John Drummond, 1st Earl of Melfort

John Drummond, 1st Earl of Melfort

John Drummond, 1st Earl and titular 1st Duke of Melfort (1649-1714) was a Scottish nobleman.

Appointed Lieutenant-General and Master of the Ordnance in 1680, he served as Secretary of State in Scotland under James II and VII from 1684 until 1688.

He was created Viscount of Melfort and Lord Drummond of Gillestoun in 1685, and a member of the Privy Council of England in the same year, and Earl of Melfort, Viscount of Forth and Lord Drummond of Riccartoun, Castlemains and Gilstoun in 1686, all titles in the Peerage of Scotland. In 1687, he was appointed one of the founder Knights of the Order of the Thistle

Together with his brother James Drummond, 4th Earl of Perth, he practically ruled Scotland, advocating a wholesale seizure of influential Whigs in 1688. He converted to Roman Catholicism.

He escaped to France on 16 December 1688, and attended the exiled monarch for a time in Ireland. He was further created Baron Cleworth in the Peerage of England on 7 August 1689, and Duke of Melfort, Marquess of Forth, Earl of Isla and Burtisland, Viscount of Rickerton and Lord Castlemains and Galston in the Peerage of Scotland on 17 April 1692, all with a similar remainder to the 1685 viscountcy. He was also made KG at St Germain in 1691.

He was outlawed by the government of William III in Britain on 23 July 1694, and attainted by Act of Parliament on 2 July 1695, when his honours became forfeit. In 1701, after the death of James II and VII, the Duke of Melfort was granted the honours and precedence of a French peer by Louis XIV. John and his descendants used the title "Duc de Melfort" in France, but this was a French translation of their Jacobite Scottish duchy and not a French duchy.

In 1701, he wrote to his brother, then at St Germain, a letter from Paris, which was intercepted in London, ascribing to Louis XIV the intention of restoring James II. He was suspected of treachery to Jacobite interests, and sent to Angers. He died at Paris.


Concise Dictionary of National Biography

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