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Stair, John Dalrymple, 2d earl of

John Dalrymple Stair, 2d earl of, 1673–1747, Scottish general and diplomat; son of the 1st earl of Stair. He began a military career in the Netherlands, but on his father's death returned home and was elected (1707) one of 16 Scottish representative peers in the newly united Parliament of Great Britain. Becoming an assistant to the 1st duke of Marlborough in Flanders, he was sent (1709) as envoy to Augustus II of Poland. For his military achievements he was made (1710) general, but he fell from royal favor along with his friend Marlborough. At the accession of George I, Stair was sent as envoy to Paris, where from 1715 to 1720 his network of spies effectively thwarted the intrigues of the Jacobites. He was vice admiral of Scotland (1720–33) but lost the office because of his opposition to Robert Walpole's Excise Bill (1733). After Walpole fell from office in 1742, the earl was created field marshal and commanded the so-called pragmatic army in Flanders and Germany.

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Dalrymple, John, 2nd earl of Stair

Dalrymple, John, 2nd earl of Stair [S] (1673–1747). Diplomat and soldier. Dalrymple succeeded as 2nd earl at the age of 34 in 1707, having pursued a successful career in the army. He served as a Scottish representative peer 1707–8, 1715–34, and 1744–7, and was given the Thistle in 1710. In 1714–20 he was ambassador in France, where he played an important role in watching the Jacobites and in consolidating the understanding with the Regent d'Orléans. His opposition to Walpole's Excise scheme in 1733 led to his dismissal from his offices and only after Walpole's fall in 1742 was he restored to favour. In 1742 he served as ambassador at The Hague, was promoted field marshal, and in 1742–3 was commander-in-chief in Flanders, resigning in dudgeon. Walpole's brother Horace thought Stair ‘insufferably proud and haughty’ and Lord Hervey described him as of ‘a very warm, prompt temper’.

J. A. Cannon

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