Sir James Steuart Denham of Coltness and Westshields (1744-1839)

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(1744-1839), Military Officer and politician

The only son of the scholarly Sir James Steuart Denham of Coltness and Westshields (1712-1780), Denham was a professional cavalry officer. He succeeded to the baronetcies on the death of his father, and two years later was elected and MP for the County of Lanark. He saw active service in Europe and Ireland, was appointed to command the cavalry in Scotland in 1794, and in 1797 was promoted to local Lieutenant-General with the command of Munster, where he and his troops were cut off from Dublin during the 1798 rebellion; during and after this episode he governed wisely and mercifully.

His full promotion to Lieutenant-General was confirmed in 1798. In 1818 he donated to the Library of his father's University, through the good offices of Robert Ainslie WS, a copy of "Original letters from the Right Honourable Lady Mary Wortly Montagu to Sir James and Lady Frances Steuart ..." (London: 1818); his parents had met and become friendly with Lady Mary Wortly Montagu in Venice.

More important, this gift established a link between the Library and the family of Steuart Denham of Coltness which led to the gift of the Coltness papers to the Library by Mrs Katherine Jean Wolfe Fyfe (1911-2004), née Murray in 1988.

All or some of the text on this page originally appeared in the Gallery of Benefactors