Douglas, Archibald (1609-1655) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 15
Douglas, Archibald (1609-1655)

by Alsager Richard Vian
The date of death is given as uncertain in the ODNB.

DOUGLAS, ARCHIBALD, Earl of Ormonde (1609–1655), the eldest son of William, eleventh earl of Angus and first marquis of Douglas [q. v.], by his first wife, Margaret Hamilton, daughter of Claud, lord Paisley, was born in 1609. In a charter of the barony of Hartside or Wandell, granted to him and his father 15 June 1613, he is named Lord Douglas, Master of Angus, and it is by the title of Earl of Angus, which became his on his father's elevation to the marquisate, that he is generally known. In 1628 he married Lady Anne Stuart, second daughter of Esme, duke of Lennox, Charles I being a party to the marriage contract. Two years later he went abroad and did not return before the latter end of 1633. In May 1636 he was appointed a member of the privy council of Scotland, and was present at the meeting in December of that year at which the use of the new service-book was sanctioned. His sympathies, however, were believed to lie with the covenanters, for when the Duke of Lennox was sent to enforce the use of the service-book, Angus was chosen to treat with him. Yet when the royal proclamation was issued commanding the use of the book, the order was made with the approval of Angus. On the final suppression of the book he was one of those members of the privy council who addressed a letter of thanks to the king. Judged by his vacillation in this matter the earl would seem to have had a large share of that spirit of irresolution which was the chief characteristic of the political careers of his half-brother and nephew and the third and fourth dukes of Hamilton. He was appointed an extraordinary lord of session 9 Feb. 1631, and not long afterwards signed the covenant. But when the covenanters prepared to take the field, he left the country. He returned in 1641, when he appeared in parliament, and his right to sit as a peer's eldest son being questioned and decided against him, he was turned out, together with some others of the same rank. At the general assembly summoned in August 1643 he was elected one of the commissioners appointed to further the cause of the covenant in England, and at the same time he was put on the special commission which was to meet the commissioners sent to treat with the assembly by the English parliament. In 1646, on the death of his younger brother Lord James (or William) Douglas [q. v.] in action, Angus was appointed to the command held by him as colonel of the Douglas regiment in France. He held this post till 1653, when he resigned it in favour of his brother George, but it does not appear that he saw any active service. The greater portion of these years he spent at home in Scotland, though he took no prominent part in public affairs till the arrival of Charles II in Scotland in 1650, when he became a member of the committee of estates, and was among those appointed to make preparations for the king's coronation. At that ceremony he officiated as high chamberlain, and in the following April he was created Earl of Ormonde, Lord Bothwell and Hartside, with remainder to the heirs male of his second marriage with Lady Jane Wemyss, eldest daughter of David, second earl of Wemyss, his first wife having died 16 Aug. 1646, in her thirty-second year. At the assembly which met at Edinburgh, and afterwards at Dundee, in July 1651, the earl took a leading part in the opposition to the western remonstrance; but after the departure of Charles II to the continent he retired into private life. He was fined 1,000l. by Cromwell's act of grace in 1654, though it was stoutly alleged on his behalf by the presbytery that he was a true protestant. The accounts kept by his wife, which are still preserved at Dunrobin, show that he resided in the Canongate or at Holyrood Palace till his death, which took place 15 Jan. 1655, in the lifetime of his father. He was buried at Douglas in the family vault in St. Bride's Church. By his first wife Ormonde became the father of one son, James, who succeeded his grandfather as Marquis of Douglas. By Lady Jane Wemyss he had a daughter who became the fourth wife of Alexander, first viscount Kingstoun, and two sons, the elder of whom, Archibald [q. v.], succeeded him in his title, and in 1661 obtained a new patent creating him Earl of Forfar. The widow of the first Earl of Ormonde, who outlived him sixty years, was married in 1659 to George, fourteenth earl of Sutherland, whom she also survived.

[Fraser's Douglas Book, ii. 433; Douglas and Wood's Peerage of Scotland, i. 442; Aiton's Life of Alexander Henderson; Baillie's Letters, vols. i. and ii.; Michel's Les Ecossais en France,ii. 318, errs in stating that Lord Gr. Douglas immediately succeeded Lord James in the command of the Scots regiment.]

A. V.