Douglas, George (1490?-1552) (DNB00)

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DOUGLAS, Sir GEORGE, of Pittendriech, Master of Angus (1490?–1552), was second son of George, master of Angus, and thus immediately younger brother of Archibald Douglas, sixth earl of Angus [q. v.], whose fortunes he entirely shared. He was the diplomatic leader of the English party in Scotland during the minorities of James V and Mary Queen of Scots. He conducted almost all the negotiations of his party with Henry VIII and with the French faction in Scotland. When James V was in the hands of his brother, Douglas occupied the post of master of the household. On the occasion of a battle at Linlithgow between Angus and the opposite party for possession of the young king, James, who secretly favoured the other side, went most unwillingly to the field. This so provoked Douglas, who had been deputed to bring James forward, that he exclaimed, ‘Before the enemy shall take thee from us, if thy body should be rent in twain, we shall have a part.’ He shared his brother's exile in England, but on the death of James V in 1542 he negotiated a reconciliation between his brother and the Governor Arran, and thereafter took a prominent part in connection with the overtures made by Henry VIII for the marriage of Prince Edward and the infant Queen Mary. These, however, were obnoxious to a large number of the Scots, and though Douglas prolonged the negotiations even after they had become hopeless, he could not ward off the displeasure of Henry, who made repeated invasions of Scotland. By many of his own countrymen he was regarded as a traitor, and in 1544 he was a prisoner in the castle of Edinburgh, from which he was only released on Leith being taken by the Earl of Hertford in that year. He repeatedly submitted plans for the guidance of the English generals in their invasions of Scotland, but could never be induced to take an active part with them against his countrymen. Henry was so enraged by this that he ordered his lands to be laid waste. Douglas at this time possessed several castles, including Pinkie and Dalkeith, both of which suffered, and at the capture of the latter his wife and other members of his family were seized.

Douglas married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of David Douglas of Pittendriech, and with her obtained the lands near Elgin which gave him his territorial designation. He was father of David, seventh earl of Angus, and of James Douglas, earl of Morton, better known as the Regent Morton [q. v.] An illegitimate son was George Douglas of Parkhead, who became ancestor of the families of Douglas of Parkhead (lords Carlyle of Torthorwald), of Douglas of Mordington, and of Douglas of Edrington. Douglas died at Elgin in July or August 1552.

[Sadler's State Papers; Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII; Register of the Privy Council of Scotland; Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland; Histories by Lesley, Knox, Buchanan, &c.; Fraser's Douglas Book.]

H. P.