The Earls and Marquesses of Queensbury

 

coat of armsThe Queensberry title, one of the many with which the Scottish house of Douglas is associated, originated in the creation of Sir William Douglas (d. 1640) as earl of Queensberry in 1633. He was the eldest son of Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig (d. 1616). His grandson William, the 3rd earl (1637-1695), was created marquess of Queensberry in 1682 and duke of Queensberry in 1684; he was lord justice general and an extraordinary lord of session. He was also lord high treasurer of Scotland, and served James II. as lord high commissioner to the parliament of 1685, but in 1686 he was deprived of his offices. He had assented to the accession of William and Mary and had again enjoyed the royal favor before he died on the 28th of March 1695. His son James Douglas, the 2nd duke (1662-1711), was born at Sanquhar Castle on the i8th of September 1662, and was educated at the university of Glasgow, afterwards spending some time in foreign travel. At the Revolution of 1688 he sided with William of Orange and was made a privy councillor; after he had become duke of Queens-berry in 1695 he was appointed an extraordinary lord of session and keeper of the privy seal. He was the royal commissioner to the famous Scottish parliament which met in 1700, and just after the accession of Anne in 1702 he was made one of the secretaries of state for Scotland. In the latter part of 1703 he came under a temporary cloud through his connection with the Jacobite intriguer, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, who had utilized Queensberry's jealousy of the duke of Atholl to obtain a commission from him to get evidence in France which would implicate Atholl. The plot was betrayed by Robert Ferguson, and Queensberry was deprived of his offices. However, in 1705 he was restored and in 1706 he was again commissioner to the Scottish parliament; in this capacity he showed great ability in carrying through the treaty for the union of the two crowns, which, chiefly owing to his influence and skill, was completed in 1707. For this he was very unpopular in Scotland, but he received a pension of 3000 a year. In 1708 he was created duke of Dover and marquess of Beverley, and he obtained a special remainder by which his titles were to pass to his second surviving son Charles, and not to his eldest son James, who was an idiot. In February 1709 he was appointed third secretary of state, and he died on the 6th of July 1711.

 

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