Graham, James, third Duke of Montrose 1755-1836, born 8 Sept. 1755, was eldest son of William, second duke of Montrose. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he proceeded M.A. jure natalium in 1775. On 11 Sept. 1780 he was elected M.P. for Richmond in Yorkshire, and sat for Great Bedwin in Wiltshire in the parliaments of 1784 and 1790. He joined Pitt's administration in December 1783 as a lord of the treasury, and held the post until 8 April 1789. He opposed Fox's East India Bill in 1783, proposed Addington (afterwards Viscount Sidmouth) as speaker on 8 May 1789, and at the end of the same year moved the address on the Spanish convention. From 6 Aug. 1789 until February 1791 he was paymaster-general of the forces, jointly with Lord Mulgrave. On 8 Ang. 1789 he became vice-president of the board of trade and a member of the privy council. On his father's death (23 Sept. 1790) he succeeded to the dukedom. From 7 Dec. 1790 till 1795 he was master of the horse; served as commissioner for the affairs of India 16 May 1791 until 22 Oct. 1803, and was lord justice-general of Scotland from 14 Jan. 1795 until his death, when the office was amalgamated with that of lord president of the court of session. In 1803 he moved the address of the House of Lords to the king on his escape from the conspiracy of Colonel E. M. Despard [qv.]. He was president of the board of trade, under Pitt, from 7 June 1804 until the change of administration on Pitt's death in February 1806, and for most of that time was also joint postmaster-general. In 1805 he voted for Lord Melville's acquittal. Under the Duke of Portland he again became (4 April 1807) master of the horse, and held the office until his resignation in 1830; was lord chamberlain, in succession to the Marquis of Hertford, from December 1821 to May 1827, and from 18 Feb. 1828 to 15 July 1830.
Montrose was chancellor of the university of Glasgow from December 1780 until his death; was lord-lieutenant of the counties of Stirling and Dumbarton; and was knight of the order of the Thistle from 14 June 1793 until 26 March 1812, when he was made a knight of the Garter. A disparaging estimate of his character and abilities is to be found in the Greville Memoirs. He obtained for the highlanders permission to resume the national dress, which had long been prohibited by law.
He married, on 22 Feb. 1785, Jemima Elizabeth (d. 17 Sept. 1786), daughter of John, second earl of Ashburnham, and had by her an only son who died in infancy. He married again, on 24 July 1790, Caroline Maria (d. 26 March 1847), daughter of George, fourth duke of Manchester, by whom he had two sons and five daughters. His elder son, James, fourth duke [qv.], is separately noticed. He died at his mansion in Grosvenor Square on 30 Dec. 1836, and was buried in the mausoleum of the Earls of Montrose at Aberuthven in Perthshire.
Doyle's Official Baronage, s.v. Graham
Haydn's Book of Dignities
obituary notices in Ann. Reg. and Gent. Mag.
Contributor: E. J. R. [Edward James Rapson]