence of the Dundas party, offered. He was returned unopposed and promised to continue his exertions to bring relief to the stagnant kelp trade.50

A number of petitions for the abolition of slavery were sent to the 1830 Parliament from places in both Orkney and Shetland.51 The council and inhabitants of Stromness petitioned the Commons for reform of the Scottish representative system, 26 Feb. 1831.52 Traill, who fulfilled his promise to try to convince the Grey ministry of the need to relieve the kelp trade, made a point of consulting and deferring to John Balfour on this and other issues affecting the county. Captain Balfour was a little suspicious of him and his ally Baikie, thinking that some ‘political game’ was afoot, and told his uncle in early January 1831 that he would be surprised if the ‘cordiality’ between Traill and the Dundases lasted ‘beyond the next election’, when George Dundas would be in need of a seat:

It being the turn of the Dundases to name a candidate for Orkney, and no intimation so far as I know having been given to them that the arrangement was at an end, they are perhaps expecting that in due time G. Traill will walk out and make room for them; and that, unless he has changed his mind greatly since I last saw him, he has not the smallest intention [of doing]. Perhaps the present influence of the Dundas family [with the new government] may have [wrought] some change in his intentions.

In the second week of February he advised his uncle that a canvass had already begun and that he would probably be ‘asked by each of our old associates what course you recommend, but coupled, I have no doubt, with a hint that your correspondents are very well satisfied with George Traill. In fact what alternative have they, unless you change your determination and allow yourself to be put in nomination?’53 Traill solicited a renewal of support from Captain Balfour in the event of a dissolution, and evidently received a friendly reply, with the proviso that Balfour would ultimately be guided by his uncle’s wishes. Anticipating the ministerial reform scheme, Traill observed that the inevitable enfranchisement of suitably qualified Shetland electors would require a response: he had been dissuaded by John Balfour from urging the premier Lord Grey to give Orkney and Shetland a Member each, while the lawyers he had consulted felt that the Orkney proprietors should keep silent for the moment. He calculated, erroneously, that if there was ‘a political junction of the districts’, Orkney electors would vastly outnumber Shetland ones. He liked the overall ministerial scheme, which perpetuated the junction of Orkney and Shetland, but gave £10 property owners, £10 life leaseholders, leaseholders of property worth £10 on leases of at least 19 years and genuine £50 tenants the vote. Traill claimed that John Balfour, who urged him to ask the Dundases if they were ‘disposed to try to get separate Members for Orkney and Shetland’, agreed with him that the scheme should not be opposed; but Captain Balfour, to whom the plan appeared to be ‘not reform, but revolution’, subsequently discovered that Traill had given a misleading impression of his uncle’s views. Captain Balfour did not know how many Shetlanders would be enfranchised, but reckoned that after reform the Balfour interest would ‘still bear the same proportion to the whole that it did’.54 The landholders of Orkney petitioned the Commons in favour of the reform plan, 21 Mar., and on 12 Apr. the Lords received a petition from the council and inhabitants of Stromness for separate representation for Orkney and Shetland.55 Traill, who voted for the second reading of the English reform bill, 22 Mar., made preliminary soundings of ministers as to the possibility of their conceding this, having received information which led him to believe that there would be about 106 electors in Shetland.56 By 28 Mar. Laing had informed him that in the ‘very probable’ event of a dissolution before reform was carried, he would not oppose his re-election, but that he intended to stand for the county at the first reformed election, believing that ‘my long connection with the smaller heritors in their kelp and fishery business and the good footing on which I stand with all the greater heritors who must always command a decisive influence would give me a fair chance in turn with any candidate’. He circulated this announcement to all freeholders, including Captain Balfour, who was informed that Laing had on 30 Mar. started a canvass of ‘all who it is expected under the new system will have votes’. He observed to his uncle:

Laing is so popular among the small proprietors and householders, and ... Traill is so little known to them that the latter can stand no chance in a contest with the other if the reform bill passes in the original form, unless he can induce the Shetlanders to make common cause with him on the footing of alternate representation; and I should think it better to enter into some compromise with Mr. Laing on the same footing, for it would certainly be in every respect unpleasant to the resident freeholders to force a representative on the county, by the assistance of a stranger, against the inclinations of a decided majority of our countrymen. From Mr. Laing’s mark under the words in his private letter, ‘would give me a fair chance in turn’, I infer that alternate return would satisfy him, and in common with the Shetlanders, or Lord Dundas, we can only expect the same share. I am rather inclined to give Mr. Laing the preference. In this, however, as in all else, I am ready to do what you think best.

Baikie and Urquhart agreed, the former commenting to John Balfour that a pact with Laing might be the answer, ‘if nothing better can be done to preserve the peace of the county and to make it unnecessary to divide the representation with Shetland’.57 Captain Balfour, who thought Traill had taken leave of his senses in trying to become the champion of reform, on which Laing would always outdo him, remained of opinion that it would be ‘very unpleasant’ to ally with the Shetlanders against an Orcadian and that ‘our best course for the present at least [is] to take half the loaf with Mr. Laing rather than no bread’. He joined with Baikie and Lord Dundas’s agent in addressing to the ‘smaller heritors’ a notice asking them not to make promises of support which would prevent them from supporting Traill, and in promoting a canvass of prospective electors for him. He reported, too, that ‘the Dundases have volunteered their assistance to bring Mr. Traill in without any stipulation except that he is supported by our friends with whom they had hitherto acted’.58 Unknown to Captain Balfour, who was in Kirkwall throughout these developments, Traill had decided by 8 April to give up the seat at the next dissolution. He duly informed Balfour of this:

Laing has said that he does not wish to prevent my re-election before the reform bill passing; but I have the best reason to know that the bill will pass without a dissolution, and even if it did not, my continuing to represent the county for another year, under the circumstances in which we are to be placed, would be of no service in enabling me to strengthen our interest with a view to the representation under the new state of things.

He questioned Balfour’s rejection of a pact for alternate returns with the Shetlanders, arguing that as they might in a reformed constituency hold the key to elections, it would be foolish to ‘continue to treat them as aliens’. As for an alliance with Laing, he believed that Balfour had misinterpreted Laing’s reference to ‘in turn’, contended that Laing was not a fit person to conduct county business effectively, said that he would support any person put up by the Balfours provided he favoured reform, but suggested that George Dundas would be willing to stand against Laing and should be sounded immediately. An additional recommendation of Dundas was that as a lord of the admiralty he had it ‘in his power to give the greatest aid in furthering our claims’.59 Captain Balfour had been continuing to canvass for Traill, promisingly as he thought, but when he received Traill’s letter announcing his retirement and recommending Dundas he felt, as he told his uncle, 21 Apr., that he was

placed in an awkward situation. If ... Dundas is the candidate, he can have no chance unsupported by the entire, or nearly so, body of the Shetland voters, and it would be strange indeed if they give him their support for the honour merely of being so represented after their long and expensive struggle for their political rights. They are much more likely to bargain for alternate nomination, so that Orkney will have the boon of alternately returning one of the Dundases and a Shetlander, still more a stranger to us and our concerns. To such an arrangement I should be very reluctant to accede ... By joining Laing, on the footing of alternate nomination, we should probably preserve the election to an Orkneyman; at all events we should preserve the peace of our district, and that unanimity among our gentlemen the want of which has so often been an obstruction to measures of general utility. Unfortunately the experience we have had of Mr. Laing is unfavourable to our reliance on any arrangement we could make with him ... so that the neutrality you recommend would seem to be not only our wisest, but our only practical course.

He wrote to Traill in an attempt to get him to change his mind, and pressed on with the canvass. He believed, rightly, that Traill had an eye on Caithness as an alternative seat; and reformers there, acting on his authority, had already begun to promote his candidature for the first reformed election.60 By the time Traill received Captain Balfour’s letter the situation had changed, with the defeat of the ministry on Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment to the reform bill, 19 Apr., and the king’s sanctioning of an immediate dissolution. Anticipating this, 21 Apr., Traill told Balfour, Baikie and Urquhart that he had extricated himself from Caithness and decided to offer for Orkney as a supporter of the reform scheme on the present occasion, having been assured by George Dundas that he had no wish to stand.61 Captain Balfour went along with this, still disapproving of the bill but perceiving that reform was now unstoppable and reckoning that ‘more good may be expected, and less mischief is likely to follow, from ... [Traill’s] election than that of any other’, though he complained that Traill had had ‘no authority’ for recommending Dundas and noted that a number of leading Orkney freeholders were not oblivious to the fact that Caithness stood to benefit more from reform than did Orkney, having been awarded a Member of its own after alternating with Buteshire since the Union. He had declined to sign ‘a circular drawn up by Baikie and Lord Dundas’s people because it approved of the reform bill’ and, while approving of ‘our instructing’ Traill as his uncle suggested, warned that caution was necessary as he believed that Laing had ‘in view to word the instruction in such a form that he may have ground for accusation against George Traill if he supports ministers without their compliance with our wishes’ regarding the separation from Shetland.62 On his way north for his unopposed election Traill bearded the lord advocate Francis Jeffrey* on this matter, but was given not ‘the slightest hope of succeeding’.63 Reporting Traill’s election to his uncle, 1 June, Captain Balfour wrote:

At a meeting held yesterday Mr. Laing proposed a series of resolutions expressed in very strong terms as to the junction of Orkney with Shetland, its injustice and inexpediency, drawing a parallel between our population, commerce and wealth, etc., and that of Caithness and Sutherland, to each of which a separate representation had been awarded though in all these respects our inferior, ending with resolving that as reform was now sure to take place whatever ministry might be in ... our representative should be instructed to oppose the bill brought in by the present men at every stage, and though he should stand alone divide the House as often as he had an opportunity unless the concession were made to us ... I have no doubt that his object was to obtain such resolutions as to Mr. Traill’s instruction as would have disgusted the latter so much as to induce him to refuse to be returned, in which case he perhaps hoped that he himself might be invited to stand, or at all events that a breach might be effected between Traill and some of his supporters. Laing’s friends however had prevailed on him to withdraw the most obnoxious resolutions or at least to soften them down into requests that our representative would do his best to effect our disjunction from Shetland. He immediately after left Kirkwall and our ... [election] meeting passed off as quietly as a Quaker meeting.

Balfour added that he believed that ‘the good understanding’ between Traill and the Dundases was ‘such that any arrangement between him and Laing for alternate representation is out of the question’, but suspected that although Traill had disclaimed any intention of forming such an alliance with the Dundases, still less with the Shetlanders, he was not being entirely frank about ‘the nature and extent of his connection with the Dundases’, which might well be ‘of a kind he knows we must disapprove of’. Captain Balfour subsequently received information and saw letters which convinced him that Traill was in fact not guilty of concluding a binding arrangement for the future with the Dundases.64 The lord lieutenancy, vacant since his father’s death, was conferred on Lord Dundas in May 1831.

Proprietors of Shetland petitioned the Commons for separate representation, 23 Sept., 3 Oct. 1831.65 Traill redoubled his effort behind the scenes to achieve this, but with no success, although Lord Althorp, the leader of the House, did concede in October 1831 that he had made out a strong case, and next month expressed personal sympathy for it, but saw the government’s determination not to add further to the number of Scottish Members as an insuperable obstacle. The defeat of the English reform bill in the Lords in early October and the subsequent prorogation put paid to Traill’s notice of an amendment to the Scottish measure. He then recruited the support of Lord Dundas.66 He had written in early October of his hope of concluding an arrangement with Laing, in the preliminaries to which Captain Balfour had played a part, which would `prevent a contest’ next time; but Laing was unimpressed with his efforts to obtain separate representation, as he complained to Captain Balfour in mid-November:

It is evident that ministers are not now in a situation to treat with contempt the just representations of a Scotch county against the details of the Scotch reform bill, if those representations are backed by petitions ... against our junction with Shetland as unjust, partial and converting an independent county into a nomination county and backed by instructions to our representative to vote against the Scotch reform bill as destructive of the political existence of his constituents ... With the command of the feu duties of Shetland and of great part of Orkney and with the entire church patronage ... the Member for Orkney and Shetland united will be in the long run entirely in the nomination of Lord Dundas’s family ... If we had instructed our representative in time when I proposed our doing so to divide against the Scotch reform bill rather than agree to the junction of Shetland to Orkney we would I am confident have gained our point. Selkirk and Peebles and Bute have gained it with claims much inferior to ours, by adopting the very mode I then proposed, of petitioning both Houses against the details of the Scotch bill. I did not press the matter at that time on account of Mr. Baikie’s suggestion that it might be indelicate towards Mr. Traill to fetter him in his vote on a particular question. I ... see no indelicacy now when it is no longer the general question of reform but the detail of the Scotch bill, and whether his constituents are or are not to be deprived of their elective rights by that detail, to give the most decided instructions to the representative of the county not to surrender those rights by aiding the bill with his vote.67

Whether Traill was so mandated is not clear. In the winter of 1831-2 the Scottish solicitor-general Henry Cockburn urged Thomas Kennedy*, his coadjutor in the original draft Scottish reform proposals, to try to prevent ministers from giving way on the Orkney and Shetland issue, which would probably entail a return to the ‘horrid and dangerous’ system of alternating returns, perhaps between Shetland and Buteshire.68 Ministers stood by their original proposal. Petitions against it from the proprietors and inhabitants of Shetland reached the Commons, 25 May, 6 June 1832.69 Traill, under pressure from some of his constituents, made two token and futile attempts to achieve a separation in the Commons, 6, 27 June. He put the case forcefully, but did not divide the House on either occasion; on the second, the third reading of the Scottish bill, his proposal involved the disfranchisement of one of the burghs districts to facilitate giving Orkney and Shetland a Member each. He thanked Captain Balfour for a subsequent public defence of his efforts, but disagreed with his argument that the outcome might have been different if Traill ‘had been better supported by the parties interested’, contending that the case had been hopeless once the number of Scottish Members had been fixed.70

The issue remained a sore point with a number of leading Orkney proprietors, including John Balfour and Laing, but at the 1832 general election, when the reformed constituency of Orkney and Shetland had a registered electorate of 270, Traill was returned without opposition.71 He was beaten by Captain Balfour’s Conservative son Thomas in 1835, but the seat was regained by Frederick Dundas in 1837 and remained in Liberal hands for the rest of the century.72

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1895), v. 131-41; Orkney Archives, Balfour mss D2/35/28, Peterkin to Traill, 9 Nov. 1831.
  • 2. Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, vi. 336-43; Balfour mss D2/35/28, Peterkin to Traill, 9 Nov. 1831.
  • 3. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 561-3.
  • 4. NAS GD51/1/198/19/11.
  • 5. Orkney Archives D14/1, Traill to Urquhart, 19 Jan., 16 Feb. 1820.
  • 6. NLS mss 11, ff. 14, 17, 79; Inverness Courier, 23 Mar. 1820.
  • 7. Balfour mss D2/27/7, J. to W. Balfour, 5, 22 Apr.; Inverness Courier, 13, 20 Apr. 1820.
  • 8. Balfour mss D2/24/1, W. to J. Balfour, 22 Aug. [1825].
  • 9. Ibid. D2/11/9, J. to W. Balfour, 12 Aug., 10 Nov. 1820.
  • 10. Ibid. J. to W. Balfour, 23 June, 11 July, 12 Aug. 1820.
  • 11. CJ, lxxvi. 292; lxxix. 281.
  • 12. Ibid. lxxxi. 203, 211; LJ, lviii. 144, 166.
  • 13. Fitzwilliam mss.
  • 14. Balfour mss D2/24/1, Ker to W. Balfour, 26 May 1825.
  • 15. Ibid. D2/5/9.
  • 16. Ibid. D2/24/1, W. to J. Balfour, 18, 20 May 1825.
  • 17. Ibid. W. to J. Balfour, 30 May, 10, 14, 21 June 1825
  • 18. Ibid. D2/28/11, Dundas to W. Balfour, 18 Aug., reply, 24 Aug.; D2/24/1, W. to J. Balfour, 22 Aug. 1825.
  • 19. Ibid. D2/3/18, Laing to J. Balfour, 24 Aug.; D2/28/11, reply, n.d., W. Balfour’s reply, 2 Sept. [1825].
  • 20. Ibid. D2/24/1, W. to J. Balfour, 6, 12 Sept. 1825.
  • 21. Ibid. D2/28/11, Meason to Baikie, 13 Sept., 30 Sept. 1825.
  • 22. Ibid. D2/24/1, W. to J. Balfour, 23 Sept. 1825.
  • 23. Ibid. same to same, 1 Oct. [1825].
  • 24. Ibid. Veitch to J. Balfour, 30 Sept.; D2/28/11, reply, 6 Oct. 1825.
  • 25. Ibid. D2/8/13, Traill to W. Balfour, 3 Oct.; D2/28/11, reply, 8 Oct. 1825.
  • 26. Ibid. D2/28/11, W. Balfour to J. Traill, 4 Oct., reply, 8 Oct. 1825.
  • 27. Ibid.
  • 28. Ibid.
  • 29. Ibid. D2/3/10, W. to J. Balfour, 25 Feb. 1826.
  • 30. Ibid. D2/28/11, W. to J. Balfour, 24 Apr. 1826.
  • 31. Ibid. D2/8/13, Traill to W. Balfour, 29 Apr. 1826.
  • 32. Ibid. D2/3/10, W. to J. Balfour [May]; D2/28/11, same to Traill, 5 May 1826.
  • 33. Ibid. D2/28/11, Traill to W. Balfour, 23 May 1826.
  • 34. Ibid. W. Balfour to Traill, 9 June 1826.
  • 35. Caledonian Mercury, 15 June; Balfour mss D2/3/10, W. to J. Balfour, 13 June; D2/23/11, Ker to Dallas, 13 June 1826.
  • 36. Balfour mss D2/23/11.
  • 37. Ibid. D2/3/10, W. to J. Balfour, 26 June 1826.
  • 38. Orkney Archives D14/1, Laing’s handbill, 30 June 1826.
  • 39. Balfour mss D2/23/14, Peterkin to W. Balfour, 1 July 1826.
  • 40. Ibid. D2/3/10, W. to J. Balfour, 12 July; Inverness Courier, 26 July 1826.
  • 41. Balfour mss D2/3/10, W. to J. Balfour, 9 Aug. 1826.
  • 42. CJ, lxxxiv. 165.
  • 43. Balfour mss D2/3/10, W. to J. Balfour, 7 Oct.; D2/28/11, Hutton to Mitchell, 26 Dec. 1826.
  • 44. Ibid. D2/12/6, J. to W. Balfour, 17 Apr., 26 May; D2/8/13, Traill to W. Balfour, 19 May; D2/8/24, same to same, 22 Oct. 1827; D2/7/12, W. to J. Balfour, 4 June, 17 Oct., Traill to same, 24 Oct. 1827.
  • 45. Ibid. D2/3/10, W. to J. Balfour, 29 Aug. 1826; D2/28/11, reply, 5 May 1827.
  • 46. Ibid. D2/7/12, Traill to W. Balfour, 20 June 1827.
  • 47. Ibid. D2/8/24, same to same, 2, 10 Nov. 1827.
  • 48. Ibid. same to same, 18 Mar. 1828.
  • 49. Ibid. D2/14/8, W. to J. Balfour [5 Mar. 1828].
  • 50. Ibid. D2/8/9, Traill’s address, 1 July, Traill to W. Balfour, 16 July; Inverness Courier, 8 Sept. 1830,
  • 51. CJ, lxxxvi. 188, 454, 455; LJ, lxiii. 473-4.
  • 52. CJ, lxxxvi. 310.
  • 53. Balfour mss D2/3/14, W. to J. Balfour, 13 Dec. 1830, 3, 13 Jan., 11 Feb. 1831.
  • 54. Ibid. D2/8/9, Traill to W. Balfour, 5 Feb., 12, 16 Mar.; D2/3/14, W. to J. Balfour, 17 Mar., 12 Apr. 1831.
  • 55. CJ, lxxxvi. 416; LJ, lxiii. 408.
  • 56. Balfour mss D2/8/9, Traill to W. Balfour, 28 Mar. 1831.
  • 57. Ibid. D2/3/14, W. to J. Balfour, 30 Mar., Baikie to same, 1 Apr.; D2/8/9, Traill to W. Balfour, 28 Mar. 1831.
  • 58. Ibid. D2/3/14, W. to J. Balfour, 12 Apr. 1831.
  • 59. Ibid. D2/31/26, Traill to W. Balfour, 8 Apr. 1831.
  • 60. Ibid. D2/3/14, W. to J. Balfour, 21 Apr. 1831; NAS GD536/8.
  • 61. Balfour D2/23/11; Caledonian Mercury, 30 Apr., 4 May 1831.
  • 62. Balfour mss D2/3/14, W. to J. Balfour, 11 May 1831.
  • 63. Ibid. Traill to J. Balfour, 13 May 1831.
  • 64. Ibid. W. to J. Balfour, 1, 8 June 1831.; Wellington mss WP1/1185/35; Inverness Courier, 1 June 1831.
  • 65. CJ, lxxxvi. 863, 885.
  • 66. Balfour mss D2/3/14, Traill to W. Balfour, 1 Oct., 8 Dec., to Dundas, 19 Nov., reply, 23 Nov., Althorp to Traill, 2 Dec., W. to J. Balfour, 21 Dec.; D2/8/13, Traill to W. Balfour, 8 Oct.; D2/35/28, Peterkin to Traill, 9 Nov. 1831.
  • 67. Ibid. D2/35/19.
  • 68. Cockburn Letters, 358, 363, 386, 394.
  • 69. CJ, lxxxvii. 343, 382.
  • 70. Balfour mss D2/37/6, Traill to W. Balfour, 6 July 1832.
  • 71. Ibid. D2/20/11, J. to W. Balfour, 20 July, 1 Oct.; D2/24/14, Jeffrey to Traill, 4 Dec.; D2/28/11, Laing’s address to the electors, 22 Dec. 1832.
  • 72. Scottish Electoral Politics, 224, 231, 238, 245, 255.