Sir George Douglas of Springwood


Sir George Douglas, 2nd Baronet, (1754-1821)  son of Admiral Sir James and Helen, da. of Thomas Brisbane of Brisbane, Ayr. was a captain in the 25th Regiment of Foot and later commanded the Kelso Volunteers. 

Douglas, who sat for the county on the interest of the 3rd Duke of Roxburghe, was described in February 1788 as ‘dull, indifferent and inattentive’. Unlike his competitor for the next election, John Rutherfurd, whose unpopularity was ‘positive’, Douglas’s was ‘negative’: which served him well, for though both were supporters of Pitt’s government he was, in his own words, ‘no party man, wishing to see my friends in Parliament, without caring what side they take when there’, and it was the support of Sir Gilbert Elliot and his Whig friends that ensured Douglas’s success in the contest. The ensuing petition against his return left him ‘full of care and fear’: the expense vexed him and he was ‘not remarkably alert’ and would ‘not be very ready to speak, unless ... strongly urged to it’.2 On 28 Mar. 1792 the committee of the House seated him by the chairman’s casting vote.

Douglas continued his unobtrusive support of the ministry. After a prediction that he would vote for it, he was either absent or voted against the exemption of Scotland from the Test Act, 10 May 1791. It was readily supposed by Sir Gilbert Elliot’s friends—and Henry Dundas concurred—that he would stand down in Elliot’s favour at the next election but, assured of the support of the Dukes of Roxburghe and Buccleuch, he denied any such intention and was returned unopposed in 1796. On 4 Jan. 1798 he was in the government majority on the assessed taxes. In the preceding July Sir Gilbert Elliot thought—and Henry Dundas again concurred—that Douglas might be bought out of his seat with provision of £400 or £500 a year, but nothing came of it. On 30 May 1800 he made his maiden speech—on the adultery bill.

Douglas’s support of Addington’s and Pitt’s second ministries was silent. He was in the government majority on the additional force bill, 18 June 1804, and in the minority on the censure against Melville, 8 Apr. 1805. His patron having died in 1804, Douglas lost his standing in Roxburghshire and retired in 1806. He died 4 June 1821.

He sold the old estate of Friarshaw in 1788 and became MP for Roxburgh. His son, Sir John James, succeeded to the lands and baronetcy on the death of his father in 1821. 





Portrait Miniature of Sir George Douglas, Baronet by J.C.D. Engleheart, 1821
George Douglas, Antigua Written in paint on the document on the table, 'A Plan of old Road Estate the Island of Antigua' and 'Reappraisment of Sir George Douglas Estate 1789'
[Sir George Douglas of Springwood Park]


Sir George Douglas of Springwood Park Roxburgh, MP for Roxburghshire 1784-1806, and absentee owner of 219 enslaved people on an as yet unidentified estate on Antigua, whom in 1817 he had leased to Robert Farquhar; in 1821 244 enslaved people who had been purchased from Sir George Douglas were registered by Robert Briggs as attorney to Robert Farquhar, and thereafter appear to have been attached to Cades Bay.

Sir George Douglas was grandson of George Douglas of Friershaw or Friarshaw, and son of Sir James Douglas bart., naval commander and MP for Orkney and Shetland 1754-1768. In the will of Henry Douglas planter of Antigua, proved 26/06/1753, Henry Douglas identified his brothers as George Douglas of Friershaw Advocate and James Douglas of London merchant. Sir George Douglas' interest in slave-property in Antigua flowed from this great-uncle Henry Douglas, through Sir James Douglas' cousin Mary McNamara (formerly King, nee Douglas), the daughter of Henry Douglas. One of her estates was described as 'Ravenscroft' in indentures of 1758 and 1763.



In his will proved in 1791, Robert Harvey left 'all my plantation formerly called Mr Yeomans Old Road Estate in Cades Bay in Old Road, Antigua' to his nephew Robert Farquhar. This appears to be the estate later known as Cades Bay.  One of Robert Farquhar's trustees was Lord William Robert Keith Douglas.

In 1817, Robert Farquhar was shown as the owner of 166 enslaved people and the lessee of a further 219 enslaved people from Sir George Douglas bart.; by 1821, he had purchased the enslaved people from Sir George Douglas bart. These entries have been inferred to relate to the estate appearing in the compensation records as 'Cades Bay.' Sir George Douglas is reported by Vere Langford Oliver to have inherited 'the Antiguan estate of Mrs McNamara.' Mrs McNamara was his father's cousin, and the daughter of Henry Douglas of Antigua: one of her estates was called Ravenscroft in 1758-1763.


Ravenscroft owners


Sir George Douglas, 2nd Bart of Springwood Park 
b 01.03.1754, d 04.06.1821

m. (16.10.1786) Elizabeth Boyle (d 15.02.1791/1801, dau of John Boyle, 3rd Earl of Glasgow)

Children of George and Elizabeth DOUGLAS:

  1. Sir John James Scott-Douglas, 3rd Bt.





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