George Lockhart (politician)

Sir George Lockhart of Lee (1673 – 17 December 1731), of Carnwath, South Lanarkshire, also known as Lockhart of Carnwath, was a Scottish writer and Jacobite politician who sat in the Parliament of Scotland from 1702 to 1707 and as a Tory in the House of Commons from 1708 to 1715. He was a member of the Commission on the Union before 1707 but acted as an informant to his Jacobite colleagues and later wrote an anonymous memoir of its dealings. He supported the Stuart cause in the Jacobite rising.

Sir George Lockhart
Sir George Lockhart of Carnwath.png
Portrait by Sir John Baptiste de Medina
Member of Parliament for Midlothian
In office
Preceded byNew constituency
Succeeded byJohn Baird
Member of Parliament for Wigtown Burghs
In office
Preceded byNew constituency
Succeeded byWilliam Cochrane
Commissioner for Edinburghshire
In office
12 November 1702 – 25 March 1707
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Died17 December 1731 (aged 58)
Political partyTory
Other political
Squadrone Volante

Early lifeEdit

Lockhart was the son of Sir George Lockhart of Carnwath and his second wife Philadelphia Wharton, daughter of Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton and sister of Thomas Wharton, 1st Marquess of Wharton one of the leaders of the Whig Junta. After his father’s death, Lockhart succeeded to a sizable estate at the age of eight years. His Whiggish guardians removed his tutor, John Gillane, the family’s episcopalian chaplain. His education was placed in the hands of Presbyterian tutors who also tutored John Campbell. Lockhart and Argyll became friends as children, and remained friends into adulthood despite political differences. Campbell became one of Scotland's leading Whigs, while Lockhart came to have a profound dislike of Presbyterianism . By 1695 he had obtained the appointment of episcopalian guardians and had begun to manage his own financial affairs. He developed the estate and exploited the coal reserves to become one of the wealthiest of Scottish commoners, and gathered a major electoral interest in Lanarkshire and Midlothian. He married Lady Euphemia Montgomerie (d. 1738), daughter of a leading Episcopalian peer Alexander Montgomerie, 9th Earl of Eglintoun on 30 April 1697.[1]

The Parliament of Scotland and the Treaty of UnionEdit

In 1702, Lockhart became shire commissioner for the shire of Edinburgh in the Parliament of Scotland.[2] He joined the cavalier wing of the Country party. He was made a privy councillor in 1703 as part of the Court’s attempt to woo the cavaliers. He was attracted to a political alliance in the hope of achieving legal toleration for Episcopalians but as this was not forthcoming, he went into opposition, and remained disaffected with the Court for the rest of his time in the Scottish parliament. He denounced the defection from the Country party of the so-called ‘New Party’ (later Squadrone) in 1704. He had a close connection with the Duke of Hamilton, although he was frustrated at the Duke’s unwillingness to pursue Jacobite objectives. After he voted for Hamilton’s motion for deferring a decision on the succession, he was removed from the privy council in December 1704. In 1705, to his annoyance, he was appointed a commissioner for arranging the union with England apparently through the influence of Wharton. Initially he decided not to accept the post, but was persuaded by Jacobite colleagues that it would be useful for him to report back to them on the proceedings. He avoided signing the treaty, and in Parliament became one of the most vigorous opponents of the Union. Although he had some support for the article on communication of trade, he usually voted with the opposition, and abstained from voting on ratification.[1]

British parliament and attempt to repeal the UnionEdit

After the union Lockhart was not one of the but he decided to seek election to Westminster to serve the Jacobite cause, and to distract the ministry from suspicion about the intended invasion. He gave his interest in Lanarkshire to Lord Archibald Hamilton and was returned as Member of Parliament for Edinburgh. He was also returned for Wigtown burghs where he stood as an insurance.[1] In 1713 he took part in an abortive movement aiming at the repeal of the union. He was deeply implicated in the rising of 1715, the preparations for which he assisted at Carnwath and at Dryden, his Edinburgh residence. He was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, but probably, through the favour of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll, he was released without being brought to trial; but his brother Philip was taken prisoner at the Battle of Preston and condemned to be shot, the sentence being executed on 2 December 1715. Lockhart continued to act on behalf of James III; his letters were intercepted by the government in 1727 but he was warned of his imminent arrest by Charles Erskine, a senior government legal officer and managed to escape to the Continent.[3] Argyll's influence was again exerted in Lockhart's behalf, and in 1728 he was permitted to return to Scotland, where he lived in retirement till his death in a duel on 17 December 1731.


The "Lockhart Papers" are a significant authority for the history of the Jacobites. Lockhart was the author of Memoirs of the Affairs of Scotland, dealing with the reign of Queen Anne up to the union with England, first published in 1714. These Memoirs, together with Lockhart's correspondence with the Pretender, and some other papers of minor importance, were published again in the two volumes of Lockhart Letters (1817), edited by Anthony Aufrere.[4]

Lockart was the source of intelligence revealing the extensive bribery of Scottish parliamentarians prior to the Treaty of Union, giving rise to the famous Robert Burns line: "bought and sold for English gold". He published a list of bribes paid by the English Treasury.


Lockhart belonged to the Lockharts of Lee, who were active in Scots law and politics during the 17th century. He married Eupheme Montgomerie, daughter of Alexander Montgomerie, 9th Earl of Eglinton, by whom he had a large family.

He had 2 sons one being Alexander Lockhart, Lord Covington, and the older, more reclusive brother, Henry Lockhart (1690-1787), who had 1 son with his wife Mary Lockhart (1692-1780)

His daughter Grace Lockhart married John Gordon, 3rd Earl of Aboyne.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "LOCKHART, George (1681-1731), of Carnwath, Lanark., and Dryden, Edinburgh". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  2. ^ Foster, Joseph, ed. (1882), Members of Parliament, Scotland 1357-1882, Hazell, Watson and Viney, retrieved 27 June 2019
  3. ^ Szechi, Daniel, Sankey, Margaret (November 2001). "Elite Culture and the Decline of Scottish Jacobitism 1716-1745". Past & Present. 173 (173): 127. JSTOR 3600841.
  4. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1885). "Aufrere, Anthony" . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 2. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  5. ^ "Grace Gordon".

External linksEdit

Parliament of Scotland
Preceded by Shire Commissioner for Edinburghshire
With: Robert Dundas
Sir James Primrose
Sir Robert Dickson
Sir James Foulis
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
New constituency Member of Parliament for Midlothian
Succeeded by
New constituency Member of Parliament for Wigtown Burghs
Succeeded by