CARNEGIE, Sir James, 5th bt (1799-1849), of Kinnaird Castle, Southesk, Forfar

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



1830 - 1831

Family and Education

b. 28 Sept. 1799, 1st s. of Sir David Carnegie, 4th bt.†, of Pittarrow, Kincardine and Kinnaird and Agnes Murray, da. of Andrew Elliot of Greenwells, Roxburgh, lt.-gov. of New York, 1779-83. educ. Eton c. 1812. m. 14 Nov. 1825, at Naples, Charlotte, da. of Rev. Daniel Lysons of Hempstead Court, Glos., rect. of Rodmarton, 3s. 2da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. as 5th bt. 25 May 1805. d. 30 Jan. 1849.

Offices Held


Carnegie was only five when he succeeded his father, who died in harness as Foxite Member for Forfarshire, to the baronetcy and the Kinnaird estate, near Brechin. The elder of two sons born after the consecutive births of ten girls, he was raised by his mother, a cousin of the 1st Lord Minto, and his guardian, the Foxite Whig William Maule*, his father’s successor as county Member. Like his father, he was sent to Eton. He travelled extensively in Europe from 1819. In September 1822 he and Maule accompanied Joseph Hume, radical Member for Aberdeen Burghs, to the ceremony in Arbroath at which he was presented with a piece of plate in recognition of his parliamentary exertions.1 In 1824 he returned to Italy, where he met Charlotte Lysons, the daughter of the author of The Environs of London and Magna Britannia. They were married at the house of the British consul in Naples the following year, and resumed their travels in 1826 before returning to Scotland. Carnegie continued the estate improvements begun by his father and grandfather and slowly disencumbered the property of debts contracted in land purchases. He bought for £48,500 the grouse-shooting estate of Strachan, Kincardineshire, and for £9,000 the property of Baldovie, near Montrose.2

In October 1829 Carnegie notified Hume that he intended to stand for Aberdeen Burghs (of which Brechin and Montrose were two, and which his father had represented, 1784-90) at the next election. He undertook a personal canvass, paying particular attention to Brechin council.3 At the dissolution in July 1830, when Hume opted to stand for Middlesex, Carnegie offered for the burghs as a man ‘decidedly in favour’ of the duke of Wellington’s administration, whose record of economy and retrenchment he praised. With Maule staying neutral, he secured the vote of Brechin, which, with those of Aberdeen and Inverbervie, gave him the victory over his Whig opponent, Captain Horatio Ross*. At his celebration dinner he reiterated his high opinion of the government, but said that he would be ‘free and independent’, determined to give priority to his constituents’ views and interests.4 Ministers listed him as one of their ‘friends’, but the word ‘crotchet’ was subsequently written by his name: this may have been a reference to his family’s claim to the attainted earldom of Southesk, which his father had unsuccessfully pursued. He presented anti-slavery petitions from the trades of Aberdeen, 10 Nov., and the inhabitants of Inverbervie, 6 Dec. 1830. He was in the ministerial minority in the division on the civil list which brought them down, 15 Nov. 1830. The radical rant in support of reform petitions from Inverkeithing and Queensferry, 16 Feb., which was attributed to Carnegie by the Mirror of Parliament (the speech was not noticed in The Times) was surely delivered by James Johnston, Member for Stirling Burghs; Carnegie is not known to have spoken in debate. He divided against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s English reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. This lost him support in the burghs, and with Ross seemingly unstoppable, he announced his retirement at the ensuing dissolution, acknowledging in his valedictory address that his conscientious votes against a measure ‘fraught with innovations dangerous to the constitution ... but more especially to the welfare of Scotland’ had put him at odds with many of his constituents.5

Carnegie left public life and devoted himself to his estates. He revived the Southesk peerage claim, but without success. He died at Kinnaird in January 1849. Administration of his personal estate was granted on 21 Apr. 1849 to his eldest son and successor James Carnegie (1827-1905), who in 1855 was raised to the peerage as 6th earl of Southesk after the reversal of the 1716 attainder of his distant kinsman the 5th earl.6

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Aberdeen Jnl. 25 Sept. 1822.
  • 2. Sir W. Fraser, Carnegies of Southesk, 231-5.
  • 3. Add. 37950, ff. 45, 46.
  • 4. Aberdeen Jnl. 7, 14 July, 4, 11, 18, 25 Aug. 1830.
  • 5. Ibid. 27 Apr., 4 May 1831.
  • 6. PROB 6/225/23.