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Dalrymple, John, 1st earl of Stair

Dalrymple, John, 1st earl of Stair [S] (1648–1707). Lawyer and statesman. Like his father, Dalrymple was in disfavour during the early 1680s and twice imprisoned in Edinburgh castle. But in 1687 James VII appointed him king's advocate [S] and the following year lord justice clerk [S] and a lord of Session. Nevertheless he gave strong support to William of Orange and was reappointed king's advocate 1689–92. From 1690 he was also secretary of state in Scotland. He succeeded his father as 2nd viscount in 1695 but was obliged to resign his offices for his role in authorizing the massacre of Glencoe. Anne restored him to favour, promoted him to the earldom of Stair in 1703, and he took an active part in bringing about the Union, dying soon after an intervention in debate. His prominent political role attracted the extremes of praise and blame: Burnet wrote that he ‘made a better companion than statesman’.

J. A. Cannon

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Stair, John Dalrymple, 1st earl of

John Dalrymple Stair, 1st earl of, 1648–1707, Scottish statesman; son of Viscount Stair. He served under James II, but sponsored the accession (1688) of William III in the Scottish Parliament and became (1691) that monarch's joint secretary of state for Scotland. His political skill and eloquence enabled him to dominate the Scottish Parliament. For his authorization of the massacre at Glencoe (1692) he was forced to resign (1695). He reentered Parliament in 1700 and became a privy councilor (1702) and earl of Stair (1703). He actively promoted the union of Scotland and England.

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